Best protein supplements for Dogs

protein supplement for dogs

Can I Feed My Dog Protein?

Can you supplement your dog with protein shakes? Yes, you can but not in the way like us. Some breeds are naturally muscular while others just aren’t built that way. If you take fitness seriously, it’s easy to think that your best buddy needs lots of whey protein as well.

When you buy your dog’s food, make sure that it contains a meat source as the first ingredient. This way you’ll ensure they are getting enough protein in their diet on a daily basis. You won’t need to feed any extra by introducing questionable supplementation. We recommend a sports performance dog food for what you may be trying to achieve.

You can get carried away and overload on protein, which may negatively affect the body. Your dog’s digestive system is much smaller in size and they may respond poorly to such supplementation. Development of liver problems, at a rapid rate, is possible. Besides, whey protein that we often use to build muscle is not good for the dog, or even harmful.

Benefits of Protein Powders for Dogs

Benefits of giving dogs whey protein are not valuable for every dog owner. Using a protein supplement is ideal for hard-working dogs, and other highly active breeds. A regular home pet would not benefit much from more proteins in their diet.

Muscle building

Protein is essential for muscle growth. Technically, muscles will not build and continue to grow without protein in the diet. Protein is an integral part of the dog’s physical body. Comprising of 20 amino acids, it is considered the building blocks of the tissues. Additionally, protein is constantly being broken down in the body so new protein molecules need to be introduced.

Muscle recovery

Not only is protein for dogs an important factor in the building of muscle, but also in the recovery as well. They help the muscles repair after exercise. Just like when humans go to the gym and work out, the muscles of a dog can begin to wear and tear as well due to overactivity or lack of nutrition. The added protein benefits in protein powder or protein shake for a dog will assist in the recovery process of the muscles as well.

Lean mass gains

Protein supplements are not only used to gain muscle or to recover from muscle loss and weariness. Lean mass protein is also very beneficial, especially when one is looking to lose weight or maintain. Lean mass gains can help one achieve a healthy gain in mass without unnecessary body fat added on. This results in quality weight and muscle mass gain.

The Gorilla Max Protein Supplement is a well-formulated protein supplement for your dog. If your dog has not enough protein intake, create a meal or a protein shake(you can put in some fruits!) for him and your dog is fine. This protein supplement does not contain the harmful substance to your dog. It is safe and many people review that it helps your dog growth and their dogs are being more healthy.

Disadvantages of Protein Powders for Dogs

Whey proteins for dogs are only worth it for owners for bully breeds and other breeds in which the lean muscle mass plays an important role (Greyhounds, GSD, farm dogs, weight pulling dogs, etc). But here are some clear disadvantages of using powdered proteins for your pets.

Cost factor

As much as protein powders for dogs are a beneficial addition to a dog’s diet, it also has its downsides. For one, protein powders can prove to be quite expensive especially when compared to other food types. When one looks at the cost factor of a protein supplement, one has to decide at that point if it is really worth the buy. Since protein powders are not necessary, many do not see the inherent need in spending the extra money.


Protein supplements, powders, and shakes are just what they are: protein. Therefore, supplementing on just these products alone is not going to do any good for your dog’s overall health. It is very unbalanced. Basically, it’s only protein and it does not offer much, or any for that matter, vitamins, minerals, and trace elements that the body needs. Additionally, there are no fats and carbs that are also part of a healthy overall diet plan.

Expectation management

A lot of dog owners and breeders will make the mistake in believing that these protein supplements are going to magically do the trick. They erroneously believe that the powder will make their dogs as strong and muscular as they would have initially hoped for them to be.

However, the truth is, that is not always the case. Due to this, many dog owners end up cutting some slack on exercising thinking that the powders will do all the work. Supplements are meant to assist, not do the entire job.


Whether a protein supplement for dogs is going to make any difference is determined not only in the type but in the dosage. Considering the right dosage for your dog depends on the dog’s body weight. A great point to keep in mind is that for every kilogram of body weight, a dog would need two grams of animal protein. This is in reference to a high-quality kind of protein. This general rule is applied as a daily dosage. Obviously, this also depends on the supplement you use and its concentration in protein content per serving as well.

During the growth phase of an animal, the amount will have to be greater. After six months, the demand begins to lessen, so for a young puppy, the intake will be about twice as large as an adult until 40% of its adult weight is eventually reached.

Whey Protein is NOT appropriate

Whey protein, much like tofu, just isn’t recommended for canines. Whey, in particular, is not found in nature. Actually, it is derived from coagulated milk in the production of cheese. Does that sound like something your dog should have in their diet? It’s devoid of the kind of protein that actually matters for them to thrive.

And so, giving your pet dog some of your whey protein shakes is not a good idea. While you may have good intentions, and while they will lap it up due to its sweet flavor, it’s not what they need to get through the day. Nor it is practical for you to provide for any sustained period of time.

As funny as it sounds, dogs don’t lift weights. They don’t need this extra protein to maintain the muscle they already have. They just need to be active!

Protein in Dog Food

Unfortunately, many brands contain corn or some wheat-based ingredient listed as the primary content. This is just filler, not protein, and can lead to your dog not having as much energy as they should. They could also develop health problems quicker than they normally would. It’s a shame. This, however, doesn’t mean you should provide a human-formulated protein supplement for them. Instead, just carefully select their dog food.

Canine Treats Work Well

There are excellent dog treats that contain mostly meat protein. They are a perfectly acceptable way to make sure that they are getting plenty of protein. You don’t need to give them protein supplement to maintain his muscle. Giving them a dog treat after they’ve been running around, or after they’ve gone for a walk with you is already a good way to maintain his daily protein intake.

Such a strategy can be a positive reinforcement to routine exercise, and will also help them keep a nice shiny coat. Do this instead of providing any human-formulated protein products.

Best Sources of Protein for Dog Food

These sources of protein have a high biological value, and each of them contains all ten necessary amino acids for canine health. Foods with these best protein sources in the top 6 ingredients are likely high-quality dog foods.

Whole Eggs (BV 100)

With a biological value of 100, eggs win for protein quality. They are very digestible and one of the best protein sources for dogs. They are also a relatively cheap ingredient for their concentrated goodness, hence you will find them in most dog and cat foods.

Chicken/Turkey (BV 79)

The most biologically available of the fresh meats, chicken and turkey are winners for your pet’s food. The only problem is that chicken is one of the more common allergies that dogs and cats can have, mostly because of its prevalence.

To reduce the chances of your dog developing a chicken allergy, change up the main protein source in your pet’s food every few months. Other less-common poultry, such as duck, are also quality protein sources. If you have a puppy, introduce them to several protein sources in the first year of life to reduce allergy risk.

Salmon, Oceanfish, & Other Named Fish (BV 70)

Fish are a healthy source of protein for dogs, and have distinct benefits for dogs with sensitive or dry skin. Oils and omega fatty acids found within fish nourish and moisturize the skin, preventing flaking of skin and even shedding.

Since fish can contain high levels of toxins, it is important to rotate your pet’s primary protein sources if possible.

Beef (BV 69)

Beef is a healthy source of protein and is readily digestible. Other ruminating animals, such as lamb, sheep, venison, and bison are also quality sources of protein for pet foods, though their availability might make them a little more expensive.

Raw Foods Have the Highest Bioavailability

Chicken or other Named Meat Meals

The AAFCO definition for a chicken meal is the “dry rendered product from a combination of clean chicken flesh and skin with or without accompanying bone, derived from whole carcasses of chicken, exclusive of feathers, heads, feet, and entrails.” Source: Wikipedia. The only thing that makes named meat meals a little less healthy is that they are rendered products, and their high-heat cooking method decreases the overall protein and nutritional value of the ingredient. That being said, meals can still deliver a highly concentrated protein source for your pet’s food.

Adequate Sources of Protein for Dog Food

These protein sources contain most (or all) necessary amino acids and have a moderate digestibility. Some grains and grain-free plant-based protein sources (such as brown rice or oatmeal) will actually increase the biological value of your pet food when paired with high-quality meats.

Chicken (or other named meat) By-Products

By-products are the ground-up carcasses of animals, excluding meat and including offal, bones, and undeveloped eggs. These can include healthy organ meats, but more often contain low-quality proteins with limited digestibility. The reality is that by-products can vary widely in their nutritional value, making them an inconsistent choice for dog food. Relying on by-products as a primary source of protein for your pet is like playing a nutritional roulette.

Soy (BV 67-74)

Soy has a fairly high biological value for a legume, but there are plenty of reasons for its modest protein rating. Soy is a cheap legume that contains all necessary amino acids. However, it’s given a lower quality rating because soy is biologically inappropriate for dogs and cats, which means they would never encounter it in their wild diet. Also, some pets have sensitivities to soy and have a hard time digesting it due to their short digestive tract (in comparison to ours). Lastly, while soy isn’t the worst protein source, its very low cost is an indicator that your pet food is cutting corners when it comes to nutrition.

Other legume protein sources, such as lentils and chickpeas would also likely fall under this rating. A relatively new protein source in dog foods, lentils, and other legumes, with their high fiber inclusion, are a promising ingredient when it comes to dog weight loss. Their newness, unfortunately, means that they are not extensively tested in lifetime studies.

Plant-Based Proteins

Plant-based sources of protein include potatoes (or potato protein), peas (pea protein), grains such as rice or oatmeal, quinoa, barley, and flaxseed. These are healthy ingredients for dog food, and your food is likely to include at least one of them (if not two or more) in the first 6 ingredients. What can be beneficial about these grain and vegetable-sourced proteins is that they often complement meat proteins, which means the overall biological value of the food goes up. 

However, if there are several of these sources listed early on, it could indicate that your pet food has a lot less meat protein than you think it does. These plant-based ingredients are healthy for other reasons, but their offering of digestible protein is limited. One common cheap plant protein is corn or corn gluten. Be sure that if your pet food contains these ingredients, it also includes plenty of quality meat protein sources early on in the ingredient list as well. 

Poor Sources of Protein

These sources of protein should be avoided. They do not contain adequate amino acids, or their amino acids have been altered for limited biological value. Foods that contain low-quality, cheap protein sources as primary protein sources are likely skimming in quality on other ingredients, too.

Meat By-Products and Meals

Meat and Bone Meal and other non-descriptive meat by-products are some of the lowest quality meat proteins available. Their high ash content is indicative of being difficult to digest and low biological value. These “mystery meats” undoubtedly contain meat from the 4D’s (dead, diseased, dying, disabled), which can include restaurant leftovers, roadkill, supermarket castoffs (complete with packaging) and dead zoo animals – to name a few. These meat sources are undisclosed and can vary depending on the rendering plant, but are definitely the cheapest “meats” available. Avoid anything with the descriptive terms animal, poultry, blood, and meat. 

Common Questions About Protein for Dogs

Is it possible to feed a vegetarian diet for dogs?

In short, yes. There are vegetarian and vegan dog foods out there. Dogs, like us, have very adaptive digestive systems. However, their short digestive tract still does not handle plant-based proteins as well as animal-based proteins, or meat. It would be impossible to stick with a biologically-appropriate diet by feeding your dog vegetarian or vegan, but your dog could still get the necessary nutrition.

That being said, a vegetarian or vegan diet does not give optimal nutrition to your dog. Legumes such as soy and lentils can be harder to digest, and not as biologically available as meat proteins. Your dog would have to eat more to get the appropriate nutrition. However, if your dog has severe allergies, a meatless diet may be a good nutritional choice for your pet. 

Is it better to feed a limited ingredient diet (LID) or single protein diet instead of a standard one with multiple protein sources? 

“Limited ingredient” is a bit of a misnomer, seeing as many LID diets still contain a fair amount of ingredients. The main difference between these diets and standard diets is that they contain usually one primary protein source and one primary carbohydrate source. The idea behind them was originally to support dogs with allergies. Generally, they include a novel protein (an unusual protein source that dogs are unlikely to have encountered, such as turkey), and carbohydrate (such as oats or rice). They generally stay away from common dog food proteins (and common allergy sources) such as chicken or beef.

These diets can be helpful for dogs who have developed allergies to common proteins. However, unless your dog is in this position, it’s not recommended to feed a limited ingredient diet, unless you plan on switching it up frequently or mixing foods. The reason is this: feeding few protein sources (or just one) can actually encourage allergies to develop. Scientific studies have found that puppies fed a variety of foods in their first year are less likely to develop food allergies later on. And, the more different proteins that your pet has in his food, the more biologically available the food becomes to your pet, So, if your dog does not have any allergies, feed a variety of proteins to your dog regularly. 


Protein is one of the most essential parts of your dog’s diet. For total system functioning, make sure that the protein sources in your pet’s food are high quality. High-quality ingredients mean more nutrition and healthier pet long-term. You can’t skimp on nutrition without paying the price eventually!

When to See a Veterinarian?

If you’ve been thinking of supplementing your dog’s protein levels as a way to get them back on track as far as their health goes, please reconsider. Consider taking them to the vet for a checkup first. Getting a professional opinion on what’s best for your dog, and how you can treat them best health-wise, is often money well spent.

The vet may also recommend switching dog food brands or having them get more exercise or fresh air. It’s very unlikely they’d recommend any kind of whey protein supplement.

Conclusion on Extra Protein

While dogs certainly require protein, but it should come from foods that naturally contain it. This means you need a high-performance dog food with a meat listed as the first ingredient. If you are a person that’s into fitness, and you drink protein shakes regularly, don’t expect your pooch to live the same lifestyle. But, if you are cooking him some homemade dog food, he may need some more protein source such as Gorilla Max Protein Supplement.

You can definitely have a fit dog and even incorporate your best buddy into your cardio workouts. Just feed it with my suggestion if your dog’s protein intake is not enough, or feed them with the traditional dog food and dog treats. And, let him stay active!

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