What does dietary protein do for animals and why is that protein quality so important?
Raw, whole, unprocessed foods provide high quality proteins and are available for both digestion and absorption. While there are daily nutritional requirements in place for animals, those requirements do not take into account the quality of protein. Protein requirements for animals vary with age, activity level, and health. A healthy adult dog requires approximately 3g of protein of high biologic value per kg body weight per day. A healthy adult cat requires closer to 5g.
The primary function of dietary protein is to provide a source of essential amino acids and nitrogen for the body. With adequate supply of essential amino acids the body then can synthesize non-essential amino acids. Essential amino acids must come from food as they cannot be made by the body like the non-essential amino acids.
Proteins are given a biologic value. The biologic value is related to the number and types of essential amino acids it contains. The higher the biologic value of protein, the less protein needed to supply the amino acid requirement. The biologic value is based on the protein in a raw state, not cooked or processed where the protein can become chemically unavailable for digestion or absorption.