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The 5 Best High Protein Dog Foods
The best high protein dog food has what dogs need — quality real-meat sources of abundant protein. It will also be delicious, of course. The ideal dog food for adult dogs contains well-balanced nutrients, and it is designed to help maintain muscle mass and manage weight. The following ratings and reviews are our picks for the top five best high protein dog food brands to help you choose the one that will best fit your dog’s needs and preferences.
In This Article
Best Choice: Purina Pro Plan Weight Control High Protein Dry Dog Food
Purina Pro Plan Weight Control High Protein Dry Dog Food is the best high protein dog food because it comes in multiple flavors and sizes, plus it contains EPA and glucosamine for optimal health benefits.
Purina Pro Plan Weight Control High Protein Dry Dog Food is specially formulated to help manage your dog’s weight. It is kibble made of high-quality protein, taking its place as our pick as the best high protein dog food among our 5 favorite commercial brands. The recipe features real chicken as its main ingredient. The Purina brand Pro Plan boasts lower fat than other popular adult dog foods.
Pro Plan contains 26% protein and only 9% fat, which makes this recipe lower in fat than Purina’s popular Pro Plan® Savor® blend. The Pro Plan formula contains EPA, which is an omega-3 fatty acid, and it includes glucosamine to promote health joints and sustain optimum mobility throughout a dog’s adulthood. It also includes natural prebiotic fiber from wheat bran to promote digestive health for adult dogs. This recipe is our choice because it’s designed to help dogs on weight-loss programs sustain healthy muscle mass while they lose weight, among other important benefits.
Flavors: Chicken, Chicken with Shreds, Chicken & Turkey, Dry & Wet Bundled, Turkey & Rice canned, Large Breed Chicken.
Available sizes: 6 lbs., 18 lbs., 34 lbs., packs of 12 cans (13 oz).
- Contains real chicken as the main ingredient
- High protein helps maintain healthy muscle mass during weight loss
- Lower fat than other major high-protein options
- Specially formulated to help maintain healthy weight throughout a dog’s adult life
- Formulated to promote long-term mobility throughout the lives of adult dogs
- Contains some wheat, but it’s included for digestive maintenance
Premium Pick: Taste of the Wild High Protein Real Meat Premium Dry Dog Food
Taste of the Wild High Protein Real Meat Recipe Premium Dry Dog Food is the best high protein dog food because of its unique flavors, plus it is designed with probiotics and for digestibility.
Taste of the Wild High Protein Real Meat Recipe Premium Dry Dog Food offers an exciting, unique recipe containing roasted bison along with roasted venison. This robust formula features real meat as the number 1 ingredient. This premium dry dog food also contains an exotic blend of hearty whole grains, including sorghum, quinoa, chia seed, and millet — for an altogether exceptionally protein-packed pet food. An all-meat, grain free dog food option is also offered.
The real-meat bison and venison recipe is rich in protein to help maintain muscle strength and optimum body fat ratio. The recipe contains no wheat, corn, or filler. It is also free from artificial coloring, flavoring and preservatives.
This recipe is designed for high digestibility, with Taste of the Wild’s own proprietary probiotics. It is especially formulated to thrive in the canine GI tract in order to promote the general health of dogs.
Taste of the Wild is a family-owned business. The company uses advanced pet food safety practices, and all foods are formulated in compliance with FDA and AAFCO requirements by experts in pet food nutrition and production who are experienced in veterinary medicine. Ingredients are sourced from trusted sustainable domestic and international sources.
Flavors: Bison and Venison with Ancient Grains, Roasted Bison and Roasted Venison Grain Free, Buffalo
Available sizes: 5 lbs., 14 lbs., 28 lbs.
- Unique flavors add variety to a dog’s diet
- Highly digestible with proprietary probiotics
- Contains no filler ingredients
- All-natural coloring and flavors
- No artificial preservatives
- Not readily available in chicken or other popular varieties
Best Value: Pedigree High Protein Healthy Adult Dry Dog Food
Pedigree High Protein Adult Dry Dog Food is the best high protein dog food because it contains no added sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. It has a wide variety of flavors and sizes and is an overall well-balanced recipe.
Pedigree High Protein Adult Dry Dog Food is made with real red meat and comes in several popular flavors. It also comes in a small size option of 3.5 lbs. making it perfect to store in a travel dog food container. This high-protein dry pet food contains 25% more protein than Pedigree’s Adult Complete Nutrition formula. This Pedigree recipe earns our number 3 of our top 5 rankings for the best high protein dog food, with its 100% complete, fully balanced adult dog food formulation.
This formula includes no artificial flavorings and zero added sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. It provides a well-balanced dietary component for all breeds of active adult dogs. Pedigree is popular for its appealing taste, and its producers are proud of its top-quality ingredients and 100% US production.
Flavors: Beef & Lamb, Chicken & Turkey
Available Sizes: 3.5 lbs., 17 lbs., 20.4 lbs., 46.8 lbs., 50 lbs.
- Complete nutrition formula
- No added sugar or artificial flavorings
- Full varieties of both poultry and red meat flavors
- Contains some chicken byproduct
Runner Up: IAMS PROACTIVE HEALTH High Protein Adult Dry Dog Food
IAMS PROACTIVE HEALTH High Protein Adult Dry Dog Food is the best high protein dog food because it contains real chicken and real turkey as its main ingredients, plus it contains 30% crude protein.
IAMS PROACTIVE HEALTH High Protein Adult Dry Dog Food contains real chicken and real turkey as its main ingredients. This recipe is designed to support adult dog’s muscle strength and energy. The formula features lean turkey, chicken, and egg protein to promote bone and joint health. It contains the essential minerals active adult dogs need. The blend includes healthy grains to help sustain energy in highly active dogs.
This dog food consists of a minimum of 30% crude protein. It contains 18% fat to help maintain healthy body weight in active adult dogs. This special dog food includes the essential nutrients energetic dogs need for optimum heart health. IAMS’ high-quality, high-protein dog food is full of all the good things for dogs, which makes it an easy choice for our top 5 ranked selections of best high protein dog food.
Flavors: Lamb & Rice Recipe, Adult with Beef & Rice
Available Sizes: 5 lbs., 12 lbs., 22 lbs.
- 30% crude protein minimum
- Main ingredients are real chicken and real turkey
- Formula specifically to support high energy for active adult dogs
- Wide variety of popular flavor combinations
- Contains slightly lower percentage of crude protein compared to others
Honorable Mention: Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free Dry Dog Food
Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free, Natural Adult Dry Dog Food is the best high protein dog food because it does not contain any chicken or poultry byproducts. In addition, the ingredients were selected by veterinarians in collaboration with animal nutritionists.
Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free, Natural Adult Dry Dog Food features real duck. This natural adult dry dog food is grain free and high in protein. The recipe is designed to appeal to dogs’ taste for real meat. It contains a high percentage of real duck for maintaining dogs’ lean muscle mass.
The Wilderness formula from Blue Buffalo is grain free. The recipe provides active adult dogs with carbohydrates from healthy sources, including peas and sweet potatoes. The high-protein blend also includes omega 3 and 6 fatty acids for ideal coat and skin health of your dog.
This unique adult dry dog food formula from Blue Buffalo contains the producer’s unique LifeSource Bits. This is a precision blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants selected by veterinarians in collaboration with animal nutritionists. The holistic blend is designed to promote health of dogs in the adult stage of life, supporting oxidative balance and healthy immune systems.
This high protein dog food features the highest quality of natural ingredients to promote the overall health of your adult dog. Blue Buffalo products do not contain any byproducts of chicken or other poultry, meal from byproducts, or any wheat, corn, or soy.
The Blue Buffalo brand also contains no preservatives or artificial flavorings. It has everything a dog needs, and all a dog food needs to make our list of top candidates for the best high protein dog food available on the market today.
Flavors: Chicken, Duck, Salmon
Available Sizes: 4.5 lbs., 11 lbs., 24 lbs.
- Contains exceptionally high protein level of 36%
- Does not contain grains, corn, or soy
- Contains multiple omega fatty acids for health of skin and coat
- Features veterinary blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants
- No chicken or other poultry byproducts
- No preservatives or artificial flavorings
- Not available in popular beef flavor
Features to Consider for the Best High Protein Dog Food
The best high protein dog food brands available for today’s active adult dogs feature a number of important dietary components and are blended in recipes designed to promote health and help minimize effects of aging on dog’s mobility, muscle mass, body weight maintenance, and joint health. Some of the key features of the best high protein dog food options, as in our top 5 picks above, can be expected to include:
High Protein Percentage
High-quality, high-protein foods for adult dogs can be expected to contain a significantly higher percentage of protein than average dog food formulas. The best high protein dog food choices contain around 25% to 35% or even slightly more of well-sourced protein per food volume (package size).
Low Fat Percentage
The best high protein dog food options typically contain a lower percentage of fat per food volume than other dog food selections offered by the same brand. Commonly, fat content in high-quality, high-protein adult dog foods is around 10% to 13% lower than regular dog food options offered by the same producers.
No Filler Ingredients
Volume filler ingredients are not to be found in the best high protein dog food selections. Superfluous wheat and other grain products used to add volume are viewed as a serious detriment to quality and nutritional integrity of pet foods. However, even in high-quality, high-protein foods for adult dogs, such as those on our list of the top 5 picks above, some grain products are included in some brands, but are not included as filler. In these recipes, the producers have added certain carefully selected grains to include for specific purposes of aiding in digestion, and/or for other reasons to facilitate the goals of the dog food makers to promote various health and wellness benefits for dogs.
No Unhealthy Additives
The best high protein dog food choices do not contain artificial flavorings, colorings, or preservatives. These blends do not resort to use of artificial additives designed to trick a dog’s senses into consuming lower-quality foods that are less beneficial in the nutrient values that higher-quality pet foods naturally provide. The brands that produce the highest quality of high-protein food options for dogs rely on the high concentration of real meat products in their recipes to deliver appealing food that dogs will enjoy eating.
Well-Balanced Nutrient Content
Producers of the best high protein dog food alternatives take special care to provide fully balanced nutrition in their recipes. Many involve veterinary medical experts and/or animal nutritionists to help ensure they achieve optimum blends containing ideal quantities of essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other critical components to promote long-term health and fitness of adult dogs.
Benefits of Using High Protein Dog Foods
High-protein dog foods of the caliber in our top 5 picks for best high protein dog food formulas offer important health and wellness advantages for adult dogs that average blends do not provide. Particular benefits vary, even between top-quality, high-protein dog foods, depending upon recipe ingredients. However, the best high protein dog food options will primarily include these essential benefits:
- Using high concentrations of protein from real meat helps dogs maintain muscle mass during weight loss. Higher muscle mass also means more calorie burning during regular activity.
- Formulating dog food without added sugar helps dogs maintain healthy weight (similar to weight loss dog food), and it helps preserve long-term health of joints, heart, and maintain energy levels.
- Loading dog food with essential minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants promotes healthy immune systems, and including omega-3 fatty acids supports dogs’ skin and coat health.
- Avoiding artificial flavorings, colorings and preservatives preserves the formulaic integrity of the best high protein dog foods, requiring more wholesome food quality that better promotes pet health.
- Components for high digestibility included in high-quality dog foods help maintain healthy digestive systems throughout the life of adult dogs.
Precautions of Using High Protein Dog Foods
High-protein dog foods offer a wealth of important benefits for adult dogs’ health and wellbeing, but, as with any other pet foods, there are some things to keep in mind when purchasing these products.
Some formulas may be less efficient than others in helping manage weight. Weight gain or weight loss may occur in some dogs when placed on a diet featuring high-protein dog foods, depending on the dog food contents, dog breed, age, level of regular activity, health factors, and other contributors.
All recipes across all brands do not necessarily contain the same level of purity of protein sources. Learn how language is used on dog food product labels, to fully understand what is required in representing content sources and percentages.
Some lesser-quality pet food brands may contain artificial preservatives and/or food colorings. Many high-protein pet foods contain grain products, and the concentrations vary between brands and recipes. So, be sure to read ingredients lists to ensure you’re buying a dog food that contains what you’re expecting.
Fat content is typically low in a high-protein dog food than in formulas by the same producer that are not advertised as high-protein formulas. However, some brands of high-protein dog foods contain higher fat percentages than others. So, compare ingredients lists to understand fat content prior to purchasing.
Pricing varies widely between top brands of high-protein dog foods. Compare ingredients and prices to determine which is the best high protein dog food for your dog’s needs and for your budget.
The best high protein dog food on our list of top 5 favorites above is the Purina Pro Plan Weight Control High Protein Dry Dog Food. We chose this recipe as our TOP PICK because of its well-rounded balance of all the key features and benefits we look for in the very best of today’s best high protein dog food options. It offers a wider variety of popular flavors than the Pedigree, IAMS, Taste of the Wild, or Blue Buffalo.
This option also offers a slightly lower price point than the Blue Buffalo and other brands priced at the higher end of the range among our top 5. The cost differential is enough for dog food shoppers to realize a helpful total savings over the life of their pet. While none of the choices on this list are organic dog food options, the popular Purina brand of high-protein dog food, overall, appears to us to make the best available solution we found for a pet food that works well for maintaining adult dogs’ health and weight at a good value.