Protein is an essential part of your pet’s diet. Protein provides essential amino acids which are
the building blocks of all tissues, organs, enzymes and hormones.
Balanced levels of high-quality protein help promote lean muscle, proper growth and balanced mineral levels.
At Hill's we choose every ingredient in our food to achieve a precise balance of nutrients for optimal health.
Not enough protein can hamper your pet’s growth and muscle development but too much protein has risks too. Excess and/or low quality proteins bring unwanted minerals like calcium and phosphorous, which can cause stress to the kidneys and lead to kidney stones.
It’s important to know that once your pet’s amino acid requirements are met any excess is not stored as protein for later use, but metabolized and excreted. So providing excess protein above what your pet needs has no benefit.
To determine how much protein is in the food you choose for your pet it’s important to look at the guaranteed analysis on the bag. This will show you what the protein % of the food in the bag is.
This is not the same as the % of meat ingredients that you will see on some pet food bags. The % meat ingredients may be much higher than the protein % as it is impacted by factors like quality of the ingredient and moisture content and is not a true reflection of the amount of protein your pet is getting from the food.
High quality protein provides the essential amino acids in amounts that closely match your pet’s needs and are highly digestible to allow these amino acids to be easily absorbed and retained. Because of this your pet needs less of a high quality protein to meet the essential amino acid needs.
Feeding a food with a high quality protein like Ideal Balance allows you to meet your pet’s needs without the risks associated with excess minerals. At the moment, there is no test available to determine the health of your pet’s kidney until a large level of damage is already done, so reducing this risk is vital.
It’s not easy to tell by looking at a list of ingredients what the quality of the protein is when you don’t know what to look out for. Chicken is called chicken whether it is high or low quality, and the amount present in the food doesn’t help as with a high quality protein you need a smaller amount to meet your pet’s amino acid needs.
So what should you look at?
The clue is in the minerals – often higher levels of minerals like phosphorous are linked to lower quality protein as this protein ingredient comes along with more bone. So look out for these on the label – we recommend a phosphorous level below 1% for an adult & senior pet to prevent stress to the kidney’s. Growing puppies and kittens have a higher requirement so look for phosphorous levels below 1.4% for small and medium breed puppies & 1.2% for large breed puppies. For growing kittens, look for phosphorous levels below 1.5%.
Sometimes a pet food may not list the minerals individually but group them together under the label ash. If you can’t see individual minerals look at the ash % level instead.
Our dogs live a very different life style to wolves and should be fed accordingly – just like a top performing athlete may eat differently than someone with a desk job.
Think about the life of a wolf, where the primary objectives are procreation and fighting for position in the pack; and life spans average between 6 – 8 years. Our dogs are often sterilized and we want them to live long and healthy lives. The nutrients needed for maximum reproductive performance are not the same as those needed for longevity. Energy, protein and specific minerals like phosphorus are all required in enhanced quantities for reproduction, whilst controlled intakes of these same nutrients have been clearly shown to enhance quality and length of life in dogs.
Wolves hunt and scavenge and live on what they can get, certainly not a scientifically balance diet. Ideal Balance provides wholesome ingredients perfectly balanced to support a long and healthy life. It’s important to know that once your pet’s amino acid requirements are met any excess is not stored as protein for later use, but metabolized and excreted. So providing excess protein above what your pet needs has no benefit.
Grains are often blamed unfairly for allergic reactions in pets. But did you know that less than 10% of pets with allergic conditions have adverse reactions to food? And 68% of reported adverse reactions to food are from beef, wheat and dairy. Frequently, other grains like corn and rice are mistakenly included in this group. While we certainly understand that some pets, like people, can have a sensitivity to some foods, simply eating a grain will not cause an allergic reaction.
It’s not grains in pet food that lead to obesity; any food can cause obesity if it is overfed. In fact, foods high in protein or fat are often higher in calories, which can increase the risk of obesity as portion sizes are often very small and difficult to stick too.
It is important to use the feeding guide provided with your pet’s food as a starting point of how much you should feed, and then monitor your pet’s condition and adjust this amount as needed. Obesity is linked to many health risks so if you are worried you pet is overweight, visit your vet for a weight assessment.
We believe as a caring pet parent you should choose to feed your dog/cat ingredients you are comfortable with, and recognize you may choose to avoid grains in your dog’s/cat’s food.
If you choose grain free, make sure you are still getting a complete and balanced food. Our Ideal Balance range provides perfectly balanced, grain free options with potatoes as a source of carbohydrates - high in fibre for gentle digestion, naturally gluten-free and full of energy.