What Percent of Protein Is Safe for Dogs?

Keep your dog healthy into his senior years by feeding the proper diet.
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Protein is one of the main ingredients in dog food, such as chicken, fish and beef, and provides amino acids essential for proper growth and development. As dogs age, their protein needs change. Your veterinarian is important when determining what level of protein is necessary for each stage of your dog’s life.


Puppies are constantly growing and generally require a food with higher protein than older dogs. The recommended amount of protein for puppies is between 22 and 29 percent, which should provide 20 to 25 percent of their daily calories. Large-breed puppies require less protein for proper growth and development than other breeds. The dog breed info website recommends feeding puppies three to four times a day until they reach 8 weeks old. At this time, start feeding them twice a day.


Adult dogs who have a normal level of daily activity generally require between 16 and 18 percent of protein in their diet. Active dogs, such as hunting or racing dogs, may require up to 40 percent protein, based on their activity levels, according to the Sport Dog website. Your veterinarian has the best recommendations for your healthy dog's protein needs. Adult dogs should have their recommended daily feeding broken down into two, equal feedings per day.


Surprisingly, as a dog ages his protein requirements do not change, according to the Healthy Pets website. The feeding regimen for your senior dog should be based on his weight, health and level of activity. Your veterinarian can perform an assessment yearly to help you determine if your senior dog may require a change in his diet. Feeding him twice a day is recommended during this time.

Additional Nutrients

In addition to food, water is essential for your dog since it accounts for 60 to 70 percent of his weight. Fats, like omega-6 and omega-3, are important since they are necessary for cell growth and hormone production. Carbohydrates your dog gets through his balanced diet help with digestion and provide energy for his tissue. Vitamins and minerals, such as calcium and vitamin A, found in his food also help with body functions and ensure your dog has healthy teeth and bones.