The most abundant molecule found in the body, aside from water, is protein. This nutrient is critical as it provides the essential amino acids the body needs to build muscle and repair damaged tissue. So, while it comes from many different sources, both plant and animal, choosing the best, high-quality protein is essential. When concentrated, potatoes, usually associated with carbohydrates, provide a quality hypoallergenic protein source for companion animals.
How It's Made
By extracting the starch from potatoes, a protein rich liquid is formed. This is acidified and heated to form a thicker product. After filtration and drying, a protein rich powder results. This powder is very low in carbohydrates and has a fat content of approximately 3 percent. Due to the low incidence of allergic reaction, potatoes are often used in hypoallergenic and grain-free diets and that in turn gives it a heads up as a novel protein source with an established safety record.
More Research is Necessary but Promising
The majority of research has compared potato protein with the more common soybean, corn or meat by-product meals given to livestock and horses. But for our companion animals, complementing animal protein with this concentrate may be beneficial. Limited, but promising research suggests potato protein concentrate competes well with other isolates including soy, rice and dried meat and in some cases, has a greater concentration of certain amino acids, the components necessary for growth and tissue repair.
Protein Requirements for Dogs and Cats
Historically, cats are carnivorous creatures and as such, require significantly more protein than Fido, the omnivorous dog. A puppy's diet should consist of 22 to 32 percent protein while an adult dog requires a diet of 15 to 30 percent protein. Cats, on the other hand, require about 30 percent protein as kittens and between 25 percent and 30 percent as adults.
Potato Protein is Not a Replacement for Animal Protein
The use of potato protein concentrate can be an important dietary addition for dogs and cats suffering from gluten intolerance and other allergies. However, it cannot be a full replacement for animal protein in these companion animals. Recommendations are that it only constitute 5 percent of protein requirements. As with humans, dietary variety is necessary for a balanced diet and to help avoid the development of further allergies from bombarding the body with a single ingredient. A veterinarian can help choose an appropriate high-quality diet incorporating the correct proteins for your pet's needs.
Working with both small animals and exotics, Pamela Meadors has devoted more than 15 years to the veterinary field. She possesses a bachelor's degree in biological sciences and is the proud mom of a blind hedgehog.