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Discussion Starter #1
I contacted Orijen this morning because I had questions about switching Snickers to almost double the protein and here is some info they sent me...

HIGH PROTEIN PUPPIES
The concept of ORIJEN is to match as closely as possible the natural diet. In nature, dogs and cats do not eat grains and would consume almost no carbohydrate at all (AAFCO and NRC confirm that dogs do not require carbohydrate in their diets). In nature both dogs and cats would consume a high-protein, high-fat, low carbohydrate diet.

In a kibble, the sum of all the nutrients must be 100. The nutrients are protein, fat, carbohydrate, minerals and vitamins. As minerals and vitamins comprise a very small percentage of the diet, there are really three macro nutrients. And, as fat should remain moderate for house dogs, there are two remaining and variable nutrients; protein and carbohydrate. As protein increases, carbohydrate therefore must decrease. High protein diets are therefore by nature also low in carbohydrate. This is the basic concept of ORIJEN.

Why is this healthy for your dog?

Dogs are evolved to metabolize protein. They are not evolved to metabolize carbohydrate (they have short digestive systems with a very low pH and no amylase-the digestive enzyme us humans are equipped with to help us break carbohydrate).

Carbohydrates are essential simple sugars. They are absorbed quickly and easily into the blood stream which creates sugar spikes in the blood. If not used as energy, this sugar is easily and quickly stored as fat. Indeed, dietary carbohydrate is the main reason for the obesity in pets today. As carbohydrate is non essential and supplies only sugar, we call it an “empty calorie” (unlike fat and protein, which are essential for body functions).

Unlike carbohydrate, protein is what dogs are evolved for. Protein is essential for the body and is also used by dogs as a source of energy. When present in excess, protein leaves the body through normal elimination functions and is not stored as fat like carbohydrate.

While there is much more to ORIJEN than high-protein and low carbohydrate, I hope this explanation helps you to understand the dietary concept.

HIGH PROTEIN LARGE BREED PUPPIES
High protein diets such as ORIJEN are ideal for dogs and all ages and sizes. In fact, all published research we've managed to find shows that higher protein diets support the health of dogs of all sizes; including large and giant breeds (we cannot find a single published study to the contrary!). Typically, the issue of higher protein is a concern mainly owners of large or giant breed dogs who are concerned about higher amounts of dietary protein.

But what most people don’t understand is the relationship between protein and carbohydrate and between protein and calcium and phosphorus in dog food.

Consider that as protein increases carbohydrate decreases, and the reverse is also true; as protein decreases, carbohydrate increases. In other words, higher protein diets have less carbohydrate – this is an important fact as it is carbohydrate, not protein that is the leading dietary cause of health problems (obesity, insulin resistance, type II diabetes). And while carbohydrate in clearly linked to health concerns, it is difficult to give too much protein in a dog's diet and in this regard quality of protein is the most important consideration (not quantity).

Most high protein diets also have excess calcium and phosphorus. These diets approach the upper AAFCO limit and are at 2.5% calcium and 1.8% phosphorus. ORIJEN is formulated with low-ash ingredients and a very high inclusion of fresh meats, which moderates the ORIJEN calcium and phosphate levels to levels that support the balanced development of the large breed skeleton.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
DIETARY PROTEIN AND THE KIDNEY
The relationship of dietary protein to kidney function has been the subject of much controversy and myth. To understand the effects of protein on the kidney, it is helpful to have a basic understanding of how the kidney works.

Blood flows through the kidney at a rapid rate. Nephrons in the kidney act as blood filters to remove waste products from the catabolism of protein. These waste products include ammonia, creatinine, urea, and uric acid. Other electrolytes and minerals are also filtered by nephrons. Specifically, the glomerulus portion of the nephron is responsible for filtering the blood. The tubular portion of nephrons actively reabsorb certain electrolytes, minerals, and water. After these substances have been reabsorbed, urine is excreted from the nephrons.

Each kidney contains thousands of nephrons. This allows a large percentage of nephrons to be damaged and still maintain normal filtering, reabsorption, and urine production. Only after approximately 70% of kidney tissue has been destroyed do clinical signs of renal failure start to appear. A common early sign of reduced renal function is an increase in urination and thirst (polyuria and polydipsia). This is due to the kidney's reduced ability to reabsorb water within the nephron. Signs of more advanced renal disease are related to the accumulation of waste products in the blood that the kidney is no longer able to remove completely. These signs include loss of appetite, depression, vomiting, anemia, a bad odor to the breath, ulcers in the mouth, weight loss, and disturbances in behavior.

High protein diets cause an increase in blood flow through the kidney (glomerular filtration rate). The myth has been that if the dietary protein is restricted, this will make the kidney work less, and will ‘spare' the kidney from damage. Thus in the past, many have recommended low protein diets to ‘protect' a dog from developing kidney disease. This has been the focus of considerable research over the last 10 years. There has been no scientific evidence to support this theory. The feeding of low levels of dietary protein are NOT protective against the development of kidney disease.

Reducing dietary protein in the older pet will not protect them from the development of renal disease. In fact, reducing the protein in the older dog's diet may have adverse effects. As pets age, their ability to utilize nutrients decreases. The older pet actually requires a higher level of protein to maintain its body stores of protein than does the younger adult dog. An important aspect of the management of the older pet is to maintain its body weight and condition. High quality proteins must be fed to provide a proper level of amino acids and to maintain a positive nitrogen balance. With a positive nitrogen balance, the dog eats and absorbs enough nitrogen (from protein sources) to meet its metabolic requirements. If the dog does not absorb enough protein, its body goes into negative nitrogen balance. With a negative nitrogen balance, enough protein for metabolism is not provided from the diet, and protein is pulled from muscle to provide the body the protein it needs. This leads to muscle wasting, loss of body weight, and protein deficiency. Other signs of protein deficiency include anemia, a reduced ability to fight off infections, and decreased plasma protein levels. Therefore, the older pet should receive the amount of protein, fat, and calories necessary to maintain its body weight and condition. It may be necessary to feed a 26%, high quality protein diet to keep the older dog in a positive nitrogen balance.

Even in early renal failure, dietary protein restriction may not be beneficial. It has been previously thought that decreased dietary protein was necessary to decrease the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and protect the kidney from further damage. However, it is now known that dietary protein is important for maintaining GFR, even in renal failure. Severe restriction of protein decreases the GFR, decreasing the filtering of all metabolic waste by the kidney. Long term studies feeding 19%, 27% or 56% protein diets for four years to dogs with reduced renal function have been completed. These studies showed that even though the high protein diets resulted in an increase GFR, there was no difference in progression in signs of renal failure among the three groups. Another study fed 16% or 31% protein diets for 14 months to dogs with a 7/8 loss of kidney mass. Again there was no difference in renal failure progression between the dietary protein groups. Both studies show no correlation between dietary protein and progression of renal disease.

Dietary protein restriction is appropriate in renal failure when the disease has become severe. Restriction of protein is based on the appearance of clinical signs. It has been recommended to start protein restriction when the dog's BUN (blood urea nitrogen) is greater than 80 mg/dL, and the serum creatinine is greater than 2.5 mg/dL. Both BUN and serum creatinine are good indicators of kidney function. Protein is restricted in an attempt to keep the BUN below 60 mg/dL. Dietary protein may need to be gradually decreased over time as renal failure progresses. Dietary phosphorus will also need to be restricted in dogs with advanced renal disease. Dogs with clinical renal disease need to be closely monitored by a veterinarian to determine when protein and phosphorus restriction should be initiated, and when dietary changes are necessary. Other medications may be indicated as renal failure progresses to control clinical signs of the disease.

  • Dietary protein restriction does NOT prevent the development of kidney disease.
  • Older dogs have a higher protein requirement than do younger adult dogs.
  • Older dogs require more dietary protien to maintain body condition and muscle mass than do young dogs.
  • Older dogs should receive the level of dietary protein necessary to maintain their body weight and condition.
  • There is no correlation between progression of kidney disease and dietary protein level.
  • Dietary protein and phosphorus restriction is beneficial in advanced renal failure.
Buckeye Nutrition is dedicated to providing your pet with high quality nutrition for all stages of its life. We hope this article has been informative, and has helped answer many of the questions regarding dietary protein and kidney disease. If you have any questions about our pet foods or nutrition, please call 1-800-898-2487.

Patricia Schenck, DVM, PhD
Veterinary Nutritionist
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Is a Low Protein Diet Necessary or Desirable?

Dogs with kidney problems
by Dr. Lucy Pinkston, D.V.M.
"Because by-products of protein digestion are the main toxins that need to be excreted by the kidneys, an obvious assumption might be that all one needs to do is to cut out the protein and the kidneys wouldn't have any more hard work to do. . . . There is significant evidence, however, that the daily protein requirements actually increase slightly for dogs in chronic renal failure. Therefore, severely restricting the protein for such a dog is likely to result in protein malnutrition, in spite of the fact that the levels of blood urea nitrogen, or BUN (the primary by-product of protein metabolism) would be correspondingly lower." This article contains a great deal more useful information in easy to read format.

Are High Protein Diets Harmful to a Dog's Kidneys?
From the Veterinary Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith, Inc.
"The myth that high-protein diets are harmful to kidneys probably started because, in the past, patients with kidney disease were commonly placed on low-protein (and thus low-nitrogen) diets. Now we often put them on a diet that is not necessarily very low in protein but contains protein that is more digestible so there are fewer nitrogen by-products."

The Mythology of Protein Restriction for Dogs with Reduced Renal Function
by Kenneth C. Bovee, DVM, MMedSc
"Morris subsequently developed, produced, and sold a low-protein diet, KD, for dogs with renal failure. He and others were influenced by the erroneous work hypertrophy concept for urea excretion advanced by Addis. While experimental or clinical data were never published to support the value of this or other diets, the concept was broadly accepted without challenge in the veterinary literature." This article talks about the history of protein restriction, and about 10 recent experimental studies that have failed to provide evidence of the benefit of reduced dietary protein to influence the course of renal failure. This article is no longer on line, but I have a copy of it that I could send to anyone who is interested in reading it (ask for Bovee.pdf).

Nutrition and Renal Function
from the Purina Research Report
"Dietary Protein and Renal Function: Results of multiple studies indicated that there were no adverse effects of the high protein diets." This report also includes information on metabolic acidosis and on the beneficial effects of omega-3 essential fatty acids in patients with chronic renal failure. The complete reports on each of the three studies mentioned in this report are no longer available online, but I have copies of them that I could send to anyone who is interested in reading more, as follows: "Effects of Dietary Lipids on Renal Function in Dogs and Cats" (ask for Brown.pdf); "Effects of Dietary Protein Intake on Renal Functions" (ask for Finco.pdf); and "Acid-Base, Electrolytes, and Renal Failure" (ask for Polzin.pdf).

Feeding the Older Dog
from the SpeedyVet Clinical Nutrition Library
"The assumption was that low-protein diets retarded the progression of renal degeneration. This assumption was disproved, using partially nephrectomised dogs, which showed no uraemic signs and had reduced but stable renal function for 48 months. These dogs did better on moderate-protein diets than on low-protein diets. There is no direct evidence that high protein intake damages canine kidneys or that reducing protein intake in dogs with renal dysfunction results in preservation of either renal structure or function."

Dietary Management of Chronic Polyuric Renal Failure
from the SpeedyVet Clinical Nutrition Library
"Dietary protein restriction improves the clinical signs and quality of life of uraemic animals with both naturally occurring and experimentally induced renal failure. . . . However it is highly questionable whether protein restriction is appropriate in the azotaemic, but non-uraemic patient. The main risk of protein restriction is protein deficiency. The protein and amino acid requirements of dogs and cats with chronic renal failure have not been established, but may well be increased. . . . The main justification for protein restriction early in the course of renal failure would be if it was proven to slow progression of disease. The data that are available do not support this case in dogs. Dietary protein has been shown to affect renal haemodynamics in the dog, however, moderate protein restriction does not alleviate glomerular hypertension, hyperfiltration and hypertrophy. . . . Thus there is no evidence that moderate protein restriction slows the progression of renal failure in dogs, and it is not recommended in dogs which are not uraemic."

Demystifying Myths about Protein
from Today's Breeder Magazine
"In contrast, research over the past 10 years or so has shown that protein does not harm the kidney of dogs. In studies conducted at the University of Georgia in the early 1990s, both in dogs with chronic kidney failure and in older dogs with only one kidney, protein levels as high as 34 percent caused no ill effects. . . . In other studies, David S. Kronfeld, Ph.D., indicated that compared with high- or low-protein diets, moderate-protein diets, those with up to 34 percent protein, had no ill effects in dogs with chronic renal failure and were associated with general improvement."

Fortify The Food Bowl For The Aging Canine
by Susan Thorpe-Vargas, Ph.D. and John C. Cargill, M.A., M.B.A., M.S.
"Because of certain biochemical requirements, the healthy geriatric dog requires about 50 percent more protein than the young adult, and depending on the quality of the protein, it should make up 20 percent to 30 percent of the total calories ingested. . . . Until recently, protein restriction was recommended in an effort to protect renal function. Limiting protein fails to prevent urinary filtration problems . . . Indeed; newer research shows dietary protein is not detrimental to kidney function. On the contrary, protein restriction can result in impaired wound healing, diminished immune function and lowered enzyme activities and cellular turnover. Those dogs with impaired renal function do better with dietary phosphorus restriction; however, limiting this mineral is unlikely to delay the onset of renal disease or to benefit healthy geriatric dogs."

Dietary Management for Clinical Disorders in Dogs
from the Journal of Indian Veterinary Association, Kerala
"Recent research on dietary protein and the kidney has shown that

  • dietary protein does not cause renal failure
  • dietary protein does not appear to be involved in the progression of chronic renal failure
  • inappropriate restriction of dietary protein may actually have an adverse effect on the normal or compromised kidney"
Kidney Failure from the Iams nutrition symposium
“'For years, physicians and veterinarians have treated renal failure by reducing protein levels in diets,' said Gregory Reinhart PhD, an Iams researcher. 'After working with leading universities, we have now found that restricting protein in a dog's diet may do more harm than good by potentially putting the companion animal at risk of protein malnutrition.'”


 

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Thanks for the info!

Carbohydrates are essential simple sugars. They are absorbed quickly and easily into the blood stream which creates sugar spikes in the blood. If not used as energy, this sugar is easily and quickly stored as fat. Indeed, dietary carbohydrate is the main reason for the obesity in pets today. As carbohydrate is non essential and supplies only sugar, we call it an “empty calorie” (unlike fat and protein, which are essential for body functions).
I wasn't aware of the carb-fat conversion. Interesting. :) nutrition is not my strong point.



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Discussion Starter #5
Is a Low Protein Diet Necessary or Desirable? (Continued)


Managing a Renal Crisis by Martha S. Gearhart, DVM
". . . at least one study has taken several groups of dogs in kidney failure and fed them diets that varied in protein level and phosphorus level. The groups with severely restricted phosphorus lived longer than the groups with normal or high levels of phosphorus. The protein intake made no difference at all in longevity. . . .
"It is important to remember that phosphorus is more important than protein -- feeding vegetables or salt-free crackers to a dog in kidney failure will not add protein but it will add phosphorus."

Dietary Protein and the Kidney
by Patricia Schenck, DVM, PhD, Veterinary Nutritionist
"High protein diets cause an increase in blood flow through the kidney (glomerular filtration rate). The myth has been that if the dietary protein is restricted, this will make the kidney work less, and will ‘spare' the kidney from damage. Thus in the past, many have recommended low protein diets to ‘protect' a dog from developing kidney disease. This has been the focus of considerable research over the last 10 years. There has been no scientific evidence to support this theory. The feeding of low levels of dietary protein is NOT protective against the development of kidney disease.
"Reducing dietary protein in the older pet will not protect them from the development of renal disease. In fact, reducing the protein in the older dog's diet may have adverse effects. As pets age, their ability to utilize nutrients decreases. The older pet actually requires a higher level of protein to maintain its body stores of protein than does the younger adult dog. . . .
"Dietary protein restriction is appropriate in renal failure when the disease has become severe. Restriction of protein is based on the appearance of clinical signs. It has been recommended to start protein restriction when the dog's BUN (blood urea nitrogen) is greater than 80 mg/dL [28.6 mmol/L], and the serum creatinine is greater than 2.5 mg/dL [221 µmol/L]. Both BUN and serum creatinine are good indicators of kidney function. Protein is restricted in an attempt to keep the BUN below 60 mg/dL [21.4 mmol/L]. Dietary protein may need to be gradually decreased over time as renal failure progresses."

Effects of low phosphorus, medium protein diets in dogs with chronic renal failure

"In this study, 60 dogs with early CRF were fed either Medium Protein Diet, (CMP group) or a home-made diet (HMD group) which respectively contained 0.36% phosphorus, 27% protein, and 0.38% phosphorus, 21.5% protein on a dry matter basis, over a 28 week period. . . .
"From the results of this study, it can be concluded that many dogs with mild to moderate CRF can benefit from early diagnosis of the condition and dietary management using a diet with a low phosphorus and moderate protein content."

Dietary Protein
by Dr. Jeff Vidt, specialist in Chinese Shar-Pei and Renal Amyloidosis
"Increased levels of dietary protein do not seem to change rate of progression of kidney failure. Protein levels in the diet do not seem to affect mortality, rate of progression of uremia or the development of kidney lesions.
Decreased protein levels in the diet may impair immune responses, decrease hemoglobin levels, cause anemia, decrease total protein levels and result in muscle wasting. . . .
Dietary protein levels do not appear to be involved in the progression of renal disease or play a role in the prevention of kidney failure. . . .
When the BUN is greater than 75mg/dl [26.8 mmol/L] and/or signs of uremia develop, moderate protein restriction is indicated to decrease the BUN and the clinical signs. Phosphorus restriction is also indicated at this time."

Protein Restriction and Kidney Disease
Extracts from Kirk's Current Veterinary Therapy XII, with links to a number of abstracts
"In perhaps the most noted clinical trial examining effects of high protein diet on progression of CRD, groups of dogs diagnosed with CRD were fed either high protein diets or low protein diets. No significant difference was observed in the rate of progression of CRD in the high-protein group compared to the low protein group. Therefore, excess protein in the diet did not appear to compromise renal function even in the presence of high endogenous levels of protein associated with the disease. In fact, on an individual basis some of the CRD dogs in the high protein diet group fared better. This finding was postulated to be associated with the fact that protein is required for cellular repair and function."
Note that the above sites are from very traditional sources, including Purina and Iams. I think Hills is the only company still toeing the "low protein" line. The thinking now is that low protein can actually be harmful, and that a moderate amount of high quality protein is desirable for dogs with kidney disease. In addition, feeding reduced protein to dogs with normal kidneys does not help prevent kidney failure.

 

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Discussion Starter #6
KIDNEY & HIGH PROTEIN
There is a rumor that high protein diets cause kidney disease. This rumor is false. High protein pet foods are NOT harmful to a normal animal’s kidneys. As an animal’s body digests and metabolizes protein, nitrogen is released as a by-product. The excess nitrogen is excreted by the kidneys. A high protein diet produces more nitrogen by-products and the kidneys simply excrete the nitrogen in the urine. While you may think this would ‘overwork’ the kidneys and lead to possible kidney damage, this is not true. The kidney’s filtering capabilities are so great that even one kidney is sufficient to sustain a normal life. There are many pets and humans living perfectly healthy lives with just one kidney.

Unless your veterinarian has told you your pet has a kidney problem and that the problem is severe enough to adjust the protein intake, you can feed your pet a high protein diet without damaging or stressing your pet’s kidneys. Also you are not saving your pets kidney’s by feeding a low protein diet. The same applies to the health of the liver.

There is lots of good information on the internet. The B-naturals website has an excellent article regarding the question of high protein and kidney function. http://b-naturals.com

Ok...I'm done. :)
 

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Quote:
Carbohydrates are essential simple sugars. They are absorbed quickly and easily into the blood stream which creates sugar spikes in the blood. If not used as energy, this sugar is easily and quickly stored as fat. Indeed, dietary carbohydrate is the main reason for the obesity in pets today. As carbohydrate is non essential and supplies only sugar, we call it an “empty calorie” (unlike fat and protein, which are essential for body functions).
That's a little simplified-whole grains or complex carbs do not do this. Refined carbohydrates/simple carbohydrates and refined grains do this. So think white bread bad (fortified) and whole grain bread good. One gives you a sugar spike with a following insuline release and the other (the whole grain) does not and in fact stabilizes sugar levels.
 

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Thanks for sharing all this with us :) It jives with all the nutritional research I've been doing. I was actually one of the ones worried about the higher protein in orijen but wanting to switch-I never wrote them but found several recent published articles showing that high protein does not cause renal failure in dogs at all so what they wrote here really jives with what I've been reading. And Mikey loves his orijen :)
 

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Thanks!

Thanks for sharing that info.. my wife and I were a bit concern about the high protein before... but we've also decided to switch from Orijen puppy in a few month to a different type of proteins to keep him interested also.

Great to know! :) only bad side to high proteins is his farts.. probably noticed it once a day.. but when it hits.. omg... does it smell!! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Snickers has finally transitioned to Orijen and I feel much better feeding her a premium quality food.

Great to know! :) only bad side to high proteins is his farts.. probably noticed it once a day.. but when it hits.. omg... does it smell!! :)
Yeah, Snickers set off a SBD (silent but deadly) the other night...I had to get up off the sofa and walk away! Also, DO NOT stand downwind when she's going #2 or you'll be sorry! :D
 

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It smells because they are eating meat (so that's a good thing!) ever notice how cat or ferret poop stinks bad but horse or bunny poop doesn't? The stinky farts-mean they are getting lots of meat :) Good stuff :)
And Mikey is a master of the SBD too :p heheh
 
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