Luke sampling the dried Flank steak from Just food for dogs. 

These eyes are cloudy now but in this photo they are saying one thing "more of that please."  He  LOVED the flank steak.  I knew he would.

Protein, let's talk about the good stuff today.  Protein should make up the bulk of your dogs diet.  Not any protein, quality protein.  Quality protein consists of easily digestible product compared to the low grade stuff found in many dog foods.  Yesterday I visited Just food for dogs to give them my books that I donated and to get some dried flank steak.  It resembles the dried chicken that is available for dogs (not made in China) but it is beef.  I knew that Luke would love it being that his absolute favorite food is beef.   It also makes me feel good to give him just meat.  Dogs need protein.

With the dawning of the dog food industry we were brainwashed into thinking that too much protein is a bad thing.  I never bought this; I always refer back to what wolves eat in the wild to guide me.  Yes I realize that our dogs are not wolves but they are not far off.  A dog needs meat, good quality, highly digestible meat and most dogs are not getting it.  "I never give my dogs people food," many owners boast.  This is what they've heard over the years from the pet food companies and perhaps their vet.

I hate the term "people food."  I use the term real food and our dogs deserve real food.  To call it people food makes it seem like it is all for us and the dogs get the crap that we don't want.  No that is not how it should be.  For me "people food" are things like lasagna, pizza, sausage, tacos etc.  You know, the stuff that we whip up for ourselves or buy frozen from the grocery store.  Real food is food, real and healthy.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a baker, I love to cook but my passion lies in baking.  I used to bake for a farmers market and made cheesecakes for a local restaurant.  I love baking, it makes me happy.  Well, as much as baking is wonderfully delicious it is not great for us.  I happen to suffer from hypoglycemia so I have to be very careful with my carb and sugar intact.  Protein plays a huge role in my day to day eating.  I feel best when I stick to protein and veggies.  So what I eat is not far from what my dogs eat but in different portions.  If I am having a turkey salad for lunch I will always share the turkey with them.  They just finished some cheese and turkey for our breakfast in bed.

When I read the ingredient lists on many of the dog foods out there I shudder.  This is what we give our meat eating companions?  Dogs need meat, they need the essential amino acids in it to thrive.  Yes of course a dog can survive on low grade food but imagine how they would feel on a really great food.  Whether you offer your dog raw or cooked meat it is a great addition to their diet.  Having dried meat as a treat throughout the day for my dogs is a good alternative.

I make cookies and cupcakes for my dogs but they have been exclusively designed by myself to offer as much protein as possible.  They also contain no sugar.

Along with offering quality protein to your dog as a high percentage of their diet you should also consider variety.  Good protein can come in many different forms.  Just think how differently most of us eat from day to day.  Variety is the best way to ensure good nutrition, of course if you and your dog are eating good quality foods.  Eggs, beef, fish, chicken, buffalo, lamb, pork, cheese, yogurt, variety is the spice of life.

So even if you are feeding your dog a diet of dog food, switch it up.  Buy several different protein source types and rotate them.  Many dogs who are fed one food all the time and that is it suffer badly if they are offered anything else.  Think of your dog's body as a machine, the higher quality fuel you put into it the better it will perform.

I could go on and on just about quality protein but there are some great articles out there with great meaty facts.  Dig in and research, it isn't what we've been led to believe by the big dog food companies.

Lots of great articles on protein for your reading pleasure.

Lew Olson - Protein, kidneys and senior dogs

The Dog Food Project - Is too much protein harmful?

Dog Food Advisor - Biological value of protein

Pet MD - Focusing on protein in the diet