Best Protein Sources for Dogs

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Last week, I wrote about amino acids and why some are considered essential from a dietary perspective – the essential amino acids are those that the dog’s body can’t produce on its own and therefore these aminos must be supplied via diet.  The implication of this is that a dog should be fed foods that contain the proteins that will adequately supply the body with these essential amino acids.


best protein sources

Choosing appropriate proteins sources for a dog is more than just choosing proteins that supply the essential amino acids.  A species appropriate protein, and one that makes sense for any individual dog should also have the following attributes:


  • Easy to digest.
  • Easy for the body to utilize for body repairs, growth and maintenance.
  • From a nutrigenomics perspective, it must send the ‘right’ messages to the epigenome and thus, promote healthy gene expression, instead of unhealthy gene expression.
  • Should not contribute to or aggravate a specific dog’s food sensitivity or allergy.


Best Protein Sources for a Dog

Proteins that match the above list of attributes and also provide a dog with the essentials amino acids are the best proteins for a dog.  These are listed below.


  • Eggs
  • Dairy products from goat or sheep sources
  • Fish that is wild caught and low in mercury (e.g. wild caught salmon, Pollack, sardines)
  • Muscle meat from foods that are less likely to cause a food sensitivity or allergic reaction.  Examples include pork, bison, turkey, rabbit, and duck (there are many others as well)
  • Organ meat from foods that are less likely to cause a food sensitivity or allergic reaction (see above)


You will notice that most of the more popular protein sources are absent from the list!  There is no corn, soy or wheat on this list.  Plant and grain based proteins are excluded because they are not easily utilized by a dog’s body and are usually less than complete sources of the essential amino acids.


Also omitted are chicken and beef because they are so prevalent in foods and treats and are more likely to cause a food sensitivity or allergic reaction.


For those pet parents who want to take it a step further, optimal protein sources that are organic, antibiotic and hormone free, free range or wild caught, unadulterated (e.g. non-GMO) and minimally processed are always superior to the other ‘cheaper’ forms of each protein.

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  1. I wish Easy would be more egg-sided about eggs, sadly the eggs-periment failed :o) what is the difference between sheep/goat products and products made from cow milk?
    easy rider recently posted…easyblog MOANDAY-GROANDAYMy Profile

    • Since cow’s milk is a beef product, it’s always better to steer (no pun intended) away from it towards more novel protein sources.
      mkob recently posted…Best Protein Sources for DogsMy Profile

  2. Eggs are delicious!! Good food for healthy pups!!

  3. I’m thrilled to see wabbit in your list. I have wabbit in my food rotation and I recently has some bison. Good stuff.
    Emma recently posted…Mardi Gras Fashion In The FurMy Profile

  4. The boys love eggs so I give them our yolks mixed in with their breakfast. I am hoping to find a local source for rabbit at this year’s Farmer’s Market.
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…How to Make Banana Button Treats and DIY ContainerMy Profile

  5. We feed salmon, my pups love it!!
    DZ Dogs recently posted…Wait For It….My Profile

  6. I never buy chicken kibble any more, though they do sometimes have treats made with chicken, or if I’m cooking chicken I’ll cook some for them. But I didn’t know beef was prevalent as well, so good to know. I also was unsure about eggs, so also good to know that could be something special to add to their food as well. I’m trying to make a bit more homemade food for them and cut back on the kibble, so it’s always good to know what is best for them.
    Jan K recently posted…Who’s the Smartest?My Profile

  7. my gang loves eggs, ducks and organs just ask Nellie.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Glorious BearsMy Profile

  8. Eggs are a weekly treat here in Doodleville
    Groovy Goldendoodles recently posted…WINE & DESIGN #THEDOODLESPOTMy Profile

  9. Sam comes a-running whenever he hears me crack eggs in a bowl. He knows I’ll let him lick the bowl out. 😉

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