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Nutrition Guide: How Much Protein Does a Dog Need?

Nutrition Guide: How Much Protein Does a Dog Need?

Protein requirement for dogs is one of the most important aspects of nutrition, but how much protein does a dog need?

Although protein makes an essential part of a dog’s diet, it is also often one of the most misunderstood aspects of dog nutrition. Every dog owner I know talks about nutrition in their pets as one of the real concerns, and there is usually a misunderstanding about protein in a dog’s diet.

Like a responsible dog owner, you only need to give your dogs the best nutritional value as possible, and understanding the importance of protein in your dog’s diet is as good a start as any.

Why Is Protein Important in Dog Nutrition?

The Importance of protein to dogs

It is important to keep a well-balanced diet so dogs will stay healthy and happy, and that includes giving them protein-rich foods.

Protein, which is made of amino acids, plays a huge role in overall health for dogs. It helps maintain muscle mass, skin, nails, and fur. Protein is also an essential component for maintaining a strong immune system for dogs and in forming enzymes that can help turn chemical reactions in their cells. Protein is also an essential source of energy for dogs.

Without enough protein in their diet, it forces their body to break down muscles to fill the gap of their needed amino acids, which ultimately leads to immune dysfunction, muscle wasting, and overall health issues.

So, if you want a healthier, more active, and happier dog, give them enough protein in their daily diet.

How Much Protein Does a Dog Need?

protein foods for dog

The amount of protein required in a dog’s diet depends on several factors, such as your dog’s age, current health status, reproductive status, and the dog’s activity level. But there are several ways and guides to help you make sure that you give enough protein to your dogs.

As a rough approximation, the protein required for a dog will depend on its ideal body weight. So, a 30-lb dog at its ideal body weight will most likely need 30 grams of protein daily. An overweight dog, like a 38-lb dog that should be just around 30-lbs, the protein requirement should be 30 grams per day.

The AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) has also set minimum standards for necessary nutrients for pets. The most basic guide from AAFCO in terms of protein for dogs is 22.5% (on dry dog food) for dog growth and reproduction and 18% for adult maintenance. But, if you can find dog foods that meet the standard of AAFCO, that will ensure that your dog gets the minimum nutrients needed.

The FEDIAF (European Pet Food Industry) has also released a more detailed version of the AAFCO pet nutrient standard. For dogs in early growth and reproduction (less than 14 weeks old) requires 25 grams of protein or 100 grams of dry matter. Dogs in late growth (over 14 weeks old) require 20 grams of protein or 100 grams of dry matter.

Adult dogs that eat more because of high energy levels will need 18 grams of protein or 100 grams of dry matter. For adult dogs that eat less because of low energy levels, it requires more protein, about 21 grams of protein or 100 grams of dry matter.

How Much is Too Much Protein in Dogs

Although protein is necessary for dog nutrition, like everything else, too much is never good. It means that too much protein in your dog’s diet might not be good too.

Dogs will only be able to digest and absorb the protein that their body needs for maintaining their muscle mass and other tissues. Any excess protein in their diet can either be disposed of through urine or stored in their body as fat.

If your pets are putting on weight, it might be ideal for checking the amount of protein you are giving them. Also, if there are yellow spots in your backyard where your dog is usually doing its business, that might also be because of too much protein in its diet.

3 Best Raw Dog Food Options Rich in Protein

chiwawa eating bone as a protein food

There are a lot of protein sources for dogs. Good-quality dog foods provide your pet with their needed nutrition, and that includes protein. But if you want to give them fresh protein-rich foods, here are some great and wholesome options that could level up the amount of protein in your dog’s diet.

  1. Raw Meat

Raw meat is usually one of the common and best sources for protein in dogs. You can choose from a large variety of animal-related protein-rich sources for your pet. Your options include beef, pork, chicken, turkey, duck, fish, and even rabbit meat.

  1. Muscle Meat

Meats than comes from muscles and other by-products are also great protein sources for dogs. We also consider animal organs a large part of the canine diet in the wild. That includes kidneys, livers, lungs, and hearts from animal sources.

  1. Grains and Oil Seeds

Another wholesome source of protein for dogs, and also the simplest to add in their diets are grains and oilseeds. There are many types of grains you can give your pet, such as corn and wheat, which are excellent protein sources. For oilseeds, you can give dogs soybeans.

If your dog doesn’t have any specific sensitivity to protein, it’s ideal to combine different protein-rich food sources like chicken, fish, and eggs as well to give your dog other healthy nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids for their overall health.


Protein is an essential part of a dog’s diet. To ensure they have optimum health, give your dogs a balanced diet and their minimum protein requirement. But too much protein also wouldn’t be good for your pet’s health.

Ultimately, there isn’t one best protein source for dogs. It will largely depend on your personal preferences, budget, and your dog’s specific needs and health requirement.

Related Topic: 4 Effective Ways on How to Calm a Dog’s Stomach


    • https://www.petfoodindustry.com/blogs/7-adventures-in-pet-food/post/7231-pet-food-protein-how-much-is-too-much
    • https://www.hillspet.com/dog-care/nutrition-feeding/too-much-protein-in-dog-food
    • https://www.purina.com/articles/dog/nutrition/best-protein-for-dogs
    • https://www.thespec.com/shopping-story/6943326-raw-protein-sources-for-dogs-which-is-best-/


  • https://www.hillspet.com/dog-care/nutrition-feeding/too-much-protein-in-dog-food
  • https://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/evr_dg_focusing_on_protein_in_the_diet

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Hi, everyone! My name is Mathew Barham and I’m the editor in charge here at M-Dog. I’m currently based in Northampton, Pennsylvania, where I live with my beautiful wife, two amazing kids, and four rowdy rescue dogs. Growing up, my parents had a huge backyard and lots of animals. So my entire life, I was surrounded by pets that I cared for deeply. When my wife and I moved into a bigger place, I knew that I wanted to do the same for my family. That’s when we went to an animal shelter and fell in love with the most adorable little rescue pup. Since then, our family just kept growing, and we couldn’t be happier about it.