Too Much Protein in Puppy Food?

by Rita
(Ontario, Canada)

I have a 6mth old Shih Tzu who has been on Blue Buffalo Puppy food Life Protection holistic since she was 9 weeks old. Breeders keep telling me 29% protein is too much for a Shih Tzu? She seems to be doing well on it. Stools etc good.

Karen Says:

my shihtzu is 3 yrs old & has been raised on blue buffalo since he was old enough to eat kibble. in fact the breeder I bought him from is all she feeds her dogs. so i guess everyone has a different opinion. if he is doing well I would leave him on it

Our Answer:

First Rita, congratulations on choosing a high-quality food for your Shih Tzu from the start. You have probably avoided a lot of food allergies and digestive problems for your dog by avoiding cheap brands full of byproducts and unpronounceable ingredients. I have never heard about the protein concern myself so I conducted some thorough research, including speaking with my vet, and don’t find any information that confirms your breeder’s opinion.

I don’t want to say that the breeder is “wrong” because they may have information I don’t, but most sources suggest that a diet high in protein is exactly what your dog needs. According to Vetinfo the ideal diet for any dog is the Biologically Appropriate Raw Food or BARF diet which includes up to 80 percent protein in the forms of raw meat and bones. Alternately, supplementing a diet of dry food with meats, fruits and vegetables is recommended.

One reason Shih Tzus and other small dogs benefit from a diet high in protein is because they typically only eat a small amount at a time. It’s important to make sure those few bites count. Dogs are carnivores meant to eat meat and fat. Even our sweet little Shih Tzus have teeth for tearing meat and short intestinal tracts that process fat and protein efficiently. In fact, the American Shih Tzu Club has published an article titled “The Dog Food Dilemma” which states that dogs can thrive on a diet made up of 65 percent fat!

There is an idea that overfeeding protein can be a strain on the kidneys because the kidneys must process and then eliminate the unusable nitrogen through the urine. While this is a concern for human health, there’s no hard evidence to say how much protein is “too much” for a carnivore. The concern for dogs is more about whether or not the protein source is providing the correct combination of amino acids which is different for dogs than it is for people.

The bottom line is that you’ve chosen a good quality product from a reputable company and your puppy is thriving on it. If you have any concerns about your Shih Tzu’s diet consult with your vet. Most breeders are knowledgeable and have a great deal of valuable experience to draw on but your veterinarian is the ultimate resource when it comes to your puppy’s health.

We wish you and your furbaby many happy years together Rita. It sounds like you’re giving him a great start on a long, healthy life.

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