So what is crude protein? How much crude protein does my dog or cat need in their diet?
Crude protein is a calculated value based on a laboratory evaluation of the nitrogen level in the food ingredients. Protein can be derived from any number of animal and/or non-animal sources. A pet food containing many animal and non-animal by-products can contain more crude protein than one containing pure animal food products. So the crude protein level alone can be very deceiving. Protein is of course the single most expensive major ingredient in any food. Many big box manufacturers will utilize least cost formulation programs and grains and grain by-products to meet the crude protein requirements they have established for their foods. These will cheapen the cost. But they will not necessarily provide the appropriate amino acid mix for your pet’s best health. Pets require amino acids in the right amounts and proportions….not crude protein per se. Corn gluten meal is 60% protein and heavy use in pet food will raise the crude protein label. But the amino acid profile is not favorable for growing pets. So while the crude protein guarantee is an important (and legal) piece of information to have for your pets diet we have to go beyond that % number and look at the ingredient panel to get a better handle on the quality of the food.
As to the actual level of crude protein needed by your pet that will vary considerably based on the ingredient composition (ie., amino acid profile) and the activity/growth level of your pet. We have products ranging from the lower 20’s to the upper 30’s and they are all appropriate levels when fed to the appropriate age/developmental stage/activity level, etc. of your dog or cat.
One other major point…. Canned pet food is labeled on an “as is” basis so the % crude protein will be considerably lower than dry kibble which is calculated at 10% moisture.
More on product labeling later along with specific ingredients to be wary of. It can be a swamp with some deep holes in it to navigate!
Here is a typical Fromm label:
A grain-free entrée of duck, turkey, quail, and pheasant with farm-fresh fruits & vegetables
Duck, Duck Meal, Peas, Turkey,Potatoes, Pea Protein, Dried Tomato Pomace, Pea Flour, Dried Whole Egg,Quail, Chicken Meal, Chicken Fat,Salmon Oil, Sweet Potatoes, Chicken,Pheasant, Cheese, Flaxseed, Carrots,Broccoli, Cauliflower, Apples, Celery,Parsley, Lettuce, Spinach, Chicken Cartilage, Potassium Chloride,Blueberries, Cranberries, Salt, Chicory Root Extract, Yucca Schidigera Extract,Alfalfa Sprouts, Sodium Selenite, Folic Acid, Taurine, Sorbic Acid (Preservative), Vitamins, Minerals,Probiotics.
- Crude Protein 29%MIN
- Crude Fat 17%MIN
- Crude Fiber 3.5%MAX
- Moisture 10%MAX
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids 0.6%MIN
- Omega 6 Fatty Acids 2.7%MIN