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February 23rd

How Much Protein Does Your Dog Need?

How Much Protein Does Your Dog Need?

You may know that your dog needs a lot of protein in their diet. They are related to wolves, after all! But how much protein do they really need to stay healthy?

Here, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about protein in your dog’s diet, as well as the best sources for finding high-quality food for your dog.

What Is Protein?

Proteins are one of the main building blocks for your dog’s body. They are one of the basic elements of any healthy diet, and help your dog grow, build strong muscle, and get plenty of energy. They are also important for your dog’s immune system, helping them fight off illness.

Proteins are made up of smaller blocks called amino acids. When your dog eats protein, it gets broken down into amino acids, which then are used to help grow and keep your dog’s body healthy. They are also used as fuel, giving your dog energy.

Do Dogs Need A Lot Of Protein?

The main ingredient in a dog’s diet has historically been meat.And meat contains high levels of protein. Even though most dogs eat manufactured food now, that doesn’t mean they need any less protein than they did before.

How much protein your dog will need will depend on a few different factors, such as their breed, age, and activity level. It is possible, however, to give some general estimates for how much protein young and old dogs should get.

Pump Up The Protein For Puppies

Most puppies will need more protein than adult dogs. That’s because they are growing, and building all of that muscle and other body tissue requires a lot of protein. Try to give your puppy a diet that is about 30% protein by weight. Don’t worry too much about being exact here. Anything from around 25% to 35% will be perfectly healthy.

Cut Down On Protein In Adult Dogs

Adult dogs need a lot less protein than puppies, as their bodies are no longer growing. Higher protein levels probably won’t hurt them, but they aren’t ideal. Aim for a diet that is about 20% protein by weight for your adult dog. Again, don’t worry too much about an exact number, as your adult dog will do just fine with a little less or a little more protein than this.

Active Dogs May Need More Protein

If your dog is very active, you may consider feeding it a bit more protein than you would a dog that spends most of its time lounging around the house. You can do this by supplementing their diet with a high quality protein source, such as cooked chicken. Or you can choose a dog food that is made specifically for high activity dogs, and has a nutrient blend tailored for that purpose.

Can I Feed My Dog Too Much Protein?

Protein makes up a large portion of a dog’s diet. But dogs also need a mix of other nutrients to stay healthy. Giving your dog too much protein will hurt them if the protein is coming at the expense of other key nutrients. Always make sure you are feeding your dog a balanced.

Make Sure You Aren’t Overfeeding Your Dog

If you are giving your dog all of the other proper nutrients, what will happen if you give them some extra protein?

The extra protein itself won’t cause much harm, but the extra calories could, leading to obesity and other health problems. If you are considering adding some more protein to your dog’s diet, make sure that you aren’t overfeeding them.

Feeding Your Dog High Quality Protein

Not all proteins are the same. Some are much easier for your dog’s body to break down into amino acids. This means your dog will be able to use the amino acids to help them grow and build muscle, as well as convert the protein into energy.

What Foods Have The Highest Quality Protein?

Eggs have just about the highest quality protein of any food out there, and are used as a reference point. Just about all of the protein contained in an egg can be used by the body.

Whole meats, such as chicken, beef, and lamb, also have very high quality protein. About 80% of the protein in meat can be used by your dog’s body, making them excellent sources of protein.

If you a lot of your dog’s protein comes from corn, you should be careful. Not only does corn have a lot of carbohydrates, only about 40% of the protein can actually be used by your dog’s body, which can leave your dog short of the protein it needs.

Picking The Right Food For Your Dog

Most dogs will do just fine if you buy them dog food from a reputable commercial manufacturer. Just make sure it passes our food test.

The protein in dog food can vary widely, depending on the brand and the type of dog the food was made for. Choose a food that is appropriate for your breed and their size. You shouldn’t worry too much about getting an exact protein number for your dog. If one brand is 30% protein and the other 32%, both will be fine for your dog. And always value quality over protein percentage alone.

Getting More Information On Dog Food

Some owners, however, may still want more details about how much protein is actually in their dog’s food. Fortunately, you can resort to the label to find most of the information you need about your dog’s diet.

You’ll need to be careful, however, and read the fine print before you buy. As we’ve seen, not all proteins are made the same. Some are of a higher quality, meaning your dog will get more use out of the same amount of protein.

Just because a dog food lists more protein per serving doesn’t mean your pup will actually get more protein that their body can use. Always look for the specific protein sources. Chicken, lamb, beef, and other meats are all great sources for your dog.

Other sources, such as grain, have protein that can’t as easily be used by your dog’s body. If you see chicken listed on the label, that’s a good sign. If you see bone meal, that is an indication your dog isn’t getting high quality protein. Look for foods that are made mainly of whole foods.

Check The Order Of The Ingredients

The ingredients will also be listed in order of weight. So that means there will be more of the first ingredient listed then there is one the eighth. If you see chicken as the first ingredient, that’s a good sign that the food is main mostly of high quality protein. If, however, you see five ingredients before the first whole meat, then you may want to look for a food that has more high quality protein.

Add Whole Meat To Your Dog’s Diet

If you don’t trust your commercial dog food, you could consider supplementing your dog’s diet with a whole meat. One of the best options is cooked chicken. You can be certain that your dog is getting plenty of high quality protein. Just make sure you remove all bones. And if you choose to feed your dog chicken in addition to regular dog food, make sure you are giving your dog slightly less dog food so that you don’t overfeed them.

Fortunately, getting your dog the right amount of protein is pretty straight forward. Most modern dog foods will give your dog a great balance of nutrients. Just make sure you choose a reputable brand, and read the ingredient list before you buy.

Still don’t have the dream dog? Head over to our puppy finder page to pick up the perfect puppy.

About Uptown Staff

Hey there! We're here to help dog owners keep their puppies happy and healthy throughout the dog's entire life by sourcing and creating the best products, services, and learning materials on the planet.