NutriSource Blogs

The best way to feed your dog a high-protein diet

April 25, 2023

Protein plays a major role in a dog’s nutrition, and feeding your dog a high-protein diet can provide significant health benefits. But not all proteins are created equal. Different types of animal proteins present very different nutritional profiles, particularly when it comes to amino acids. Each amino acid plays a different role in building cells and keeping bodily systems running at optimal levels. So, by rotating different proteins into your dog’s diet — including novel protein dog foods — you can introduce all the amino acids necessary to optimize their health.

What is novel protein dog food: Types and benefits

Novel proteins are rare or unique animal proteins that are less common than the chicken or beef found in many dog food formulations. Introducing novel protein dog foods into your dog’s diet can provide the unique amino acids and other nutrients that would otherwise be missing from eating solely chicken- or beef-based foods. Also, some proteins are known as “heating” or “cooling” proteins and can have a significant effect on a dog’s internal body temperature to prevent overheating. Here are some of the top novel proteins to consider adding into your dog’s diet as you practice the “land, air and sea” approach to Full Circle Feeding.

“Land” Proteins

Kangaroo Dog Food

One of the more “exotic” novel proteins for people in the U.S., kangaroo protein is incredibly lean and almost always comes from free-range sources. Kangaroo protein is especially high in vitamin B12, which is important for brain and nervous system health. Kangaroo dog food from NutriSource also contains a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids along with L-carnitine, taurine, choline chloride and DL Methionine supplementation which all promote heart health in dogs.

Bison Dog Food

Bison has one of the highest protein contents of all meats, making it an ideal choice for high protein dog food. But it is still considered a “lean protein” because it is relatively low in saturated fat. Bison is also high in iron, zinc, B vitamins like B2 and niacin, as well as omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid, which are known as “good fats.” Bison dog food can help fight inflammation and help prevent low energy.

Venison Dog Food

Meat that comes from deer is known as venison, and it’s a naturally low-fat, low-cholesterol protein that also provides a number of other important nutrients. Venison dog foods can be great for weight loss and can also help boost energy levels. Venison contains high amounts of vitamin B6, niacin, iron, riboflavin (B2) and some omega-3 fatty acids, which all help promote immune system and organ function.

Lamb Dog Food

Lamb is perhaps the most common among novel proteins because it is featured in many popular dog food formulations. But that doesn’t mean the health benefits of lamb dog food should be overlooked. Lamb has a higher iron content compared to chicken and can be a great alternative to beef and chicken for dogs with allergies. Lamb also contains more calcium than some other proteins while also providing a good source of B vitamins for nervous system health and zinc for immune system health.

Wild Boar Dog Food

Wild boar protein is an excellent novel protein because in addition to providing a number of essential vitamins and nutrients, it is also a hypoallergenic protein. This can make it a good choice for dogs with allergies or to help control food sensitivities. Wild boar dog food from NutriSource contains optimal levels of vitamin B6, thiamine, iron, zinc, niacin as well as pre- and pro-biotics to support gut health.

Pork Dog Food

Pork protein is relatively easy for dogs to digest and contains more calories per pound compared to many other types of animal protein. This can make pork dog food a good choice for dogs that are underweight or who have digestive issues. However, pork also contains a higher fat content than some other proteins. Pork protein also provides significant levels of taurine, iron, thiamine (B1) and other essential amino acids.

“Air” Proteins

Duck Dog Food

Duck protein is generally lean, easy to digest and contains a wealth of nutrients and amino acids that contribute to strong muscle growth. Duck protein is known as a “cooling protein” that may benefit dogs that are more prone to overheating, especially during summer months. Duck dog food formulations that contain other ingredients like lentils and oatmeal can provide balanced nutrition that contributes to a successful Full Circle Feeding regimen.

Quail Dog Food

Quail eggs have been called a “superfood” for humans, and quail protein offers much of the same nutritional value for dogs. Quail dog food formulations are rich in calcium, zinc and essential vitamins, but are generally lower in calories-per-pound compared to other proteins. This is why quail can be a healthy ingredient for dogs on a weight loss diet. Quail is also relatively easy to digest, contains high amounts of iron and phosphorous and can contribute to healthy muscle development.

Turkey Dog Food

Turkey contains a variety of amino acids as well as magnesium, phosphorous and zinc, all of which can contribute to a healthy coat and strong bone development. Turkey dog food offers lean protein and can be a good novel protein alternative to chicken-based dog food formulations. Turkey also provides high levels of vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin, which is especially important for dogs that are pregnant or nursing.

“Sea” Proteins

Trout Dog Food

Trout can be a welcome addition to a high-protein dog food diet because it is packed with protein while remaining relatively low in fat. However, like other types of fish, trout is high in “good fats” such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Trout dog food is also a good source of niacin, vitamin B12 and other nutrients which can all promote healthy skin, a healthy coat, better cardiovascular health as well as fight inflammation.

Menhaden Fish Dog Food

Many people haven’t heard of menhaden fish because it isn’t likely to be on the menu at your local seafood restaurant. But you may want to include it in your dog’s diet because it can provide a number of health benefits. Menhaden fish dog food formulations are high in amino acids and nutrients that can help support strong bone health, metabolic function, digestion and immune health while also improving skin and hair conditions.

Whitefish Dog Food

Whitefish offers lean protein that can assist in weight loss while also providing a number of other health benefits. Whitefish dog food is high in B vitamins, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, taurine and selenium which is an antioxidant that can also promote a strong immune system. NutriSource offers both whitefish-based dog food as well as treats to help maintain strong nutritional balance.

Best way to feed your dog a high-protein diet

The best high-protein diet has a variety of meats and protein sources because of all the nutrients and amino acids dogs get from rotating them. That’s why Full Circle Feeding is the best approach for feeding your dog a high-protein diet. With higher protein levels, more moisture intake and hydration is needed to support digestion. So, it’s good practice to mix in wet foods with dry kibble when introducing other proteins. Buying smaller bags will help maintain the food’s freshness while allowing you to rotate your pet’s food more often. For more insights on how to successfully switch your dog to a high-protein diet full of rich novel proteins, check out our Ultimate Guide to Full Circle Feeding.

Shop local and buy NutriSource products from one of the independently owned and operated pet suppliers in your community.