A new trend has come to Europe, originated in America: dog foods that are high in meat and protein. But is it good and necessary? We will tell you all about it!
Many dog owners consider the health of their four-legged friend to be important, which increases the demand for a healthy diet. In both humans and animals, we see a growing interest in high protein diets. This is based on the idea that hunter-gatherers in the Stone Age ate a lot of protein, and humans have not changed much genetically since then. Therefore, this trend is often referred to as the "paleo diet" or the "primal diet”.
Back to the wolf?
We also see this trend in dog food, which harks back to the diet of the dog's ancestor: the wolf. The natural diet of the wolf has a high protein percentage of 52 percent. As a result, it’s thought that a high protein diet is also good for today's dog. However, when humans began to build settlements and begin farming, a new food source for the wolf emerged. Opportunistic wolves were able to scavenge through garbage that consisted of both animal and plant material. They adapted their diet. Today's dogs have changed from the wolf through domestication. They are better at digesting starch and absorbing glucose.
Our domestic dog is still a carnivore that needs certain essential nutrients such as protein, which is important for the body. However, this does not mean that our dogs need very high levels of protein. An adult dog has a minimum protein requirement of about 10 percent on a dry kibble basis, according to the Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats. The European Pet Food Industry Federation (FEDIAF) gives as a guideline a protein content between 18 and 21 percent for an adult dog. So-called high protein diets exceed this guideline with a protein content of 30 percent or more.
No optimal protein content for dogs has been established till now
So, what is good for a dog?
A 'wolf percentage' of 52 percent protein, a minimum of 10 percent protein, a guideline between 18 and 21 percent protein, at least 30 percent as high protein... what does your dog need? No optimal protein level for dogs has been established yet, nor has it been established that a high protein diet gives better health results.
And for the environment?
The world population is growing. To feed everyone, raw materials are needed to produce food, such as grains and livestock. Animal protein production has an impact on the environment. It requires a lot of energy, food, space, and water. On average, 5 to 6 kilos of plant protein are needed to produce 1 kilo of meat protein.
The production of 1 kilogram of vegetable protein from grain requires 20 square meters of land, for 1 kilogram of animal protein from chicken meat, for example, 35 square meters of land. Pork and beef take up even more space, 60 and 100 square meters of land, respectively. This has a negative effect on biodiversity, the variety of life on earth, and comes at the expense of forests, for example.
The production of animal protein requires a lot of water: 20 tons of water per kilogram of meat. On average, about a hundred times more water is needed to produce 1 kilogram of animal protein than for 1 kilogram of protein from grain. Fertilization with nitrogen is necessary to produce sufficient food. However, high amounts of nitrogen have environmental consequences resulting in climate change. Nitrogen pollution is among the top three threats to global biodiversity. If the demand of a high protein diet for dogs and therefore the demand for animal ingredients increases, it puts pressure on the availability of animal proteins for humans.
How Prins works
Our dog needs animal protein, that's a fact. Prins' foods are formulated so that a dog receives all the nutrients it needs. We do not work with high protein diets, but look at the current needs of our pets. We use only high-quality animal and vegetable ingredients, sourced from certified suppliers. This allows us to ensure excellent quality and nutritional value of our feeds. In the interest of the well-being of our pets, and the environment.
Do you want to know more?
Would you like to know more about why your dogfood contains a specific nutrient? We’ll be happy to explain it to you! Whether you’re looking for simple nutritional advice or an in-depth scientific basis for our products: don’t hesitate to contact us!