What Level of Protein Is Safe for Dog Food?

Protein for dogs
Protein for dogs (Image: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Xtopher)

A popular diet for dogs is a grain-free food that is high in protein. Dogs in the wild needed a lot of protein because they were working. Domestic dogs, for the most part, do not do a lot of work, so high protein is not as essential.


There are arguments as to whether dogs are true carnivores or omnivores. A carnivore is an animal that cannot survive without meat, while an omnivore is one that can live on both meat and grains. A dog's preference of course is meat. Try giving your dog a bowl of meat and a bowl of rice: we know which one he will choose.

Protein Level

Dogs need protein for their overall health. Puppies should have 28 percent protein and around 17 percent fat. With adult dogs it should be around 18 percent protein with 15 percent fat. Active breeds need 25 percent protein and 20 percent fat. Pregnant dogs need 28 percent protein and 17 percent fat.


Many dogs do have grain allergies. Grain-free options are available but some of the protein levels are very high. Read the labels thoroughly. The best source of protein is from animal sources, not plants.


If your dog needs a grain-free food, shop around, as there are grain-free foods with moderate levels of protein available.


Avoid purchasing grocery store dog food. These are grain heavy and contain very little meat.

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