65+ Plant-Based Sources of Protein / Amino Acids for Pets (With Infographic) ©

Protein (built with amino acids) is important for all pet animal species, including horses, dogs, cats, fish, reptiles, rabbits, ferrets, birds, etc.  The skeletal and muscular system, organs, nervous system, glands, immune system, circulatory system, and blood alkalinity, all depend on protein to function.  It is even more critical for breeding, lactating, and growing animals.

“Protein not only builds muscle and maintains organ structures, but is also needed to mount prompt, strong immune responses,” explains Carol S. Johnston, professor and director of the nutrition program at Arizona State University’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation. “You want to have adequate protein intake daily to have amino acids ready for immune protein synthesis at the time of infection.”

We began to study the protein requirements of omnivores and herbivores when formulating Bottom Bites fish food.  There is a common misconception that protein isn’t as important for herbivorous and many omnivorous animals, or that meat is the only good source of amino acids.  We knew that couldn’t be the case for herbivorous fish, so we proceeded to heavily research their dietary requirements and seek out the most digestible sources.  I’ve since broadened that research to include a wide range of animal species.

Nutritious Sources of Plant-Based Protein / Amino Acids for Herbivores and Omnivores

There are good sources of plant-based amino acids, and then there are excellent, nearly complete sources of a wide range of amino acids.  The ‘infographic’ below shows some of the plant kingdom’s protein superstars, all of which boast a wide range of amino acids.

Plant-Based Sources of Protein and Amino Acids for Pets Infographic

A combination of the following fruits, vegetables, grains and herbs will provide a range of amino acids.  Research your pet’s amino acid and protein requirements, then customize a diet rich in appropriate fruits and vegetables from the list below.

Please note:  Not all of the items on this list are suitable for all species of animals.  Research your pet’s dietary requirements and select protein sources that are most appropriate.  Only very low-carbohydrate vegetation (such as seaweed) should be fed to carnivores.

Nuts – pine nuts, pistachios, black walnuts, almonds, peanuts
Seeds – pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds
Hemp products
Grains (wheat, rye, barley, corn and brown rice) and ‘pseudo-grains’ (buckwheat, millet, amaranth, wild rice, alfalfa and quinoa)
Legume sprouts
Wheat Grass
Berries:  Acai berry, Strawberry, Blackberry, Raspberry
Seaweed & algae
Gabi leaves & rhizomes
Green pea
Bamboo shoot
Romaine lettuce
Greens, including mustard, turnip, collard, swiss chard and beat greens
Brussels sprout
Green pepper
Potato skin
Herbs:  garlic, mint, ginger, ampalaya leaves/shoots, burdock root, basil

Natural Pet Care Blog CommentsHow do you ensure your pet receives enough amino acids?  Please share your comments below.

Dahinog, M. Amino Acid Composition of Vegetables and Fruits from the Philippines. 1982.
ABC News – Health
Food and Nutrition Board, Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrates, Fiber, Fat, Protein and Amino Acids (Macronutrients). 2002.

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17 Responses to “65+ Plant-Based Sources of Protein / Amino Acids for Pets (With Infographic) ©”

  1. Nadine from Bécancour says:

    I’m not a vegetarian but I only eat poultry and fish. Some of the vegetables on the list are new to me and I’m looking forward to trying them. Merci!

  2. Karen says:

    Meat is appropriate for all my pets but I like to give fruit & veg 2 & their supplements are natural 2. Thx 4 info

  3. Xandrah says:

    I love the artwork on this site. May I ask who your designer is? Do you employ someone or contract? If you contract can you refer me to him or her? Thank you.

    • Admin - Melody McKinnon says:

      Hi Xandrah, thanks for your kind words. I do both the writing and graphics design. Please feel free to contact me: MelodyM{at}AllNaturalPetCare.com.

  4. mirannda says:

    My hamsters thank you. I breed and show longhaired hamsters and I do a lot of research for their diet. Protein is so important for a healthy long coat and no amount of grooming fixes a deficiency.

  5. Celine Miller says:

    I’m a vegetarian and often share with my pets because I happen to have it around. It can be a challenge to get enough protein but once you have the info it’s just a matter of planning. Welldone!

  6. Shelby says:

    Aaahhhh useful information from a pet blog………how refreshing this blog is.

  7. aqua-allen says:

    I shared the infographic all over social media, it’s great. I’m going to save the wonderful list you included too. I breed a lot of catfish in my aquarium and I’m hoping to improve the survival rate and get more eggs.

  8. Delia says:

    Love your designs and the info will come in handy — thanks!

  9. Emily says:

    That’s the best list I’ve seen yet. Most write about the top few protein sources and that’s it. I really appreciate the effort you put into it.

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