Just like human beings, dogs require protein foods for growth. For optimal health, about 25 percent of your dog’s diet should be made of proteins. Therefore, when you feed your dog a low protein formula without contacting your veterinarian, you are typically denying him the essential nutrients required for growth.
The difference between a normal dog food and a low protein dog food is that the latter contains less protein. Usually, vets recommend this kind of diet for dogs that suffer from certain health problems. Find out when and why your pet may need a low protein food, and the things to look out for when buying such a food.
When is Low Protein Recommended?
Your vet may prescribe low protein foods for your dog when he suffers from serious health conditions, especially those that affect the urinary tract. Some of them include:
a) Kidney failure (acute and chronic kidney failure)
b) Congenital kidney disease
c) Congestive heart failure
e) Tendency for urinary stones
Why is Low Protein Important?
When a healthy dog urinates, he excretes uremic toxins. These toxins can build up over a period of time when his kidney fails to function properly. And since digesting proteins also produce these toxins, vets recommend that you give him a low protein food to minimize the level of toxins produced. This helps to reduce the workload on your pet’s kidneys.
What Should You Look for in a Low Protein Dog Food?
A dog with any of the above health problems has many nutritional issues, which you need to handle carefully. Therefore, look for high-quality foods that are low in proteins. Here are other vital things you need to pay attention to when searching for your pet’s food:
a) Make sure that there are low phosphorus levels in the product you’re buying. This is because the pet’s body can retain phosphorus, and when this happens, it can lead to an imbalance between levels of potassium and calcium in his body.
b) Also, make sure that the low protein in the food is easily available. This is sometimes referred to as bio-availability, which refers to the amount of protein that the body can use easily. When the protein can be digested and absorbed easily, there will be less waste, and consequently, less toxin build up in the dog’s body.
c) Search for foods that are made of natural ingredients i.e. those that don’t have chemical preservatives. This is because you don’t want to put excess strain on your pet’s sick kidney or liver by giving him food with toxic chemicals.
d) You should also ensure that the formula has high amounts of calcium for stronger bones and teeth.
e) Finally, look for high levels of Vitamin D3 in the food.
Problems With Feeding Your Dog a Prescription Diet: How Do You Handle Them?
Since most of the flavor in dog foods come from proteins, a prescription food with minimal protein can be very tasteless. You should count yourself lucky if your dog is not able to tell the difference as most of them will realize the lack of taste, and probably stop eating.
When this happens, you may be tempted to give him treats or dog scraps. This is a big mistake that you should avoid at all costs because you’ll only be adding more protein to his diet. This can make his condition worse.
So, try your best to follow the vet’s advice strictly. Continue giving him the prescribed diet, and in no time, you will see improvement in his health.