Thinking about starting your pup on a high protein diet? Already feeding your dog a high protein dog food, but considering switching brands?
Maybe you’ve never heard of high protein dog food before, but a friend recommended it?
Whatever your reason for researching high protein dog food, you’ve come to the right place!
We all want to feed our dogs the very best diet possible. However, choosing the correct dog food can sometimes be confusing and overwhelming.
Luckily, that’s exactly what we’ll explore in this article! We’ll look at what a high protein dog food is, and whether it is actually a good choice for your pooch.
Then, we’ll review some of the top high protein dog food brands to help you decide which one is best for your furry friend.
High Protein Diet for Dogs
Do dogs really need a high protein diet to begin with?
Despite some modern ideas, dogs are still considered carnivores. This means that they get the majority of their nutrients and energy needs from meat and animal products.
However, “meat and animal products” is a vague term. It really doesn’t tell us how much protein a dog truly needs. Luckily, this has been a hot spot for research.
In fact, there have been a number of studies done to find out what, exactly, the optimum diet for a dog is.
One of these studies, published in 2013, allowed dogs to have complete control over their diet. When given this kind of control, most animals will consume the foods that most closely match the nutrients and energy needs they require.
Therefore, this is actually a very good way to determine what optimum nutrition actually looks like for a dog.
This study found that dogs consumed a protein:fat:carbohydrate ratio of 30:63:7. In other words, dogs consumed mostly fat and protein, with very little carbohydrates.
In other words, it was discovered that the bulk of a dog’s energy needs actually comes from fat.
This means that dogs might not necessarily thrive on a high protein diet, especially if the fat content is particularly low.
You can read more about low fat diets and dogs here.
High Protein for Dogs
But this does not necessarily mean that high protein dog food is never a good idea.
Lots of high protein dog foods also contain a large portion of fat, which makes them a great choice for your pooch.
Furthermore, another study showed that, over time, dogs decreased their fat intake and opted for more protein instead.
It is theorized that this occurs because dogs at first aim to consume large amounts of fat to prepare for famine and periods of no food. When this period occur, they switch to a high protein diet instead.
This would mean that dogs might actually need to eat more of a balanced diet of protein and fats, with almost equal amounts of each, than originally thought.
Dogs with specific medical dietary needs might especially need a high protein dog food.
This includes diseases like pancreatitis, which can be exacerbated by a high fat diet.
Basically, high protein diets are only good for canines when they also contain a high amount of fat. Dogs can’t just live on protein alone!
High protein diets that don’t contain much fat are only necessary and healthy for dogs with underlying health conditions that warrant such a diet.
When it comes to picking a high protein dog food for your pooch, it doesn’t take long to realize that there are lots of high protein dog food brands out there!
Let’s take a look at some of the best high protein dog foods available on the market today.
High Protein Grain Free Dog Food
Are you looking for a particularly healthy choice for your pet?
Then high protein no grain dog food might be the way to go.
This is also a great choice if your pup is allergic to grains, like mine is.
Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Natural Dry Dog Food. This dog food is made with real bison, as well as a variety of other ingredients.
It contains about 32% protein and 18% fat.
Furthermore, it has no grain, corn, wheat, or filler, and no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
CRAVE Grain-Free High Protein Dry Dog Food. This high protein dog food is made with real chicken, which provides the bulk of the protein.
Specifically speaking, it contains about 34% protein. This is only a slightly higher amount than the previous dog food mentioned.
Plus, it is also made with no chicken by-products, corn, wheat, or soy protein, and no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets High Protein Dry Dog Food. This dog food is great if your furry friend has any food allergies. It is limited ingredient, so there are very few contents that your dog could have a reaction to.
Much like the previous dog food, this high protein dog food contains 34% protein and 18% fat. This is a little low on the fat side, but it would make a wonderful dog food if your pup has any underlying conditions.
It is also, of course, made with zero grains. BLUE Wilderness High Protein Grain-Free Adult Dry Dog Food.
This high protein dog food is different from the previous ones discussed. Instead of the bulk of protein coming from a mammal, this dog food features salmon instead.
It also contains a variety of fruits and veggies to ensure complete, well-rounded nutrition.
On top of this, it contains no chicken by-products, and no corn, wheat, or soy.
High Protein Dry Dog Food
Dry dog food is both more convenient and easier to feed than wet dog food. It is so much easier to transport and feed dry dog food on the go!
However, it does not provide much moisture because, obviously, it’s dry! Plus, it can be more difficult for puppies and older dogs to eat.
Dry dog food might also be more easily contaminated.
Really, it is a matter of preference and particular circumstances.
Luckily, though, there are all kinds of high protein dry dog foods out there. Let’s take a look at a few!
Purina ONE SmartBlend True Instinct Real Salmon & Tuna Formula Dry Dog Food. This dog food does not advertise as being high protein. However, it does contain 30% crude protein, which is about as high as the previous dog foods we’ve discussed.
Furthermore, it also contains about the same level of fat as the other dog foods – 17%.
This dog food contains mostly salmon, which is where most of the protein comes from. It also contains a number of nutrients to keep your pooch health and happy.
Solid Gold High Protein Dry Dog Food; Barking at the Moon Grain-Free with Real Beef. This dog food is not as popular as some of the other high protein dog food brands.
However, it contains the most protein and fat out of the bunch.
It contains a whopping 40% protein and 20% fat – higher than any of the other high protein dog foods discussed.
It also contains no corn, wheat, or soy, as well as no artificial coloring or preservatives.
If you’re looking for a truly high protein dog food, this is the way to go.
BLUE Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe High Protein Grain Free Adult Dry Dog Food. This dog food is made with red meat. However, at 30%, it doesn’t contain a super high amount of protein.
On top of this, it only contains 10% fat.
If you’re looking for a slightly higher protein diet, this might be the way to go.
High Protein Wet Dog Food
What about high protein canned dog food?
Well, there is a lot available on the market in this category as well.
Wet dog food does provide your pooch with much-needed moisture. It might also be both more appetizing and easier for older or sick dogs to eat it.
On top of this, most wet dog food is higher in protein and fats compared to your average dry dog food.
However, wet dog food does not store as long as dry dog food, which means more trips to the store. Wet dog food might also upset your pooch’s stomach, especially if he or she was previously on kibble.
Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Canned Dog Food. This dog food not only contains beef as the first ingredient, but is also grain-free.
This might make it the perfect choice for an elderly dog with a sensitive stomach or the puppy who is just starting to wean.
High Protein Dog Food for Puppies
Are you looking to get your new furry friend off on the right foot?
Then a high protein dog food for puppies might be the way to go.
It is important to remember that puppies, perhaps even more than adult dogs, need a complete diet. This includes getting the appropriate amounts of fats as well as protein.
For this reason, it is important to check and make sure that your puppy’s food meets the proper nutritional standards.
Let’s look at a couple great choices.
Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Natural Dry Dog Food. This dog food is high in both protein and fats.
Plus, it is grain-free, which makes it easy on your new puppy’s belly.
It also comes in a number of flavors, depending on your puppy’s specific tastes.
BLUE Wilderness High Protein Grain Free Puppy Dry Dog Food. This dog food is very high in protein at 36%. Furthermore, it also has a decent amount of fat at 14%.
It is also grain-free, like many of the dog foods we’ve looked at. And it contains a variety of fruits and veggies to ensure all of your pup’s nutritional needs are met.
Instinct Raw Boost Grain Free Recipe Natural Dry Dog Food by Nature’s Variety. This is a very interesting dog food.
Not only does it contain high protein dog kibble (34%), but it also contains real bits of freeze-dried chicken.
I, personally, have never seen freeze dried bits in a dog food before, so I was extremely interested when I discovered it.
And guess what? My dogs loved it!
This bag, specifically, is for puppies, but they also make a similar formula for adult dogs.
High Protein Senior Dog Food
When it comes to feeding an aging dog, things can get complicated very quickly.
Not only do many senior dogs have underlying health conditions, but they are often times picky and prone to stomach issues.
I know feeding my own aging dog was a real problem, especially as she was diagnosed with kidney problems. Luckily, she has gotten a lot better, but I attribute a lot of her recovery to switching her dog food!
Let’s take a look at one of the best high protein senior dog food choices.
Instinct Raw Boost Grain Free Recipe Natural Dry Dog Food by Nature’s Variety. Once again – bits of freeze-dried chicken? I think yes!
This dog food is not only high in protein, but it also contains specific nutrients to support the aging dog. For example, natural DHA from chicken eggs to help keep your pup’s mind sharp.
High Protein for Dogs
Dogs are carnivores. They are made to eat protein!
However, this doesn’t mean that they don’t need other nutrients too, especially fat.
Because of this, it is always important to choose your dog food wisely and ensure that it provides complete nutrition.
References and Further Reading
- “Canine.” Encyclopedia Britannica.
- Hewson-Hughes, Adrian. “Geometric analysis of macronutrient selection in breeds of the domestic dog, Canis lupus familiaris.” Behavioral Ecology. 2013.
- Roberts, M. “Macronutrient intake of dogs, self‐selecting diets varying in composition offered ad libitum.” Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition. 2017.
- “Multistate outbreak of human Salmonella infections caused by contaminated dry dog food–United States, 2006-2007.” Morbidity and Morality Weekly Report. 2008.
- “The Pros and Cons of Wet Dog Food vs Dry Dog Food.” Toronto Veterinarian Hospital Network.