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The Role of Proteins in Your Dog’s Diet: A Closer Look

Protein plays a crucial role in your dog’s diet. It’s one of the main building blocks of the body, contributing to the growth and repair of cells, tissues, enzymes, hormones, and antibodies. Here’s a closer look at the role of protein in your dog’s diet, how much they need, and the best sources of protein.

Why Do Dogs Need Protein?

Proteins are made up of amino acids, and dogs require 22 amino acids to make necessary proteins. A dog’s body can produce about half of these required amino acids, but the rest, known as essential amino acids, must come from the food they eat.

Protein plays several critical roles in a dog’s body, including:

  • Building and repairing body tissues like muscles and organs
  • Creating antibodies for immune system function
  • Making hormones and enzymes that are essential for normal function
  • Serving as a source of energy

How Much Protein Do Dogs Need?

The amount of protein a dog needs can vary based on age, life stage, and health status. Generally, puppies need about 28% protein in their diet, while adult dogs need about 18%. Active dogs, pregnant or nursing dogs, and certain breeds may require more protein.

Best Sources of Protein for Dogs

Not all proteins are created equal. Animal-based proteins are considered complete proteins because they contain all the essential amino acids that dogs need. Look for dog food that lists an animal protein like chicken, beef, fish, or lamb as the first ingredient. Some plant-based proteins, such as quinoa and lentils, can also provide valuable proteins.


Protein is a vital part of your dog’s diet and contributes significantly to their overall health and wellbeing. Make sure your dog’s food contains high-quality, animal-based proteins and meets the recommended dietary protein guidelines for their life stage and health status. Always consult with your vet for specific dietary advice for your dog.

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