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Too much Protein?

Discuss ways to improve the quality of your dog's life and longevity through proper nutrition; a place for all of your questions and answers about feeding your pooch!

Please keep discussions fun, friendly, and helpful at all times. Non-informative posts criticizing a particular brand or another poster’s choice of food are not allowed in this Forum. References to any brand of food as "junk," "garbage," or other harsh names will be removed.

  
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Rickards

I'll always love- you...
 
 
Barked: Fri Nov 27, '09 2:28pm PST 
This is long post so please bare with me smile

I'm very curious about % protein lately in dog food, because of a conversation I had with a dog behaviorist/ Groomer.

We got into a conversation about Grain-Free foods after I brought up that I fed my dogs Orijen. And I told her I've been trying to figure out for a while now what been going on with Rickards tear stains and itchies. Which is why I was originally there; to see if her Grooming/ Training store carried the shampoo I wanted.

So she told me why she doesn't like high protein and grain free foods. She said that there is a study by Dr.Dodman that proves that too much protein can cause aggression in dogs or make aggression worse (she said some dogs can handle high protein, some dogs can't).

She also told me that dogs can't even absorb anything higher than 35% protein, so why are their foods with 40% protein, like Orijen?


She also told me about a few cases she dealt with (one being her own dog) that the aggression in the dogs on high protein diets was significantly reduced when they were put on a lower protein diet. She said that when her dog went on Grain free food, because she ran out of his reg food he was aggitated, hyper and nippy. When she switched back to his reg food, that had lower protein he went back to his normal self. There was something else too about a guardian dog that would kill the spring lambs and he asked for help, the behavorist husband told him to put hi dog on a lower protein diet, and a year later she said the man called and thanked them and hasn't had any issues since with his dog killing the lambs.

She also told me that it was possibly the high protein causing the Red tear stains in Rickards, because his body couldn't absorb it or something like that. And maybe thats why Skyline is so tense. Skyline has been on Orijen since I got her, and shes been socialized like crazy, but shes always been kinda tense.

She suggested to me to switch them to a lower protein diet, somewhere between 20-25%. And to give it 3 weeks and I would see a huge difference in both dogs.

So I switched my dogs to Happy Paws, it has only has 22% Protein (it says 24% protein online, on the actual bag its 22% protein), so 18% less protein than Orijen.

Its been a week on this lower protein food and so far I have noticed that, both dogs eyes are no longer watery and goopy, I've only seen Rickards itch his foot once so far (before it was almost constant).

Is it possible that she is right about the protein. thinking

I am now even more confused than ever. I thought I was doing a good thing by putting my dogs on grain free. But after having seen the changes I have in a week, I'm not so sure anymore.

Has anyone ever heard of the things the behavorist mentioned? Anyone heard of Dr.Dodmans research on this?

Well I can't deny the new food is working good for my dogs, but how can I be sure its the protein. thinking

Anyway, thanks for listening to my rambling I hope someone can answer my questions smile
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Uno

I'm huntin'- wabbits
 
 
Barked: Fri Nov 27, '09 2:48pm PST 
I never heard of him, but then again, its not like I'm up to date on all the data that comes out every day regarding nutrition.
The logic behind it doesent add up, how on earth would high protein kibble cause agression?
The dog would already have to have underlying agressive tendecies, because the food alone does not cause behavioral problems.
High protein diets causing health problems is a myth, unless the dog already has kidney problems, high protein will no cause kidney damage. If youre feeding kibble, the absolute minimum should be 25%, thats enough to sustain the dog without causing muscle wasting and weight gain due to high carb content.
I always tell people to aim for about 34-35% for an average activity dog. Kibble thats around 40% works best for dogs with high metabolism, agility/hunting/working animals.

I'd like to see actual research to prove this woman's claims, otherwise, well, theyre just claims, nothing more.
I'm friends with someone who owns a pet boutique and I've already talked to several customers who say their dogs tear stains cleared up on grain free diet, because the red yeast that causes stains feeds on sugar in grains.

The story about her own dog sounds fishy, its possible for the dog to become agitated, but its probably because she gave the dog new food cold turkey, which should never be done.

Try Acana provincial Pacifica, its 35% protein.

Edited by author Fri Nov 27, '09 2:55pm PST

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Sedona

The Wise Cracker
 
 
Barked: Fri Nov 27, '09 3:23pm PST 
1. There is a theory out there that high protein foods do result in an increase of aggression. If you Google aggression tryptophan protein you'll come up with a number of pages talking about it. On the other side of the coin you have studies, like a Eukanuba study, that showed dogs eating a meatier diet were better behaved (might be able to find this on the Eukanuba Science website) than those who weren't.

2. I guess she doesn't understand that protein percentages do not tell us a darn thing about the food. Let's see here:

Earthborn Holistic Primitive Natural is 38% protein and has 73 grams of protein for every 1000 calories of food.

Premium Edge Adult Chicken and Rice is 26% protein and has 73 grams of protein for every 1000 calories.

Yep. Same amount of protein; different percentages. So which one can the dog absorb more protein from?

3. The dog probably doesn't have the gumption to chase lambs anymore. Is that really a good thing? If you're wanting anecdotal evidence - Sedona killed stuff when she ate Alpo and Iams. Sedona killed stuff when she ate Orijen. Sedona kills stuff now that she eats raw. Nothing has changed. Prey drive is just as high as it was back in the day.

4. I've never dealt with tear staining, but my pooch has had her fair share of eye crustiness. She got boogs on Iams (low in animal protein - low/moderate total protein). At first they went away on Orijen (high in animal protein) then they came back. Now that she's on pmr (high in animal protein; about equal in grams of protein per day when feeding Orijen) they're gone again. My guess is that it had more to do with the other ingredients and the processing than straight up protein is bad.

5. Orijen worked great for us for awhile. When the eye boogs came back she started scratching her face like crazy. Breaking the skin! Gone on pmr. Was the protein, or the processing, or the other seemingly billions of botanicals and "others" in the food? Probably more to do with the others as Champion's processing didn't change.

I think your better luck on Happy Paws has more to do with finding a food that agrees with them better, for whatever reason, than protein = bad for most dogs.
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Rickards

I'll always love- you...
 
 
Barked: Fri Nov 27, '09 3:55pm PST 
Okay I'll try to answer everything smile

High protein diets causing health problems is a myth, unless the dog already has kidney problems, high protein will no cause kidney damage.

Ya she told me that high protein would hurt their kidneys.

If youre feeding kibble, the absolute minimum should be 25%, thats enough to sustain the dog without causing muscle wasting and weight gain due to high carb content.

Ya thats definitely different than what she said to me.

I'd like to see actual research to prove this woman's claims, otherwise, well, theyre just claims, nothing more.

She said she had papers on it from a seminar or something. And that the name of the guy that proved this was Dr.Dodman. But I have only been able to find very little on this person.

I'm friends with someone who owns a pet boutique and I've already talked to several customers who say their dogs tear stains cleared up on grain free diet, because the red yeast that causes stains feeds on sugar in grains.

Rickards old owner had him on IAMS puppy, he never had tear stains or itchies when I got him. I put him on Orijen and hes had tear stain issues ever since. He went on Orijen 6 Fish and tried Regional Red. His tear stains got worse on Regional Red, went back to 6 Fish, they never went away but never got worse.

The story about her own dog sounds fishy, its possible for the dog to become agitated, but its probably because she gave the dog new food cold turkey, which should never be done.

I honestly can't tell you if it was the truth, she looked like she believed what she was saying.

Try Acana provincial Pacifica, its 35% protein.

I'll look into it smile


1. How can you tell which study is right? I mean I've heard SD or whatever puts out alot of stuff saying Raw is bad, and I think most know thats not true. I'm not saying I don't agree with the one saying high protein is good, I just honestly don't know.

2. I'll be honest, I'm confused about this one.

3. Ah, I see what your saying. Why would this behavorist believe it works so well then, and appearntly have proof it does by other dogs shes helped? I'm not saying shes right by any means. I wouldn't have come here asking questions if I knew the truth of anything.

4. Ya I wish I could figure out what in the food caused Rickards tear stains and itchies.

I think your better luck on Happy Paws has more to do with finding a food that agrees with them better, for whatever reason, than protein = bad for most dogs.

Thanks for your thoughts Sedona and Uno, I hope my post didn't come across the wrong way. I know very little about dog food other than what shouldn't be in it ingredient wise. Thinking grain free was the best out there, then having someone adamantly tell you that everything you learned is wrong. It gets really confusing and all I'm trying to do is make the best decision for my dogs.

Do either of you have any links I could show this behaviorist? My husband is probably going to get frustrated knowing I'm most likely going to change their food again. If 22% protein is too low, then I don't want my dogs on it *sigh*
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Lilith

I'm a trilingual- dog!
 
 
Barked: Fri Nov 27, '09 4:21pm PST 
Just to jump in, there is no "safe upper limit" defined in protein intake. It's not like iron or other types of minerals that may build up to toxicity in your system.

Dried dog foods can have high protein but it is pretty on par with a high protein raw diet, too.

And I agree with Sedona.. it's probably a matter of the dog food working for you dog better rather than strictly having to do with high protein. When Lantis was on ~25% protein with a low-allergen but grain inclusive dog food, he lost so much weight after I got him back that you could see the bumps on his spine. He would eat as much as he could but could not keep weight on him. After that we switched him to Orijen and that worked really well for him, still does when he gets kibble from time to time. But he has horrible diarrhea on EVO which is basically the same protein % as Orijen.

The little dogs used to eat Orijen too but would get diarrhea and tear stains. So I switched them to Acana and they got better. Recently we've thrown EVO into their raw-ziwipeak-honest kitchen preference mix for when we're super busy, and now they're fine with EVO even though the protein is even higher than it was in Orijen. shrug
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Sedona

The Wise Cracker
 
 
Barked: Fri Nov 27, '09 4:25pm PST 
To add to your confusion; this study.

Nicholas H. Dodman, BVMS; Ilana Reisner, DVM; Louis Shuster, PhD; William Rand, Ph.D; U. Andrew Luescher, DVM; Ian Robinson, PhD; Katherine A Houpt, VMD, PhD.

The study concluded that a reduction in dietary protein is not generally useful in the treatment of behavior problems, with the possible exception of those with territorial aggression that is the result of fear. http://www.lgd.org/library/protein.htm

So here only territorial fearful dogs showed any difference in behavior.big grin

I don't think any studies are inherently wrong (unless the science is obviously bad), but no single study tells the whole truth either. For as many studies the behaviorist can cite that backs up her point of view, we can find just as many that say the opposite. The truth lies some where in the middle.

Decreased protein intake can lead to decreased muscle mass which causes a dog that fatigues quicker. A dog would get tired sooner; therefore bad behavior (jumping, running, barking, etc) would be decreased. That alone can account for the studies that indicate lower protein diets create a better behaved dog. But is it a good thing? We'd essentially be giving the dog poorer health to combat unruly behavior.
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Rickards

I'll always love- you...
 
 
Barked: Fri Nov 27, '09 4:43pm PST 
Thanks Lilith, I really wanted to know if there was sort of a toxic limit. The lady I spoke with really made it sound like there was. Well that clears that up.


Sedona your making my head hurt LOL big laugh

I see what your saying about studies and she most likely could refute anything I said or showed her. Im just going to leave it alone. I felt pretty embarrassed bringing this protein conversation up in the first place, but its been bugging me ever since I spoke with her. Im a -have to know- kind of person. And Im super protective over my dogs, I want the best diet for them.

Now to hunt for a new food, again! Now that I know that Happy Paws is to low in protein, I just cant stick with it. Its done good things right now, but it seems like in the long run it might not be good for them. Also, I did write Happy Paws, because their analysis on the ingredients seems so vague. Nothing about Omega 3 or 6s. I think Im going to try Acana, I hope I can get the same good results as I have on Happy Paws, but ya know, safer lol smile

Darn you happy paws and your low protein! laugh out loud
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Uno

I'm huntin'- wabbits
 
 
Barked: Fri Nov 27, '09 4:46pm PST 
Its also possible that your dog isnt tolerating all those herbs in the orijen, so maybe a simpler formula like wellness core would help. Try the fish one, in case its a chicken/beef allergy.
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Birdy

Princess- Birdykins
 
 
Barked: Fri Nov 27, '09 5:18pm PST 
Some dogs CANNOT eat high protein foods. My sweet girl is a Dalmatian, and they do not do well on higher protein foods and it is recommended they stay at or below 22%. They are stone formers.

Birdy eats Wellness Fish and is not wasting away and not fat either.
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Sedona

The Wise Cracker
 
 
Barked: Fri Nov 27, '09 6:04pm PST 
It's purines, not exactly protein, that causes problems for Dals. One could eat a specially formulated "high" protein diet just fine.
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