Top 10 Best Dog Food with low protein
We all want the best for our dogs. And with the increasing demand for the best nutrition, more than ever, it is difficult to find a high-quality kibble that offers a below-average protein content. But it doesn’t mean that you should resort to purchasing a poor-quality kibble. Thankfully, there are high-quality options that provide excellent nutrition, just with a lower protein content. So how do you get started on a low protein diet for dogs? You just need to find the right food.
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But guess what, we have found them just for you, and Fido, of course. With hundreds of brands and products to choose from, we have done all the hard work for you.
Here we will present to you eight of the best lower protein dog foods. All complete with reviews so that you know which option is best for your pooch.
Yes, Fido might be disappointed with the idea that he can no longer flex his ripped muscles down the local doggy park anymore. But, with our yummy kibbles, he might not even realize that you’ve changed his diet.
The 10 Best Low Protein Dog Foods
Blue Buffalo Basics Skin & Stomach Dry Dog Food- Best Value
|Main ingredients:||Deboned lamb, potato, peas|
|Calories:||340 per cup|
The Blue Buffalo Basics line is a great option for dogs with sensitive stomachs or skin. It’s also the best low protein dog food for the money. This food is grain-free and made with high-quality ingredients such as deboned lamb, potatoes, and peas. It also contains omega fatty acids which are great for maintaining your dog’s skin and coat health. It is also low in protein, which is good for dogs with kidney or liver disease, and low in calories, which is great for overweight dogs. The downside is that it contains peas, which may be linked to heart disease in some dogs, although studies to prove this are still ongoing.
Nature’s Logic Canine Grain-Free Dog Food- Best Overall
|Main ingredients:||Salmon, herring meal, chickpeas|
|Calories:||360 per cup|
The best overall low protein dog food is Nature’s Logic Canine Duck & Salmon Feast All Life Stages canned dog food. Nature’s Logic is a great option for dogs that require a low protein diet. It is made with high-quality ingredients, such as salmon, and herring, which are great for dogs’ heart health as well. This food is also grain-free, which is good for some dogs with certain allergies but may not be right for all dogs. If you are unsure if this food is right for your dog, consult with your veterinarian. The downside is that it is more expensive than other dog food brands.
Wellness Small Breed Complete Health Dog Food – Best for Puppies
|Main ingredients:||Deboned turkey, peas, potatoes|
|Calories:||354 per cup|
Wellness is a great option for small breeds that need to lose weight, but this food can also be a good choice for puppies to keep them from gaining too much weight at a young age. This food is made with high-quality ingredients, such as deboned turkey, which is a lean meat, and is grain-free. It is also low in protein, which is good for dogs with kidney or liver disease. It’s also affordable compared to some of the other foods on this list. The downside is that it contains peas, which are a questionable ingredient. Ask your vet first if this food is right for your dog.
Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Mobility Dry Dog Food- Premium Choice
|Main ingredients:||Chicken meal, brown rice, barley|
|Calories:||386 per cup|
Hill’s Science Diet is a great option for large breeds that need help with mobility. This food is made with high-quality ingredients and is grain-free. It is also low in protein, which is good for dogs with kidney or liver disease. The caloric content is pretty low as well. However, this food is more expensive than other brands.
CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Dry Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Wild boar, garbanzo beans|
|Calories:||350 per cup|
CANIDAE is a great option for dogs with allergies or sensitivities to other common protein sources, including chicken, turkey, or fish. This food contains wild boar as the main ingredient, which is a novel protein source. But not all dogs will like the flavor, especially picky ones. This food is made with limited ingredients. It is also low in protein, which is good for dogs with kidney or liver disease. However, this food is more expensive than other brands.
Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canned Dog Food- Vet’s Choice
|Main ingredients:||Pork, rice|
|Calories:||450 per can|
Royal Canin is a great option for dogs with sensitive stomachs or gastrointestinal issues. This food is vet-recommended and made with high-quality ingredients and is low in fat. It is also low in protein, which is good for dogs with kidney or liver disease. However, this food is more expensive than other brands and only comes in one flavor. It’s also higher in calories than some of the other foods on this list.
ACANA Grasslands Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Lamb, chicken|
|Calories:||500 per cup|
ACANA is a great option for dogs that need a low to moderate protein diet, but also spend their days as athletes or working dogs. It’s not suitable for lazy dogs because the protein content of this food is the highest on our list. This food is made with high-quality ingredients and is grain-free with a moderate amount of protein, including two protein sources in lamb and chicken. This food is more expensive than other brands, and it’s not as widely available. It’s also very high in calories, so it’s not suitable for overweight dogs.
Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Wet Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Deboned lamb, potatoes|
|Calories:||400 per cup|
Merrick is a great option for dogs with allergies or sensitivities. This food is grain-free and made with limited ingredients. It contains lamb and potatoes as the main ingredients, giving it a great flavor that many dogs love. However, it’s possible that not all dogs will like the flavor. It is also low in protein, which is good for dogs with kidney or liver disease, and it has a moderate number of calories compared to other foods on this list. However, this food is more expensive than other brands.
American Journey Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Duck, sweet potatoes|
|Calories:||360 per cup|
American Journey is a great option for dogs that need a low protein diet. This food is made with duck, which is a great novel protein source, and sweet potatoes, providing carbohydrates and fiber to your dog. It also has no artificial flavors or colors. However, this food is more expensive than other brands and some dogs may not like the duck flavor.
Purina Beyond Grain-Free Canned Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Alaskan cod, salmon, sweet potatoes|
|Calories:||400 per can|
Purina Beyond is a great option for dogs that need a low protein diet while still containing quality protein sources. This food is grain-free and made with high-quality ingredients, including Alaskan cod, salmon, and sweet potatoes. It is also more expensive than other brands considering that it’s canned food, but it’s available in both dry and canned formulas, making it a great option for all dogs regardless of whether they prefer wet or dry food. And the dry formula might be more budget friendly. Another downside is that not all dogs like fish flavored dog food.
Buyer’s Guide: Selecting the Best Lower Protein Dog Food
There are a few reasons why dogs need a low protein diet, and the different reasons might dictate which option you choose. Thankfully, with the increased awareness that not every dog is the same, there are high-quality options to choose from.
Because different reasons dictate different options, you need to understand why he needs it and what a lower-protein diet is. As well as what a low protein diet means his health and what separates a poor-quality diet from a good one. So, let’s take a closer look.
What Is Protein?
- Protein is essential for every living thing in this world. It provides the vital building blocks for life, and these are called amino acids. Without amino acids, dogs couldn’t develop from puppies to adults, and they couldn’t maintain their muscles. They would have little energy, and overall, they would become very poorly indeed.
- This is why it is crucial to buy a kibble, rather than create your own low-protein recipe. Because they are made with the necessary minimal standards of protein needed. You can’t just remove all protein from Fido’s diet.
High Protein Ingredients
Most people associate meat with protein, and although meat is a fantastic source of protein, it isn’t the only source. Ingredients derived from plants, such as vegetables and grains, are sometimes just as high in protein. So, it’s essential to understand what other ingredients you need to be wary of.
Here are other ingredients commonly found in dog food that are high in protein, aside from meat:
- The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is the body that sets the standards that all pet food must adhere to. AAFCO states that, on a dry matter basis, puppies and pregnant dogs need a minimum protein content of 22.5%, and adult dogs need a minimum protein content of 18%. So, unless you are advised by your vet that your dog needs a super low protein content, never go below this guidance.
- All dog kibbles that are AAFCO compliant will have the AAFCO stamp of approval, so be sure to look for this label. Low quality kibbles that arent AAFCO compliant, will not be allowed to carry this stamp. So if you can’t see it, avoid it.
- All kibbles are required to list their ingredients, and they will also have a guaranteed analysis section. This is where you will find the protein content. Be sure to check this out if you need a low protein diet.
Is A Low-Protein Diet For Dogs Healthy?
- Although we see our pooches as meat-eating machines, this isn’t always the case. There are a handful of reasons why some dogs need a low-protein diet.
- Protein is processed by three main organs in his body, the small intestine, the liver, and the kidneys. Without getting too scientific, these organs digest, metabolize, and eliminate toxins. Protein is a labor-intensive ingredient to digest, so by feeding him a low protein diet, his organs have time to heal or conserve energy.
- Therefore, if he is suffering from any health concerns associated with these organs, he might need a low protein diet. This could include inflammatory bowel disease, renal failure, bladder stones, hepatitis, and cirrhosis. Suffering from pancreatitis is another condition that might require a low protein diet.
- Alternatively, if a dog has a sensitive digestive system, sometimes ingredients that are too rich or high in fats are difficult to digest. Occasionally, this can include protein.
- But, because protein is important, it is essential to consult with your veterinarian before you change his diet to a low-protein one.
What Is A Low Protein Diet?
- How low is low, exactly. Well, most over-the-counter low protein diet should start with at least 18% or 22.5% protein (depending on what category he falls into). Generally speaking, a low protein diet shouldn’t exceed 25%.
- Many prescription diets or science-based diets will go much lower than the recommended AAFCO requirements. Some can go as low as 10%, but you should never go this low without approval from your vet.
- Do not attempt to create your own low-protein diet for dogs, because you risk going too low, or not meeting his other nutritional requirements. Both of which will undoubtedly make him feel worse.
Tips On Choosing A Low Protein Diet
When choosing a low protein kibble, there are certain things that you need to think about in addition to it being a low protein kibble. Here are the main factors to consider:
Quality Over Quantity
- Dogs that need a low protein content should look for quality over quantity when it comes to protein sources. Unless it is a science-based recipe or one recommended by your vet, you should always look for a kibble that lists real meat as the first ingredient. This is a sure-fire sign that it is a high-quality product.
- Meat is an easier protein to digest than plant-based protein, so meat should always come before ingredients such as peas or rice.
- Meats should always be named, and avoid something that says ‘poultry meal’ or ‘red meat’ because this doesn’t name the protein source. This is particularly important for those with a sensitive digestive system.
- His kibble must not forget about his other nutritional needs. A well-balanced diet includes protein, carbohydrates, fiber, omega fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. And just because the protein content is low, doesn’t necessarily mean that it should be low in everything.
- If he needs a diet that is easy to digest because he has a sensitive digestive system, look for prebiotic fibers and probiotic ingredients.
- You need to make sure that his diet is providing him with omega fatty acids because these have a wealth of benefits. From a shiny coat to healthy brain and eye development, to nutrient absorption and organ function and much more. Examples of this are meat meals, fish oils, canola oils, flaxseed, and egg products.
- Thankfully, by choosing a high-quality kibble, and one that is AAFCO approved, you are almost guaranteed a well-balanced diet.
- If your dog needs a low-protein content because of his liver, small intestine, or kidneys, you need to discuss the role of phosphorus with your vet. Research is starting to show that phosphorus has a significant impact on his organs rather than protein alone.
- Phosphorus is a mineral, and although a little is beneficial, too much of it can be dangerous. If your pooch suffers from kidney diseases, his kidneys might not be able to filter phosphorus very well. Meat protein is high in phosphorus, which is why it is recommended to lower protein.
- Ultimately, this is something that you need to discuss with your vet. And your vet might also want to take a look at the phosphorus level of his new diet too.
A low protein diet might be a good option for your dog if they have certain health conditions. If you decide to switch your dog to a low protein diet, it is important to do it slowly and make sure that they are getting enough moisture in their diet. Our overall best option is Nature’s Logic Canine Grain-Free Dog Food. And Blue Buffalo Basics Skin & Stomach Dry Dog Food is a great value.
If you have any questions about whether a low protein diet is right for your dog, talk to your veterinarian. Now that you know a little bit more about low protein dog food, you can make an informed decision about whether it is right for your dog.