This post was most recently updated on January 11th, 2020
Low protein dog food products may not be the top choice of most pet owners, but some situations call for this type of diet. If given under the right circumstances, low protein food should help your pet recover from kidney problems.
When it comes to a low protein diet, a veterinarian’s advice is indispensable. Below, I’ve handpicked 7 of the best low protein food for your pooch.
Why low protein?
Protein is an important food component for canines. However, some dogs need a lower dose due to some health conditions. It all boils down to how dogs break down protein.
When food enters the small intestine, it will be broken down into small parts. Protein will then be broken down into amino acids in the liver. This will be absorbed into the bloodstream and the excess will be flushed out through the kidney in the form of urine.
Dogs with kidney problems will fail to filter out the blood that passes through the organ. What happens is that the excess protein keeps circulating in the bloodstream.
Typical dog food products will have around 23% to 35% of protein. If your dog has kidney failure, excess amounts of protein will cause further damage to their organ.
Some of the conditions on which a dog needs a low-protein diet include the following:
*Excess copper in the liver
*Urate bladder stones
It’s important that you seek the help of a veterinarian under these conditions. The vet will also recommend if a low protein diet will help the dog.
7 BEST LOW PROTEIN DOG FOOD
MY TOP PICK: Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Small Bites
Product Name: Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Small Bites
Product Description: For small breeds on their senior years, the Hill’s Science Diet Small Bites might be the right diet. This contains 16.5% of crude protein with 12% of fat and 4% of fiber. This dog food is made of chicken meal, cracked pearled barley, brown rice, and whole grain wheat. Just take note that it also contains corn which could be an issue if your dog has a sensitive stomach.
Hills’ Science Small Bites is made of easy-to-digest ingredients that also boost the immune system of the canine. It also has a small kibble which is perfect for small doggos.
For dogs with problematic liver enzymes, this dog food can help. Some of the pet owners I’ve talked to said that their small breeds’ liver enzyme returned to normal in a few months’ time with this dog food.
✔️Perfectly sized kibble
✔️Supports kidney health
Solid Gold Holistique Blendz Potato-Free Dog Food
The Solid Gold Holistique contains 18% of protein with 6% of fat and 4% of fiber. It’s also rich in Omega fatty acids and Vitamin E that will nourish your pet’s coat.
This is made of oatmeal, pearled barley, peas, ocean fish meal, and chicken fat. It’s also blended with beets, celery, cranberries, blueberries, lettuce, and other superfoods.
Since it only has one source of protein, it’s ideal for dogs with sensitive tummies. Also, all 20 superfoods are easy to digest.
Most of all, this is free from corn, soy, and wheat which are the most common allergens for canines. This is also packed with monounsaturated fats and probiotics.
Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet
The Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet has 21% of protein, 10% fat, and 5% fiber. It’s a grain-free recipe with limited ingredients, perfect for dogs with allergies and intolerances.
Some of its ingredients include sweet potatoes, salmon, Menhaden fish meal, potato protein, and canola oil. With the ingredients made simple, your dog is less likely to experience stomach problems.
What I love the most about this dog food is that it is mineral and vitamin fortified. It’s also free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.
Aside from the right balance of protein and nutrients, this dog food is also one of the most delicious. My dog can’t get enough of it.
Nature’s Recipe Adult Dry Dog Food
Nature’s Recipe Adult Dry Dog Food isn’t just a great source of high-quality protein. It’s also packed with a complex source of carbs that provide your dog with a long-lasting source of energy.
Each serving of this dog food contains 20% protein, 12% fat, and 4% fiber. Some of its ingredients include lamb meal, barley, oatmeal, brewers rice, and poultry fat. I really like the fact that this dog food is free from any by-product and unwhole grains.
Aside from that, this is fortified with Beta-carotene, Lycopene, Selenium, Zinc, Omega fatty acids, Iron, and more. With real lamb on your dog’s food, your pooch is guaranteed to have a complete and balanced meal.
Also, this dog food contains barley fiber for better immune function and digestion.
Blue Buffalo Homestyle Adult Dog Food Recipe
If your pooch needs a lower protein intake, I recommend the Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe. This canned food contains 8.5% of protein, 6% fat, and 1.5% fiber.
Aside from that, its main ingredients include chicken, chicken broth, chicken liver, carrots, peas, and sweet potatoes. It’s a hearty meal packed with vitamins and minerals.
It’s also rich in whole grains that provide the daily energy needs of your dog. Most of all, I like that this is made without wheat. There’s no artificial thickener. All ingredients count!
Aside from the chicken dinner recipe, this canned food is also available in beef, turkey, lamb, and fish flavors.
Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Kidney Support Diet
For pooches with serious kidney conditions, some vets will recommend the Blue Buffalo Kidney Support Diet. It has controlled sodium and phosphorus to make sure that your dog’s kidney will not receive excess work.
Still, this is rich in fatty acids, L-Carnitine, and antioxidants for overall health. In fact, this is free from grains, making it ideal for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
Each serving of this dog food contains 14% protein, 18% fat, and 7% fiber. Some of its ingredients include deboned chicken, potato starch, pea starch, peas, potatoes, dried egg product.
This food has a small kibble size, similar to the size of Cheerios but without the holes.
Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Kidney Function Diet
Another vet-recommended food for canines with kidney disease is the Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Kidney Function Diet. It has restricted yet high-quality protein.
This dog food is also low in phosphorus to reduce the work of your dog’s kidney. In fact, this is a therapeutic diet for canines with chronic and acute kidney disease.
Each serving of this dog food contains 12% protein, 13% fat, and 2% fiber. It also has very low amounts of sodium and calcium to support kidney health.
This is made from whole grain corn, brewers rice, dried egg product, and animal fat. It also contains animal digest as the main source of protein.
My dog likes the flavor of this dog food. However, if yours has an allergy to corn, this isn’t the best food choice.
Benefits of low protein dog food
If prescribed by a veterinarian, low protein food should give the following benefits to your dog:
🐾Reduce kidney strain
By reducing the excess protein that the kidney has to filter, the strain on your dog’s organ will be reduced as well. This way, the progression of the disease will be delayed.
Overgrowth is common among large dog breeds that consume too much protein and too much calcium. This condition can lead to weak bones and a myriad of health problems. By controlling protein control, this condition can be prevented.
🐾Reduced liver strain
If your dog has liver problems, lowering its protein intake will be a big help in easing the condition. Protein is broken down in the liver, and with the liver not functioning well, high protein levels will not be ideal.
🐾Lowering purine concentration
Low protein intake means lower amounts of purine will be made. This prevents the formation of bladder stones while reducing the acidity of the dog’s urine.
Low Protein Dog Food Buying Guide
When purchasing a low protein food for your dog, make sure that you keep the following points in mind:
🐾Wet vs. dry
The choice between wet food and dry food boils down to what your dog prefers. Some canines like crunchy kibble while others thrive on moist food.
Nowadays, many wet food products have lower protein content which makes it a good choice if your pooch has kidney and liver problems.
Regardless of what you purchase, make sure that it contains the vet-recommended protein content. Also, don’t forget to check the nutritional profile of the product.
If your dog has a special health condition, you should always follow the advice of a veterinarian. Some vets would recommend that you consult with a pet nutritionist to ensure that your dog will receive the right diet.
Just like doctors, vets will never put your dog’s life in danger.
🐾Check the crude protein level
Always check the crude protein level of your dog’s food. Generally, you’d want something in the range of 12% to 18%. Vets may recommend a lower or higher amount but this shouldn’t compromise the muscle health of your dog.
🐾Opt for animal protein
Always purchase dog food with animal protein as the main source of amino acids. Animal protein is easier to digest than plant protein. You wouldn’t want your dog to have an upset stomach aside from the possible health condition it’s already experiencing.
🐾Don’t compromise other nutrients
Again, never compromise the balance of your dog’s diet. Remember, we’re just looking for low-protein, not a low-nutrient diet. Aside from balancing your dog’s protein needs, you should also give them enough fat and carbs.
Most of all, the dog food should have the right balance of vitamins and minerals. This way, your dog remains well-nourished despite the diet change.
🐾Get the right flavor
Palatability is very crucial for dog food. This will ensure that it will appeal to your dog’s taste buds. Still, you shouldn’t purchase one that’s reeking with artificial add-ons. Although it tastes good, the extra flavoring will subject your dog’s kidney to extra work, something that’s not supposed to happen.
What to avoid
Generally, I advise dog owners to avoid the following whenever their dogs are prescribed with a low protein diet:
Again, artificial add-ons will not do your dog any favor. It will make the food more palatable and presentable but it will tax your dog’s kidney even more.
Table scraps are the major source of unaccounted protein. Also, it’s packed with salts and preservatives. Your dog doesn’t need both.
Some dry dog treats contain wheat gluten. Still, it’s more commonly found on bread and pasta – something that pet owners are fond of feeding their dogs.
🐾High protein treats
You don’t have to ditch the treats entirely. Just switch to low protein versions which are more kidney-friendly. Also, don’t let your dog indulge on treats just because it’s in a low-protein diet.
Low protein dog food is ideal for canines with kidney problems. Make sure that you seek the opinion of a veterinarian before changing your dog’s diet. What do you think of my low protein diet options here? Do you have more personal suggestions? Feel free to let us know below!