Comparing Proteins: A compelling reason to add variety (Part 2 of 2)

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Comparing Proteins: A compelling reason to add variety 

*To read part 1 of our protein comparisons, please click here

 

They say that variety is the spice of life, but it’s also the key to a healthy life! Variety isn’t just important to keep your pet from getting bored with their meals, it’s also important to make sure their diet is balanced and healthy. Different animals eat different things, and this means that their meat contains different vitamins and minerals, and have their own unique qualities. By providing your pet with a variety of different protein options, you can ensure that they are not getting too much of one nutrient, or too little of another.

 

KangarooImage result for kangaroo silhouette

Kangaroos are not farmed, so they are a natural, free-range, organic protein! Kangaroo is a popular choice for dogs with allergies, and it is the lowest fat meat available. A great alternative to beef for dogs which are allergic, as it has a similar mineral and fatty acid profile.

Benefits:

  • With 2% fat or less, kangaroo is the ultimate choice for a low-fat diet.
  • A good source of omega-3 fats.
  • Contains the fatty acid CLA (conjugated linoleic acid). This fatty acid has positive effects on asthma, diabetes, inflammation, reducing body fat and helping to fight cancer.
  • High levels of iron, zinc, and B vitamins.

Things to note:

  • As kangaroo is only sourced from Australia, it travels across the globe to make it to your dog’s bowl, giving it a larger ecological footprint than locally farmed meats.
  • Higher cost. International shipping and the lack of farming to reduce demand make kangaroo one of the more expensive protein choices.
  • Because whole animals are not imported, kangaroo organs and bones are very difficult to source. Most diets are supplemented with organs and bones from other animals.

 

LambImage result for sheep silhouette

One of the highest fat proteins available, lamb is a great choice for pets with high energy demands or those needing to gain some weight.

Benefits:

  • The best source of carnitine, an amino acid that is especially important for heart health.  
  • A good source of palmitic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid that has strong antimicrobial properties. 
  • Contains lutein, and antioxidant important for eye health.

Things to note:

  • Because of its high fat content, use intermittently with  low activity level. Those  who are prone to pancreatitis or suffer from IBD should look to other protein sources. 

 

Image result for llama silhouette

Llama

Llama is a great novel protein for dogs with allergies. They are a member of the Camel family, and share some of the same nutritional benefits, but are more common and accessible than Camels.

Benefits:

  • Very low fat and higher in protein, making it a good choice for weight management, less active pets, and dogs prone to pancreatitis.
  • Popular option for pets with allergies and elimination diets.

Things to note:

  • Llamas are more popular for fibre production than meat production, so llama products can be difficult to source. Thankfully, True Carnivores carries a fantastic whole-prey llama diet for cats and dogs.

 

Pork Related image

Despite misconceptions of pork being a very fatty meat, it is actually lower in fat than chicken and beef, if you purchase high quality whole pork not derived from trim. Pork is a very popular option for pets due to its wide availability, economical price and ease of digestion.

Benefits:

  • An excellent source of thiamin, selenium, niacin, vitamin B6
  • A popular option for pets with allergies and sensitive digestive systems
  • Options of meaty bones for dogs of all sizes
  • Is a successful protein choice in elimination diets.

Things to note:

  • Preferably obtain this protein from small farm producers or local sustainable sources to avoid gestation crate farming. British Columbia has several options for sources that are both sustainable and free from over medication.

 

RabbitImage result for rabbit silhouette

Rabbit is a good white meat alternative for pets with sensitivities to poultry. Higher in protein and lower in fat, it’s great for weight loss or less active pets.

Benefits:

  • Rabbit is one of the best white-meat sources of iron.
  • Contains selenium, an antioxidant that works to remove free radicals before they can do damage to the body. Some types of cancer, as well as signs of aging, can be battled with selenium. It is also important for maintaining thyroid function and a healthy immune system.
  • Lower in fat than other white meats
  • Rabbit ears or feet with fur are a great source of fibre for your pet’s diet
  • Good protein choice for elimination diets, due to its cooling effect on skin irritations and allergy symptoms.

Things to note:

  • Rabbit is not commonly farmed, and its meat has grown in popularity in fine dining. This demand has given rabbit a higher price point than other white meats.

 

 

SalmonImage result for salmon silhouette

Salmon is a popular fish choice with well-known health benefits. For the healthiest option for your pet and the environment, look for wild, sustainably-caught salmon.

Benefits:

  • One of the best sources of omega-3’s, which balance the inflammatory omega-6 which is overabundant in most pet’s diets.
  • Contains astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant which gives salmon its red colour. It protects the heart, brain and nervous system from inflammation, and can improve skin’s hydration.
  • Low in mercury

 

Things to note:

  • Salmon contains and enzyme called thiaminase, which binds to Vitamin B1 (thiamin) and can lead to a deficiency which affects brain and nerve function. It shouldn’t make up the majority of your pet’s diet, but a few fish meals a week is perfectly safe!
  • Salmon is high in phosphorus, which is not recommended for pets with kidney issues.

 

 

SoleImage result for flounder silhouette

Sole is flat fish with white, very mildly flavoured meat. It is a great choice for pets who don’t favour the stronger flavours of other fish.

Benefits:

  • Sole does not contain the enzyme thiaminase, making it safer to feed in higher quantities than many other fish.
  • Leaner than oily fish like herring and salmon, making it a good option for pets dealing with pancreatitis or IBD, or those who need to shed a few pounds.
  • Wide availability makes it an economical protein choice.
  • Sole is a good option for dogs with protein sensitivities and for aiding in weight-loss.

Things to note:

  • Sole is not an oily fish, meaning it doesn’t contain any significant amounts of omega-3s. It should not be used to balance the omega fats in your pet’s diet.
  • Often fish diets do not contain organs. Make sure organs are added so that the food is nutritionally complete and balanced.

 

 

TroutImage result for trout silhouette

A freshwater species of the Salmon family, trout are a great fish option to add to your pet’s diet without having any impact on the ocean.

Benefits:

  • An excellent source of Vitamin D, which aids the body in processing calcium and regulates the immune system.
  • High in omega-3s, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
  • Rich in selenium, an antioxidant which defends against cancer and boosts the immune system, and promotes joint and heart health.

Things to note:

  • Trout contains and enzyme called thiaminase, which binds to Vitamin B1 (thiamin) and can lead to a deficiency which affects brain and nerve function. It shouldn’t make up the majority of your pet’s diet, but a few fish meals a week is perfectly safe!
  • Fish is high in phosphorus, which is not recommended for pets with kidney issues.

 

 

TurkeyImage result for turkey silhouette

Turkey is a popular white meat choice which is lower in fat than chicken. Turkey is a great protein choice when transitioning to raw, as it is easily digested and its higher bone content helps to firm up loose stool.

Benefits:

  • Turkey is a very rich source of the amino acid tryptophan. We all know tryptophan as the stuff that makes us sleepy after thanksgiving dinner, but it actually plays an important role in strengthening the immune system.
  • High in niacin, which helps to maintain a healthy heart. It is also useful in the treatment of arthritis and management of diabetes.
  • It is a very good source of the trace mineral selenium, which is an essential nutrient required for thyroid hormone metabolism, antioxidants, and boosting immune function.

Things to note:

  • Non-medicated, free-range turkey will be lower in fat and higher in minerals and nutrients than conventionally raised, grade “A” turkey.

 

After comparing the benefits and drawbacks of all these protein choices, we hope you can choose a few to add to your meal rotation that will work for your pet to give them all the nutrients they need for a long, healthy life!

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