High-protein diets for pets – why quality and source matters

High-protein diets for pets – why quality and source matters

While the quantity of protein a dog or cat requires depends on a variety of factors, quality should always be a priority – especially in high-protein diets.

Many dogs and cats benefit from diets high in protein. Although the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) doesn’t have a definition of what constitutes a high-protein pet food, it’s generally accepted that it’s any diet that consists of a quantity of protein that’s greater than AAFCO’s minimum recommendation. However, AAFCO’s minimum recommendation is not an optimal recommendation, and in many cases (though not all), more protein is better!

Dogs are omnivores that thrive on animal-based diets but can also efficiently extract nutrients from a wide variety of ingredients. Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they require animal-derived protein in their diets to extract the essential nutrients needed to survive. Because all dogs and cats have unique dietary needs, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian to figure out what’s right for your individual pet. But regardless of the quantity of protein he requires, quality should always be a priority.

Shopping for quality

When buying a high-protein diet for your dog or cat, look for a brand that has animal proteins listed high in the ingredient panel; specifically, there should be fresh or raw animal ingredients listed from poultry, red meat, or fish. Ideally organs should also be listed in the panel – these superfoods provide natural sources of vitamins, minerals and protein.

A good indicator that animal ingredients are sourced sustainably and responsibly is if all parts of the animal are used. The origin of the protein is a second indicator – do your research to determine where the company sources their ingredients.

If you have questions about ingredients, don’t hesitate to reach out to pet food manufacturers directly. Some questions manufacturers should be able to answer, include:

  • Do the top ingredients featured in your pet food come from animal sources?
  • Are the animal ingredients in your pet food fresh or raw?
  • What are the standards used to determine which vendors are approved to supply ingredients for your pet foods?
  • Where do you source your ingredients?
  • Are the animals featured in your foods free-run, ranch-raised, wild-caught or sustainably raised?

A brand you can trust

ORIJEN® and ACANA® dog and cat food recipes include high inclusions of fresh or raw animal ingredients for protein, which respects the natural biology and physiology of dogs and cats. ORIJEN dry recipes contain between 85–95% premium animal ingredients, making it considerably higher in protein than your average pet food brand.

Both ORIJEN and ACANA pet foods feature WholePrey ratios of meat, poultry or fish, plus organs and bone. They are a fantastic and holistic way to ensure dogs and cats are getting plenty of essential nutrients from their diet. Using organs and bones intentionally in pet foods is also environmentally friendly, as it reduces waste.

Ingredients sourced for ORIJEN and ACANA pet foods come from leading farmers, ranchers and fisheries. Each of these suppliers undergo a robust audit approval process to ensure they are responsible suppliers of nutritionally-sound ingredients.

Talk to your vet about your fur babe’s protein requirements, and prioritize quality when seeking a food that meets his needs. It’s a small effort that will make a big difference in his health – and the health of the planet!


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