Dogs may be omnivores but rely on proteins to help them thrive. Before they were domesticated, dogs lived a life similar to that of bears and wolves, which means they mainly subsisted on animal proteins. Meat or animal protein comes with amino acids that develop a dog’s muscles, joints, and skin. Dogs can also get proteins from plant sources such as peas and lentils though these are considered of lesser value. It is possible to get some of these options from commercial dog foods, but a better option would be fresh dog food subscription like Farmer’s Dog brand.
Top Protein Sources for Dogs
Not all dog foods are equal, as some are easier to digest to extract nutrients. It ties into the biological value of the food, which is how best dogs can render the product from food and absorb it into their systems. Those foods that have a high biological value are the best protein sources. Those that are highly digestible provide the best value for your dog. However, it is still important to know how much protein a dog needs. The following are some of your pet’s most digestible protein sources, regardless of the breed.
Eggs are some of the best protein sources for dogs considering they include valuable nutrients that improve several aspects of your dog’s health. They are also included in dog formulas from the Nom Nom brand and several homemade diets. Eggs carry six grams of protein each and omega fatty acids, riboflavin, folate, selenium, vitamin B12, and vitamin A. These increase red blood cell production, improve thyroid functioning, protect nerve tissue, and aid immunity. You may be surprised that eggs are a better protein source than meat, as dogs can render more protein from them, provided they are cooked.
Meat sources are a favorite protein option for dogs. Red meat is the most natural protein source the dog can consume as it is the main diet dog’s ancestors consumed before domestication. Dogs can eat muscle, organs, and ground bone, providing essential amino acids, selenium, iron, and zinc. Red meats also carry several health advantages, such as hemoglobin production, thyroid function, better metabolism, and DNA production. It is a favorite component in BARF diet for dogs.
Poultry is a great meat protein choice for dogs that do not live on or around farms. Both chicken and duck offer a lean white meat option, carrying a healthy amount of nutrients for your pets. They also have less fat content than beef and other red meat, so it would be a good option for dogs requiring weight management. The meat also has pantothenic acid, which helps your dog break down fats. Iron and copper within the meat balance hemoglobin and maintain the nerve tissue. Some dogs have chicken allergies, so it would be advisable to check for any sensitivity.
Fish is a whole protein option you can add to the dog’s diet. It is especially high in protein but carries low amounts of fat, making it a great weight loss alternative for your dog. It is also a protein booster for dogs needing a moderate-calorie diet. Fish comes with several nutrients like calcium, phosphorous, calcium, omega-three fatty acids, iron, zinc, and iodine. These improve bone structure, aid in skin conditions, regulate the level of hemoglobin, and assist the immune system functions. If you want to feed your dogs fish, you can choose from salmon, cod, canned tuna, or flounder. A few dogs may have sensitivities to fish, so if they have an adverse reaction, you can stop. Similarly, ask the veterinarian to verify if your pet has a fish allergy.
It is one of the rarer meat options, but if you are a hunter and have a stock of fresh game, it might be worth adding to your dog’s food. Deer or elk are great venison sources as they offer lean red meat. The meat does not have a high-fat content, providing nutrients like calcium, iron, potassium, niacin, and phosphorous. These strengthen the bones, support nerve function and assist with the digestion of food. Venison is also an excellent option for dogs with allergies to common protein sources like beef or chicken.
Dogs also benefit from plant protein options though they seem unnecessary. They have several significant nutritional advantages like nerve function, red blood cell creation, antioxidant support to boost immunity, and the regulation of blood sugar levels. Some preferred plant-based protein alternatives include peas, lentils, and chickpeas. Several of these are included in both fresh and homemade food platforms. However, some of the plant-based proteins can trigger food allergies and sensitivities  within your dog, so it would be advisable to consult with the vet beforehand.
How can I add more protein to my dog’s diet?
There are different protein options you can add to the dog’s diet. Depending on your dog’s specifications, it controls how much protein to feed them as well. You can include raw or scrambled eggs to achieve a balanced diet. Alternatively, you can add cooked meat such as chicken or beef liver and heart. Canned fish like salmon and mackerel are an option as well.
What’s the healthiest protein for dogs?
Eggs are said to have the highest biological value for dogs. Fish and chicken are also of great value, as well as red meats. These options are the most digestible forms of protein for your dog. Plant protein has the lowest biological value but is still important as a dietary addition.
What is the easiest protein for dogs to digest?
Some proteins are easier to digest for dogs compared to others. Eggs are more digestible than other protein options, while beef and chicken come second as red meats.