Short Primer on Amino Acids for Dogs and Cats

If you read the “Digestive Tidbits on Dogs and Cats” that we put up here recently you may recall that food passes fairly quickly through their systems.    They have short digestive systems and therefore do not have the benefit of billions of microorganisms along their gastrointestinal tract synthesizing amino acids for them.    They therefore require these to be fed to them.    There are now 22 amino acids identified (when I was in college there were 20) of which 10 are considered “essential” meaning they must be obtained from their diet.    You can add one more (taurine) for cats.    The others can be synthesized internally as long as the necessary “pieces” are present and are called “non-essential”.   That’s not exactly an appropriate term because all the amino acids are necessary for a healthy sustainable life.   It’s just that some of them do not have to be fed directly.     Amino acids are the building blocks of protein which plays a critical role in almost all biological processes.

      Amino Acids Utilized by Dogs and Cats

 

“Non essential” (not required in the diet)

Alanine

Asparagine

Aspartate

Cysteine

Glutamate

Hydroxylysine

Glycine

Glutamine

Proline

Serine

Hydroxyproline

 

“Essential” (is only obtained via the diet)

Arginine

Histidine

Isoleucine

Methionine

Phenylalanine

Tryptophan

Threonine

Valine

Leucine

Lysine

Taurine (cats)

 

A holistic diet will utilize all natural biologically appropriate sources of the essential amino acids in it’s recipe(s).     While we ourselves are not nutritionists at Wholesome Pet Essentials we do business with companies that utilize extensive research in nutrition to satisfy your pet’s needs.    Because of the relatively short period of time your pet’s food is in their digestive system it’s important that it be a nutritiously balanced product.          Of course there’s a lot more to it than amino acids….more later.

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