How Much Protein Do Dogs Need

Protein Requirements in Dog Food
Proteins are the foundations of pet nutrition and are essential for all phases of growth and development. They are extremely critical in the structural makeup of the immune system. Also, they are burned as calories and can be stored as and converted to fat.

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How Much Protein Do Dogs Require
Protein requirements vary between breeds, through rapid growth stages, and for senior dogs whose kidneys are compromised. Pregnant and lactating dogs need puppy food to provide higher levels of essential proteins. Debilitated, weak, and sick dogs also need protein supplements. Dogs with kidney disease may require a protein-restricted diet to reduce the effects of kidney disease. Basic protein recommendations include:

  • Puppy: Recommended protein 22-32 percent; recommended fat 10-25 percent
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  • Adult dog: Recommended protein 15-30 percent; recommended fat 10-20 percent
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  • Performance dog: Recommended 22-32 percent; recommended fat 15-40 percent
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  • Racing dog: Recommended 28-34 percent; recommended fat greater than 50 percent
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  • Lactating dog: Recommended 25-35 percent; recommended fat greater or equal to 20 percent

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Sources of protein in dog food
Traditional ingredients in dog food providing essential protein levels include beef, chicken, turkey, egg, soybeans, lamb, and fish meal. Protein also comes from plant sources, include corn and pea protein, although dogs digest nutrients from animals easier than they do from plants.

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What are the different kinds of protein
There are two types of protein for dog food: food of animal origin and plant origin.Protein from foods of animal origin include:

  • Lamb
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  • Beef
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  • Poultry
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  • Fish
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  • Dairy

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Protein also comes from plant origin:

  • Grains (oatmeal, wheat, rice, corn, barley)
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  • Fruits
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  • Fiber
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  • Vegetables
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  • Legumes
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  • Nuts and seeds

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Can I feed my dog too much protein
If your dog consumes too much protein, some eliminates through the urine and the remainder burns as calories or converts to fat. However, high protein diets are not advised for a dog with kidney problems. Many pet food manufacturers somewhat exceed the minimum recommended protein requirements to ensure that dogs receive sufficient protein from their food.

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High protein percentage vs lower
No, a greater proportion of protein does not necessarily mean that a dog food is better than one with a lower percentage or protein. While it is tempting to conclude that higher amounts of protein indicate more beneficial protein, this is not always the case. Always evaluate the protein source, not only the percentage, when comparing dog foods.

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Disclaimer: We are NOT licensed vets. DO NOT try to diagnose or treat animals based off this or any other information you find on the internet. This page is just basic information to help bring awareness to different health issues that are common in pets. If you pet is having any kind of medical issues, please seek professional treatment from a licensed vet who is trained and set up to handle such matters.
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