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What is protein and why do dogs need protein?

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Proteins are the principle structural component of your dog’s body organs and tissues, including the collagen found in tendons, ligaments, and cartilage, the cells that allow muscle contraction, keratin found in hair, skin, and nails, and cellular products found in blood (hemoglobin, albumin, and globulin).

Each one of the proteins found in the canine body interacts with another protein or its corresponding amino acid to allow for the metabolic actions that keep your pet’s heart beating, his body temperature regulated, ensure that oxygen-laden blood cells flow to the brain and organs, and that his body is processing all of the nutrients from his food. Proteins are comprised of 23 amino acids, the “building blocks of tissue.”

The canine body can make 13 of these amino acids, the other 10 amino acids must come from dietary meats, fruits, and vegetables and are called the “essential amino acids.” These ten essential amino acids include arginine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophane, and valine and are used as a source of energy when not needed for cellular metabolism in the dog’s body.

Because proteins and amino acids are constantly being broken down and used by the canine body, new protein molecules and amino acids must be introduced into your dog’s diet on a regular basis. These nutrients most frequently come from meat and its by-products, but may be also obtained by feeding legumes, nuts, milk and dairy products, eggs, and fish.

According to the textbook Small Animal Clinical Nutrition taught at veterinary universities nation-wide, the average healthy dog eating high-quality protein in his food requires only 1.7 grams of protein per 2.2 pounds (1 kg) of body weight daily. This means that a 22-pound (10 kg) animal needs 17 grams of protein. Whether you choose to feed the protein all in meats, or add supplemental proteins to your pet’s food, is entirely up to you.

How much protein is needed for canine athletes?

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Energetic dogs who participate in sports or who exercise more often than your average house dog require more proteins in their food. According to an article on SciLogs.com, an English language blogging network for scientists and science communicators, 40 to 60 pound sled dogs racing Alaska’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race burn roughly 12,000 calories daily in both fats and proteins.
That makes sled dogs powerful calorie burners; in contrast, human athletes struggle to put away more than 5,000 calories in one day despite weighing in at roughly three times as much as a racing sled dog. Long-distance canine racers typically burn 240 calories per pound of weight every day, while a high-performance human athlete, a Tour de France cyclist, would typically burn only 100 calories per pound of weight daily,” explains onetime musher Joe Runyan, who won the race in 1989.
Consequently, the heavier, stockier bully breeds, when competing in various sporting activities, may require similar protein and fat levels depending on the intensity and duration of activity.

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More protein is also necessary for those animals suffering an illness, those who are malnourished or pregnant, and for lactating mothers and puppies up to 1 year of age. With the fluctuations indicative of protein needs in various animals in different life stages, dietary protein can range from 17- to 60 percent total protein in commercial or homemade food or treats.

Once dogs reach their senior years, typically around age 7 or 8, they tend to become slower and less active, lean body mass decreases, body fat increases, and the metabolism slows down. University studies have shown that foods with 15- to 23 percent protein ratios are sufficient to maintain protein stores and healthy immune systems in older dogs. The only variance on that would occur in animals with impaired kidneys who will need much less protein in order to keep some level of renal function.

Whey vs. dried milk protein? Which one truly better?

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Proteins can be found in meats, fruits, vegetables, and grains, but many dietary supplements source their protein through dairy foods, primarily in the form of whey and dried milk proteins. There are noticeable differences between the two types of dairy proteins that can affect how your dog responds to a particular supplement. Whey proteins…

…are typically water-soluble molecules isolated from whey, the liquid material created as a by-product of cheese production. According to a Cornell University paper on milk proteins, “Of the true protein in milk about 82% is casein (dried milk protein) and 18% is soluble proteins (whey).”

Veterinary nutritionists note that the casein found in dried milk products is often considered allergenic in canines.

… is a mixture of the following: beta-lactoglobulin, alpha-lactalbumin, bovine serum albumin, and immunoglobins. This means that whey is high in the immune factors that fight disease and infection.

…are helpful in the prevention of cancers, heart disease, chronic lung conditions, diabetes, digestive issues and the effects of dehydration. The Mayo Clinic states that whey proteins improve muscle strength, increase exercise performance, and lessen recovery times at a much higher rate than dried milk proteins when supplemented on a daily basis.

… don’t require as much digestion as dried milk protein. Whey is commonly used in medical protein supplements and infant formulas because of it's improved digestibility and reduced allergen potential.

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A 2007 study in the journal of Vibrational Spectroscopy shows that dried milk proteins, when stored for extended periods of time as they often are in dietary supplements, lose their solubility at a much faster rate than do whey proteins, making the dried milk proteins more difficult to digest.

…lowers the risk of a metabolic disease and increases overall metabolism, according to a study published in the 2011 edition of the Journal of Nutrition.

Scientists placed mice on a high-fat diet for eleven weeks and gave one group 100 grams of whey protein per liter of drinking water (equivalent to approximately 12 grams for an average 165 pound human). With no other intervention, the whey-protein mice improved both their glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity.

They also maintained lower weight and greater percentage of lean body mass, compared to control mice consuming the same daily calories but without the added whey. This means that canines needing a leaner body mass can consume a higher ratio of protein without gaining weight or fat.

 

…contain chains of amino acids that can support lean muscle mass in older animals. A 2002 study in the Journal of Nutrition shows that the proteins, peptides, and minerals in whey boost satiety (meaning the animal is less hungry, thus taking in fewer calories), lowers blood sugar levels, and optimizes lean body mass in middle-aged and senior individuals.

One human trial compared diets high in the amino acid leucine -- abundant in whey, but not in dried milk proteins – to calorie-equivalent diets high in carbohydrate. After 16 weeks, the leucine group lost 6.8 pounds more in total body weight, 7 pounds more in body fat—but lost 1.5 pounds less in lean body mass.

Since Muscle Bully Protein consists of 80% pure whey protein, doesn’t it make sense to feed your bully dog a supplement that will keep him lean, strong, active and healthy well into senior years?

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