Why such a high protein content?

Quality protein is the dogs most important requirement, and the correct amount is crucial as it provides all of the essential amino acids needed for muscle growth and repair, organ maintenance, bone growth and maintenance, immune system strength and so on.

What happens when the dog is fed insufficient protein?
Unfortunately, this list is pretty much endless. It can range from muscle mass loss, a reduced ability to fend of illnesses, increase in aging and increase in age related disabilities such as arthritis, reduced hearing and sight. Muscle mass loss can still occur even if a dog appears overweight, as the build up of body fat is caused by calories and carbohydrates which are not used as energy. Should the diet have insufficient protein the actual muscle tissue will still decrease. (see weight control)

How much is right and what happens when they get too much?
The first part is an impossible question to answer as every dog is completely different in both size and activity. Less active and senior dogs need more protein/ less carbs and more active or working dogs need a bit less protein/ higher carbs. Protein is processed in the liver and any waste is removed by the kidneys. Good quality meat, fish, and poultry protein will produce very little waste, so the kidneys will not be working overtime. However, poor quality and incomplete proteins are much more difficult for the dog to process and as a result the kidneys have to work overtime which inevitably will lead to kidney related illnesses becoming a real risk.

There have been quite a number of studies over the past several decades regarding protein levels in pet food. Unfortunately, the majority of the older studies were not only based on poor quality plant proteins but also conducted on rats which have different nutritional needs and any such findings should be considered inaccurate. More recent studies, such as the report F.E.D.I.A.F. dated July 2012 only provides minimums and again can be considered inaccurate as several of the tables contained within state “Crude Protein” or just “Protein” as by now you should know that all proteins are not created equal.

If a dog is fed too much protein, its body simply cannot produce the enzyme (Pepsin) and stomach acid (Hydrochloric) needed in the correct quantity quickly enough to break down the protein. As a result the food will pass through pretty much undigested.

Unfortunately, there is very little in the way of hard fact as to how much quality protein is indeed required. Much of the past research has been conducted by the major pet food manufactures who are the only ones in a financial position to carry out such research. Their findings can be construed as being bias towards cheaper fillers and non meat protein sources.

Should a food contain unnaturally high levels of protein there is every possibility that the dogs digestive system will be unable to cope, which will result in loose stools or even diarrhea. Over time this will also result in weight loss and possibly other health issues should the diet not be corrected.

Even giving high protein treats will temporarily affect the digestion. So, should your dog be lucky enough to receive quality treats it is only right that the food intake for that day should be reduced to compensate. For this reason, Millies has concentrated on a delivery of quality complete proteins in a realistic proportion with a specific amount of carbohydrates which most dogs can quite happily convert to energy and utilize, but for some any excess of carbohydrate may lead to undesirable body fat.

The actual protein level in Millies Wolfheart is currently between 24% and 35%. This simply means that for every 2.2 lbs. of dry food, between 8.5 and 12.5 ounces is quality protein (depending on which recipe). To achieve this quantity of protein from raw dog food grade lamb for example, you would need around 5.5 lbs.

Protein Misconceptions
We are asked daily about our protein content and why we state 50% meat/fish/poultry in our food. As an honest dog food producer we focus on our ingredients unlike other US producers. Many of the US producers don’t disclose % of ingredients, they focus on a method which we at Millies feel is very misleading.

Here in the US you may see printed on bags of food 70/30/0 for example. Now, to the untrained eye you may think 70% meat/fish is in this food like our British Company. WRONG!

In the US 70/30/0 almost always means:

  • 70% of the crude protein stated in the analytics comes from meat/fish
  • 30% of the crude proteins comes from plant/veg proteins
  • 0% no grain proteins in the food.

In the US we are not allowed to state the ingredient % that goes into our recipe at the beginning of the mix, we are only allowed to list ingredients in order of the larger % ingredients first then down in scale.

Totally different to the way EU regulations state that pet foods should be labeled.

We feel the this US method is very misleading and people not aware will think they are getting a high meat/fish/poultry content food, but could actually be picking up a bag with as little at 17% meat/fish/poultry. This is a way other dog food manufacturers can sell food, even the lowest meat/fish/poultry content foods, and make them appear to be good on the label.

Currently there are only 4 machines in the world that can produce a high meat/fish/poultry content of over 60%. Two are owned by Champion Pet Foods, Manufacturers of Orijen and Acana and they do not produce private label food, one is being built in Brazil, and the 1st one ever built is in Leyland Lancashire UK which makes food for Millies Wolfheart UK. Here in the US no food manufacturer /plant has the facility to make a food higher than 60% meat/fish/poultry inclusion and the majority will not attempt to go higher than 30% as it is “too risky” and not “profitable enough” in their opinion.

It has taken Millies Wolfheart USA over 2 years to find a manufacturer that will push its comfort zone and make our current 50% and 60% meat/fish/poultry recipes. This came with a loss of over 20,000lb of failed runs getting the balance right. It was a risk we at Millies Wolfheart agreed to take as we had faith that the recipes could be made here in US.

We are striving to ensure that our customers and their dogs are given an honest dog food that is high in quality meat,fish, and poultry ingredients.

To bring Millies Wolfheart USA in-line with other brands here we can confirm that:

Red River Mix has: 81% proteins from meat/fish 19% proteins from plant and vegetable sources and 0% proteins from grain.

Red River Mix has a carbohydrate NFE 38.14% [based on a moisture content of 8%]
ME = 3514 kcal/kg
ME = 422 kcal/120g cup

Texas Turkey Mix has: 95% proteins from Turkey, 5% proteins from plant and vegetable sources, and 0% proteins from grain.

Texas Turkey Mix has a carbohydrate NFE 29.7% [based on a moisture content of 8%]
ME = 3376 kcal/kg
ME = 406 kcal/120g cup

High quality meat, fish, and poultry protein’s do not lead to behavioral problems. This is an outdated myth.

Quality meat/fish/poultry protein is vital for proper functionality, being as it is the most important nutrient in a dogs diet for proper brain function to overall development.

Generally, dogs on a higher meat/fish/poultry protein diet are actually calmer as they have a constant supply of nutrients. Unlike an inadequate low quality protein diet (grains, gluten and vegetable proteins).