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Old 11-08-2012, 05:30 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Vegetarian protein sources vs. meat in dog food

I have noticed that a lot of grain free kibble contains things like lentils, garbanzo beans, or peas right at the top of the ingredients list after the meat source. Is this a bad thing? Is it better for our dogs to get all or most of their protein from meats? Do you avoid dog foods that have a lot of peas, etc?

Seems they also add a lot of other starchy things too, like potatoes or sweet potatoes. I guess dogs need some level of carbs and these sub for the grains they have taken out.

Thoughts?
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Old 11-08-2012, 06:02 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The legumes up the protein percent when they send the food out for testing - that protein test assays for nitrogen and converts it to protein.

THe problem is legumes are an incomplete protein though some are better than others in terms of amino acid profile. I will leave the argument as to the benefit (or not) dogs get from cooked bean protein to others but clearly if the missing amino acids are not replaced the dog cannot get full benefit.

Dogs do not need carbohydrates. (they may during pregnancy and lactation)> Dog food manufacturers need some level of carbs to run the kibble through an extrusion machine so it will hold together.

Whether or not grain free really offers any benefits over low gluten carbs I will leave to others.

It gets very emotional.
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Old 11-08-2012, 06:17 PM   #3 (permalink)
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It's my opinion that peas, lentils, etc. are added to increase protein without the addition of real meat.
Soybeans are often seen for the same reason. Many dog foods are made up of straight soy and little to no meat.
I am a bit...jaded perhaps, when it comes to dog foods. I feel those "high quality" dog food makers are cheaping out their foods, as well, and adding a lot of plant proteins in place of real meat - for instance, often the 1st ingredient will be "chicken" or "beef", with peas after that.
And thing is, after cooking it up, the protein from chicken or beef goes down because those muscle meats are mainly water until after cooking.
I still like Kirkland, 1st two ingredients are "Chicken, Chicken meal", and thus, more real meat content than a "higher quality" food with "chicken, lentils, peas, chicken meal" with chicken meal being after all those plant proteins.

That's how I see it anyway
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Old 11-08-2012, 06:36 PM   #4 (permalink)
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One company even calls their peas "added vegetables" claiming they are not using them for protein content but the assays for protein do not differentiate!

Just tell us like it is......yah gotta have carbs to extrude......keep them to that minimum level.
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Old 11-09-2012, 01:46 AM   #5 (permalink)
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So... what should we be looking for? First 2 ingredients are meat/meat meal? First 3? Not too many fit the bill. Are potatoes as a second ingredient better than peas, or lentils?
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Old 11-09-2012, 08:18 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I think it comes down to researching a particular food and feeling comfortable with your choices.

Even if meats are first two ingredients how MUCH? All that listing means is there is more of each ingredient by weight than then the next ingredient on the list.

I rejected a food, in part, because the vendor would NOT tell me how many peas were in the foodand had multiple types which to me smelled of ingredient splitting and I felt even though they were lower on the list, that they could be the primary protein source. Yet many people like the food a lot.

Some companies will tell you percent of protein from meat. At least with potatoes and most grains the protein is mainly coming from meat sources. Some legumes like garbanzo beans have such a good amino acid profile you have to make your own decision on whether you want it. Some grains (especially if you see a gluten meal as well) are high enough in protein to make a contribution (they too are unbalanced in amino acids). It is terribly frustrating to me that I don't know of any dog food where beans/peas and grains are combined for a complete protein though some beans like garbanzos and some grains like quinoa and amaranth have a complete amino acid profile.


I really do try to be open minded becauss, honestly I too am just learning. What I do know.

Potatoes can be from culls, and be those with green skin contain solanine which is, basically a poison - but they may also use quality potatoes without the green. Some grains are thought to cause "leaky gut syndrome" others less so. Some grains can have fungal aflatoxins from getting damp and storage issues. Meats can be rancid. You know there are so many variables............
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Old 11-09-2012, 10:36 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Nancy, you have some very good points. I noticed that too about the ingredient lists. It might say "peas" near the beginning but then other things like pea fiber or pea starch later on, so maybe peas (in total) IS the first ingredient. I wish it was easier to figure out... I am learning a lot just reading about different foods. Thanks for your input.
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Old 11-09-2012, 12:06 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I find it misleading that some pet foods advertise themselves as "grain-free" and then have a load of peas, potatoes, garbanzo beans, lentils, etc. I am not convinced that legumes are good for dogs. A small amount surely won't hurt, but the main food source should be animal protein, and when "grain-free" foods list more vegetable matter than meat, it annoys me.
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Old 11-09-2012, 12:12 PM   #9 (permalink)
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ALL the foods that say "grain free" are loaded with other carbs or plant proteins like peas/beans.

cassadee, I like to see meat/meat meal as the 1st two ingredients. When dealing with the high end foods you often see that a plain meat (not a meat meal) is way up there and meat meals are down lower.

Everything I've heard and read says that the higher on the list means there's more of that ingredient in the food.
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Old 11-09-2012, 12:14 PM   #10 (permalink)
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This also raises another point. Gylcyemic index. Ok so the numbers we have on glycemic index are based on HUMAN digestion, not dogs so they may be very different in an animal with no salivary amylases, no chewing (hence the processing), and poor digestive enzymes for starch digestion--but diabetes IS a fact in dogs so a consideration.

The food I do feed has some millet but it must be the bare minimum to hold the kibble together because it dissovles in water very quickly. I actually do add digestive enzymes figuring that is a good idea even though I have no signs of trouble.
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