The 8 Best High Protein Dog Foods

By Kevin Myers | 2020 Update

There are many reasons why a dog owner wants to provide their furry buddy a protein-rich diet. Whether you’ve just bought home a puppy with high nutrition requirements, or have a nursing or pregnant dog at home, or just trying to keep up with the nutritional demands of your super active dog, you’ve landed on the right page.

You may be overwhelmed with the variety of protein-loaded recipes available in the market right now. And while offering the best nutrition to your dog is an excellent idea, it is also important to keep in mind that not all protein is created equally. Therefore, you must take into account the nutritional information provided to ensure you’re not misled.

In this article, we will highlight our top 15 choices to help you make an informed decision. So regardless of why you want to give high-protein dog food to your four-legged friend, choosing an option from the list below will ensure you’re selecting the best option for your pet.

Let’s dive in!

The Best High Protein Dog Foods

Top ProductsRatingWhat We Like About This Food
1. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Salmon Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food4.7Grain-Free, High-Protein, No Corn No Wheat No Soy
2. Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken & Freeze-Dried Raw Pieces Dry Dog Food4.5High-Protein, Gluten Free, Grain-Free, No Corn No Wheat No Soy, Raw, Natural
3. Crave High Protein White Fish & Salmon Adult Grain-Free Dry Dog Food4.7Grain-Free, High-Protein, No Corn No Wheat No Soy
4. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal & Chicken Meal Recipe Dry Dog Food4.7Grain-Free, Gluten Free, No Corn No Wheat No Soy, High-Protein
5. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food4.7Grain-Free, Gluten Free, High-Protein
6. Nature’s Logic Canine Chicken Meal Feast All Life Stages Dry Dog Food4.5High-Protein, Gluten Free, No Corn No Wheat No Soy, Pea-Free, Natural
7. Diamond Naturals Extreme Athlete Formula Dry Dog Food4.6No Corn No Wheat No Soy, Pea-Free, High-Protein
8. VICTOR Hi-Pro Plus Formula Dry Dog Food4.6High-Protein, Gluten-Free, No Corn No Wheat No Soy, Pea-Free

1. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Salmon Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Protein (min.) 34% | Fat (min.) 15% | Fiber (max.) 6% | Moisture (max.) 10%

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Salmon, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Peas, 4. Pea Protein, 5. Menhaden Fish Meal

This protein-rich diet by Blue Buffalo Wilderness is made with natural ingredients. Choose this diet if your dog is allergic to chicken or poultry because this meal is 100% free from all poultry options. Additionally, it does not contain soy, corn, wheat, and artificial flavors and preservatives. What’s more is that the protein content is derived from real deboned salmon that helps with building lean muscle mass.

Other than rich protein content, the recipe is a precise blend of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants selected by animal nutritionists and holistic veterinarians. All of these factors contribute to a healthy oxidative balance, which is crucial for the wellbeing of dogs. If you’re looking for the best high protein option that’s nutritionally well-balanced by all means, this option is highly recommended.


2. Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken & Freeze-Dried Raw Pieces Dry Dog Food

Protein (min.) 37% | Fat (min.) 20.5% | Fiber (max.) 4% | Moisture (max.) 9%

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Peas, 4. Chicken Fat, 5. Tapioca

This Instinct freeze-dried dog food derives the majority of its animal protein from cage-free chicken. The grain-free recipe includes real chicken and freeze-dried raw pieces to provide maximum animal protein for an instant boost of energy. This unique recipe includes everything that your dog can thrive on as it combines the benefits of raw nutrition with the kibble into every bowl.

Let your dog enjoy boosted nutrition as it also includes probiotics that support digestive health, antioxidants for a stronger immune system, and rich levels of essential omegas for a healthier coat and skin. Made in the USA, this diet is crafted with the finest ingredients to keep up with your dog’s great health.


3. Crave High Protein White Fish & Salmon Adult Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Protein (min.) 34% | Fat (min.) 17% | Fiber (max.) 3.5% | Moisture (max.) 10%

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. White Fish, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Lentils, 4. Split Peas, 5. Chicken Fat

With as much as 34% protein, this diet by Crave is a protein-rich option with white fish as the primary ingredient. It contains nutrients that your dog needs for a healthy, lean body. The recipe includes protein-rich vegetables as well which makes it such a popular pick. There are no chicken by-product meals and it is also free from all artificial ingredients including preservatives, colors, and flavors.  

This nutrient-rich recipe is an excellent choice for adult dogs and provides nutrients that help maintain healthy muscles, a strong body, and the energy to stay active all day long.


4. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal & Chicken Meal Recipe Dry Dog Food

Protein (min.) 34% | Fat (min.) 16% | Fiber (max.) 4% | Moisture (max.) 10%

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Turkey, 2. Turkey Meal, 3. Chicken Meal, 4. Peas, 5. Dried Ground Potatoes

Your cuddly canine partner has an instinctual desire to eat like their wild wolf ancestors, encouraging them to opt for a diet that’s loaded with animal protein. This protein-rich recipe by Wellness CORE is crafted with real deboned turkey, chicken meal, and turkey meal, and tons of nutritious and delectable vegetables and fruits.

In addition to all these ingredients, there are other valuable animal-derived ingredients in the kibble, such as chicken liver, chicken fat, salmon oil, and more. This US-made dog food guarantees your pooch’s wellness and is fortified with chondroitin and glucosamine to promote joints and overall health.


5. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Protein (min.) 32% | Fat (min.) 18% | Fiber (max.) 4% | Moisture (max.) 10%

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Buffalo, 2. Lamb Meal, 3. Chicken Meal, 4. Sweet Potatoes, 5. Peas

This isn’t only a protein-rich diet but also grain-free, making it eminently suitable for dogs with sensitivities and allergies to grains. Give your dog a more natural diet that contains a minimum of 32% protein and a variety of healthy ingredients they need to stay healthy and thrive. This one by Taste of the Wild is a top-selling product specially designed for active, athletic dogs.

The formula is made with high-quality lean meat options and a variety of other supplemental vegetables and fruits. It contains antioxidants that promote an overall healthy lifestyle. Nourish your beloved dog with a naturally balanced diet that’s also highly-digestible and palatable.


6. Nature’s Logic Canine Chicken Meal Feast All Life Stages Dry Dog Food

Protein (min.) 36% | Fat (min.) 15% | Fiber (max.) 5% | Moisture (max.) 9%

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken Meal, 2. Millet, 3. Chicken Fat, 4. Pumpkin Seed, 5. Yeast Culture

This recipe is a true feast when it comes to protein and other nutrients. The highly palatable diet is not only nutrient-dense but is based on high-quality meat with concentrates of vegetables and fruits. Each kibble has a digestive enzyme coating and plasma protein that enriches your dog with the goodness of natural minerals, vitamins, and globulin and albumin proteins.

With chicken meal as the primary ingredient, this protein-rich diet by Nature’s Logic is one of the best your dog can get. Since the diet also contains minimally processed food, it is considered a natural option that your dog will love.


7. Diamond Naturals Extreme Athlete Formula Dry Dog Food

Protein (min.) 32% | Fat (min.) 25% | Fiber (max.) 4% | Moisture (max.) 10%

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken Meal, 2. Chicken, 3. Ground White Rice, 4. Chicken Fat, 5. Cracked Pearled Barley

Designed for active dogs, this recipe is made with real cage-free chicken with powerful antioxidants and added vitamins. The protein-rich food also contains a variety of whole foods options to maintain great health and help support your dog’s strong muscles. It is also fortified with essential omega fatty acids to take care of your pooch’s healthy coat and skin.

The diet contains 32% high-quality protein and free from all artificial ingredients including added colors, flavors, and preservatives. The diet suits dogs with sensitive digestion by eliminating corn, wheat, and fillers. Support your pal’s joints and overall health with a food that’s complete and nutritionally balanced.


8. VICTOR Hi-Pro Plus Formula Dry Dog Food

Protein (min.) 30% | Fat (min.) 20% | Fiber (max.) 3.8% | Moisture (max.) 9%

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Beef Meal, 2. Grain Sorghum, 3. Chicken Fat, 4. Pork Meal, 5. Chicken Meal

Provide your dog a meal that you can be proud of. This diet features a nutrient-dense formula and is made from premium-quality chicken, beef, pork, and fish meals. The best part about this high-protein diet is that it is suitable for all breed types and is ideal for all life stages, including pregnant and lactating female dogs and puppies in their growing stages.

The nutrient profile of this interesting diet ideally supports growing pups and super-active dogs with high physical demands. Additionally, it is also fortified with minerals, vitamins, protein, essential fatty acids, and amino acids so you give your dog only the best.  


9. Purina ONE SmartBlend True Instinct with Real Turkey & Venison Adult Dry Dog Food

Protein (min.) 30% | Fat (min.) 17% | Fiber (max.) 3% | Moisture (max.) 12%

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Turkey, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Soy Flour, 4. Beef Fat, 5. Whole Grain Wheat

The recipe has tender, meaty morsels that are made from a variety of high-quality ingredients. Delivering 30% protein in every serving, the formula contains real turkey, venison, and other nutrient-dense ingredients. Show your pooch all the love by taking care of their nutrition and ensuring great health. Support your dog’s strong muscles with this complete and balanced nutrition, which is also a delectable option that your dog won’t get enough of.

Let your dog enjoy the double meaty and crunchy kibble that supports their overall health and strong joints. This meal is 100% free from artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, and poultry by-product meal.


10. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Large Breed Puppy Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Protein (min.) 35% | Fat (min.) 14% | Fiber (max.) 6% | Moisture (max.) 10%

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Peas, 4. Pea Protein, 5. Tapioca Starch

Feed your large and giant breed puppy this high-protein recipe that’s designed to promote muscle growth and health maintenance. This is a grain-free recipe that contains ARA and DHA, the fatty acids present in mother’s milk that helps with your puppy’s growth, renal health, and cognitive development. Your little pup will thrive on this natural diet that features LifeSource Bits that’s the perfect balance of vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals carefully selected by animal nutritionists and holistic veterinarians.

All of these factors work together to strengthen your pup’s immune system health and maintain a healthy oxidative balance throughout.  


11. Dr. Tim’s Active Dog Pursuit Formula Dry Dog Food

Protein (min.) 30% | Fat (min.) 20% | Fiber (max.) 3% | Moisture (max.) 10%

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken Meal, 2. Brown Rice, 3. Chicken Fat, 4. Whole Oat Groats, 5. Dried Beet Pulp 

If you’re looking for a protein-rich diet that’s crafted under expert supervision, this Active Dog Pursuit Formula by Dr. Tim won’t disappoint you. Loaded with 86% animal protein, the recipe is designed for adult dogs of all breeds to help encourage an energetic, healthy lifestyle. The active dog formula contains 30% high-quality protein that’s carefully selected by experienced veterinarians and canine nutritionists.

So whether your dog is lactating, pregnant, herding sheep or just super active, the premium ingredients in this diet are metabolically balanced to fulfill their unique requirements. This food is also a great option if you want to boost your dog’s digestive health as it features patented BC30 probiotics and unique fiber in the blend.


12. Nulo Freestyle Turkey & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Adult Dry Dog Food

Protein (min.) 33% | Fat (min.) 18% | Fiber (max.) 4% | Moisture (max.) 10%

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal, Salmon Meal, Chickpeas, Chicken Fat

This Nulo Freestyle recipe is a grain-free, low-glycemic formula that’s made from 85% animal proteins. All the other ingredients have a low-glycemic index to prevent allergies and sensitivities in dogs. The adult-dog formula does not contain chicken and egg proteins, and therefore works best for dogs that are allergic to chicken. The recipe also contains vitamin B6 and niacin from the primary protein source to support energy production. Additionally, the probiotics in the blend helps with digestion.

There are essential omega fatty acids in the diet that are brilliant for your dog’s coat and skin. This active dog formula is the real fuel with the nutrition your dog deserves.  


13. Annamaet Ultra 32% Dry Dog Food

Protein (min.) 32% | Fat (min.) 20% | Fiber (max.) 3% | Moisture (max.) 10%

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken Meal, 2. Brown Rice, 3. Chicken Fat, 4. Whole Dry Eggs, 5. Herring Meal

This special diet by Annamaet Ultra is designed for active and performance dogs and pups, and works best with all breeds alike. This natural recipe contains hormone-free and antibiotic-free chicken as the primary source of protein. Other ingredients include high-quality brown rice and fish that offer other essential nutrients for ultra energy for your dog. The formula includes all sustainable natural ingredients including omega-3 fatty acids.

This is a great food choice to strengthen your dog’s immune system and increases the utilization of nutrients with the help of chelated minerals. Made with the best ingredients, this diet is a great choice for dogs with sensitive digestion.


14. Go! Solutions Carnivore Grain-Free Chicken, Turkey + Duck Adult Recipe Dry Dog Food

Protein (min.) 34% | Fat (min.) 16% | Fiber (max.) 3% | Moisture (max.) 10%

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken Meal, 2. Turkey Meal, 3. Salmon Meal, 4. De-Boned Chicken, 5. De-Boned Turkey

This grain-free recipe is labeled as a natural diet and for all the right reasons. It does not contain by-product meals, artificial colors, preservatives, growth hormone, soy, wheat, and corn. In simple words, it is free from all the possible allergens that could harm your dog’s health. In fact, this is an excellent diet that helps keep your adult pup healthy and fit with an excellent nutrient profile.

The recipe contains premium quality meals and 100% fresh meat as the source of protein. It also includes variety of vegetables and fruits that fortifies the meal with antioxidants for a stronger immune function. If you’re looking for a grain-free diet that’s also free from gluten, this is an excellent choice with premium quality ingredients.  


15. Purina Pro Plan All Life Stages Performance 30/20 Chicken & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food

Protein (min.) 30% | Fat (min.) 20% | Fiber (max.) 3% | Moisture (max.) 12%

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Corn Gluten Meal, 3. Rice, 4. Beef Fat, 5. Poultry By-Product Meal

Enhanced with the goodness of premium ingredient, this diet is specially formulated for your working dogs, sporting canines, performance athletes, or highly active fur buddies. This diet by Purina Pro Plan is fine-tuned with the best of ingredients to promote your dog’s natural endurance and strength and awaken the greatness they have within. With 30% protein, the formula is also enriched with vitamins, essential amino acids, antioxidants, minerals, and glucosamine for overall great health and mobility.

The palatable and protein-rich recipe is made in the US without any preservatives, artificial flavors, or added colors.  


Buyer’s Guide

Having a choice between so many products can be overwhelming. The key is to do your own research according to your dog. The information here will help you make an informed decision.  

Understanding a Protein-Rich Dog Diet

Understanding a protein-rich diet is the first step to providing the best nutrition to your dog. Start from what’s typical for the average dog. According to vets, the average protein content in a complete dog’s diet should be between 20% and 30%. Anything above 30% is considered rich in protein.

Some dogs have a higher protein requirement based on their health and lifestyle. You will learn more about it later in this post. For now, it is also important to remember that when you’re looking for a high-protein diet for your dog, you should only consider options that contain animal protein. These are not only easier for your dog to digest but also offer maximum benefit. Check the list of ingredients to ensure you’re picking an option with the best and high-quality ingredients. Don’t fall for generic terms like ‘meat’.

Lastly, even if you prefer a high protein diet, your dog must get balanced nutrition to stay healthy. If you’re unsure about your dog’s dietary requirements, consult a vet before starting a protein-rich diet.

Can All Dogs Eat a Protein-Rich Diet?

It can be confusing with so many options out there, all promoting themselves as better than the other. One thing needs to be clear: when it comes to dog nutrition, one size doesn’t fit all. You must take your dog’s specific breed, lifestage, natural, and lifestyle in to account before recognizing his dietary requirements.

Puppies, for instance, require higher protein content than adult dogs because they’re in their development stage. Similarly, working dogs or athletic dogs performing throughout the day need more protein for the heaps of energy they burn as compared to home dogs with little to no activity.

Breed is another crucial factor as too much protein for some breeds can cause excess weight gain that comes with tons of other health problems. If you have a dog with medical conditions, keeping those in mind is also important before starting a protein rich diet.

While dogs thrive on balanced diets, protein-dense nutrition may not be for every dog. So keep these factors in mind before choosing the best high protein dog food.  

High-Protein Dog Food Benefits

Now that you know your dog needs a protein-rich diet, here are the top benefits growing and active dogs can achieve:

  • Protein helps with the development of strong, lean muscles
  • Foods rich in protein leads to a healthier coat and skin condition
  • Protein is essential for a boosted immune system
  • Protein offers the energy working and active dogs and puppies require to keep up with their daily activities
  • Protein is an imperative part of the nutrient profile that supports organ function in healthy dogs

In simple words, feeding the right amount of protein to your dog should always be about their individual requirements. Always consider consulting your veterinarian for guidance.

Factors That Will Help You Picks the Best Proteins for Your Dog

Getting all the factors right will guarantee making the right choice for your dog. Here are some more recommendations for key features to consider before buying the best high protein dog food:

Primary Protein Should Always Come from Whole Meat

Pay special attention to the protein sources. The best options are ones that include whole meat as primary protein sources such as deboned chicken, beef, or salmon. These should be listed on top of the ingredients list. Read the labels and decide accordingly.

Secondary Protein Sources Should Be Scrutinized

Some dog foods may also include secondary protein sources, usually listed on the bottom of the ingredient list. These ingredients usually add up to the total protein content of a diet. Just like the primary sources, the secondary protein sources should be thoroughly scrutinized too.

Plant-Based Protein Sources

You may also find some plant-based protein sources in the ingredient list, such as alfalfa or peas. These protein sources are safe too but some dogs may develop allergies or find them difficult to digest. You may find food options with high protein content mostly based on plant-based ingredients. This isn’t the best option for your pooch. While plant-based protein will play its part, choose the one that majorly relies on animal-based protein.  

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Food rich in omega-3 fatty acids is excellent for your dog’s skin and coat. Additionally, it promotes brain development in puppies and prevents joint inflammation in adult and senior dogs. Omega-3 fatty acids that come from animal-based ingredients are more preferable.

Free From Artificial Colors, Flavors and Preservatives

All of these ingredients are unnecessary and potentially harmful. We always list options that are made with premium-quality ingredients only so that they’re palatable without artificial flavoring and preservatives.

Contains Probiotics

Protein-rich food options that also contain probiotics double the benefits. These nutrients are great for digestion and also improve bowel movements.

Meet Quality and Safety Standards

Last but not the least, the high-protein dog food that you choose should be made following high-quality and safety standards according to the country of origin.

Please note that you can always purchase probiotics and omega-3 supplements as separate products if you prefer food that doesn’t contain these elements.  


FAQs

How do I know if my dog needs a high protein diet?

Generally, dogs require 1g of protein per pound of their ideal body weight every day. However, the nutrient requirements of dogs with an active lifestyle – for example, sporting dogs, herding dogs, highly playful breeds – is much higher since they require more calories and protein to stay active. Also, if you have a small pup in its growing age, he will have a higher protein requirement too. Lastly, lactating and pregnant dogs need more protein for the nourishment of their little ones.

Can excessive protein in a dog’s diet become harmful?

It is commonly believed that too much protein can cause kidney damage in dogs. This is a myth and proven untrue. Healthy dogs excrete out the excess protein without any harm. Protein-rich diets are also accused of making dogs hyperactive. Even this claim is not supported by any scientific research.

Check out this video and hear a vet share his wisdom:

Can I give a high protein diet to my dog with allergies?

Food allergies are a result of the misidentification of certain proteins. When an animal’s immune system consider food as an invader, it may result in a negative response. This could result in skin and ear infections and itchy skin sometimes. In that case, it is best to try out foods with different protein sources to see which one works best.