The 10 Essential Amino Acids for Dogs + Your Dog’s Protein Needs

August 29, 2023
5 min read
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The 10 Essential Amino Acids for Dogs + Your Dog’s Protein Needs

Every cell in your dog’s body contains protein. And that protein is important as it delivers essential amino acids needed for growth and repair.

But how much protein does it take to do that? The average adult dog needs at least 18% protein (equal to one gram per pound of body weight) on a dry matter basis in their food to maintain health.

Dogs are omnivores, which means they have less protein requirements than carnivores. Instead they need a balance of proteins, fruits, vegetables, grains, and healthy fats in their diet to maintain optimal health.

What are amino acids?

Protein is made up of chains of amino acids, which are commonly referred to as the building blocks of life! Some amino acids are considered essential, some are conditional and some are unessential. The essential ones are not naturally produced by the body and must come from the diet.

Dogs require 22 amino acids and of those 10 are essential (cats need 11 essential amino acids, humans require nine).

How to get the essentials

Animal proteins (meat, poultry, eggs, dairy and fish) are complete sources of protein containing all of the essential amino acids. But single source foods from the plant world such as tofu (soy), quinoa or buckwheat can also deliver those essentials. Combining two sources of specific plant proteins also makes protein complete: rice and beans or a peanut butter sandwich (peanuts + grains).

Our favorite source of complete protein

And then there is nutritional yeast, a complete, bioavailable protein commonly referred to as nooch by those who love it. Nutritional yeast comes from a species of yeast known as Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Unlike activated yeast, which is used to leaven bread, nutritional yeast becomes a deactivated yeast during the heating and drying process.

Nooch, which is a cultivated ingredient, also naturally contains beneficial B vitamins  B1 plays a critical role in maintaining a healthy metabolism, B2 supports immunity, and B9 helps with brain development. And since B vitamins cannot be stored in a dog’s body for future use, they must be eaten daily as part of a healthy and balanced diet.

In addition to the nutritional benefits, the real appeal of nooch is its cheesy, umami flavor that dogs love.  All of which adds up to why we chose nutritional yeast as the foundational ingredient in our Noochies line of products!

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