There are so many choices of what to feed your dog, and in regard to protein content they can vary hugely! So, how much protein is right for your dog?

This does depend on several different factors, including the life stage of your dog – are they a puppy, adult or senior? Is your dog extremely active or working? Is your dog a pregnant or lactating mother? What breed is your dog?

Lets start at the start…

A complete food means that the food will provide all the nutrition your dog needs without needing to feed any other foods. There are minimum recommendations in place for complete diets to maintain health. For a puppy up to 14 weeks of age 25%* is the minimum recommended protein. This reduces to 20%* over 14 weeks of age. An adult dog’s protein requirement then drops again to 18%*.  Pregnant or lactating mother dogs need a minimum of 25%* protein, the same as their puppies.

How much is too much?

As many foods on the market now contain higher protein than this – up to 40%* these minimum levels are being blown away! Especially with the trend for “all life stage” and “ancestral” type foods. However, some diets with high protein levels can be too much for some dogs and cause digestive issues. This is because even highly digestible protein sources in the food are not completely digestible by the dog. This means, the higher the protein, the higher the indigestible protein portion of the diet also becomes. Which can, in some dogs, cause less than ideal toilet situations!

Many dogs do better with protein levels on the lower side of this range. Protein levels of 18%* to 25* are widely accepted for adult dogs. For puppies, this well accepted protein level would be up to approximately 30%*. Some dogs thrive on a higher protein diet. However, for those who don’t reducing the dietary protein back down to the lower end of the scale is preferential for maintain good digestive health.

*Protein percentages are based on a 100g dry matter food. As different food types contain different quantities of water. For example dry kibble to wet pouches. Protein is calculated this way to make it a stable comparison.

If your dog’s digestion is not ideal on a food containing high protein, or they aren’t holding their weight well, then we recommend trying a diet with a lower protein content. 

Have you seen our Facebook Group Dog Food Demystified?
It is a growing community of like minded pet parents.

We’d love for you to join us!