What Exactly Are Amino Acids?
You may have heard the phrase “amino acids are the building blocks of proteins.” This is true, but what does it mean?
Proteins are complex molecules that serve a wide range of functions in your and your dog’s bodies. They aren’t just for building muscle. Proteins are important for both the growth and maintenance of muscle, hair and nails; transporting nutrients around the body; immune system function; and hormone production.
Because they’re so complex, it doesn’t make sense to piece together all the different chemicals required to build them each time. So your and your dog’s bodies are able to piece together amino acids, pre-made structures of molecules, into full protein structures.
You can think of amino acids like puzzle pieces with the protein molecule being the completed puzzle. Some puzzles only need two pieces and some need many.
Just like vitamins (read more about vitamins for your dog here), amino acids can be either essential, which means it’s essential to obtain them in the diet, or nonessential, meaning they are produced naturally in the body.
Which Amino Acids Does My Dog Need?
Most animals have similar amino acid profiles, but they do vary to a degree.
The 10 essential amino acids for dogs are:
Your pup can’t produce these, so they must get them in their diet!
If you’re a cat owner, you should know that these, as well as Taurine, are all essential for cats.
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