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Dog Food Protein

Mike Sagman


Mike Sagman
Mike Sagman

Mike Sagman


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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Updated: March 7, 2024

The following items represent some of The Dog Food Advisor’s most frequently asked questions about dog food protein.

Can a high protein diet cause kidney problems in older dogs?

Recent opinion finds high protein not to be a contributing factor to kidney disease in healthy senior pets.

In an important article entitled, “Mythology of Protein Restriction for Dogs with Reduced Renal Function” written by Dr. Kenneth C. Bovée (DVM, MMedSc) professor of Clinical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine and published in the Compendium on Continuing Education for the Practicing Veterinarian (1998), the author states:

“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.”

Please be sure to check out that article. And of course, the numerous references Dr. Bovee uses to support his position.

As a matter of fact, it has now been shown that a low protein diet is actually unhealthy for most older pets. For more details, be sure to read our article about “Low Protein Dog Foods“.

Is a high protein diet unhealthy for a puppy?

Although there are many who still believe high protein can be a health problem for puppies, more recent studies tend to disagree.

The rapid growth which causes skeletal disorders (like hip dysplasia) in larger breeds is now believed to be more appropriately linked to genetics1, excessive dietary calcium2 or overfeeding during the puppy phase of life3.

For more in-depth information about this controversial subject (including references and footnotes), you may wish to visit our article, “Best Puppy Foods“.


1: A Hedhammar, Canine hip dysplasia as influenced by genetic and environmental factors, EJCAP, Oct 2007, 17:2 (pp 141-143)

2: 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

3: 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)

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