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What Is the Best Meat for Dogs?

What is the Healthiest Choice for Your Dog?

Raw beef meat pieces

Your dog’s health depends on their diet. Everything that passes between your dog’s pearly whites becomes the building blocks of your dog’s cells, energy, and more. Ultimately, you want to feed your dog the best meats for a well-balanced and nutritious diet. But deciding on a protein isn’t always that easy when you factor in availability, price, intolerances, and sustainability. If you’ve been wondering, “What is the best meat for dogs?” we have the answers you and your dog are looking for.

How Does Meat Affect Your Dog?

Meat is made up of protein. And protein is one of the most important elements in your dog’s diet. Dogs need meat to thrive. What role does protein play in your dog’s body? Essentially, protein is broken down into amino acids, which is the material used to make and repair cells. Dogs need 22 different amino acids to thrive. They can make 12 of these on their own, but the other 10 need to come from outside sources: meat.

Proteins also convert to energy--the fuel your dog needs to run, play, and provide you with those kisses you love so much.

Because meat contains complete amino acids and becomes energy and builds cells, the protein you feed your dog affects every part of their body from their brain to the paws.

How the Body Uses Protein:


    • Build and repair muscle and other tissues.
    • Supply your dog with usable energy.
    • Make up the basis of your dog’s hair, nails, and skin.
    • Support and improve organ function
    • Are the building block of connective tissues.
    • Play a vital role in the immune system.
    • Strengthen the skeletal system.
    • Regulate and balance enzymes for a healthy hormonal system.

How Do Meat Proteins Differ from Plant-Based Proteins?

Meat protein is considered complete proteins while vegetable proteins are often referred to as “incomplete proteins.”

If you go to the supermarket or browse artisan dog foods online, you will notice that most companies emphasise the level of protein in their foods. Yet, if you take a closer look at their ingredients or nutritional analyses, you will notice that most try to boost protein levels with plant-based proteins, like legumes, peas, and vegetables like potatoes. And while there are other benefits to these ingredients, your dog’s body processes the protein differently, and they offer incomplete amino acids.

The ten essential amino acids dogs need are:

    • Lysine
    • Leucine
    • Valine
    • Arginine
    • Histidine
    • Isoleucine
    • Phenylalanine
    • Methionine
    • Threonine
    • Tryptophan

When a dog does not get one of these amino acids through their diet, the process of creating cells, utilizing energy, and repairing the body stops.

Proteins from non-meat sources do contain amino acids, but there are not any non-meat proteins that contain all ten essential amino acids. Plant-based proteins do not have arginine, methionine, lysine, or tryptophan.

What Are Novel Meats or Novel Proteins?

When searching for the best raw food for dogs, you likely found various sources reference “novel proteins.” These are less-common meats that can be beneficial for dogs that experience or develop food intolerances.

Dogs develop protein intolerance by eating the same meat for a long period of time. Over the source of their lives, some dogs’ immune systems will turn against the proteins. If your dog gradually begins to experience diarrhoea more and more often, skin rashes, and itchy skin, they may need to switch to a novel protein. Your vet can chat with you about your dog’s diet and run tests to find out if they need to switch to a novel protein diet.

When Choosing Your Dog’s Diet, Which Meat is the Best Choice?

    1. Kangaroo

      Kangaroo is a sustainable meat source for dogs. Kangaroos live a free-range lifestyle and get to experience full, enriched lives. Compared to beef, kangaroo is extremely low in methane. But kangaroo is not just an environmentally responsible and humane choice in meats for your dog--it’s also highly beneficial and nutritious. Kangaroo meat is the leanest red meat and a novel protein.

      Doesn’t “lean meat” mean that it doesn’t have the fats my dog needs? Nope. Kangaroo has plenty of healthy, unsaturated fats. It is also a rich source of iron and zinc. Your dog’s body uses iron to transport oxygen throughout the body, which is then used to produce energy. Iron also supports proper enzyme function. Zinc is vital for your dog’s immune system and thyroid function.

      If your dog struggles to digest common proteins, kangaroo is a great choice for your dog’s diet. Kangaroo can also encourage picky dogs to dive into their dog dishes without hesitation.

    2. Lamb

      Don’t tell Little Bo Peep, but lamb is an excellent meat choice for your dog. It is high in protein and beneficial fats. Lamb also has a rich, unique flavour that dogs love. If your dog seems sluggish, lamb can give them a pick-me-up with the right fats and high-quality protein that transforms into usable energy.

      In addition to being a great source of quality protein, lamb is packed with antioxidants and Omega-fatty acids for a healthy coat and nourished skin.

      Lamb is also a great choice for dogs that need a novel protein diet.

    3. Beef

      Beef can really get your dog moo-ving. It is a great source of amino acids, iron, zinc, selenium, and B Vitamins. It is also relatively common, which can make it more affordable than other proteins like rabbit and venison.

      Because beef is high in iron and zinc, it’s a great choice for active dogs. When choosing a diet for your dog, aim for organic beef that is grass-fed. Avoid preservatives and choose a reputable brand that you can trust.

    4. Chicken

      While chicken is one of the most common proteins you will find in dog food, it’s nothing to balk at. Chicken can be a great source of lean protein that pairs well with fruits and vegetables. It is also pretty easy on the stomach for dogs that do not have poultry intolerances.

      Chicken is a lower-calorie meat, so it’s a great choice for pups on a diet.

      For healthy snacking, you can try dry chicken as a convenient option for your pup, offering the same great taste and benefits as fresh chicken.

    5. Salmon

      Salmon is nutritious and delicious for doggos. It’s a great source of omega fatty acids for a shiny coat and joint support, and it has fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A, D, E, and K that reduce inflammation and improve hormonal balance.

      You can also find sustainable salmon fisheries and farms, making it an ethical choice as well.

Choosing the Best Meat for Your Dog


When it comes to feeding your dog the pawfect diet, it’s often more about choosing a high-quality food rather than one particular meat--unless your dog has specific dietary allergies. Select a food that is rich in real-meat protein, exceeds the nutrition guidelines set by the AAFCO, and uses a limited ingredient recipe. The BARF diet for dogs is ideal for pet owners who want a meat-based diet.

Finding a brand that sources their meat using environmental and sustainable practices can also ensure that these meat sources are available for dogs for generations to come.

Whether you’re looking for kangaroo based-kibble or a biologically appropriate raw dog food, you want to choose a brand like Petzyo. Learn more about our values and the measures we go to to protect your best friend’s health and happiness.