Which type of meat provides the right protein for my dog?

Like humans, your dog needs the right kind and proportion of various nutrients to have a balanced diet. As such, it is critical that your dog gets enough of these nutrients to function and thrive. In this article, we will be focusing on proteins in dog food, their importance for dogs, and how to ensure your dog obtains the right amount and kind of proteins.

Why do dogs need protein?

Protein is one of the primary nutrients that dogs need. Protein is important because of its composition of amino acids, which serves as the building blocks for basic cell functions like cell repair and growth. Every dog requires these 10 essential amino acids, namely:

  1. Arginine 
  2. Histidine 
  3. Isoleucine 
  4. Leucine 
  5. Lysine 
  6. Methionine 
  7. Phenylalanine 
  8. Threonine 
  9. Tryptophan
  10. Valine 

There are actually quite a few different kinds of amino acids that dogs need for a healthy metabolism but the good news is they are able to synthesise most of these naturally if they eat enough of the above amino acids. This is why they are categorised as essential amino acids. These need to be ingested from the diet and then used as building blocks for all other amino acids. 

As such, feeding your dog enough protein is important to ensure that they can function properly and healthily. Conversely, a lack of protein can cause a dog to suffer from protein deficiency, causing serious health complications relating to your dog’s skin, hormones, and growth, which may lead to behavioural changes in your dog.

To avoid such problems from arising, your dog’s diet requires the right amount and balance of protein. Everyone knows that pets receive their protein intake from meat. But the question is, which kind of protein should my dog consume? What type of meats should you include in your dog’s diet to ensure that they obtain the correct types of protein?

While a mix of protein in dog food is common for most dogs, they can develop an allergy to specific protein sources over time. Hence, if you suspect that your dog has developed such an allergy or sensitivity to certain kinds of protein sources, it is better to seek out the help of a veterinarian for a better diagnosis and treatment process.

Sources of protein in meat for pets

Different kinds of meat provide different types and levels of protein for your dog. As such, it is vital to cho

ose a mix of different cuts of meat and organs to include in your dog‘s food to meet the right protein needs.


  • Chicken - a popular protein among pet owners; chicken consists of high-quality nutrients in dog food. Besides protein, vitamins B3, B6, phosphorus, and selenium can also be found in this meat.
  • Duck - while less common, duck is lean meat that is easily digestable, though it contains slightly less protein than other meat for pets becuase of its higher moisture and fatty acid content. For allergy-prone dogs or sensitive stomachs, this is a popular protein source.

 Red Meat

  • Beef - when it comes to protein in dog food, the beef heart and liver are especially nutritious. These organs contain higher levels of protein and vitamins. Beef muscle meat is a standard and popular starter choice. 
  • Lamb - suitable option to address allergies while providing the essential proteins.
  • Pork - not only is it an excellent source of amino acids, it is also rich in thiamine, which is an essential mineral required for cells to function.

Game Meat

  • Kangaroo - popular among allergy-prone canines; kangaroo is an extremely lean meat option for pets, providing a substantial amount of protein in dog food.
  • Venison - contains a high amount of vitamin Bs and the right amount of zinc and iron for your pet.
  • Crocodile - An unusual choice, usually fed to dogs with many protein allergies since it is so uncommon. Very lean meat for pets, good for dogs with pancreatitis as well. 


  • Fish - such as salmon, tend to be thought of as cat food but are also excellent protein sources for dogs when cooked. Plus, they also provide the added bonus of omega-3 fatty acids.

If you are unsure what protein your dog may be allergic to and an allergic reaction occurs, you can try switching from the current protein-fed to food from a single protein source. This can help you identify the source of allergy while seeking out the right meat for your pet.

How much protein does my dog need in its diet?

The amount of protein your dog needs differs based on their breeds, ages, sizes, and many other factors. Generally, adult dogs need at least 45 grams of protein per 1000 calories of food (kcal ME), while puppies require at least 56.3 grams of protein per kcal ME for growth.

Digestibility of protein

Even with the same percentage of protein, the digestibility of protein in a dog’s food can significantly differ, affecting the protein’s absorption rates. In lower quality dog food, the proteins in dog food are often less digestible as compared to those in high-quality dog foods. Therefore, a diet made from high-quality human grade proteins, including premium grade, whole-food ingredients, can better meet your dog’s protein needs.


Now that you know why and how protein is an important nutrient for your dog’s healthy growth, it is crucial to ensure that your dog gets enough protein in its diet. As different kinds of meat and dairy contain different types and amounts of protein, you should also give your dog a good mix of different protein sources for optimal growth.

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