Why You Must Never Trust Stated Protein Content to Compare Dog Foods

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Think you can’t be easily fooled?  Well, think again.
Fooling Shoppers with False Claims of Protein Percentages
You see… when shopping for dog food, you just can’t trust the stated protein percentage printed right there on the label.

No, you really can’t.  And here’s why…

Say you’ve got a pair of old leather boots… some used motor oil… and a scoop of sawdust1.

Now, grind them all up… blend them together… and send that whole concoction to a food testing laboratory… for analysis.

And the results?  This toxic medley of rubbish contains…

  • Protein 32%
  • Fat 18%
  • Fiber 3%

Now, if you look only at the “raw data”… the numbers make this funky brew look pretty good… in fact, just as good as any quality dog food.

The leather provides the protein.  The motor oil supplies the fat.  And the sawdust contributes the fiber.

Not exactly something you’d ever want to feed your dog.  See how easy it is to be fooled?

Why You Should Be Skeptical of Published Percentages

Well, naturally, dog food companies want their “numbers” to look as good as possible.  So, many of them shrewdly manipulate their recipes to tweak the percentages.

By adding proteins of dubious nutritional value companies can easily take advantage of your unguarded trust.

That part of a dog food package where manufacturers are required to reveal these proportions is called the “Guaranteed Analysis” panel.

There are two very good reasons why you must never trust the protein figures on this “panel” as your sole means of comparing dog foods.  The Guaranteed Analysis percentages fail to allow for…

  1. A dog food’s moisture content
  2. The quality and digestibility of the protein itself

First, let’s look at the issue of moisture content…

A Better Way to Compare Protein Content

Because different dog foods contain different amounts of water, it’s pointless to compare their protein contents.  This is especially true when you put a dry kibble up against a canned product.

A canned dog food can easily contain 70% water.  And that can make a kibble… at least on paper… look like it has much more protein than its canned food rival.

Yet without the water… this same can of food can sport a significantly higher percentage of protein than the kibble.

Now, to make a fair comparison, you must first mathematically remove all the water from both foods.

A dog food’s percentage that is either protein, fat or fiber… minus the water… is known as its dry matter basis.  Dry matter basis is a much better way to compare the protein content of different dog foods.

Now, let’s take a look at the issue of protein quality… and digestibility.

What Is Biological Value and Why Does It Matter?

Not all proteins are created equal.

You see, proteins are nothing more than a chain of connected chemical building blocks… building blocks known as amino acids.  All in all, there are 22 different amino acids required by dogs for their very survival.

Twelve of these can be manufactured by the dog’s body itself.  The other ten cannot… and must come directly from a dog’s diet.  That’s what makes them “essential” amino acids.

Certain protein sources are simply better than others… and provide a richer blend of amino acids.  These better proteins have what’s referred to as a high biological value.

The Critical Factor of Protein Digestibility

Now, what good is it to have a dog food made with a higher quality protein… if it’s not also easy to digest?

To better understand protein digestibility, it’s important to recall that digestion itself is the gradual breaking down of any food into smaller and smaller components… small enough to pass through the walls of the intestines… and into the bloodstream.

A dog food with high protein digestibility is one that can be broken down into smaller… easy-to-absorb components… quicker than others.

That’s what makes meat such a desirable dog food ingredient.  A dog’s digestive system is simply better able to handle it.

By the way… protein ingredients that meet both requirements… high biological value and high digestibility… almost always come from animal sources.

Don’t Be Fooled by Stated Protein Percentages

Though not as bad as that crazy “leather boots, motor oil and sawdust” combination… many dog foods can seriously mislead you… if you rely solely on their published protein percentages.

So, watch out for those dubious protein numbers whenever you shop for dog food.

  1. Pitcairn RH, Pitcairn SH, Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats, 2005, Rodale Press, p. 12
  • Mocha

    Hello, I’m trying to find a grain free dry dog food. Currently feed my 2 rescue Min Pins Merritt Chicken & Sweet Potato. They both are doing great on this but the little girl looks like a bloated tick! She has gained weight. It has 38% Protein and 17% fat. Would like to find a fat around 15% and a lower protein of meat not veggies in a quality food. I was told today that a high protein does not harm the kidneys if you feed grain free it converts to sugar. I do not see how this would be possible. I would appreciate any suggestions and help that you could give me. Thank you Mocha

  • aimee

    Each standard has strengths and weaknesses. You may want to incorporate both in your formulation.

    This sounds like a large project and without the use of software it would be more that I myself would take on.

    Have you thought of hiring an ACVN to do it for you tailored to your pet?

    Dr Susan Wynn does custom formulations.

    Good Luck

  • Lilliana212

    The thing with balance it and petdiets is that even though they are fresh foods, they all still need the BalanceIT supplements. I much rather prefer Dr. Pitcairn’s diets (from his book) which are almost fully natural, with a few exceptions of calcium powder and vit A and D that need to be supplemented. As for the rest of the micro nutrients, I rather provide it using a diverse fresh diet.

    I’m sorry I know I might seem exhausting, but I’m just trying to find a way to make a fresh diet with as little artificial supplements as possible for my pets and as a potential small business.

    I see, so can I say it’s still best if I formulate the fresh food diet using AAFCO standards (and therefore very likely to also meet NRC standards because it’s high quality nutrients)? I’ll also work with a nutritionist.. I just want to make sure to which standard should I adhere to (and is best).

    Thanks so much for your patience!!!!
    xoxo

  • aimee

    Yes you can formulate a diet that will meet NRC that does not meet AAFCO.

    Dogs actually don’t have “protein” requirement per say as much as they have an amino acid requirement. When using lower protein amounts it is necessary to meet each individual AA need.

    Protein levels of 25 grams/1000kcal can support maintenance. However, really the only time nutritionists go that low is in patients that have medical conditions that require controlled protein levels. For healthy dogs protein levels are closer to AAFCO levels or higher.

    The caveat is that individual dogs will have different energy requirements. It would be possible to formulate a diet to meet NRC requirements on an energy basis and yet not meet NRC’s protein needs on a weight basis. This is from memory but I think one such formula is 3.28 grams protein X body weight in kg to the 3/4 power.

    Any reason you are trying to formulate a diet yourself verses using a nutrition service like balance it or petdiets

  • Lilliana212

    Thank you so much! Indeed very clear!
    So is it safe to say that if I want to make a recipe of fresh food, I should follow the NRC guidelines? (because they will be highly digestible and high quality protein). And does this mean if my recipe meets NRC criteria, it MIGHT not meet AAFCOs? (because I would be having less protein (even tho they are better quality)?

    Thanks and sorry for trouble!!

  • aimee

    Hi Lilliana212,

    The AAFCO profiles are listed as a percent dry matter, but what isn’t clear from that reference is the percent given is for a diet with 3500 kcals/kg.Therefore the AAFCO min protein for maintenance, 18 grams/100 grams of diet (18%) is only if that 100 gram of diet has 350 kcals. In other words 18 grams protein/350 kcals or 51 grams/1000 kcals.

    The NRC requirements are also on an energy basis The table in the reference you gave is for every 1000 kcals. From that table you see 25 grams protein/1000 kcals.

    AAFCO is about twice NRC The NRC levels are based on (a) highly digestible proteins and (b) high quality protein ( proper mix of amino acids). However, in a processed pet food the protein digestibility may not be as high nor may the AA mix as ideal. AAFCO doubled the amount to account for these factors.

    Hope this helps

  • Lilliana212

    Hello all. I’ve been digging into pet food nutrient profiles set by the AAFCO just to figure out WHAT EXACTLY are the required nutrients in pet food, and I don’t understand why in the 1995 AAFCO profiles (supposed to be based on NRC’s 1985 research) protein is required as a % of dry matter basis. However, in NRC’s 2006 publication, the protein requirement is no longer listed as a %, but as 25g per day for adult dogs. What does this mean? Are manufacturers supposed to change the way of labeling pet foods? Does this mean a big change in protein intake???

    Here attach AAFCO and NRC’s nutrient profile differences:
    http://www.merckmanuals.com/vet/management_and_nutrition/nutrition_small_animals/nutritional_requirements_and_related_diseases_of_small_animals.html

  • Hound Dog Mom

    The shown percentages are the amount in the food. When examining canned food it’s also important to keep in mind that the percentages need to be converted to dry matter as most canned foods contain a lot of moisture. The recommended feeding guides aren’t for levels beyond one pet’s needs – they’re a starting point. Whether or not the suggestion is too much or too little depends on the pet. An inactive animal may need to be fed less than what the feeding guide recommends. My dogs, on the other hand, always needed much more than what the feeding guides recommended.

  • doggydelight

    When purchasing adult canned food, one is told that the shown percentages of vitamins/minerals represent the percentage of the required amount of one’s daily intake. I presume this is contrary to the case with respect to pet food.
    Furthermore, respecting the questionable protein and other percentages shown on pet food cans, I guess it goes without saying the recommended feeding guide on the cans are above and beyond one’s pet’s needs.

  • Pattyvaughn

    I can’t answer all your questions, but I can tell you that the type of protein is taken into consideration, just not necessarily the way you are thinking. Unnamed meats, like meat and bone meat and animal by products, rate lower than named meats, like chicken meal and beef by products. Since manufacturers can change their sources or use multiple sources for the same ingredient, there is no way to really take that into account. That is where trust and your own research comes in. Lots of people here have taken the time to email companies to ask questions and report back about their findings and when you find a food you are interested in that is a really good idea. Smaller companies are much more likely to have single sources and some companies are way more likely than others to honestly answer your questions.
    Legally, dog food companies aren’t allowed to lie to you, but they often put someone who knows nothing on phone duty, so you can’t get a straight answer. Or they don’t answer the question that you actually asked. They fail to answer emails. They have a number of tactics for avoiding answering questions. Those are the companies that I wouldn’t want to buy from.

  • P2H

    THats a lot of information above. Am I right in assuming that the star ratings are the result of coming up with with a DE for each food? Does the rating take into consideration the type of meat used in each food? In other words because as stated above the digestibility of the proteins ( a function of among other things biological value) all other things being equal does a product with Pet grade by product get a higher number of stars than a priduct with feed grade by Product? Are the foods graded on a curve. Sinced you use 5 stars are 20% of the foods rated 5 stars, 20% 4 stars, etc…

  • Cindy

    Amen Molly! We are all above-average dog lovers and the reason we are on this site is because we want the best for them so they can lead long, healthy lives. There’s always going to be exceptions. I don’t necessarily agree with everything either but I think it’s truly remarkable that someone has gone through all this work to try and break it down for us. My suggestion is if you don’t like what is said or disagree then there are a myriad of other websites that support your opinion. No need for name calling when someone is offering an opinion. At the end of the day, we are all just trying to do right by our dogs that we love so much.

  • InkedMarie

    “top kibble” is all dependent on the person buying. There are some nicely priced kibbles, from good companies: Fromm, Victor, Dr Tim’s, for starters. Are they more than Ol Roy or Beneful? Yep

  • http://www.facebook.com/molly.e.smith.90 Molly Elizabeth Smith

    I have found that often researching the company itself rather than individual foods often leads you in the right direction. I have the privilege of working with a number of small pet food companies that I love. I would strongly recommend taking a look at Dogswell Nutrisca and Earthborn Holistics. I have received phenomenal feedback on both of these foods from customers that have now had their pets on them for over 2 years. We also love Champion pet foods, which manufacturers Orijen & Acana. Champion had the opportunity to maintain profit following a fire by outsourcing ingredients and I know they refused to do this because it did not meet their standards of quality. To me, that says something when a company puts quality over profit.

    It can be a challenging decision and this is exactly why I love to switch it up. Every new bag of kibble (which does make up about 40% of my dog’s daily diet) in our house is a different brand and protein source, but always grain-free and always void of wheat, corn, soy, and by-products. From my research, I strongly believe that the by-products and the ingredients now know as the “FDA Four” (Meat and Bone Meal, Beef and Bone Meal, Animal Fat, and Animal Digest) are the things you want to look out for when concerned about the potential to cause cancer.

    Hope this helps!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/molly.e.smith.90 Molly Elizabeth Smith

    Wow, some pretty vicious discussions on these threads. I think we need to honor this educational and helpful site with discussions that are positive and encouraging. This is a place where pet owner’s should be able to come with questions and honestly share without fear of being dumped on. If we are on this site, we can assume we are all dog lovers that want the best for our canines. I respect that this is a heated topic, but I still believe we should see each poster as a fellow dog owner and give everyone the benefit of the doubt in assuming that they really at the end of the day want to ensure the best quality of life for their pet.

    I own a pet boutique that carriers natural pet foods, but I willingly tell my clients that there was a day when I fed my dog’s Science Diet because I didn’t know any better. I have no grounds to judge, I simply want to use the knowledge that I now have gained through extensive research, interaction with my awesome customer base, and a very eye-opening experience with my own dogs to encourage others to provide better nutrition for their beloved pets. Knowledge should not be used to degrade or insult, it should be used to encourage and help.

    Along these lines, there were a couple of people that asked about kibble choices, so I just wanted to share my perspective. Speaking from my own experience and observation, I LOVE switching up good grain-free kibbles and then finding fun ways to supplement raw, freeze dried, and other things like green beans and carrots into my dog’s daily diet. We know that dogs are scavengers and I have found that the more variety I can get into my dog’s diet while keeping out the known problem causers (wheat, corn, soy, by-products) the better they seem to react to sudden change (like getting into the trash, eating food while at someone else’s home, etc). Additionally, by getting variety into their diet, you can rest assured that their overall weight and health will reflect the merits or demerits of a food. I now regularly alternate Acana, Nutrisca, and Earthborn Holistics kibbles and add Primal raw or Honest Kitchen grain-free. The great thing is that they acclimate easily to change, never get bored with their diet, and I love and enjoy meal time with the pups.

    I do also understand however that a lot of people cannot afford top of the line kibble. What I tell my clients is that much like our own diets, we should work to eat as well as our budgets allow. There are obviously things we should avoid altogether, things we should enjoy only in moderation, and things we need to ensure we consume daily (like veggies and lots of water!). Create a budget, then start researching on dogfoodadvisor and look for the very best food that fits within your budget. We do carry one kibble called Whole Earth Farms. While not grain-free, this kibble by Merrick does not have any by-products or corn or wheat, instead it uses grains like barley that dogs can get some nutritional value out of. And the best part is, this food costs less than most bags of foods like Science Diet or Royal Canin and because it has more protein, you will feed less than you would a food like Iams or Eukanuba.

    Give your pets the best that you are able and beyond that, don’t beat yourself up or let others beat you up. I’ve seen dogs live 20 years eating nothing but ‘Ol Roy. Their owners had zero clue about nutrition, but they simply loved the heck out of their pet – call me sentimental, but working in this business, I can promise you, love goes a long long way!

  • http://www.facebook.com/alsmith89 Al Smith

    Ziggiedobe, go look at NATURE’S VARIETY “INSTINCT” formula. They sell it right now in Pet Supermarket and Petco for dogs. And Petco sells both INSTINCT dog and cat formula. Petsmart will soon have it too. And many of the smaller pet stores carry it and can’t keep it on their shelves! Compare the ingredients in this food to ANY FOOD – ANY FOOD AT ALL on the market! It is truly grain free. So many of the companies are putting out “grain free” lines but they are adding Potato and other fillers and calling it grain free! For our money that is a sham. You can go to Natures Variety website they have the ingredient list there. You will be AMAZED! They’re out of Nebraska, make the food in their own plant, are a small company that is in it for the pets health! Not just profit and adding crap to our pet’s food at the expense of our sweet pets to make even “more” profit.

  • http://www.facebook.com/emerging.from.stasis Cat Hall

    Just so you know, Royal Canin is no longer a Canadian company. Poultry isn’t chicken, it’s birds. If it says Poultry meal it can be pigeons, turkey, or any other kind of bird. Orijen is too high in protien for a lot of dogs, but if you are looking for a good all around food that is chicken based, check out Horizon Legacy, or Horizon Pulsar. Personally I feed my animals locally made raw food.

  • Shawna

    Ohhhh, I missed this before!!!

    You wrote “Their protein is WAY too high; vets see dogs eating there food coming in with early renal and liver problems”  This is such utter and complete nonsense…  Protein does not cause renal failure!!!!!  PERIOD  Drugs do, infections does, malnutrition of the parent does, scientists believe vaccinations do (in cats at least), severe dehyration does etc..  But protein does not…

    However once the dog has renal failure, phosphorus can contribute to the progression of the disease.  BUT, grains are a considerable source of phosphorus just like meats (esp organ meats).

    The dog in my avatar, her name is Audrey.  Audrey was born with kidney disease.  She eats a HIGH protein diet (raw with protein ranging from 45 to 54% — MUCH higher then Orijen).  Audrey has eaten this high protien diet her whole life and will be 7 years old the end of June 2013.  She’s also in excellent health — no medications, has never required sub-q fluids etc…  Protein does not cause kidney disease and any vet who says otherwise needs some serious educating…

  • Melissaandcrew

    Ziggiedobe-

    I don’t considering researching my dogs food a luxury, but rather a necessity, and as something that any good pet owner would/should do.

    I have three dobes-two eat Acana brand foods(rotated) and mixed with raw commercial, canned, home cooked, and various other toppers. Both do wonderfully. The third is sensitive and eats Abady-granular, dry and canned-Her issue is stomach/intestinal and this to date has seemed to stop the issues.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Ziggiedobe –

    That’s great that you’re doing homemade for your dobies now. I think a homemade diet is the healthiest thing for a dog – my three bloodhounds eat a homemade raw diet. So I understand completely how inconvenient and time consuming it is.

    Have you considered using a pre-mix? Pre-mixes contain everything you need for a “homemade” diet (fruits, veggies, vitamins) – all you need to do is add meat (raw or cooked) and water. I sometimes use pre-mixes when I’m too busy to make my dogs’ meal completely from scratch. The Honest Kitchen makes a pre-mix called Preference, Sojo’s make a grain-free and a grain-inclusive pre-mix, Dr. Harvey’s makes three pre-mixes, Birkdale makes a few, Grandma Lucy’s has a pre-mix and there’s Essex Cottage Farms.

    You may also want to consider a dehydrated food. The Honest Kitchen, Grandma Lucy’s and NRG Maxim are probably the best dehydrated options. Dehydrated food is basically a homemade type meal (not kibble) that is gently dehydrated to remove the water (no high temperature that can create carcinogens). You just add water to rehydrate and it’s basically the consistency of a stew-style canned food.

    If you’re looking for a kibble, any of the 5-star kibbles should be fine. You could even feed kibble and throw in a homemade meal a couple days a week. I know when I used to feed kibble my dog did well on Orijen and Nature’s Variety Instinct.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1140685339 Betsy Greer

    Whose choice is it, if not yours, to do the research and decide which dog food is the best choice for your pet?

    Dr. Mike has analyzed the ingredients of hundreds of foods and explained them to you in layman’s terms on this site. His is a labor of love and I’m sure he’s spent thousands of hours doing it all in his “spare time.”

    He’s rated the foods individually, assigned them each a rating and even grouped them into best foods by type (dry, wet, raw, grain-free), etc. If you missed that part, please look at the column on the top left hand side of this page and click there to see individually rated foods and even lists of “best” foods and take the time to do your own research and actually read Dr. Mike’s reviews before you criticize his undeserved diligence.

  • Ziggiedobe

    Royal Canin is beeing recalled by the FDA, several times. Just for your information dear Avandahl. Try to do some research and don’t emphasize on something you DON’T KNOW.

  • Ziggiedobe

    Nice article, “scientifically” convincing, but you throw the ball to the side of pet owners and consumers who know little about pet food and most of us don’t have the LUXURY of spending time on research! Personally, I’ve been looking for a decent dog dry food not less than 4 whole months on the Internet my brain is filled with contradictional information and STILL I have not found any “suitable” dry dog food for my Dobes, so I cook homemade meals which -at some point- becomes a true ordeal. Any proper suggestions as to which dog dry food is suitable and non cancerous? Why is everyone “hiding” behind his index finger and don’t come FORTH with the plain truth?

  • Avandahl

    Royal Canin no Doubt is an OK food. But there are better food out there and to be honest why you are just overly biased just like many of the ignorant Vets who thinks they know it all. Before you post stuffs, why dnt u get your facts right.

  • nat

    how can my dog with ibd and ple be getting enough protein. She poos gravy since going from raw to this….never did that before…

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    Nat,

    The 3% is with moisture.  The 19% is dry matter without moisture. Most products have varying amounts of moisture so converting them into dry matter will let you compare different products. You can even compare canned foods to kibble by first converting to dry matter.

    Here’s the article:

    http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/choosing-dog-food/dry-matter-basis/

  • Nat

    The can of Hills z/d ultra say it is only 3% protein
    http://www.petfooddirect.com/product/8842/Hills-Prescription-Diet-z/d-Ul
    tra-Allergen-Free-Canine-Canned-Food#information

    Hills
    web site says it is 19% protein as dry matter. Then there is
    this

    The
    UK wesite breaks it down better “as fed”

    http://www.hillspet.co.uk/en-gb/products/pd-canine-prescription-diet-zd-
    ultra-allergen-free-canned.html

    What
    conclusion can I come to? How much protein is mydog really getting???

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com/ Mike Sagman

    Hi Voxleo,

    Earlier reviews used words less specific adjectives like the “moderate” – whereas newer reviews tend to use more standardized terms.

    Limited meat content = below average
    Moderate meat = near average
    Notable, significant, generous = above average

    Yet in every review, the numbers are there for you to see.

    Hope this helps.

  • voxleo

    I’m a little confused about the way that the summary of the meat contents are described in the reviews -  I get that ”modest” is probably less than “average”, but where does “moderate” fit?    Without a frame of reference it is kind of difficult to tell which is actually meaning more meat content when comparing the various brands that might have “almost average” vs  ”moderate”, or “moderate” vs “average”.  

     Could you provide a heirarchy of the vocabulary from most to least, or perhaps a numerical scale equivalent from 1-10? (If 10 being the “most”, would “average” = 5, “moderate”= 6, or vice-versa?  “modest”= 2 or 3?  “fair”=4?  “high” = 7-8 or what?)

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  • Jc15192wrr

    Our golden retriever has been diagnosed with a thyroid disorder and is being treated with 8mg of L Thyroxine twice daily. Is there a certain dog food ratio that would be beneficial for our retriever?

  • Shawna

    Oh Kostadin ~~ this food is HORRIBLE…  Please research this further before feeding too much!!  I don’t know what ingredients are in the other foods (where you are) so can’t recommend any of them but hopefully they are better then the RC — HORRIBLE food…

  • Rheseyj

    Hi kostadin ,

    No , thank is not a source of quality protien , Poultry could be anything , duck , chicken , turkey , goose !! Next animal fat could come from anywhere , beef , turkey , EUTHANIZED PETS , ROADKILL !! Here are some good foods you could try : merrick , canidae , solid gold , wellness , orijen , acana , totw and natures variety .

  • http://tc.mk Kostadin

    I use Royal Canin Giant puppy which has 34% is it good for my rotti. I have red somewhere that over 27 % protein of kibble is not good for rottweiler puppy but some breeders told that is the best food for him.These are the ingrediants:
    Dehydrated poultry meat, rice, vegetable protein isolate*, maize, animal fats, hydrolysed animal proteins, beet pulp, minerals, soya oil, fish oil, yeasts, fructo-oligo-saccharides, psyllium husks and seeds, L-lysine, yeast extract (source of manno-oligo-saccharides), DL-methionine, egg powder, taurine, hydrolysed crustaceans (source of glucosamine), L-carnitine, hydrolysed cartilage (source of chondroitin), marigold extract (source of lutein).

    analyses ;
    calcium 1.0 %
    fat 14.0 %
    magnesium 0.08 %
    omega-3 fats 0.7 %
    phosphorus 0.85 %
    protein 34.0 %
    starch 30.2 %
    ash 7.3 %
    calories that can be burned 4036.0 kcal
    fiber 1.3 %
    moisture 8.0 %
    omega-6 fats 3.0 %
    potassium 0.6 %
    sodium 0.4 %
    I dont have to much choice from the dry foods here we have:Belcando,Royal canin,Sport mix, Purina pro plan, Brit care which is czech food, pro pac, natural trainer,Eukanuba. what should i do ?What type of protein has royal canin or you think its better to change to some of these foods.Which of these food would you recomend me?

  • Josh

    Carlo, the answer is most definitely yes to your question. A human is an omnivore, therefore capable of absorbing much more variety of proteins. Dogs are carnivores and need a meat based protein, while sheep require a plant based protein because they are herbivores. Different species of dogs break down proteins in basically the same way. A chihuahua eating the same food as a great dane will digest the proteins similarly. However, a chihuahua needs more energy per pound because of it’s internal workings. That is why you will find some more focused foods to have different GA values even though the protein, lipids, and carbs are the same. As in, the ingredient listings will be in a different order to obtain the correct ratio.

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  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Carlo… I’m unable to find reliable information about whether or not biological value is species specific. But based upon the fact that BV is related to the “usability” of a protein and because that usability would vary from species to species… I tend to believe the answer to your question is yes. As to where to find a list of BV values for dogs, my previous article “Judging the Quality of a Dog Food’s Protein” includes a short list I took from Liz Palika’s book (see the footnote on that page). Thanks for the interesting question.

  • Carlo

    Hello,
    Since the BV relates to the usable protein by an organism would I be correct in saying that the BV changes according to the species? In other words the same 100 gr of corn may be digested differently by a man, dog or sheep.If so where may I find a table showing the correct BV values for dogs?
    Thank you