The FDA specifies that food ingredients are stated in weight order. The ingredients are listed in order of highest quantity first, then the remaining ingredients are listed in descending order. This means it is reasonable to doubt a claim about the amount of protein in a dog meal if the first ingredient is a carbohydrate. So, can dogs have cheese slices?
Protein should always be the first item in your dog’s food list of essential ingredients. Dogs are omnivores, thus both plants and animals provide them with energy and nutrients. However, protein is necessary for the growth of their muscles and connective tissues, a robust immune system, energy, and strong skin and nails.
Depending on your dog’s age, breed, weight, and whether she is a puppy or pregnant, the amount of protein in her meal can change.
Complete proteins include all of the essential amino acids canines require to survive. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AFFCO) states that “complete and balanced” dog food maintains a minimum level of crude protein.
Protein Types and Amounts
On a dry matter basis, the minimum amount of crude protein needed for diets for growth and reproduction is 22% and the minimal amount for diets for adult maintenance is 18%. To achieve the requirements of a “complete and balanced” diet, your dog must consume a certain amount of protein during a given life stage.
Proteins are not all made equal. Whole proteins like poultry, cattle, or chicken should be included first in high-protein dog foods.
The following proteins are also listed:
1. Whole meats, which are unmixed proteins
2. Meals, which frequently list rendered whole meats next to the proteins name
3. Meat dinners that list rendered whole meats but don’t specify a particular protein
4. By-product meals, which contain organs and other meats besides poultry