So Franklin is close to finishing his current bag of food and I'm going to be buying a new bag. I am not going to mention the food he is getting, as I don't want this to become a discussion about what brand/type/etc to feed, but my question much protein is enough and how much is too much in a adult dog food? I had thought that around 30% give or take was the perfect amount, but I'm beginning to read a lot about dogs not needing very much protein and that the ideal percentage is more around 20-25%. The brand of food I feed Franklin has varieties of either 32% or 25%. I had previously been feeding the 32% variety because I thought that was in a better range for him, but now I'm wondering if I should actually be feeding the 25%. One of the things that got me started thinking about this topic is that I started supplementing Franklin's food with The Honest Kitchen. Many of their foods are around 25% (with some being as low as around 20%), I was thinking that was low and actually e-mailed the company out of curiosity as to why they formulate so many of their diets with the lower percentage of protein. I got a great response from a vet explaining that they had done a ton of research on the topic and found that the lower protein percentage was closer to ideal. What are your thoughts? Also, if anybody has any scientific research to base their answers on that would be great too. I'm just wanting to do what's best for my pup and I feel we have this new trend/fad going on with dog food with the whole grain-free, organic, high protein and as with many fads (think South Beach Diet, Atkins, and now the current HCG diet craze in humans) this current diet trend may not be in the pet's best interest. On his current food, Franklin is of great weight, has a beautiful shiny low shed coat, perfect pearly white teeth, and firm lean muscle, so I'm not wanting to change much with his food, just wondering about the actual protein content. 

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What confounds the issue is that not all vets agree on diets or protein levels.  Some recommend Pedigree, some advocate Raw, some recommend canned, some the higher quality kibble.   Not every dog does well on every diet.  Just like people.  My vet clinic sells Taste of the Wild alongside Science Diet.

Iams/Eukanuba does do a lot of animal nutrition research but did some very invasive/cruel research in the name of studying nutrition.  Most of the awful stuff they stopped under pressure from animal welfare groups but I would never feed anything made by Proctor and Gamble just like I will not use make-up that does animal testing.  We study human nutrition quite well without doing invasive studies.  

I appreciate your feedback.  My understanding is most of that was debunked;  there were multiple labs in the same building and the under-cover person was filming at another lab.  Iam's tries to do most of its research in the field; the studies I linked to were done at field-trial kennels.  However, lack of compliance is a big problem and getting pet owners to not feed dogs other stuff is nearly impossible.  So there are still some lab studies.  

I don't want to get involved in a lengthy debate.  However, having been involved in horse sports, I have a very strong dislike for PETA and their methods.  PETA does not believe people should even own pets.  They published a book on how to make your cat a vegan (which IS cruel; cats are obligate carnivores).   If it were up to PETA, many of our domestic animals would be extinct.  So I take anything PETA comes out with with an enormous grain of salt.


On my search through the news archives I found a news article from the Columbia Daily Tribune that stated that:

Iams, a unit of Procter & Gamble, said in a news release that Sinclair did not meet its strict guidelines for animal treatment and that it had removed 19 dogs used in nutritional testing.

So Iams had 19 dogs at the 130 000 square foot facility .  Once Iams realized that the facility was not treating animals in a manner that was up to their standards they pulled those dogs.  Iams was never charged with anything."

"The AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) recently became aware that on May 27, 2001, a British tabloid published an article that placed nutritional research conducted by Iams in an unfavorable light. We have reviewed the article, Iams’ response to that article, and several scientific reports describing the research against which allegations were made and have concluded that the portrayal in the tabloid reflects claims that are sensationalist. Much of what the tabloid relates is misleading and irresponsible when some of the same preventive protocols and diagnostic tests conducted have been used to save and improve the lives of millions of animals"

"Since partnering with The Iams Company to launch Canada’s first national Be Kind to Animals Week, the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies has received a number of questions from our supporters across the country regarding the pet food manufacturer’s animal research practices...  Their research is limited to procedures equivalent to nutritional or medical studies acceptable on people. These strict research guidelines are applied not only to their own facilities, but also all of their external facilities."

"In a perfect world, animals would be free to live their lives to the fullest: raising their young, enjoying their native environments, and following their natural instincts. However, domesticated dogs and cats cannot survive "free" in our concrete jungles, so we must take as good care of them as possible. People with the time, money, love, and patience to make a lifetime commitment to an animal can make an enormous difference by adopting from shelters or rescuing animals from a perilous life on the street. But it is also important to stop manufacturing "pets," thereby perpetuating a class of animals forced to rely on humans to survive."
-- PETA pamphlet, Companion Animals: Pets or Prisoners?

So yeah, PETA has an ulterior motive, without a question and without a doubt, and I tend to disregard most of what they say because I simply don't rust them.  

"The cat, like the dog, must disappear... We should cut the domestic cat free from our dominance by  neutering, neutering, and more neutering, until our pathetic version of the cat ceases to exist." 
-John Bryant, Fettered Kingdoms: An Examination of a Changing Ethic, PETA 1982, p.15.

"In a perfect world, all other-than-human animals would be free of human interference, and dogs and cats would be part of the ecological scheme, as they were before humans domesticated them and as they remain in some parts of the undeveloped world."
-- From The PETA Statement on Companion Animals

And this is from PETA's website, where you can also find info on making your cat a vegetarian and on the cruelty of crating.

We at PETA very much love the animal companions who share our homes, but we believe that it would have been in the animals' best interests if the institution of "pet keeping"—i.e., breeding animals to be kept and regarded as "pets"—never existed. The international pastime of domesticating animals has created an overpopulation crisis; as a result, millions of unwanted animals are destroyed every year as "surplus."

This selfish desire to possess animals and receive love from them causes immeasurable suffering, which results from manipulating their breeding, selling or giving them away casually, and depriving them of the opportunity to engage in their natural behavior. They are restricted to human homes, where they must obey commands and can only eat, drink, and even urinate when humans allow them to.

They got in trouble with PETA and the papers for the practices going on at the labs that violated proper treatment for lab animals.  But what was in full compliance with the law and the AVMA was the "properly done" research that was published in the journals.  I.E 10 dogs livers were surgically compromised so they could study liver failure, putting cats into hepatic lipidosis to study that disease, etc. And then of course destroying the animals after.   While I dislike Science Diet as a food and a company, their research is much more humane.  In some cases animal testing is necessary but not for pet food or make-up.

Neither PETA or HSUS are my favorite organizations (I own and ride horses too) and they go way too far in many cases.  

This is really getting off-topic.  I believe those are the studies referred to by AVMA and the Canadian Humane Societies.   Those were medical studies, not true feeding studies.  I understand how you feel.  I guess my uncomfortable question to you would be:

1) If your dog had kidney failure, would you refuse any treatment discovered as a result of induced kidney failure in dogs?  I know that many major veterinary universities at least occasionally induce injuries/illnesses in lab setting to carefully track treatment under controlled settings, in addition to the research they do on volunteers with animals who already have the condition.   This, for instance, is a study where colic was induced in horses:

I've seen many others as well.   It is morally difficult, to say the least, but again most of the studies you are referring to were medical studies, not feeding studies.


2) There is a population of mice genetically engineered to carry a form of arthritis that I have.  There are lots of lab animals induced with lots of diseases, and I'll bet every single one of us routinely uses medications for which lab animals were intentionally sickened and later died.  I understand your discomfort, but again just stressing that the studies you refer to had to do with treating animal illnesses/ health problems, not with routine feeding.   And Iam's was one of several sponsors; they were not commissioned by Iam's.

I have to follow-up with your statement Beth, just to also say that many of the veterinary universities induce injury/illness on animals for research, but 9 times out of 10 it is for HUMAN medical research. They study animals to try to link them to human diseases, the results of the studies are then also applied to veterinary medicine. I live about 10 minutes from UC Davis and have toured their research facilities. What you see there with the monkeys, dogs, cats, rats, and livestock that they study is horribly sad, but I also must say, they do it to advance medical research. They developed heart valve transplants from doing the research on pigs. They developed many of the more advanced surgical procedures by researching livestock, dogs, cats, and even primates. They have been doing neurology studies there and studying the spinal cord by destroying the spinal cords of monkeys and then killing the monkeys to see what effect these injuries and treatments had on them. While I hate to see it done, I know plenty of people who have had brain tumors removed, neck and back surgery performed, and have completed cancer treatment.  Not one of these people would still be alive today if t weren't for animal research. And without nutritional studies, how would these commercial diets even be developed? I certainly wouldn't want to buy food that "may or may not" meet my pets nutritional needs because it has never had any long term testing. 

No I would not make one animal suffer just because one had in the past.  That is a very different issue from pet food where there are hundreds of excellent foods available that were not trialed using less than ethical practices.  

My general feelings on animal research...

It must be necessary for quality of life of animals/people.  Not for make-up, selling pet food, etc. And they should do the study in the least harmful way possible. Science Diet does manage to design the same types of prescription diets while not doing invasive studies.  Feeding trials can be used to study diets and "prove" them.  Or it can be done through owner surveys/case studies. Diseases can be studied using animals that have already contracted the disease during their normal lifespan. There have been studies done on joint damage in horses where they surgically damaged the joints and there have been much better studies where they looked at treatment options by using horses that had been injured during their riding careers.  But it takes more work, community outreach, etc to find owners/animals to participate than just ordering up a batch of Beagles and performing some surgery.  There are times where it is necessary (such as in the case of your arthritis),  there are so many regulations for both human and animal research subjects now as there were so many excesses and cruelties being done in the name of research.  

I will not reply on this topic again to help keep from going off topic any more.  But I would be more than happy to continue the discussion through private message.  

I would have to ask you that if he doing well on the food you are feeding him.....why change?  Is he too hyper with this food?  Is he having enough exercise to off set the protein?  I always thought...if it aint broke, dont fix it.....

I am sticking with the same brand of food, they just make 2 different protein levels and I have switched back and forth between the 2 protein levels in the past. Just trying to decide which formula to buy this time.

Thanks for the discussion Melissa...I think we feed the same food and I am going to switch back to a lower protein also. I have to watch it though cuz my one can't have chicken but the salmon will be good:)

I have always used higher rates during more active parts of the year and cutting back during winter( down times) .


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