Table of Contents:

What is single protein dog food?
What are the benefits of single protein dog food?
How can single protein dog food help with allergies and sensitive stomachs?
How does an exclusion diet work? 
How can I tell I’m buying single protein dog food?
How should I feed my dog single source proteins?
Single protein dog food FAQs

  • Are single source proteins healthy for dogs?
  • Is single source protein better for dogs than mixed proteins?
  • What are the best single source proteins for a dog?
  • Is all raw dog food single protein?
  • Where can I get single source proteins for my dog?
  • How can I feed single source protein to my dog?

To sum it all up…

There’s been a lot of talk lately about single protein dog foods, and how they can potentially  help all sorts of dogs digest their dinner better. So what exactly are single protein dog foods, what makes them so good, and how could your dog feel the benefit? In this blog, we’re explaining all…

What is single protein dog food?

Single protein dog foods are meals that contain one single source of meat protein, whether that’s chicken, beef, lamb, duck or something more unusual like wild boar. 
Whether you use raw meat for dogs or more traditional tinned or dried food, experts have found there can be some real advantages to feeding your dog single source proteins, such as greater control over their diet. But there are also a few misconceptions, so let’s start by clearing those up… 
Misconception one, is that single protein dog foods need to have other ingredients added (like grains or mixer biscuits) to give dogs the nutrition they need. But that’s actually not true. There are many single source protein options available which are fully complete and balanced, and safe to be fed as a sole diet to your dog. In addition, many of the single protein options are made from no-grain recipes, which can also help to potentially remove another element dogs may be allergic or sensitive to. 
Misconception two is that high-protein diets can impact dogs’ behaviour. Again, many modern dog trainers and behaviourists would disagree. Protein’s a vital, highly beneficial part of every dog’s diet, giving them the essential fatty acids and amino acids they need to help keep their bodies healthy. 

Worried about other raw dog food myths? Take a look at our myth busting blog.

What are the benefits of single protein dog food?

Having a clear picture of what’s in your dog’s food is always a good idea, helping you keep a close eye on quality, nutrition, what their tummy’s comfortable with and what they’re enjoying most. Using single protein dog food can be a great way to get this visibility and give your dog a healthy, high-quality diet.
While single source proteins can be really helpful for dogs with allergies or sensitive stomachs (we’ll explain why in just a moment), they can potentially have benefits for all dogs. 
If your dog’s a fussy eater, single protein dog foods can be an easy way to get clarity on which meats they love, and serve them up without any they’re less keen on. And if your dog’s been poorly, single protein dog foods can sometimes be a gentle way to reset their stomach – in the same way we might choose an easy-to-digest dinner after we’ve been ill.

How can single protein dog food help with allergies and sensitive stomachs?

One of the biggest benefits of single protein dog food is the clarity it gives pet parents on what their dogs are eating. If you’re worried your dog might be allergic or sensitive to something in their diet, single source proteins can help you work out what it is through an exclusion diet.

How does an exclusion diet work?

Start by replacing all of your dog’s food with one single source of protein. This works best if it’s a novel protein – which means one they’ve never eaten before, or haven’t eaten for a long time. To help eliminate other potential triggers, cut out gluten and grains too. 
For 4-6 weeks, only feed your dog this one single, novel source of protein, at every meal. While you’re doing this, it’s important to make sure their diet still gives them all the nutrients they need to repair and recover, so a complete and balanced dog food – like our raw 80/20 rabbit nuggets – can be really helpful. If you find treats useful for encouraging good behaviour, choose some made entirely from that same novel protein – natural dog treat websites online can be a great place to look.
If your dog’s symptoms go away during the 4-6 week period, you’ll know your dog isn’t allergic or sensitive to that single novel protein and you can start adding in a new protein, a little at a time. If you’re using our nuggets, we’d suggest trying two from the new protein in place of two from the original one, at each meal. 
Do this for a couple of days, and if your dog still shows no symptoms, you’ll know they’re not allergic or sensitive to the new protein. On the other hand, if their symptoms return, that’s an indicator they shouldn’t eat it, so stop and go back to just the original novel protein for 5-7 days to reset their stomach. 
After that, you can repeat the same process with other proteins and ingredients, one at a time. Over a few months, it’s a great way to build up a list of foods they’re comfortable eating – and foods to avoid. It’s important to note that if your dog’s symptoms get worse during the initial 4-6 weeks on the novel protein, it could be a sign their diet isn’t the problem, so get them checked over by your vet.

How can I tell I’m buying single protein dog food?

You should be able to tell from the packaging whether you’ve picked up a single protein dog food, and at Natures Menu we show that clearly on the front. But if you’re buying something different, look carefully. While it might sound from the name like a product only contains one protein, sometimes smaller amounts of other proteins are mixed in and only mentioned in the ingredients list in smaller text on the back of packs.
Speaking of which, we know the way ingredients are described on packs can sometimes be confusing, but there are actually good labelling practice guides about what brands can say, depending on how much of each ingredient their products contain. Let’s take a look, using beef as an example…

  • “All / only beef” = the product is entirely beef, with the allowance of small amounts of additives, minerals or other micro-components where required. 
  • [Brand name] beef” = the product is at least 26% beef.
  • “Rich in / high in / extra beef” = the product is at least 14% beef.
  • “With / contains beef” = the product is at least 4% beef.
  • “Flavoured with beef” = the product is less than 4%, but more than 0% beef.
  • “Beef flavour” = the product is 0% beef. The taste comes instead from flavourings.

Here at Natures Menu we always use high quantities of quality raw meat for dogs in our recipes, whether they’re single or mixed protein. Our complete and balanced nuggets are 60 or 80% meat (and offal) mixed with wholesome fruits and vegetables. Our blocks and freeflow minces are 100% made of the protein named on the front of pack, whether that’s a single source or a mix and are ideal for creating your own recipes.

single proteinsHow should I feed my dog single source proteins?

If your dog’s fit, well, free from allergies and not on an exclusion diet, variety’s the spice of life. They can enjoy a different nutritious, single protein dog food every day, getting a range of proteins across the week or even in each meal. Trying different proteins on different days can help to keep their mealtimes exciting and give you a clear idea of what they like most.
If your dog has an allergy or sensitivity, stick to the single protein dog foods you know they’re comfortable eating. And if you’re still working out which ones those are, try the step-by-step exclusion diet tips above. Don’t forget, while you’re working through an exclusion diet, make sure any treats are made of the same protein as their meals.
Remember, single source proteins should be part of a healthy, balanced diet to make sure your dog gets the variety of vitamins and minerals they need, not just protein. Whether they eat raw meat for dogs or more traditional foods, keep the size and frequency of their meals the same. 
Choosing a complete, easy-to-use product like our Natures Menu 80/20 beef raw nuggets can give you the peace of mind that your dog’s getting everything they need. We also include feeding guides on every pack, based on that unique recipe, so you know you’re giving your dog the right amount, every time.

Single protein dog food FAQs

Are single source proteins healthy for dogs?

Yes. Single protein dog foods can be a really healthy choice, and providing you look for a single protein recipe that states it’s fully complete and balanced, such as our 80/20 nuggets, they’ll give your dog all the nutrients they require on a daily basis. Single protein complete raw options are made with high-quality meat and can help you understand your dog’s diet and sensitivities better.

What are the best single source proteins for a dog?

There are lots of great single source meat proteins for dogs, from chicken, beef and lamb to things like duck and rabbit. Dogs love variety as much as we do, so you can change the source of protein throughout the week to keep meal times exciting if your dog doesn’t have any allergies or requirements.

Is all raw dog food single protein?

No. Lots of dog foods contain a mixture of proteins, and if your dog’s healthy and free from allergies or sensitivities that’s not a problem. Many dog foods also contain plant proteins such as fruits, vegetables and healthy grains, which can help to add to the diversity of nutrients, textures, and flavours.

Where can I get single source proteins for my dog?

Lots of brands offer single protein dog food, online or in store. At Natures Menu we clearly show which proteins our products contain on the front of pack, but not all brands do, so it’s worth checking the back-of-pack ingredients list to make sure. 

How can I feed single source protein to my dog?

Healthy dogs can eat a different single protein source at every meal or even mixed in the same bowl, but if you’re worried your dog might have an allergy or sensitivity, try our tips for an exclusion diet above. They can help you work out which foods your dog can eat happily – and which to avoid.

To sum it all up…

Choosing single protein dog food as part of a complete, balanced diet is a great way to give your dog high-quality meals full of the nutrients needed to stay healthy. It also gives you real transparency around what they’re eating, what they’re enjoying and what they might be sensitive to. 
There are lots of great single protein dog foods on the market, including our Natures Menu raw meat for dogs Complete & Balanced 80/20 nuggets. They’re conveniently frozen, ready to pour, thaw and serve. Alternatively, our Ready to Mix range of pure meats and offal comes in freeflow mince, blocks and chunks, ready for you to create your own recipes at home. 

So… check the packs, get to know what’s in your dog’s dinner and give them healthy, wholesome food that keeps them (and their tummies) happy.