Each of us has a responsibility to provide our dogs with a healthy and balanced diet and this includes the responsible feeding of treats. As with humans, your pet’s diet determines their overall health and well-being. For example, a diet that lacks nutritional value can lead to serious health issues while foods that are rich in protein, vitamins and amino acids can: boost immune cell health, slow aging and benefit bone and muscular health.
Being a team of dog lovers, we understand the importance of responsible feeding and have created ‘Sausage Slices’ with health in mind. After all, a healthier pet means fewer unexpected vet bills and a longer life expectancy!
Without protein, your dog’s body would be unable to function properly. This is because the nutrient performs key bodily functions, including: the production of enzymes, hormones, and antibodies, building muscles, and maintaining a strong immune system. A protein molecule is made up of twenty-two building blocks called amino acids – which your dog needs to be healthy. While their body is capable of producing twelve amino acids, the remaining ten need to come from food. Amino acids are essential for building build hair, skin, nails, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. If a dog is not eating sufficient protein, their coat may be, brittle, dry or even patchy. You may find also find that they lose weight easily or that wounds take longer to heal.
While dogs are technically considered to be omnivores (animals that eat both plants and meats) they should be treated primarily as carnivores. This is because the ancestors of domestic dogs hunted and ate other animas as a means of survival. The body structure of domestic dogs is similar to that of their ancestors and is therefore built for consuming meat. Furthermore, animal-source proteins (such as chicken) contain all of the essential amino acid’s dogs need, whereas a single plant-based protein might not.
“Biological value is a term used to describe how easy it is for dogs to digest the protein from a particular food and absorb it into their system.” Foods with a high biological value are the best source of protein as they are easy to digest. When your dog can fully digest their food, they gain as much protein as possible. Foods that contain a high amount of protein, but have low amounts of biological value, are not easy to digest, and therefore are not an ideal source of protein.
Studying the packaging will inform you, only of the minimum protein percentage available in the end product. Simply because a food source boasts a higher protein content, is not to say it’s superior. This is because not all sources of protein enjoy the same biological value. To better understand that quality of protein in your dog’s food, study the source listed under ‘ingredients’. Any natural food source that is derived from fresh meat will be highly nutritious so when comparing dog food products, prioritise the quality of protein over the quantity. Choose foods with highly digestible, usable protein such as chicken, beef, lamb, turkey, fish, and eggs.
As your dog becomes older it is vital that you take the correct measures to help them maintain muscle mass. A dog’s metabolism will slow with age, meaning that they burn fewer calories and needs less food to function. This coupled with the sedentary lifestyle of older dogs can quickly lead to weight gain, which can: reduce your life expectancy, increase joint pain, and compromise overall health.
It is therefore important as your dog becomes older, that you limit your dog’s energy intake by using low-calorie food or reducing their daily meals. If you’re unsure how to adjust your dog’s diet, ask your vet for advice (it is important that you don’t underfeed your dog either). Responsible owners should still provide their dog sufficient protein, particularly as their body becomes less effective at synthesising it. Remember, insufficient protein intake can cause muscle loss, which may reduce mobility and make joints unstable. Meats such as chicken have the highest biological value, thus our Sausage Slices exemplify a suitable treat for older dogs (as well as puppies).
All in all, the older our dogs become, the more they rely on a low-calorie diet rich in high quality protein to help them maintain their ideal body condition. Cheaper protein sources, such as potato and soya, while easier on your wallet may be more difficult for your dog to digest. Natural dog treats, on the other hand, can be fantastic way to supplement a balanced diet (so long as they are used in moderation).
In addition to age, you should also consider the activity level of your dog. Working dogs, for example, require more protein than a dog who doesn’t get much exercise. Pregnant dogs, as well as those that are sick or injured will also have higher than average protein intake requirements.
Generally speaking, however, you should aim to provide around “1 gram of protein per pound of ‘ideal body weight’ every day” … This means, “a 30lb dog needs 30 grams of protein each day.” If your dog weighs 40lbs but their target weight is 30lbs, their daily recommended protein intake is 30 grams.
Perky Tail’s Sausage Slices contain over 20 grams of high-quality natural protein per 100 grams. This is not to say a 20lb dog should consume 100 grams of Sausage Slices every day (as much as they would probably like to)! However, substituting inferior quality, artificial treats with fresh meat and other natural foods, is a manageable first step in helping your dog meet their daily protein intake.
Suddenly adjusting your dog’s diet is likely to upset their stomach and could even lead to sickness and diarrhoea. When switching to a high protein diet, slowly incorporate new food over a 5 – 7-day period to give their system time to adjust. Consider substituting highly processed treats with, with foods that are high in protein, such as cooked chicken, beef, or liver.
If you do not have time to prepare freshly cooked treats, Sausage Slices, have a high-protein count and are 100% natural, great for on the go. Keep in mind that treats should only make up 10% or less of your dog’s daily caloric intake.
As with everything in life, moderation is key. It’s important to know that an excess of protein in your furry friend’s diet can do more harm than good. When there is an excess of protein, organs must work harder, and if pushed too much, it can lead to kidney issues. Make sure you monitor your dog’s food intake and consult a vet if you are concerned.
A healthy diet mixed with the right amount of fresh protein sources, such as chicken vegetables can help maintain cognition and reduce the risk of age-related diseases. This is because the antioxidants found in chicken and veg boost the immune-cell function and slow down the ageing of cellular molecules. Although there are many benefits to a high protein diet, we should also aim to make that diet as balanced as possible. Listed below are some dog-safe fruits and vegetables, to add a some variety to their meals:
Feeding your dog one or more of these vitamin-packed fruits and vegetables each day can keep their coat and skin healthy and protect their muscles, nerves, and kidneys. Remember that with a high-protein diet, comes a high amount of energy. We should be keeping our dogs active, so try to balance their food consumption alongside regular exercise to avoid putting them at risk of obesity.
Summary of the benefits associated with a healthy, balanced diet:
● A glossier coat
● More nourished skin
● Good energy levels
● Support for the immune system
● A healthy digestive system
● Natural weight control