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Can Dogs Get Too Much Protein?


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Some people spend hours in the gym. And many of them also increase their protein intake to help them lose weight and build muscle. In some cases, it is possible for someone to overdose on protein. Overeating an excessive amount of protein for a prolonged period can harm your body. The risk of developing kidney damage increases since the kidneys will have to work harder to process the extra nitrogen that comes from consuming too much protein. Also, your friends might start putting some distance between the two of you when you are talking. Simply put, too much protein in your diet can cause halitosis, also known as bad breath.

Can Dogs Get Too Much Protein?

But you still should be careful.

After doing some research on the subject, we found that several articles mention the possibility for your dog to develop renal disease from consuming too much protein. Most of them are assumptions since it is something that can happen to humans. However, as of 2017, there are no studies to support this assumption.

Is My Dog Getting Too Much Protein?

In humans, excessive amounts of protein can lead to kidney disease. A kidney disease is any condition that causes the kidneys to stop functioning correctly. However, kidney diseases in dogs may be hereditary or may come from chemicals, toxins, or even cancer.

According to Dr. Kenneth C. Bovée, professor emeritus of medicine in Penn's School of Veterinary Medicine, there have been some studies over the years that debunk the assumption that too much protein causes renal damage in dogs. In his study, Mythology of Protein Restriction for Dogs with Reduced Renal Function, Dr. Bovée states that the following assumptions are myths:

  • Increased protein intake increases urea, which causes the kidneys to work much harder.

  • A diet rich in protein damages a dog's kidneys.

  • A diet rich in protein causes hyperkalemia, which means high levels of potassium in the blood.

  • A diet rich in protein causes acidosis.

  • Protein intake increases toxins.

  • Reducing protein in the diet will slow down the deterioration of the kidneys.

As a dog owner, you should know that some people still consider that giving your dog too much protein is a risk. Your dog isn't a bodybuilder, so there's no reason to feed him concentrated doses of protein on a regular basis. Consult your veterinarian.

How Do I Treat My Dog’s Excessive Protein?

If needed, just reduce your dog’s protein intake. Consult your vet before making any dietary change.

Studies worth mentioning:

In 1941, a study monitored ten dogs at different stages of kidney disease to determine if reducing their protein intake would slow the progression of their renal disease. They checked two indicators, Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) levels, and urine specific gravity, to document any changes. However, the researchers were not aware that other factors influence the amount of urea in the blood, like the Glomerular Filtration Rate. Therefore, the results of the research could not be accepted as reliable. The results provided no evidence to support the claim that a reduced protein intake slowed the progression of kidney disease.

How is Too Much Protein Similar in Dogs and Humans?

A drastic change in diet can upset the digestive system of a dog, as well as a human. Always consult your veterinarian before making any drastic changes in your dog's diet.

How is Too Much Protein Different in Dogs and Humans?

In another study, scientists examined four dogs at the same stage of renal failure. The goal of the research was to find out if the dog's kidneys would adjust to diets with different amounts of proteins and electrolytes.

They learned that the dogs were able to adjust their excretions based on the amount of protein in their diets. In other words, they would just poop out the extra protein.

And the varying protein levels did not affect their kidneys since they continued to function as they would, considering the stage of renal failure. However, they noticed that the dogs were not able to adjust to diets with minimal protein content.

A reduced protein diet may have reduced the amount of urea in the blood, but it also reduced the Glomerular Filtration Rate and renal plasma flow. These changes were not positive changes.

Case Study

If your dog has renal problems, reducing the protein content in their diet will not likely help, nor is it likely to be the cause of kidney disease in your canine pal.

Other studies have been carried out, and they come to the conclusion that a protein-rich diet does not affect dogs.

So while you may have to monitor your protein intake, you do not have to do so with your dog. Still, you should avoid giving your dog any protein supplements or products destined for human consumption. Always consult your veterinarian about your dog's diet or any desired changes.

A high-quality diet is essential for keeping your dog happy and healthy. Digestive problems and food allergies can be expensive to treat. Compare pet health insurance plans to save more than $270 a year on vet care.

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