Hydrolyzed Protein in Dog Food
Moving on to the letter H in our A to Z Dog Food Ingredient series, today we will examine hydrolyzed proteins in dog food.
What is Hydrolyzed Protein?
According to Wikipedia, hydrolyzed protein is protein that has been hydrolyzed or broken down into its component amino acids. As the name implies, the process of hydrolysis will include adding water to separate the amino acids.
Common names for Hydrolyzed Protein
The most common hydrolyzed food component in dog food is yeast. Other hydrolyzed proteins include hydrolyzed chicken and hydrolyzed soy.
Why are Hydrolyzed Proteins in Dog Food?
Depending on the food, hydrolyzed proteins are used for different purposes. Hydrolyzed yeast is used as both a flavor enhancer and a as a hypoallergenic alternative for yeast protein. Hydrolyzed soy and chicken are used as hypoallergenic alternatives to the whole food forms of these protein sources and are often used in prescription or sensitive skin diets to combat food allergies.
Are Hydrolyzed Proteins Commonly Used in Dog Food?
Hydrolyzed yeast is by far the most common type of hydrolyzed protein in dog food and is in about 2% of all foods. Hydrolyzed chicken and soy are less common and used primarily for special diet formulas.
Common Benefits or Risks of Hydrolyzed Protein
The idea behind using hydrolyzed proteins as a way to combat allergies is derived from the hydrolysis process, which breaks down the protein into small components. The theory is that when the protein is broken down into such small components, it will no longer be recognized by the immune system as an allergen. Thus, (again in theory), a pet could be fed the same protein that they are allergic to without any of the allergic reactions.
Many food recipes include hydrolyzed yeast as a flavor enhancer as it tends to ‘taste good’ to dogs and humans.
Although there are no known side effects to hydrolyzed proteins, it seems to me that there are better ways to attack the food allergy issue as well as the need for flavor enhancers.
With regard to food allergies, using single protein and novel protein foods address the allergy problem head on, by removing the allergen entirely from the diet rather than trying to trick the body. Further, we are advocates of a rotational feeding strategy to reduce the chances that your dog will ever develop a food allergy. The rotational diet uses a simple and natural strategy of rotating proteins sources every few months so that your dog’s bodies won’t become overloaded by any single protein. This strategy not only can lower the chances of developing food allergies, but it can also increase the chances for a long-term balanced diet as different proteins have different micronutrient profiles.
With regard to flavor enhancers, why would a dog food containing quality ingredients that are reflective of a dog’s carnivore ancestry even need a flavor boost? Reviewing our data, we notice that a majority of the foods that include hydrolyzed yeast are, in our opinion, lower quality choices that use plant based and meat by-products and meals as their primary protein sources.
Slimdoggy Ingredient Comfort Level
Because we believe there are better, more natural ways to address flavor and allergy issues in dog food, we give hydrolyzed proteins a sad rating.
Miscellaneous facts about Hydrolyzed Proteins
Hydrolyzed yeast is a common ingredient in skin care and hair products.
Sources and further reading
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