Hydrolyzed Protein in Dog Food

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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.

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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

slimdoggy frownBecause 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

http://www.vetinfo.com/hydrolyzed-protein-dog-food.html

http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2012/05/07/protein-diets-for-pets-allergy.aspx

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrolyzed_protein

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20 Comments

  1. I think the sad rating is correct. It doesn’t really sound like something that anyone should be eating.
    Emma recently posted…Essentials For Your Summer Picnic Basket | GiveawayMy Profile

  2. Interesting! Now I shall go see if I can find hydrolysed anything in Donna’s food 😉
    weliveinaflat recently posted…Shopping at Sun Petgamart for dogsMy Profile

  3. I had to double check all of our food, but we’re good to go! When you rotate protein sources, do you keep it within the same brand of food? I would love to switch things up occasionally, but I don’t want to upset Mauja’s already sensitive tummy.
    It’s Dog or Nothing recently posted…Frozen Puppy BitesMy Profile

    • Staying with the same brand or changing food slowly is a bit of an old wives tale. I think giving Mauja a variety is good and can overcome any nutritional deficiencies from sticking with the same brand or food. If Mauja’s vet has diagnosed her with a sensitive stomach, then be careful of the proteins and note which ones seem to cause more upset. Jack has IBD and can’t tolerate chicken or beef.
      mkob recently posted…Hydrolyzed Protein in Dog FoodMy Profile

    • Staying with the same brand or changing food slowly is a bit of an old wives tale. I think giving Mauja a variety is good and can overcome any nutritional deficiencies from sticking with the same brand or food. If Mauja’s vet has diagnosed her with a sensitive stomach, then be careful of the proteins and note which ones seem to cause more upset. Jack has IBD and can’t tolerate chicken or beef.
      mkob recently posted…Hydrolyzed Protein in Dog FoodMy Profile

  4. I agree with you and I’m not a friend of flavour enhancers, I always wonder if we (or pets) would eat it without this stuff? Ans what kind of ingredients have they used that they need flavour enhancers….
    Thanks for a great post!
    easy rider recently posted…easyblog MANKINI MONDAYMy Profile

  5. Sometimes I have to run and check to see if our foods contain an ingredient you feature. Nope this one isn’t there. 🙂
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…Blueberries Mean Summer And Give-AwayMy Profile

  6. Huh. I had no idea. Thank you! We just switched the dogs’ food this week. Off to check the ingredient list!
    Flea recently posted…Cool Trick for Giving Dogs PillsMy Profile

  7. EEK! That stuff doesn’t sound the greatest! Thanks for the facts!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…Adoptable husky of the week – Pinch Punch PostMy Profile

  8. Love your posts that break down these ingredients. Though, more and more, I’m following my own rule: if I don’t know what it is (or can’t pronounce it), I’m not putting in my body or my dogs’ bodies.
    Sue recently posted…Minties Dental Treats and Betsy Farms Jerky Dog Treats | Product ReviewMy Profile

  9. I always wonder about flavor enhancers in dog food. It seems like my dogs don’t give food enough time in their mouths to really taste it. They are all about smell.
    jan recently posted…Can I use a preposition to end a sentence with?My Profile

    • You are right – taste is a human thing…most dogs don’t really care.
      mkob recently posted…Big Bear LakeMy Profile

  10. Thanks for another information food ingredient post. We don’t feed anything that gets a SlimDoggy sad face. ☺
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…Caru Means To LoveMy Profile

  11. Will definitely keep an eye out for this in the future and will be avoiding like the plague! Thanks for sharing this info
    Misaki recently posted…TT: Top CollarMy Profile

  12. I think it’s a very sound idea in theory. Broken down to amino acids there would be no issue with any protein source. Doing the digestion work for the body. Do I like what is available as the final product? No, couldn’t say I do.

    Up here we have an enzyme supplement which claims to do the same job – making sure proteins are broken down properly so no whole proteins or chunks of them make their way where they shouldn’t. Interesting theory also.

    Of course then you get into a discussion of why the whole proteins cause trouble into first place, might end up talking about “leaky gut” …
    Jana Rade recently posted…Heat Stroke – See It Coming: Canyon’s StoryMy Profile

  13. Great information. Thinking tricking the body isn’t the way to go, but I guess most people what to try that way because the food is less expensive than a noval protein prescription food that is more.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Wordless Wednesday~Now You See Me, Now You Don’tMy Profile

  14. I have migraines and this is on the list of ingredients I should avoid. Therefore, I think I would avoid it for my dogs as well….it just doesn’t sound good!
    Jan K recently posted…Wordless Wednesday – Action!My Profile

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