How Much Protein Does a Dog Need in Their Diet?

With all the different ingredients in dog food, trying to figure out how much of each nutrient your dog needs for a balanced diet can be overwhelming. How much protein does a dog need?

In general, healthy adult dogs require a minimum of 4.5 grams of protein for every 100 calories they consume. 

According to board-certified veterinary nutritionist Deborah Linder of Tufts University: “So long as diets are nutritionally complete and balanced for your pet (are above the minimum 4.5 grams protein per 100 calories and meet all the other nutrient requirements) and include an appropriate AAFCO statement, they are formulated to be balanced for healthy pets.” 

An AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) statement on pet food packaging explains whether the food contains the essential nutrients as outlined by the organization’s guidelines, as well as what life stage the food is designated for (i.e., adult maintenance vs. growing puppies vs. older dogs).

Dog foods that include an AAFCO statement are deemed “completed and balanced” with just the right amount of protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. This way you know you’re getting the good stuff that provides biological value like enzymes and antioxidants for a healthy immune system.

dog eyeing food on a picnic table

Dogs are omnivores

Unlike cats, who are strict carnivores, dogs are omnivores. Their nutritional needs can be met by eating a combination of meats and plants. 

Dogs need enough protein in their diet to survive. This is because protein provides necessary amino acids dogs cannot make on their own.

So whether your dog’s food is vegetarian or animal protein-based; as long as they’re getting a balanced diet with a proper amount of protein for their age, activity level, and body weight, that’s all that matters.

For more information on the math behind the protein requirements behind a healthy dog’s diet, check out the charts in this PDF from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.

Dog treat protein sources

freeze dried dog treats. how much protein do dogs need

If you’re like a lot of pet parents, you want to know what’s the “best” treat for your dog. After all, you don’t want to feed your dog the equivalent of Twinkies! 

But it can be difficult. There are so many high-protein treats filled with a laundry list of ingredients and by-products that may not be good for your dog.

You don’t want that!

Plus, some dogs have sensitive tummies or food allergies. This means you may want to stick to limited-ingredient treats for your fur-kids.

Spoil yours with our limited-ingredient, high-quality protein dog treats made up of only salmon, beef, or chicken and a natural preservative.

We started Wholesome Pride so dogs everywhere could enjoy tasty treats that are sustainably produced and as close to farm-fresh as possible. Our treats will meet both your pup’s nutrition needs and happiness level!

Protein-based dog treats

Limited-ingredient dog treats are great because you know exactly what you’re feeding your pup. The first ingredient is the protein itself! There are no heavily processed fillers like corn or wheat that are difficult for some dogs to digest, and our protein-based dog treats are non-GMO. 

Take these raw freeze-dried salmon treats.

There’s no doubt that wild-caught Alaskan Salmon is a healthy choice. Good quality salmon contains Omega 3 fatty acids — those “good fats” that have gotten so much press in recent years.

These “good fats” are three separate fatty acids with the scientific names of Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Plus, they are only 4 calories per treat!

Of course, like people, dogs benefit from variety in their diets. High-quality crude protein is a source of essential amino acids that your dog needs to build healthy muscles. Beef liver is an excellent source of iron, copper, and vitamins like niacin and zinc.

So to mix it up, you can try tasty raw freeze-dried beef & liver protein dog treats.

These treats are made of North American beef, beef liver, and mixed tocopherols (a natural preservative). Our Beef Protein Dog Treats are less than 2 calories per treat.

‘And dogs love beef as you know. If you ever grill steaks, you know how your dog will sit right there waiting for an “accident.”

Chicken is another quality protein source that dogs love. It’s a lean protein good for building muscle mass and, like beef, is a great source of amino acids. Wholesome Pride’s USA cage-free raw freeze-dried chicken dog treats will give your dog something to bark about at only 5 calories per treat.

“High-value” dog treats

These limited-ingredient dog treats are what dog trainers call “high value,” meaning, they’ll grab (and hold) your dog’s attention. If you’re in training mode, these are especially perfect because your dog will be eager to focus to get his reward. High-value treats give your dog tunnel vision and block out other distractions.

These training treats are raw freeze-dried, so they’ll provide more nutrients than baked treats and stay fresher longer. Raw freeze-dried preserves more nutritional content than baking or dehydrating, as proteins, vitamins and minerals remain intact through the process. Plus, the freeze-drying process makes the product safe for humans to handle, unlike frozen raw foods. 

beef liver dog treats

How much protein does a dog need? Why are limited-ingredient protein treats best?

Single and limited-ingredient dog treats are not only a tasty snack for your pup but provide them with a number of health benefits. Fewer mystery ingredients mean better digestibility. 

Your dog’s treats are a healthy way to provide them with the vitamins and minerals that they need. Additionally, choosing 100% natural treats for your pup ensures that your dog is not being fed any unnecessary or unhealthy additives.