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6 Best Protein Sources For Dogs: Everything You Should Know!

You are aware that dogs are omnivores, consuming both meat and vegetables. You may notice advertisements for high-protein dog food recipes, or you may just wish to give your dog a protein boost. Many are also experimenting with homemade and raw diet meals.

So, regardless of your motivation for consuming protein-rich foods, what are your options? Let's learn all about protein for your dog in "6 Best Protein Sources for Dogs: Everything You Should Know!" by BestForPets (bestforpets.org).

Why Do Dogs Need Protein?

Dogs need animal protein for survival and growth. It is the most essential nutrient in their diet. Animal proteins, also known as complete proteins, provide amino acids that promote the development of your dog’s skin, muscles, and joints, allowing their bodies to be completely functioning.

Additionally, your dog benefits from plant proteins, which are incomplete proteins. Naturally abundant in protein, starchy vegetables like peas, chickpeas, and lentils are commonly used in commercial dog food formulations.

Homemade vs Commercial Diets

Commercial diets have undergone extensive testing to ensure that each formulation meets the nutritional requirements for dogs. To get the same result with homemade recipes, a great deal of concentration and precise measuring is required.

Commercial Diets

A group of nutritional specialists and manufacturers develop commercial diets. Each recipe changes significantly based on brand and nutritional goal. For maintenance, the protein percentage of a commercial recipe must be at least 18%.

However, certain adult dog food recipes for high-energy dogs may include more than 40% crude protein. It is essential to provide your dog with sufficient protein based on its life stage, age, weight, and degree of exercise.

Homemade Recipes

There is a great deal of control over homemade diets. Without having to worry about unpronounceable substances, you are completely aware of what your dog is consuming. And regardless of what the bag states, you are aware of the exact amount of protein in their food.

Consultation with your veterinarian is a key element of preparing homemade meals. If you omit even one essential ingredient, the dish will be off-balance, and your dog will not receive the proper nutrients.

Inaccurate measurements might result in malnutrition or excess nutrition.

The 6 Best Protein Sources for Dogs

If you’re searching for protein supplements to add to your dog’s diet, you should be aware of all available possibilities. Knowing the most beneficial ingredients will help you create a well-balanced diet that your veterinarian will approve of if you decide to create your own recipes.

Here are some fantastic protein sources and their health benefits for your dog.

1. Eggs

According to the American Kennel Club, eggs are a safe and nutritious source of protein for your dog. Eggs lack the necessary nutritional value to constitute a daily meal, but they make an excellent topping or solitary snack that your dog will enjoy.

Your dog can eat eggs from the following birds:

  • Chicken eggs
  • Ducks eggs
  • Quail eggs

Eggs are loaded with beneficial elements that boost several areas of a dog’s health, such as the 6 grams of protein per egg. These are some vitamins and minerals:

  • Omega fatty acids – these fatty acids are beneficial for skin, hair, and nails.
  • Riboflavin – This vitamin transforms carbohydrates into fuel, hence increasing energy.
  • Folate – this vitamin enhances the synthesis of red blood cells.
  • Iron – iron is required for the formation of hemoglobin, myoglobin, and hormones.
  • Selenium – this is a necessary mineral for thyroid function and DNA replication.
  • Vitamin B12 – this vitamin is protective for nerves and cells.
  • Vitamin A – this vitamin contributes to immunity and eyesight health.

It should be noted that while eggs are helpful for many dogs, others may develop an allergy to them. Additionally, you should never give your dog raw eggs since they may contain salmonella, which can make your dog sick.

2. Fish

Fish is a healthy protein that may be added to your dog’s diet at any time. Fish is strong in protein and low in fat, making it an ideal protein supplement for dogs that require a moderate-calorie diet.

Some delicious fish that are excellent sources of protein include:

  • Flounder
  • Whitefish
  • Salmon
  • Cod
  • Canned tuna

Fish is chock-full of potent elements that boost general health, and not only for the protein content. Among the essential elements found in fish are:

  • Calcium – helps build and maintain healthy bones.
  • Phosphorus – aids in the development of strong bones and protein.
  • Omega-3 – fatty acid promotes healthy skin, hair, and joints.
  • Iron – regulates the formation of hemoglobin and myoglobin in the body.
  • Zinc – supports the immune system and metabolism.
  • Iodine – this is necessary for proper thyroid function.

Some dogs may be allergic to fish, so if they have bad reactions, discontinue serving it. Your veterinarian can confirm a seafood allergy.

3. Poultry

Additionally, you may steam or prepare a variety of poultry options for your dog. Poultry is a lean, white meat alternative that is filled with protein.

Examples of poultry include

  • Duck
  • Chicken
  • Turkey

Chicken and turkey are wonderful sources of protein for your dog. It has less fat than beef and other red meats, making it an excellent alternative for dogs requiring weight management. Some delicacies found in fowl are:

  • Unsaturated lipids – which improve cholesterol levels and maintain cardiac rhythm – are referred to as unsaturated lipids.
  • Pantothenic acid – aids in the breakdown of lipids in your dog’s body.
  • Copper – maintains nerves, blood vessels, and energy.
  • Iron – balances the formation of hemoglobin and myoglobin.
  • Thiamine – supports the operation of the neurological system and metabolism.

Some dogs may be highly allergic to chicken, turkey, or duck protein, so keep an eye out for any allergic reactions.

4. Venison

If you are a hunter with access to fresh game, you may be able to feed your dog fresh venison. It is a fantastic, hormone-free option for home-cooked meals and snacks. It can also be dehydrated to create excellent jerky snacks.

Types of venison include:

  • Deer
  • Elk

Venison is a lean and nutritious red meat that will fuel your dog’s body. It may be difficult to obtain if you do not hunt, but it is a healthier alternative to certain heavy red meats.

  • Calcium – builds and strengthens bones.
  • Iron – is responsible for the formation of hemoglobin and myoglobin.
  • Phosphorous – is a mineral that strengthens bones and muscles.
  • Potassium – is essential for nerve and muscle function.
  • Niacin – supports healthy digestion and skin functioning.

It is considered a new protein, therefore your dog has likely never encountered it. This makes it an excellent choice for dogs with sensitivities to common protein sources.

5. Red Meat

Red meat does not have the same detrimental effects on dogs as it does on people. The majority of red meats are beneficial and healthful for your dog. However, because to the high fat content, these menu items should not be used as the primary source of protein.

The following red meats are excellent additions to your dog’s diet:

  • Lamb or mutton
  • Beef
  • Bison

Red meat is rich in protein, providing a robust base for muscular growth and joint support. Among the nutritional benefits of red meat are:

  • Vitamin B12 – facilitates DNA synthesis.
  • Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids – promote organ health.
  • Selenium – nourishes parts of the body associated with thyroid function.
  • Iron – this mineral is responsible for the production of hemoglobin and myoglobin.
  • Zinc – benefits the metabolism and the immune system.

Red meat may have amazing health advantages, particularly the more exotic varieties. Novel proteins, such as bison, are ideal since they often generate less allergic reactions.

6. Plant-Based Proteins

You can routinely provide plant-based protein options in addition to meat-based protein options. To flourish, dogs require plant matter just as they do animal stuff.

Some forms of plant-based protein that may be fed to your dog include:

  • Peas
  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas

Proteins derived from plants provide several nutritional benefits for dogs. As a result of their health-promoting properties, they are commonly used in commercial dog food recipes.

  • Potassium – is an essential nutrient for muscle and nerve function.
  • Folate – produces healthy blood cells
  • Vitamin A – supports healthy eyesight and reproduction.
  • Vitamin C – is an antioxidant that supports the immune system.
  • Magnesium – regulates blood sugar levels.

Certain plant-based proteins can cause food allergies and sensitivities in certain dogs. Consult your veterinarian first.

Animal Products to Avoid

While dogs are likely to appreciate virtually any sort of protein, there are a few that should be avoided.


Bones Although dogs enjoy bones, they are not the ideal chew toys. Bones can create blockages of the intestines and other internal harm.


Animal byproducts include non-whole-meat sources such as foot, liver, lungs, and other animal parts. Numerous domesticated dogs have developed sensitivity to various animal parts, resulting in allergic responses.

Raw Meat

Raw meat is not inherently harmful to your dog’s health, but it can have negative effects on his health. Salmonella and listeria are among the pathogens that may thrive in uncooked meat.

Vegan or Vegetarian Dogs: What Does It Mean for Health?

If you are ecologically conscientious and do not eat or use any animal products, you can consider feeding your dog a vegan diet. However, is this truly beneficial for their general health? It is a monumental choice for owners in your position.

Although it is possible to produce vegetarian or vegan dishes, research indicates that this is not the best diet for your dog. When providing meals devoid of animal protein, extreme caution must be exercised.

Even if you have qualms or misgivings about purchasing animal products, it is probably preferable to feed your dog a natural diet. However, if your moral conscience prevents you from doing so, you should consult your veterinarian about the finest vegetarian and vegan dog diets.

Final Thoughts

The majority of your dog’s diet consists of the very useful and essential nutrient protein. It is the foundation of both commercial and homemade dog meals.

After reading “6 Best Protein Sources for Dogs: Everything You Should Know!” by BestForPets (bestforpets.org), now you are aware of the types of protein sources you may feed your dog. Each animal and plant-based protein has nutritional value. Consult your veterinarian before preparing homemade meals for your pet to guarantee adequate nutrition.

Author Image

Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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