Cats and Dogs Prefer Different Macronutrients. Here’s How to Give Them This

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Balanced meals for your pet

Whether you have a cat or a dog, you need to take good care of your pet’s nutrition. Just like humans, pets need a balanced diet in order to live healthily too. If you have both a dog and a cat as pets, you should know the choice of macronutrient will be different for both animals.

If they are given a chance to choose between high-carbohydrate, high-fat, or high-protein foods, it’s highly unlikely that both will go for the same types of foods.

Although both dogs and cats require food rich in animal proteins and fat, both animals prefer different macronutrients. Both animals can feed on plant-based foods without any ill effects, but they are intrinsically made to digest animal-based foods.

Dogs and cats have a much smaller digestive track compared to humans. The food transit time for dogs and cats are 12-30 hours and 12-24 hours respectively, which is much shorter than the 30 hours to 5 days food transit time in humans. This is why dogs and cats find it difficult to digest many carbohydrates and grains.

Researchers have found that younger dogs, which have less body fat mass, preferred less protein and more carbohydrates. But protein was a popular option for dogs with higher body fat mass. On the contrary, younger cats preferred more protein options as compared to older cats, making it essential for pet owners to consider the pet’s age and lean body mass while choosing macronutrients.

Protein: Why is it important for pets?

Since both cats and dogs are carnivores, fat and protein form the foundation for their wellbeing and good health. Proteins help them grow and develop, maintain their muscular and skeletal structures, and boost their immune system. More than protein, it’s the amino acid in protein that pets require in order to stay healthy.

Research has found that cats and dogs need twenty-two amino acids in order maintain good health. For cats, there are eleven amino acids and for dogs, there are ten amino acids which are essential. These amino acids can be derived from dietary sources. You can evaluate different dietary sources of proteins based on the following two factors:

Biological Value

This value shows the nutritional completeness of protein sources. The food should supply essential amino acids in the right proportions. When it comes to pets, fish and meat have a higher biological value compared to plant-based foods and grain. The food with the highest biological value is whole eggs, which can be given to both pets.

Digestibility

This value shows the ability of the body to break down proteins for cellular functions. Similar to biological value, fish and meat have a higher digestibility value compared to plant-based foods. Fish, dairy, organ meats, muscle meats, and whole eggs are good pet foods for both cats and dogs.

This makes it clear that dogs and cats should be given more fish or animal meat unless there is an underlying medical condition.