Protein and Dog Food

Looking into the issues around getting quality protein and dog food combined.

The term ‘Human Grade’ ingredients of which Robbie’s and Luath products are made is taking on a literal meaning with consequences. Simply because we use the human edible part of the chicken we are facing a world demand from companies who are producing foods for human consumption.

In effect, where before the chicken we used for our pet foods was only used for that, the Asian human food companies are not only eyeing up raw material in America – they are buying them for inclusion in human consumption goods for their own markets.

A representation of the 3D structure of the protein myoglobin showing turquoise alpha helices. This protein was the first to have its structure solved by X-ray crystallography. Towards the right-center among the coils, a prosthetic group called a heme group (shown in gray) with a bound oxygen molecule (red).

At Land of Holistic Pets, we see this as an ongoing and increasingly problematic area in terms of maintaining the quality of our products and keeping costs to a minimum.

Also, this development is putting severe pressure on other protein sources driving up demand and thus price. Coupled with this is a shortage of chicken fat and the domino effects spill over to turkey and other poultry fats.

Combined with the above has been the severe storms and tornado’s almost wiping out the poultry industry in Arizona. Most of the producers there do not own the livestock – they simply rear it on behalf of bigger players. In effect, they are sub-contractors rearing the chicks to a suitable age.

The effect of the storms destroyed the rearing houses and left them with many young birds with nowhere to live. They will probably find that their short life is curtailed even further simple because of the lack of habitat

The other interesting facet of quality protein, and this showed up during the big pet food recalls, is that in order to limit prices increases, pet food manufacturers were turning to cheap protein sources and supplementing the diets with synthetic essential amino acids. In Europe, they have become quite skilled at making a low quality ingredient look impressive.

In many diets you see the term ‘vegetable protein isolate’ which is a fancy name for vegetable protein rather than the real deal . The giveaway is always further down the list in the form of L-lysine or DL-methionine or even taurine – amino acids – the later which dogs normally make themselves but need other amino acids which normally are in the protein.

We are keeping a close eye on developments but envisage that over time, quality protein will become more and more expensive.

See also our Dog Protein page in our Pet Health Information section.