Don’t have time to look through our full guide to the best high protein dog food online right now? Don’t worry – the top pick from our list is Crave Lamb & Beef Dog Pate. After full testing and research, this was our unanimous top choice after checking out what others have to say, too.
Sometimes, it’s hard to know which dog food to buy for your pets. Do you buy quote-unquote adult dog food? What about dry dog food – does it necessarily contain enough protein and other nutrients? What about taste – is there any one or two brands or flavours of foods that dogs are likely to go for the most?
You can look at all kinds of ingredients and benefits that come with high quality dog food. Some will promise shiny coats, others will boost healthy skin, one or more might be grain free – there’s a lot to consider. However, what you should ideally be looking for is high protein dog food, as this is what your pet is likely going to want the most when it comes to keeping healthy, staying active and staying strong in the long run.
We all need a good amount of protein in our diets! But have you really thought about how much protein your dogs are getting in their food? Have you already started looking at high protein dog food online, and are unsure whether or not paying the prices available are really worth the effort?
In this buying guide, I’m going to take you through everything you need to know about high protein dog food. Whether you are a new dog owner or have owned pets for much of your life, there is still plenty for you to learn! At the end of my short guide to buying high quality, high protein dog foods, I’ll show you five of the top dog food products available for you to buy on the web right now.
In this guide, we will be reviewing the following high protein dog food:
- Crave Lamb & Beef Dog Food Pate
- AATU 80/20 Dry Dog Food
- Edgard & Cooper Natural Wet Dog Food
- Alpha Hi Performance Wheat Gluten Free Dry Food
- Forthglade Natural Grain Free Complete Food
Why Buy High Protein Dog Food?
Let’s address the elephant in the room. Why is it best to look for high protein dog food in the first place? Is protein really that important to their diets?
In short, yes. It’s absolutely crucial! Dogs thrive, of course, on many different nutrients and elements that you’ll find in a rich, complex mixture of foods. Protein, such as that from chicken, lamb and beef, helps to build up strength.
In fact, protein probably does more than you think. Protein in your adult dogs’ diets can help them to maintain healthy muscles, ligaments, and healthy skin. Believe it or not, protein can also help to maintain nails, too.
Protein is essential for pets. You will likely find that there are plenty of dog foods out there which are meat based, but which don’t necessarily go into too much detail on the protein content. That’s because the protein content of these pet foods isn’t always going to be that high. High protein content in dog food – whether it’s turkey meal or dry dog food – is something to shout about.
You might want to increase protein in your dog’s diet with ingredients such as extra meat, or even fruits and vegetables. Yes – plant based ingredients can be just as good for driving up high protein content, and this means that you can strike a balance between fruits and vegetables as well as various types of meat.
However, be sure to give your dogs a balance. They are carnivores, after all! For the most balanced diet and the best high protein balance you can give, make sure that they are receiving animal protein, such as chicken meal and turkey meal, as well as from ingredients such as fruits and vegetables.
Your Dog’s Ancestral Line
One of the best reasons to invest in animal proteins is for the simple fact that dogs are – by their very nature – carnivores and hunters. yes, it might be hard to imagine that Bichon Frise hunting down anything bigger than a daddy long legs, but it’s true. Dogs’ teeth are designed to tear meat, which means it is healthy for them to eat a balance of ingredients.
Dogs are descended from wolves. Therefore, it is easy enough to assume that you should be giving them plenty of real meat in their diets. However, you shouldn’t just be giving them meat to eat. They need to get protein and other nutrients from plants, too.
Even if you quickly glance over the general diet of a wolf in the wild, you will find that they forage for greenery, too. It’s just a pretty rare sight that you’ll see a fully vegan wolf avoiding hunting altogether!
Animal proteins are incredibly healthy as part of any dog diet. Dogs have an affinity to hunger after chicken, turkey and lamb. Many dogs even prefer fish to chicken – but it’s the fowl side of things that often goes down well with certain pets.
Therefore, try and look into a high protein diet plan that brings together an omnivore approach. Much like human beings, dogs need a diet that’s balanced with all kinds of things – except, of course, unnatural chemicals, grain or filler.
Protein and Weight
What can be difficult is maintaining your dog’s weight. If your pet could stand to lose a few pounds, it probably is tempting to put them on a restricted diet and to increase their exercise. However, as your vet will tell you, this does not always work well in practice.
As you may even know yourself, crash diets really should be avoided. They don’t work. If you are really worried about what is going to be the best weight for your dog – whether they need to gain or lose – you must approach your vet in the first instance. Do not buy dog kibble that claims to be a miracle diet cure, or even based on a few well-written adverts. The experts know best, and every dog’s ideal diet is likely to be slightly different.
Protein is something of a magical commodity in that while it can be used to help bulk up and actually gain weight, it’s useful for losing weight, too. Protein is much healthier than carbohydrates, which end up getting stored in the body and converted into unhealthy fat. The same goes for our bodies. Many people try and convert to lean chicken and lamb to try and cut fat.
Ultimately, high protein dog chow isn’t always going to be formulated to help your pet pile on the pounds. In many cases, a great balance of high protein and low carb will actually help them keep trim and maintain. Again, check in with your vet before you make any major changes.
Natural Ingredients Make a Difference
Yes, whether you are buying wet pet food or quality dry dog food, you should always prioritise natural ingredients as much as possible. If you wouldn’t feed artificial ingredients and filler to your family, why would your dog expect anything different? High protein dog food should always come with a natural approach first – as top quality ingredients can help to build for a healthier future.
Try and avoid anything that’s filler. Grain free dog food, as I’ve talked about in other buying guides, is an absolute winner. You can find plenty of chicken meal, lamb meal and turkey meal high protein meat which goes all out on the grain removal. You want to, ideally, look for healthy ingredients such as pure meat and vegetables that your dogs can thrive on.
That doesn’t mean you have to go all out on any ketogenic or super organic diet plans. If anything, being careful to look for grain free meat as well as healthy ingredients is as simple as just checking the can.
Think about what you’d normally do to check what’s on tinned and packet foods for your family. You’d probably check for high protein content here, too. Therefore, your best shot at getting high protein meat really shouldn’t be any different. Take a close look down that ingredient list and be sure you recognise what’s going into that dog bowl. Your dogs will thank you for it – even if most dogs will likely gulp down one or more of the iffier bits and pieces if it tastes good enough!
What Can I Feed My Dog That is High in Protein?
Just as you might normally look for foods that are rich in protein if you are on a diet yourself, you’d probably want to do the same for pet foods. When it comes to dogs, however, you can sway too far one way or the other when it comes to meat and plants.
It’s great to look for healthy meat such as chicken, turkey, lamb meal and fish. These are all fairly lean foods which are therefore likely to be low in fat. Chicken meal and turkey meal in particular should be super lean and still really high in protein.
However, go for a balance. Again, check out that ingredient list. Yes, it’s important to give your pet food that’s as natural as possible – and there is certainly nothing wrong with throwing them a few pieces of meat every now and again – but the best high protein foods for dogs have been thoroughly tested to bring the best out in your dogs.
That’s why I’ve set up this buying guide for high protein dogs’ food in the first place. There is a lot of competition and a lot of choice out there. One can of dog meat that says it is high in protein may not always be as healthy or as long term beneficial as the next one.
So – take it from me – it’s worth looking at specific chicken, lamb, turkey or fish based dog foods, at least, if you want to give your dogs a really good balance of meat and vegetables. You can get protein from plants and meat, remember!
Other Points to Consider
There are, of course, always going to be a few other things you might want to keep in mind when it comes to buying pet food, in particular high protein dog foods. When looking for the best high protein dog food around, you may forget to check some of the simpler factors and features to tinned and packet foods that apply across the board.
Here are a few general things to look for in dog food before you buy.
There are specific types of high protein fodder for your dog which might vary depending on their age and their size. Dogs of a certain age, as they get older, might need more support from high protein ingredients, such as animal protein and plant protein.
There’s also the fact that if you have a small dog or dogs, you probably shouldn’t lean too heavily on anything too stodgy or difficult for them to bite into. Small dogs, on the whole, take small bites!
Do you own dogs which are particularly hyper or high on energy? Then it’s likely high protein foods will benefit them. Big, bouncy dogs like border collies are probably going to do best eating chicken meal or lamb meal that can really help to top up those energy levels.
Even if your dog is a little more sluggish than most, or if they are older, protein is a must. In these cases, you will need to balance out their diet – not with diet fodder – but with low fat and low carb options. All dogs, on a diet or otherwise, will need carbohydrates, but too much is not healthy.
On the whole, for a healthy, energetic dog, as well as for dogs which are a little slower, you should probably consider around 20 to 25% protein in the foods you give them. That’s why it is so important to look for high protein content!
I don’t normally mention pricing too much when it comes to these buying guides, but when it comes to looking for high quality, protein rich dog food, you are going to need to be careful to strike a balance.
In some cases, dog food brands can really up the price when it comes to protein levels. Chicken and lamb meal, for example, can be surprisingly pricey.
At the same time, regardless of what’s in their bowls and regardless of whether or not your dogs are on some form of diet plan, do not willfully look into cheaper dog foods just for the sake of it. A lot of cheap dog food may skimp on the high quality protein for the sake of stocking up on filler.
So what’s the answer? Simple – you shop around. Look for foods for adult dogs such as turkey meal and chicken meal with the protein content suggested above. Check how much protein you can expect from a pricier can of dog food compared to a budget option.
Try and look for a midrange option when it comes to any high protein meals you buy for your dog. If you ask me, personally, if the ingredient lists are healthy and there’s plenty of great protein content, it should be worth every penny.
Flavours and Meats
If you have a really good idea of the meat and flavours that your dog loves the most, this is a great asset to your shopping experience. One of the worst things you can do is buy up dog food that might be high in protein, but which really doesn’t interest your dog.
Look for chicken, lamb, turkey and fish in particular if you really want to go for particularly high protein dog foods. Beef is good too, but lean meats will generally give you as much protein as possible per can.
Do also think about texture, too. Some meaty dog foods crammed with high quality protein will arrive in gravy, jelly, or even in rusk. There is nothing really wrong with any of these types on the surface, but you need to be really careful to avoid the artificial filling and grain that a lot of cheaper dog food tends to stock up opn.
Again, your dog may well have a bit of a preference for the texture of foods they prefer. Therefore, don’t feel bad if you really want to opt for gravy rather than kibble. Providing you check out the ingredients and measure out how much protein there is in the can or sachet, you are already doing a fantastic job.
Dry or Wet?
Yes, it’s that same old battle. The fact is, dry food and wet food can both be high protein, meaning that the idea of dry kibble being nothing but carb is a real misnomer.
It’s worth mixing both, in my experience. A diet rich in dry mulch or kibble is going to get a bit boring for your dog in the long run, and what’s more, you’re going to make things pretty dry in their mouths, too.
Moist, meaty chunks rich in protein are always going to go down a winner. Try and balance the two. Mix kibble or dry with wet meat and you will be giving your pet a fantastic variety.
I can’t stress this enough – no matter how you balance your dog’s dinners – go grain free. Trust me, your dog will be happier and healthier for it. I am speaking from experience!
What Are the Best High Protein Dog Foods?
It’s what you all came here for. Now we know a bit more about why protein is so important to adult dogs as well as puppies, let’s take a look at some of the top protein rich foods you can buy for your pet online right now. All five of the following picks are well-loved and thoroughly reviewed.
Best Protein Dog Food for Weight Gain – Crave Lamb & Beef Dog Food Pate
Crave is actually a brand of human protein rich supplements that’s branched out into the pet game! This high protein meal comes in a simple packet and offers zero grains, along with contents that are sourced, in the majority, from animals.
This is a tasty lamb and beef pate, but take a closer look at other protein rich treats out there and you will find chicken and other variants. The ingredient list is chock full of good stuff that you’ve definitely heard of, and a few of these each week will have your pet looking at healthy skin as well as healthy weight.
As mentioned, protein can be one of the best things you introduce into a dog’s diet for weight loss, but balanced correctly, you can help to bulk up skinnier or underweight pets, too.
- It’s pate, which tends to be a smaller dog staple
Best Grain Free Protein Food – AATU 80/20 Dry Dog Food
If I haven’t put the grain free angle across to you enough in this guide yet, take a close look at this brilliant chicken meal kibble from AATU. It’s a clear example of dry dog foods being just as chock full of protein as the wet stuff, and this brand’s no-nonsense, ethical approach is pretty refreshing.
I’m reviewing the 1.5kg starter bag, however, there are bigger bags that scale all the way up to 10kg. Available in chicken, salmon, turkey, duck and even shellfish flavours, this is a light, delicious kibble that’s made with plenty of fruit and veg, too.
It’s an 80/20 mix, so you’re going to need to blend this with a protein rich wet food, too, so you get the best balance of nutrients and chicken taste.
- May be a little expensive for some
Best Wet High Protein Food for Dogs – Edgard & Cooper Natural Wet Dog Food
Speaking of balancing with the wet stuff, this grain free wet sachet range is reasonably priced and comes in a series of fantastic flavours. Game and duck is the pick for this list, but there is also duck and chicken meal options available if your pet prefers something a little different.
This wet option comes with genuine meat packed in, meaning there is never any worry that you are going to be bulking your pets up with any nasty processed stuff. You should also take a look at the fantastic balance between protein and omega 9 in this fodder, as they work together wonderfully to give your pet that extra bit of an energy boost they might be lacking.
- Really best for adult dogs
Top Gluten Free Dog Food – Alpha Hi Performance Wheat Gluten Free Dry Food
If you’re trying to keep your dog off the gluten, this high performance mix is a great choice. This food is also free from wheat and offers stacks of natural, healthy protein which is ideal for dogs who are likely to be more than a little bit boisterous!
This complete mix should give you everything you need to get your pet’s health up to optimum level. There are even more meal options from the same brand, with many choices in flavours as well as those mixes which work best for dogs such as greyhounds. You get a fair amount of food in the bag, too.
- May not be a brand many people have heard of
Most Affordable Protein Dog Food – Forthglade Natural Grain Free Complete Food
Lastly, if you really want to save money on chicken meal or other types of high protein food, this is a great choice. You get a box of four duck, four turkey and four lamb sachets for the price, which should be plenty of meals catered for over time.
This mix is hypoallergenic and is free from grain, and leads with the idea of completely natural ingredients. Therefore, it’s likely to be a great choice if you genuinely care about what your dog is likely to want to eat! Give them a break from chicken meal options and mix things up in the most natural way possible. The lack of focus on processing here is actually a breath of fresh air.
- Might not appeal to all dogs
If you’re tired of buying the same old chicken meal and want to give your dog something a bit different – and more of a healthy kick, for one thing – then you should really keep an eye out for high protein mixes. It is probably easy to assume that all dog food is formulated with their health in mind, however, it is always a good plan to make sure you check those ingredients as much as possible.
You may already have a firm favourite brand in mind or in place on your shopping list. That’s great – but if you are worried about your dog’s weight, energy levels or any other part of their health, it may be worth looking into making a few changes. Why not start with protein? Our personal recommendation would be the Crave Lamb & Beef Dog Pate as it’s full of nutrients without costing a fortune.
Once again, before you change anything about your dog’s diet or what you give to them regularly, always ensure that you speak to your vet carefully about what you have in mind. Otherwise, you may end up doing more harm than good.
Do have a good idea about what your dog likes to eat, and which brands are likely to appeal to you the most. However, make a serious point about checking ingredients, and asking a vet about increasing protein day on day. They may even be able to help you pick from the top five products I’ve listed here!
Take a good look through and really treat your pet to food they not only love, but which is going to support them long term. Don’t throw the same chicken meal at them time and again – look for lamb meal, real chicken, and nutrients to boost healthy skin, energy levels and more.