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Best High Protein Dog Food

Mike Sagman  Julia Ogden

By

Mike Sagman
Mike Sagman

Mike Sagman

Founder

Dr Mike Sagman is the creator of the Dog Food Advisor. He founded the website in 2008, after his unquestioning trust in commercial dog food led to the tragic death of his dog Penny.

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&
Julia Ogden
Julia Ogden

Julia Ogden

Content Director

Julia is the content director at the Dog Food Advisor and responsible for the overall strategy of the website.

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Updated: June 3, 2024

Verified by Laura Ward

Laura Ward

Laura Ward

Pet Nutritionist

Laura studied BSc (Hons) Animal Science with an accreditation in Nutrition at the University of Nottingham, before working for eight years in the pet food and nutrition industry.

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Laura Ward

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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 StageAAFCO 2High Protein
Puppy22.5%Over 28%
Adult18%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.

The Dog Food Advisor - Editor's choice

Best High Protein Dog Food July 2024

Here are The Dog Food Advisor's best high-protein dog food brands for July 2024

  • 1. We Feed Raw Turkey Patty

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    Turkey Patties is one of 6 raw frozen recipes analyzed in our review of the We Feed Raw product line.

    This We Feed Raw recipe obtains the better part of its animal protein from turkey. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 49% protein, 25% fat and 18% estimated carbs… which produces a fat-to-protein ratio of about 52%.

    Other recipes: Venison, duck, lamb, beef, and chicken

    Read our review of the full We Feed Raw Dog Food (Raw Frozen) range here

    Main Ingredients Turkey tails, turkey gizzards, turkey wings, turkey liver, wfr vitamin + mineral mix
    Type Grain-free
    AAFCO Standards All Life Stages
    Best For All dogs

    Sample buyer review...

    "I have been feeding my dogs We Feed Raw for 3 years now and they love their food, their coats are always shining. They are active, happy, healthy dogs."

    Read more buyer reviews at WeFeedRaw.com
  • 2. Taste of the Wild with Ancient Grains High Protein

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

    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.

    Read our review of the full Taste of the Wild Ancient Grains Dog Food (Dry) range here

    Main Ingredients Salmon, salmon meal, ocean fish meal, grain sorghum, millet
    Texture Dry
    Type Grain-free
    Protein Percentage 33%
    AAFCO Standards All Life Stages
    Best For All dogs (including large breed puppies)

    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
  • 3. Raised Right Fresh Human-Grade Dog Food

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

    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.

    Read our review of the full Raised Right Dog Food (Fresh) range here

    Main Ingredients Beef, beef heart, carrots, beef liver, cranberries
    Texture Wet
    Type Grain-free
    Protein Percentage 61%
    AAFCO Standards Maintenance
    Best For Adult dogs

    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
  • 4. Orijen High Protein Dry Dog Food

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

    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.

    Read our review of the full Orijen Dog Food (Dry) range here

    Main Ingredients Chicken, turkey, flounder, whole mackerel, chicken liver
    Texture Dry
    Type Grain-free
    Protein Percentage 43%
    AAFCO Standards All Life Stages
    Best For Adults and puppies (including large breeds)

    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
  • 5. Dr. Tim’s Pursuit Active Dog High Protein Recipe

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

    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.

    Read our review of the full Dr. Tim’s Dog Food (Dry) range here

    Main Ingredients Chicken meal, brown rice, chicken fat, whole oat groats, dried beet pulp
    Texture Dry
    Type Grain-inclusive
    Protein Percentage 33%
    AAFCO Standards All Life Stages
    Best For Adult and small or medium breed puppies

    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
  • 6. Acana Highest Protein Formula

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

    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.

    Read our review of the full Acana Highest Protein Dog Food (Dry) range here

    Main Ingredients Deboned chicken, deboned turkey, chicken liver, turkey giblets (liver, heart, gizzard), chicken meal
    Texture Dry
    Type Grain-free
    Protein Percentage 38%
    AAFCO Standards All Life Stages
    Best For Adults and puppies

    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
  • 7. Merrick Classic Healthy Grains High Protein Formula

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

    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

    Read our review of the full Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Dog Food (Dry) range here

    Main Ingredients Deboned chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, barley, oatmeal
    Type Grain-inclusive
    Protein Percentage 31%
    AAFCO Standards Growth
    Best For All puppies (including large breed puppies)

    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
  • 8. Diamond Naturals Extreme Athlete

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

    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.

    Read our review of the full Diamond Naturals Dog Food (Dry) range here

    Main Ingredients Chicken meal, chicken, ground white rice, chicken fat, cracked pearled barley
    Texture Dry
    Type Grain-inclusive
    Protein Percentage 36%
    AAFCO Standards Maintenance
    Best For Adult dogs

    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
  • 9. Nature’s Logic High Protein Dog Food

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

    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.

    Read our review of the full Nature’s Logic Dog Food (Dry) range here

    Main Ingredients Chicken meal, millet, chicken fat, pumpkin seed, yeast culture
    Texture Dry
    Type Grain-inclusive
    Protein Percentage 40%
    AAFCO Standards All Life Stages
    Best For Puppies and Adult dogs

    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
  • 10. Merrick Backcountry

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

    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.

    Read our review of the full Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Grain-Free Dog Food (Dry) range here

    Main Ingredients Deboned beef, lamb meal, salmon meal, sweet potatoes, potatoes
    Texture Dry
    Type Grain-free
    Protein Percentage 43%
    AAFCO Standards Maintenance
    Best For Adult dogs

    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

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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 dog 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.

Final word

The Dog Food Advisor does 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.

Sources

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

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