DogFoodAdvisor is reader supported. If you buy using links on this page, we may earn a referral fee.

Best High Protein Dog Food for 2022

High Protein Dog Food

On this page… The Dog Food Advisor takes an in-depth look at some of the best high protein dog foods on the market. And we’ll rate each of our top picks.

But first…

What Is High Protein Dog Food?

Most dry foods contain 23 to 27 percent protein. Wet food… a bit more.1

Since some recipes contain more moisture than others…

We used simple math to first remove all the water from each recipe. This makes it possible to accurately compare the protein content of ANY 2 recipes… wet or dry.

After rating more than 5750 recipes, we consider any food that contains over 28% protein… “high in protein”.

Life Stage AAFCO 2 High Protein
Puppy 22.5% Over 28%
Adult 18% Over 28%

Which Types of Dogs Benefit
from a High Protein Diet?

Since dogs tend to lose muscle mass with heavy exercise and as they age, high protein recipes are ideal for active or athletic pets and seniors.

But keep in mind…

Older dogs who have been diagnosed with kidney disease should probably avoid these types of foods.

Caution — Avoid Legume-Heavy Recipes

Due to their suspected link to a type of heart disease3 in dogs, high protein recipes that contain legumes (peas, lentils, etc.) within their first 5 ingredients have been excluded.

On the list below…

We’ll reveal The Advisor’s best high protein dog foods… and we’ll show you which ones are a good fit for the age and breed size of your particular dog.

We’ll also answer the most frequently asked questions we get about choosing and feeding high protein diets.


Editors Choice Logo for Best High Protein Dog Food page

Best High Protein Dog Food
December 2022

Here are The Dog Food Advisor’s best high protein brands for December 2022.



Taste of the Wild Ancient Streams with Ancient Grains High Protein Kibble

Taste of the Wild with Ancient Grains High Protein

Rating:

Ancient Stream is one of 4 dry recipes included in our review of the Taste of the Wild with Ancient Grains product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Salmon, salmon meal, ocean fish meal, grain sorghum, millet
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (sorghum, millet, barley, rice)
  • Profile: All life stages
  • Best for: All dogs (including large breed puppies)
  • Other recipes: Ancient Mountain (lamb), Ancient Prairie (buffalo), Ancient Wetlands (duck)

Taste of the Wild Ancient Streams derives the majority of its animal protein from fresh salmon in addition to both salmon and fish meals. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 33% protein, 17% fat and 42% estimated carbs… which produces a favorable fat-to-protein ratio of about 50%.

A new, grain-inclusive product line from one of the industry’s most popular brands. Contains no legumes. A top pick.

Sample buyer review… “Being in the K9 industry for the past 10 years, TotW is one food that’s always reliable. I recommend it for working dogs and family pets alike. We rotate between the grain-free and ancient grains formulas to ensure proper taurine absorption. If you have a picky eater or a dog who has trouble maintaining weight, I highly recommend this food.”

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

Check Current Online Price

Read Our Full Brand Review



Raised Right High Protein Beef Recipe

Raised Right Fresh Human-Grade Dog Food

Rating:

Adult Beef is one of 11 wet recipes covered in our review of the Raised Right Fresh product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Beef, beef heart, carrots, beef liver, cranberries
  • Type: Grain-free (carrots, cranberries)
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best for: Adult dogs
  • Other recipes: Turkey Recipe, Pork Recipe, Chicken Recipe, Turkey and Pumpkin, Puppy Growth (multiple recipes) and others

Raised Right Adult Beef gets most of its meat protein from fresh beef. Dry matter label analysis shows the recipe contains 61% protein, 24% fat and 8% estimated carbs… yielding a fat-to-protein ratio of about 39%.

All recipes contain a single source of animal protein with no hidden fillers. One of the best high-protein fresh foods on the market. Easily recommended.

Sample buyer review… “Raised Right Beef is the perfect food for my dog. She loves the taste and I love there is finally something she can eat with all her food sensitivities.”

Read more buyer reviews at RaisedRightPets.com

Check Current Online Price

Read Our Full Brand Review



Orijen Grain Free High Protein Kibble

Orijen High Protein Dry Dog Food

Rating:

Orijen Original is one of 9 dry recipes analyzed in our review of the Orijen product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, turkey, flounder, whole mackerel, chicken liver
  • Type: Grain-free (lentils, pinto beans)
  • Profile: All Life Stages
  • Best for: Adults and puppies (including large breeds)
  • Other recipes: Puppy Large, Six Fish, Regional Red, Senior and others

This particular Orijen recipe obtains the better part of its animal protein from fresh chicken, turkey, flounder, and whole mackerel. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 43% protein, 20% fat and 28% estimated carbs… resulting in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 47%.

Ever since its founding, Champion Petfoods, the maker of Orijen, has supported a meat-based, “biologically appropriate” diet. This is a proven, balanced design and a top high-protein option. Recommended with confidence.

Sample buyer review… “A few months ago I adopted a 14 month old Labradoodle, and I have had a difficult time getting weight on her because she just isn’t interested in eating. This dog food has helped tremendously! Apparently, it taste good to her and is very nutritious because she looks and acts so much better. It is wonderful to see her playing, and her coat looks fabulous.”

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

Check Current Online Price

Read Our Full Brand Review



Dr.Tim's Pursuit High Protein Formula

Dr. Tim’s Pursuit Active Dog High Protein Recipe

Rating:

Active Dog is one of 8 dry recipes evaluated in our review of the Dr. Tim’s product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken meal, brown rice, chicken fat, whole oat groats, dried beet pulp (sugar removed)
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (brown rice, whole oat groats)
  • Profile: All Life Stages
  • Best for: Adult and small or medium breed puppies
  • Other recipes: Kinesis All Life Stages, Metabolite Weight Management, Glacier Athletic Blend and others

Dr. Tim’s Pursuit Active Dog gets the better part of its meat protein from chicken meal. Dry matter label analysis demonstrates the formula contains 33% protein, 22% fat and 36% estimated carbs… which creates a fat-to-protein ratio of about 67%.

Dr. Tim’s products are prized by members of the large breed athletic and sporting dog community. A top choice and one that’s especially easy for us to recommend.

Sample buyer review… “My English setter, a Llewelyn has been on Dr. Tim’s Pursuit dog food since she was a puppy, over ten years ago. She is a very active dog and thrives on this food. She has been very healthy. Her white and spotted fur coat is shiny!! I highly recommend this product.”

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

Check Current Online Price

Read Our Full Brand Review



Acana Meadowland Grain Free Dog Food

Acana Highest Protein Formula

Rating:

Meadowland is one of 6 dry recipes contained in our review of the Acana product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned chicken, deboned turkey, chicken liver, turkey giblets (liver, heart, gizzard), chicken meal
  • Type: Grain-free (lentils, pinto beans)
  • Profile: All life stages
  • Best for: Adults and puppies (including large breeds)
  • Other recipes: Red Meat Recipe, Poultry Recipe, Freshwater Fish Recipe and others

Acana Meadowland receives most of its meat content from deboned chicken and deboned turkey. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 38% protein, 19% fat and 35% estimated carbs… which produces a fat-to-protein ratio of about 52%.

A superior, grain-free kibble, offering balanced nutrition. Made by the same company that makes Orijen.

Sample buyer review… “I have a very fussy fur son. There are about 2 or 3 foods he will eat without turning his nose up and walking away. Acana I have had EXCELLENT results with all blends!!! It’s a good feeling when he actually eats a food that has such excellent ingredients and the best part – ONE THAT YOU CAN TRUST!”

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

Check Current Online Price

Read Our Full Brand Review



Merrick Classic Healthy Grains High Protein Puppy Food

Merrick Classic Healthy Grains High Protein Formula

Rating:

Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Puppy is one of 13 recipes included in our review of the Merrick Classic product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, barley, oatmeal
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (rice, barley, oatmeal)
  • Profile: Growth
  • Best For: All puppies (including large breed puppies)
  • Other recipes: Real Beef, Real Chicken, Real Lamb, Small Breed Recipe, Senior Recipe, Healthy Weight and others

This Merrick Classic product derives the bulk of its animal content from fresh chicken and chicken meal. Our dry matter label analysis shows the food contains 31% protein, 18% fat and 43% estimated carbs… yielding a fat-to-protein ratio of about 57%.

A top-rated dry puppy food that’s completely based on a safe, proven grain-inclusive design. Contains no legumes.

For More Choices:  See our Best Puppy Foods page

Sample buyer review… “After weeks of searching for a reliable dog food for our toy poodle puppy we finally found Merrick, he is healthy and and is fur is so soft, he is only ten weeks old yet he has so much energy, we are very glad.”

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

Check Current Online Price

Read Our Full Brand Review



Diamond Naturals Extreme Athlete High Protein Recipe

Diamond Naturals Extreme Athlete

Rating:

Extreme Athlete is one of 13 dry recipes analyzed in our review of the Diamond Naturals product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken meal, chicken, ground white rice, chicken fat, cracked pearled barley
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (ground white rice, barley)
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best for: Adult dogs
  • Other recipes: Small and Medium Breed Puppy, Small Breed Adult, All Life Stages and others

Diamond Naturals Extreme Athlete draws much of its animal content from chicken meal and fresh chicken. Dry matter label analysis reveals the formula contains 36% protein, 28% fat and 29% estimated carbs… which creates a fat-to-protein ratio of about 78%.

An exceptional grain-inclusive formula, offering multiple recipe and flavor options. A top-rated, high-protein pick, containing no plant-based protein concentrates.

Sample buyer review… “Dogs love it, and do great. I’ve tried several types of foods, but always come back to this. It also makes my dogs coats shiny, and keeps a good weight on them. Especially since they are very active Belgian Malinois”

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

Check Current Online Price

Read Our Full Brand Review



Natures Logic Canine Chicken Meal Feast High Protein Kibble

Nature’s Logic High Protein Dog Food

Rating:

Canine Chicken Meal Feast is one of 11 dry recipes included in our review of the Nature’s Logic product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken meal, millet, chicken fat, pumpkin seed, yeast culture
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (millet)
  • Profile: All Life Stages
  • Best for: Puppies and Adult dogs
  • Other recipes: Canine Beef, Canine Duck and Salmon, Canine Venison and others

Nature’s Logic Canine Chicken Meal acquires the bulk of its meat fraction from chicken meal. Dry matter label analysis shows the recipe contains 40% protein, 16% fat and 36% estimated carbs… delivering a fat-to-protein ratio of about 42%.

Nature’s Logic is one of only a handful of brands that meets AAFCO nutrient guidelines using actual real-live canine feeding trials. Top choice from a trusted and ethical manufacturer.

Sample buyer review… “I have been looking for a more natural dry food with some greens and fruits. I have used this product in the frozen form, and was pleased to find it also as a dry food. I like the small kibble. My dogs are doing great on it, maintains weight and coats are beautiful. Thanks fir a great product!”

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

Check Current Online Price

Read Our Full Brand Review



Merrick Backcountry Grain-Free

Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused

Rating:

Great Plains Red Recipe is one of 7 dry recipes covered in our review of the Merrick product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned beef, lamb meal, salmon meal, sweet potatoes, potatoes
  • Type: Grain-free (sweet potatoes, potatoes)
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best for: Adult dogs
  • Other recipes: Hero’s Banquet (beef, turkey and lamb), Pacific Catch Recipe (salmon, whitefish and trout) and others

Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Great Plains Red Recipe receives the better part of its animal protein from deboned beef, lamb meal, and salmon meal. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 43% protein, 19% fat and 30% estimated carbs… delivering a fat-to-protein ratio of about 45%.

An above-average kibble fortified with bits of freeze-dried raw beef. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer review… “Love this food !! My dogs are so healthy no majors problem with them ! Keeps them full longer and the skin is so shiny ! The best product ever for your dogs”

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

Check Current Online Price

Read Our Full Brand Review



Victor Classic Hi Pro Plus Dry Kibble

Victor Classic Hi Pro Plus High Protein Dog Food

Rating:

Hi Pro Plus is one of 5 dry recipes evaluated in our review of the Victor Classic product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Beef meal, grain sorghum, chicken fat, pork meal, chicken meal
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (sorghum)
  • Profile: All Life Stages
  • Best for: Adult and small or medium breed puppies
  • Other recipes: Victor Professional (beef)

Victor Classic Hi Pro Plus receives most of its meat content from beef meal. Dry matter label analysis demonstrates the food contains 33% protein, 22% fat and 37% estimated carbs… creating a fat-to-protein ratio of about 67%.

One of the best grain-inclusive kibbles on the market. A classic, fully-balanced high protein recipe. We’ve always admired Victor’s simple designs. Feed with confidence.

Sample buyer review… “Our breed recommended this dog food & our Goldendoodle has been on this food for over a year now. He absolutely loves his food & runs to his bowl every time he knows it’s time to eat. He has a great coat, maintains a health weight & has solid poops. Highly recommend for active puppies & dogs!”

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

Check Current Online Price

Read Our Full Brand Review



Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most frequently asked questions we get about choosing and feeding high protein dog food:


How can I transition to a high protein diet without making my dog sick?

In the following video

Holistic vet, Dr. Gary Richter, shares an important feeding tip that can help reduce your dog’s risk of becoming sick when you start a high protein diet.

It’s best to introduce your dog to a protein-rich diet gradually.

Start by mixing 20% of the “new” high protein recipe with your pet’s “old” food. Then, slowly raise that amount to a full 100% over the following 8 days.

Schedule Old Food New Food
Days 1 and 2 80% 20%
Days 3 and 4 60% 40%
Days 5 and 6 40% 60%
Days 7 and 8 20% 80%
Day 9 0% 100%

Do high protein diets cause kidney disease in dogs?

According to most experts, a high protein diet does not cause kidney disease in healthy dogs.

In an important article, Dr. Kenneth Bovée, the renown and now deceased professor of Clinical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, concluded:

“The continued use of protein restriction in the absence of scientific evidence deserves thoughtful consideration. I would suggest that the dogma and mythology of a possible benefit are so embedded in the thought process of veterinarians and owners that these cannot be easily dislodged despite the scientific evidence. I would refer to this as the myth of dietary protein and characterize it as a negative myth.”

However, if your dog has been previously diagnosed with kidney disease, you should consult your veterinarian before feeding this type of food.


Do high protein diets cause hip disease in dogs?

The rapid growth which causes hip disease in larger breeds has now been linked to genetics4, excessive dietary calcium5 or overfeeding during the puppy phase of life6.

View The Dog Food Advisor’s Best Large Breed Puppy Foods here.

Large breed dog with bilateral hip disease
Large Breed Dog with Hip Disease in Both Rear Legs

Are high protein diets good for overweight dogs?

If your dog is overweight, a reduced-calorie, high-protein dog food can be a good option. That’s because, based on recent research7, feeding an overweight dog a diet with higher amounts of protein can help burn fat and calories and help with weight loss.

You may also notice that feeding your dig a food that’s high in protein may help your dog feel satisfied longer.

Be sure to visit The Advisor’s Best Dog Foods for Weight Loss here.


A Final Word

The Dog Food Advisor is privately owned. We do not accept money, gifts, samples or other incentives in exchange for special consideration in preparing our reviews.

However, we do receive a referral fee from online retailers (like Chewy or Amazon) and from sellers of perishable pet food when readers click over to their websites from ours. This helps cover the cost of operation of our free blog. Thanks for your support.

For more information, please visit our Disclaimer and Disclosure page.

Important FDA Alert

The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.

References

  1. Measured on dry matter basis
  2. Minimum dry matter protein content, AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles, Official Publication (2021), Association of American Feed Control Officials
  3. Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM)
  4. A Hedhammar, Canine hip dysplasia as influenced by genetic and environmental factors, EJCAP, Oct 2007, 17:2 (pp 141-143)
  5. Richardson, Skeletal diseases of the growing dog: Nutritional influences and the role of diet, Canine Hip Dysplasia: A Symposium Held at Western Veterinary Conference, 1995
  6. RD Kealy et al, Effects of limited food consumption on the incidence of hip dysplasia in growing dogs, JAVMA, Sep 1992, 201:6 (pp 857-863)
  7. Science Daily, Overweight dogs respond well to high-protein, high-fiber diet, study finds, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, News Bureau, January 24, 2022
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap