Protein in our dog food Protein in our dog food

The Importance of Protein in Dog Food

Read time: 5 mins

21 Aug 2023

When it comes to our pooches, we all want to ensure that they have the best possible nutrition. Just like humans, dogs require a balanced diet to thrive. 

One key component that plays a vital role in their well-being is protein. Protein is not just a buzzword in the pet food industry; it's an essential nutrient that fuels your dog's body and keeps them healthy and active.

How Much Protein Does a Dog Need Per Day?

The answer isn't a one-size-fits-all approach, as it depends on various factors such as age, size, activity level, and overall health. Puppies, for instance, require more protein to support their rapid growth and development. Highly active dogs, such as working or athletic breeds, also need a higher protein intake to sustain their energy levels.

As a general guide, dogs should consume 1g of protein per pound of their ideal body weight. For example, a 25lb dog should consume 25g of protein per day.

Why Is Protein So Important in a Dog’s Diet?

Now that we know how much protein a dog needs per day, it’s important to understand why this is so important.

Muscle health and growth

Protein plays a pivotal role in the development and maintenance of your dog's muscles. From running around the park to playing fetch, your dog's muscles are involved in every movement. The amino acids found in protein are essential for repairing and building muscles, ensuring your pup stays active, strong, and ready for any adventure.

Cell repair and maintenance

The body's cells are constantly undergoing wear and tear. Protein steps in as a repair agent, aiding in cell regeneration and ensuring that your dog's body functions smoothly. This process is particularly vital for active dogs who might experience more physical stress on their bodies.

Healthy skin and coat

You know that radiant, glossy coat that makes your dog stand out? Well, protein plays a significant role in maintaining it. Proteins contribute to healthy skin, fur, and nails, keeping your furry friend looking and feeling their best.

Strong immune system

Proteins are essential for the production of antibodies and other immune system components. These components help your dog's body fend off infections, illnesses, and environmental stressors. A robust immune system keeps your dog healthy and resilient, ready to take on each day's adventures.

Energy production

Proteins provide a source of energy for your dog's body. While carbohydrates are the primary energy source, proteins step in when extra energy is needed. This is especially important for highly active dogs who require sustained energy levels for their activities.

Maintaining a healthy weight

Protein-rich diets can help your dog maintain a healthy weight. Protein has a higher satiety value, meaning it makes your dog feel fuller for longer, reducing the likelihood of overeating and unnecessary weight gain.

How Much Protein is in Dog Food?

You might be wondering, how on earth can I ensure that my dog is getting 1g of protein per every pound of their ideal body weight? The main priority is choosing a dog food which has a high protein content.

When you browse the pet food aisle, you'll notice a wide variety of options, each boasting different levels of protein content. But what does this mean for your dog's diet?

The protein content in dog food can vary significantly. It's crucial to read the labels and understand the ingredients. The Kennel Club states that ‘to help support active dogs, it is recommended to feed food with a guaranteed level of protein at 26% or higher’. 

However, a shocking fact is that dog foods only have to contain 4% meat to be labelled as chicken, beef or pork. This is most commonly seen in tinned, wet dog food. The rest of the food is made up with low nutritional-value fillers, such as rice and pasta.

Always consult your vet to determine the specific protein needs of your individual dog.

What is a Good Source of Protein for a Dog?

Not all protein sources are created equal, and this rings true for our canine companions as well. High-quality protein is essential to support your dog's muscle growth, repair, and overall health. 

Lean meats like chickenturkey, and beef are excellent sources of protein. Fish, such as salmon, provides not only protein but also beneficial omega-3 fatty acids that contribute to healthy skin and coat. Not forgetting to credit plant sources here, quinoa and lentils are excellent protein sources and have the added benefit of being rich in fibre, too. 

Symptoms of Protein Deficiency in Dogs

Protein deficiency in dogs can lead to a range of health issues, so it’s important to spot and resolve it quickly. Some common symptoms include:

  • Dull coat

  • Muscle loss

  • Lethargy

  • Stunted growth in puppies

Dogs with inadequate protein intake might also experience difficulty maintaining a healthy weight and immune system. This is why it's crucial to provide your dog with a balanced diet that includes the right amount of protein.

Symptoms of Too Much Protein in Dogs

While protein is vital for your dog's health, excessive amounts can also pose problems. Just like with any nutrient, moderation is key. 

Dogs that consume too much protein may experience digestive issues, such as diarrhoea or vomiting. In some cases, excessive protein can also put strain on the kidneys, particularly in dogs with pre existing kidney conditions. This is another reason why choosing the right balance of protein for your dog's needs is so important.

Butternut Box is the Perfect Protein Source

At Butternut Box, we're not just passionate about dogs; we're passionate about their health and well-being. Our fresh dog food is designed to provide your pup with the perfect protein source, carefully crafted to meet their individual needs.

All of our meals contain at least 60% protein, going above and beyond the industry standard.

We believe that fresh dog food is the best dog food you can feed your furry companion. By using human-grade ingredients, gently cooking them to retain their nutritional value, and then freezing the meals, we're able to deliver the highest quality nutrition to your dog's bowl.

When you choose Butternut Box, you're choosing a team of experts dedicated to ensuring that your dog lives their happiest, healthiest life. We understand the importance of protein in your dog's diet, and we're committed to providing them with the very best.