The Best High-Protein Dog Foods: Reviews and Our Top Picks

The Best High-Protein Dog Foods: Reviews and Our Top Picks

Katelyn Son
By Katelyn Son
Medically reviewed by Ivana Crnec, DVM
If you buy something from a link on our site, we may earn a commission. See our advertising disclosure.
If you buy something from a link on our site, we may earn a commission.
See our advertising disclosure.

Which Dog Food has the Highest Protein?

The Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Grain-Free Beef
  • GRAIN FREE, RANCH RAISED BEEF: The Honest Kitchen Grain Free Beef dog food is high in protein and made with real whole food ingredients like ranch-raised beef & kale, which are gently dehydrated for maximum nutrient retention and easy digestion.
  • EASY HOMEMADE: Just add warm water for a wholesome & delicious meal. Serve alone as a complete meal for maximum nutrition, or use as a topper to their dry food.
  • HUMAN GRADE: Unlike most pet food, this recipe is 100% human grade – made with human-grade ingredients & produced in a human food facility. That means higher quality ingredients & more safety standards, just like you'd expect from your own food.

What is High-Protein Dog Food?

High protein dog food is pet food that contains a high proportion of protein content from animal sources like beef, chicken, lamb, and venison or lean protein sources like salmon, trout, or whiting fish.

High protein diets are rich in amino acids, which are important in maintaining good vision and muscle and bone health in dogs. Most dog food products, therefore, use a blend of high protein ingredients more than carbohydrates or fibers.

The high-protein dog food mimics the wild dog’s diets and satisfies their appetites.

Do Dogs Need High Protein Food?

Yes, active dogs need high-protein dog food.

High-protein diets are vital for proper metabolism, overall activity levels, and nutritional needs. Dogs are carnivores in nature and thus naturally crave high protein content in their diets. High protein dog food is the closest to the natural diet of dogs.

The high protein content is especially beneficial for large breed dogs and active & working dogs.

Is High-Protein Dog Food Good for Dogs?

Yes, high-protein dog food is good. Here are some of the many benefits of adding proteins to your dog’s diet:

  • Muscle Strength. Protein is the building block of muscle in bodies. Thus, having a protein-rich diet increases muscle strength in dogs.
  • Bone Health. A high-protein diet also strengthens bones and joints and recovers any injuries or ailments faster.
  • Skin & Coat Health. Fur and coat are made up of collagen and amino acids, both of which are protein components. Thus a protein-rich diet makes dog coats shinier.
  • Boosts Metabolism. A high protein diet helps dogs burn more calories than average due to its thermic effect. This accelerates metabolism.
  • Weight Management. Due to the high metabolism resulting from high protein content, it’s easier for dogs to lose any unhealthy weight and gain muscle mass simultaneously naturally.
  • Immune Strength. Amino acids in protein benefit T-cells and phagocytes that make up the body’s immune system. Therefore, a high protein diet boosts immunity in dogs.

The Best High-Protein Dog Food Reviewed

There are many high-protein dog food options on the market. Therefore choosing the right recipe can be overwhelming. To help, we reviewed the best high-protein dog foods available on Amazon and Chewy.

The Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Grain-Free Beef

The Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Grain-Free Beef

Get it on Amazon      Get it on The Honest Kitchen

Summary: The Dehydrated Grain-Free Beef Recipe is a human-grade dog food formula made with wholesome ingredients. The food is complete and balanced for dogs of different life stages and can be used alone or as a food topper for picky eaters. The first ingredient is ranch-raised beef enriched with superfoods such as sweet potatoes, kale, papayas, pumpkin, and coconut. Plus, the formula is easy to use – it just needs to be rehydrated by adding warm water before serving.  

Type: Dehydrated dog food 

Best for: Puppies and adult dogs 

Flavor Options: Beef; Chicken; Turkey; Fish 

Price: $27.48 per 12 cases (1.75 oz)

Pros

  • Wholesome and delicious formula
  • Human-grade quality and safety standards 
  • With beef, sweet potatoes, and kale 
  • No by-products, fillers, or GMO ingredients
  • Can be used as a meal or dog food topper 

Cons

  • Needs to be rehydrated before use 

Ingredient Analysis

  • Great Ingredients: Dehydrated beef, dehydrated sweet potatoes, dehydrated potatoes, organic flaxseed, dried organic coconut, dried parsley, dried papayas, dried cranberries, dehydrated pumpkin, dehydrated honey, dehydrated kale, taurine, vitamins, minerals, and fish oil 
  • Not-so-Great Ingredients: None 

Review: Amazon customers give this food 4.3 out of 5 stars. They say it is loaded with healthy foods, and their dogs like it. Plus, pet owners explain the food is simple to serve despite the need to rehydrate it before use. 

CRAVE Grain Free Adult High Protein Natural Dry Dog Food

CRAVE Grain Free Adult High Protein Natural Dry Dog Food

Get it on Amazon          Get it on Chewy

Summary: A grain-free high, protein formula that specifically improves skin and coat health in dogs. This food formula contains 34% protein content balanced with essential vitamins and minerals for canine health. The grain-free nature of the formula makes it suitable for dogs with grain allergies and ensures lower calorie content.

Type: Dry dog food

Best for: Adult dogs of all breed sizes

Flavor options: Beef; Chicken

Price: $3.00 per pound

Pros

  • Grain-free formula suitable for dogs with a grain allergy
  • High protein content from fresh chicken fat and beef
  • Contains healthy carbohydrate sources like peas and lentils
  • Improves skin and coat health in dogs
  • Flaxseed that helps in digestive regulation in dogs

Cons

  • Often out of stock on online retailers

Ingredient Analysis

  • Great Ingredients: Chicken, split peas, lentils, pea starch, flaxseed, dried alfalfa meal, dried plain beet pulp, rosemary extract, vitamins, and minerals
  • Not-so-Great Ingredients: Chicken meal, pork meal, beef meal, chicken fat

Review: Based on 3,875 customer reviews, this dog food with quality ingredients has an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Customers state that this food meets their dog needs and their dogs are healthier with this diet.

VICTOR Super Premium Hi-Pro Plus Dry Dog Food

VICTOR Super Premium Hi-Pro Plus Dry Dog Food

Get it on Amazon          Get it on Chewy

Summary: This is a dry food formula with 30% protein content from premium and fresh beef meat. This formula has a blend of mineral complexes and selenium yeast that boost activity levels in dogs and keep them energetic irrespective of age. Moreover, this formula is enriched with a prebiotic and probiotic blend that aids in digestion and helps remove toxins from dogs’ bodies. This is a gluten-free recipe and thus suitable for dogs who are intolerant to gluten.

Type: Dry dog food

Best for: Adult dogs

Flavor Options: Beef

Price: $1.44 per pound

Pros

  • 30% protein content from beef
  • Boosts energy levels and keeps dog active
  • Suitable for pregnant or lactating dogs as well
  • Contains prebiotics and probiotics that aid in digestion
  • No fillers, artificial additives, and preservatives

Cons

  • Not suitable for dogs intolerant to grains

Ingredient Analysis

  • Great Ingredients: Grain sorghum, whole grain millet, yeast culture, carrot powder, tomato pomace, taurine, brewers yeast, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Aspergillus oryzae fermentation extract, dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum extract, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract, rosemary, green tea, spearmint, inulin, vitamins, and minerals
  • Not-so-Great Ingredients: Meat and fish meals, chicken fat, vegetable oil

Review:  Based on 8,382 customer reviews, this high-protein dry dog food has an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars. Customers state that this food formula improved their dogs’ digestive issues and activity levels in senior dogs.

Purina Pro Plan High Protein Digestive Health Large Breed Dry Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan High Protein Digestive Health Large Breed Dry Dog Food

Get it on Amazon          Get it on Chewy

Summary: This is a healthy grain-inclusive formula with high protein content from fresh, real meat sources. The high protein content helps improve muscle strength. This formula also contains Glucosamine and EPA, a source of omega-3 fatty acids that aid in bone health and strength, which is important for large breed and giant dogs. Contains Bacillus sp fermentation product that improves gut health and digestion.

Type: Dry dog food

Best for: Large breed adult dogs

Flavor Options: Chicken and Rice

Price: $1.77 per pound

Pros

  • Healthy grain inclusive formula
  • High protein content from real and fresh chicken
  • Contains EPA that improves bone health and mobility
  • With probiotic strains that improve digestive health
  • Boosts muscle strength in large breeds and giant dogs.

Cons

  • Only one flavor is available

Ingredient Analysis

  • Great Ingredients: Chicken, rice, whole grain wheat, whole grain corn, barley, fish oil, dried egg product, wheat bran, taurine, glucosamine, vitamins, and minerals
  • Not-so-Great Ingredients: Corn gluten meal, poultry by-product meals, fish meal

Review: Based on 5,050 reviews, this food formula has an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars. Pet owners state that this is a great value for money, high-protein food that their dogs love.

Purina Pro Plan High Protein Puppy Food

Purina Pro Plan High Protein Puppy Food

Get it on Amazon          Get it on Chewy

Summary: This is a special blend containing crunchy kibble as well as tender meat pieces. The chicken recipe targets improving gut health and, thereby, the immune strength in dogs of all breed sizes. Contains a special antioxidant blend that further boosts immune strength in dogs. This formula is enriched with DHA, an essential nutrient that improves brain health and vision in dogs. This high protein blend is derived from fresh chicken, a healthy source of lean protein.

Type: Crunchy kibble + shredded meat chunks

Best for: Puppies

Flavor Options: Chicken & Rice

Price: $2.70 per pound

Pros

  • High protein formula made with real chicken meat
  • Contains live probiotics that improve gut health
  • Enriched with DHA that improves vision and cognitive health
  • Vitamin A, vitamin E & omega fatty acids for shiny coats
  • Suitable for dogs of all breed sizes

Cons

  • Contains corn and soybean meals (allergens)

Ingredient Analysis

  • Great Ingredients: Chicken, rice, whole grain wheat, whole grain corn, dried egg product, dried yeast, fish oil, calcium, dried Bacillus coagulans fermentation product, vitamins, and minerals
  • Not-so-Great Ingredients: Soybean meal, corn meal (low nutritional value)

Review: Based on 9,368 customer reviews, this product has an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars. Customers state that this is a great crude protein formula in a flavor their dogs love.

Purina Pro Plan High Energy High Protein Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan High Energy High Protein Dog Food

Get it on Amazon          Get it on Chewy

Summary: This is a dry food formula with a 30/20 balance of protein and fat from healthy grains that provides optimum nourishment to dogs. This formula contains salmon as the first ingredient with high amounts of healthy amino acids beneficial for their vitality. This recipe is a special formula with concentrated nutrition that increases oxygen metabolism, thereby increasing dogs’ energy levels.

Type: Dry dog food

Best for: Adult dogs

Flavor Options: Salmon; Salmon & Cod

Price: $1.99 per pound

Pros

  • 30% protein content from nutritious salmon
  • Digestible and nutrient-dense formula
  • Glucosamine and EPA for bone health and vitality
  • Suitable for dogs of all breed sizes
  • 20% healthy fats for high energy levels

Cons

  • Not suitable for dogs sensitive to gluten

Ingredient Analysis

  • Great Ingredients: Salmon, rice, whole grain corn, dried egg product, fish oil, dried Bacillus coagulans fermentation product, vitamins, and minerals
  • Not-so-Great Ingredients: Corn germ meal, corn gluten meal, fish meal

Review: Based on 1,908 customer reviews, this product has an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars. Pet owners claim that this high-quality formula has eliminated all digestive issues in their dogs while making them more energetic.

Optimeal High-Protein Small Breed Dog Food

Optimeal High-Protein Small Breed Dog Food

Get it on Amazon          Get it on Chewy

Summary: This is a high-protein formula to meet the dietary needs of small breed dogs. The lamb’s protein content is the formula’s first ingredient and has the highest proportion. This formula has healthy grains that satisfy the nutritional needs and calories that small breed dogs need to stay active. This formula is also great for immune health in small breed dogs as it contains selenium, vitamin A and zinc.

Type: Dry dog food

Best for: Small breed adult dogs

Flavor Options: Lamb & Rice; Turkey & Rice; Chicken & Rice; Chicken & Lamb

Price: $3.52 per pound

Pros

  • Suitable for small breed dogs
  • Lamb as the first ingredient, making it a high-protein formula
  • With wholesome, healthy & easily digestible carbs
  • Improves immune health with selenium, zinc, and vitamins
  • Omega fatty acids that promote healthy skin & shiny coats

Cons

  • Some pet owners dislike the scent of the kibble

Ingredient Analysis

  • Great Ingredients: Deboned lamb, rice, barley, oats, pea protein, potato protein, brown rice, flaxseed, salmon oil, dried plain beet pulp, dried chicory root, brewer’s dried yeast, taurine, dried cranberries, dried blueberries, glucosamine, rosemary extract, yucca schidigera extract, chamomile, turmeric, fructooligosaccharide, vitamins, and minerals
  • Not-so-Great Ingredients: Chicken meal, turkey meal

Review: Based on 136 customer reviews, this product has an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. Customers state that even their picky eater dogs love this formula for their daily meals.

PEDIGREE High Protein Adult Dry Dog Food

PEDIGREE High Protein Adult Dry Dog Food

Get it on Amazon          Get it on Chewy

Summary: This is a high-protein food formula with healthy grains that satisfy the dietary needs of adult dogs. This formula contains protein sources from premium beef and lamb that are rich in healthy amino acids. Boosted with omega fatty acids that help improve coat and skin health in dogs. Enriched with essential nutrients that help adult dogs stay and grow healthier.

Type: Dry dog food

Best for: Adult dogs

Flavor Options: Beef & Lamb

Price: $0.79 per pound

Pros

  • Two premium types of meat – lamb, and beef
  • Suitable for all breed sizes
  • Packed with nutrients that adult dogs need to grow healthier
  • Improves skin and coat health
  • Value-for-money product with low prices for large quantities

Cons

  • Contains corn meal in the first five ingredients

Ingredient Analysis

  • Great Ingredients: Ground whole grain corn, animal fat, beef, ground whole grain wheat, dried plain beet pulp, dried peas, brewers rice, vitamins, and minerals
  • Not-so-Great Ingredients: Meat meals and by-products, corn meal, soybean meal

Review: Based on 93 customer ratings, this product has an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars. Customers state that their dogs love the flavor and are excited for meal times with this food.

Purina Pro Plan Sport High Protein Wet Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan Sport High Protein Wet Dog Food

Get it on Amazon          Get it on Chewy

Summary: A wet dog food formula in pate form. This formula has high protein content derived from beef and bison, which are premium meat. This recipe contains a delectable gravy with tender meat pates. This formula contains 23 essential nutrients that improve the overall health of dogs. Moreover, this recipe has an antioxidant blend that specifically improves immune health in dogs.

Type: Wet dog food

Best for: Dogs of all life stages

Flavor Options: Beef and bison

Price: $2.99 per can (13 oz)

Pros

  • Made with healthy grains for a balanced diet
  • High animal protein derived from beef and bison
  • Rich and thick gravy formula that keeps dogs hydrated
  • Contains 23 essential nutrients for canine health
  • No artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives

Cons

  • Contains guar gum and carrageenan

Ingredient Analysis

  • Great Ingredients: Beef, water, liver, chicken, bison, rice, vitamins, and minerals
  • Not-so-Great Ingredients: Meat by-products, carrageenan

Review: Based on 393 customer reviews, this product has an average rating of 4.6 /5 stars. Customers state that their dogs love this flavorsome and high-quality food.

What are the Best Sources of Protein for Dogs?

Chicken and beef are the best and most commonly used protein sources for dogs. However, dog food brands use a wider specter of meats. Here is a list of some of the best protein sources:

  • Poultry: chicken, turkey, duck, quail, and poultry
  • Red meat: beef, pork, venison, lamb, and bison
  • Fish: salmon, herring, whitefish, and trout.

In addition to meat, some dog food recipes use plant-based protein sources such as:

  • Legumes: peas, chickpeas, soy
  • Grains: quinoa, buckwheat, oats.

How do I Know if a Dog Food is High-Protein?

To ensure whether your choice of dog food is high in protein or not, consider the following things:

  • Protein Content. For dog food to be considered high, it should contain at least 30% protein in the formulation. Higher levels are also acceptable.
  • Protein Source. Make sure that the source of protein content is fresh meat and not meat flavoring or meat meals; the latter two don’t provide complete nutrition compared to fresh meat.
  • Ingredient List. Ensure that the protein source is listed as the first ingredient or at least in the first five ingredients in the ingredient list. This indicates the protein is present in high amounts.

How Much Protein Should a Dog Have Daily?

In general, a dog should have 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight a day.

For example, if your dog‘s ideal healthy weight is 40lbs, it should have 40 grams of protein per day. This amount should be divided between the daily meals. Exceeding the recommended daily protein intake can result in digestive issues and obesity.