Several years ago when I found this website I noticed that the dog foods that received higher scores were scored higher because they had more protein. However, when I questioned my vet, she said that because our dog has anxiety, perhaps it would be better to feed him a food with lower protein. She said that more protein gives dogs more energy and anxious dogs just get more energy to be more anxious. Any thoughts? What percentage of protein should my dog’s food have? Thanks!!!
Dogs should have one gram of protein per pound of “ideal” body weight per day. Cats need two grams per pound per day. Some medical conditions, especially liver or kidney failure, call for reduced-protein diets, although this has become a somewhat controversial topic.
If your dogs are healthy the higher meat content the better. Watch out for peas and potatoe protein to up protein levels. What gives massive amounts of energy is carbs and starches which get converted to sugars.
Dogs that are anxious are just anxious. That’s how they are. The lab I live with gets anxious during things that bother him. Pants, barks, etc. protein has absolutely nothing to do with anxiety lmao. I would change vets just from that suggestions.
My current addition textbook I had for school (vet tech) says dogs can only digest up to 40% protein on a dry matter basis.
I haven’t personally heard any connection between anxiety and protein.
I would try to find your dog activities to do that build confidence and mentally simulate her. Many dogs who are under exercised and not being mentally stimulated will have behavioral issues like anxiety.
What kind of dog is your dog?
Thanks so much for all of your responses. Our dog is a mixed breed rescue dog. He had a brain injury as a puppy when he was in the shelter and lost the vision in one eye. This makes him uncoordinated and anxious. He does not like to go for walks and will refuse to walk. Treats don’t help – this is the only time food does not prompt him to comply. He will walk and run around our yard for short periods as long as the weather is right. He hates rain and wind scares him. He does not like to retrieve balls or frisbees – we have tried to teach him but obviously there is no retriever in his mix. We do have mental stimulation toys for him and he loves them because they result in his finding treats. Thanks again for your help with my protein question.
I understand the urge to look at him as a fragile dog not capable of being a dog, but it’s important not to.
My Lab was highly scared of thunderstorms when I got him at 9 years old. I’ve spent a lot of time over the past 2 years desensitizing him to thunderstorms and yes that means he has to go outside and use the bathroom while its raining/during a thunderstorm. Now he is able to go out and pee while its thundering. He has come a long way. He also still sits under our computer desk but doesn’t drool anymore during thunderstorms. When he does something brave during a thunderstorm he is highly rewarded with praise and pets (his favorite).
I am furious right now! I called a pet food company and asked them about uses peas and chickpeas to boost the protein in foods, she told me oh, a dog doesn’t know the difference between proteins as long as its protein. WHAT, I said to her!!!! I told her a piece of my mind. I said plant and pea protein are lacking in a few amino acids, where meat has them all. These people are looking out for $$$$$$$$$$$$ period.
Most dog food companies hire customer representatives to answer the phone, probably being paid minimum wage. They are not nutritionists and do the best they can to answer questions.
If you want an expert opinion consult a licensed veterinary healthcare professional.
Most dog food companies that meet AAFCO standards employ a veterinary nutritionist. Although, they are not available for the consumers to consult with.
“Dogs should have one gram of protein per pound of “ideal” body weight per day. Cats need two grams per pound per day. Some medical conditions, especially liver or kidney failure, call for reduced-protein diets, although this has become a somewhat controversial topic.”
This is inaccurate advice. According to AAFCO, the minimum protein requirement for adult maintenance is 18%, regardless of weight. So, if you go up a few percentage points higher than that, a normally active dog should have more than enough of its protein requirements met.
Protein content can affect behavior in some dogs, but this mostly pertains to fear aggression; I honestly don’t know if it would help alleviate such issues from a brain injury, however, since most dog foods are overloaded with meat protein anyway, it probably couldn’t hurt to lower it down to somewhere around 21% or less.
Also, just FYI to the OP, but I am dealing with a brain damaged dog who had violent seizures for 3 years, caused by an acquired liver shunt. He’d stopped responding to his name and was really becoming a walking vegetable. Protein content, lower or higher, had really no effect on his brain functionality, but going with a brand that added sweeteners made a dramatic difference in cognition.
Thank you so much for your response. It was very helpful.
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