We’re lucky to live in the day and age of commercial dog food.
After all, all it takes is a quick trip to the grocery store and you can find the food your dog needs to be healthy. Each bag of dog food is uniquely formulated to provide all the nutrition your pup needs.
However, there are some health conditions that warrant a closer look at what you are feeding your dog. If your dog is suffering from kidney disease or another issue related to an excess of protein in his diet, it may be time to look past all the advertising gimmicks and select a better source of nutrition for your dog.
While you will always want to check in with a veterinarian before switching to a new food or trying to diagnose your dog on your own, there are a few telltale signs that high-protein food is causing your dog some symptoms. These are some of the most common symptoms of kidney disease, which is usually caused by too much protein:
- Loss of appetite
- Frequent urination
- Excessive lethargy
Benefits of Low Protein Dog Food
In most cases, it makes the most sense to feed your dog a high-protein diet, especially if he is young and active.
However, there are some chronic conditions in which too much protein can be harmful to your dog. If that’s the case, your vet might put your dog on a low-protein diet to improve his overall health.
A low protein dog food will be one that contains less than 25% protein. Usually, protein contents of 25 to 30% are recommended in dog foods, but if your dog suffers from certain conditions, that might not be practical.
Some conditions that make low-protein food a necessity include:
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Bladder stones
The 7 Best Low Protein Dog Foods
It can be tough to find the best low protein dog food for your dog’s needs. It is manufactured in both dry and canned varieties, but if your dog is new to low-protein food, you might want to give canned food a try first. It tends to be more palatable than dry food, although dry food can, of course, be purchased in bulk with greater ease.
Otherwise, there are all kinds of flavors out there. To avoid unwanted digestive issues, you may want to start with a flavor that your dog has tried before. Don’t try to switch everything up all at once! Look for a dog food that offers all the complete, balanced nutrients your dog needs for his activity level, which will depend on his health and activity level.
Here are some of the top low protein dog foods for you to consider.
1. Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Dry Dog Food
Natural Balance is a limited ingredient dog food that lets you carefully select the source of your dog’s protein. Each recipe uses only one protein source, so your dog will be able to enjoy his favorite flavors without having to go on a protein overload.
Each blend is grain-free and loaded with fiber, vitamins, and minerals, too. Some of the most popular low-protein flavors include Sweet Potato and Venison, Sweet Potato and Bison, and Sweet Potato and Fish.
Natural Balance offers several other limited ingredient foods, but you’ll want to avoid blends like Legume and Duck as well as all beef and lamb flavors, as they tend to be quite high in protein.
- Has one source of protein
- Contain no artificial flavors or colors
- Available in several bag sizes
- Some flavors by Natural Balance are not low protein
2. Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food Youthful Vitality
Hill’s Science is a well-known dog food brand that offers both wet and dry foods for your pup. This wet food is perfect for dogs who need low-protein and low-phosphorous foods due to kidney or liver disease.
This wet food is offered in a unique vegetable stew flavor and includes natural, easy-to-digest ingredients. It includes omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which can support the health and vitality of your dog’s coat and skin. Ice Contains only 22.2% protein, too, so it’s a good choice for a low-protein diet.
- Made in the United States
- Hill’s gives back to local pet shelters with your purchase
- Supports brain function and energy too
- Wet food can be difficult to store and buy in bulk
3. Nutro Limited Ingredient Diet Adult Dry Dog Food
Nutro Limited is another excellent limited ingredient brand. This blend is not only a good option for pet owners who want to transition their dogs to a low-protein diet, but also for those who think their dogs are suffering from some sort of food allergy.
Since this food contains a limited selection of ingredients, you will easily be able to narrow down the culprit in terms of what is causing the suffering. This food contains 24.44% protein and is made with non-GMO ingredients.
- Several flavors available
- Does not contain common allergens, like chicken
- Limited ingredients’ list
- Pricey option
4. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets NF Kidney Function Formula Canned Dog Food
While you’ll need to check in with your veterinarian to get a prescription for this dog food, it’s one of the best if your dog is showing signs of kidney disease. It not only has low protein, but it also has low levels of phosphorus, sodium, and omega fatty acids.
Your dog’s kidneys won’t have to work as hard to process this food. Not only that, but the limited phosphorus levels can help reduce and prevent kidney damage, while the lower sodium levels will make up for the damaged kidney’s problems with regulating the mineral.
This food also has added B vitamins to ensure better breakdown and absorption of nutrients. It is specifically designed for dogs with renal issues and is a top choice by vets.
- Best for dogs with kidney disease
- Highly palatable
- Made in the United States
- Limited flavor selection
5. Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet, Grain Free Natural Adult Dry Dog Food
Blue Buffalo is another leading brand to be aware of when you are looking for low-protein or limited ingredient dog foods. This one has about 22.22% protein content and comes in several flavors, including duck and potato, lamb and potato, salmon and potato, and turkey and potato.
As with most Blue Buffalo foods, real meat is the first ingredient, and every recipe only has one kind of animal protein. It does not contain any known allergies like dairy, chicken, beef, soy, wheat, corn, pork, egg, or rice, either. It’s a great option for dogs with sensitive of all kinds.
- Good option for allergy-prone pups
- Contains healthy vegetables and fruits that are easy to digest
- Real meat is the first ingredient
- Can be a bit expensive
6. Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Active Longevity
If you have an older pup, you might want to consider Hill’s Science Diet Adult. This food is designed for dogs older than seven. It includes ingredients that will not only provide high-quality, balanced nutrition but will also support the unique nutritional needs of dogs that are on the older side of the spectrum.
It’s popular among dog owners seeking low-protein food solutions for their pups. It includes natural ingredients like chicken meal, whole grain wheat, brewer’s rice, brown rice, and whole-grain sorghum. It’s enriched with omega 6 fatty acids and vitamin E. These ingredients are great for dogs at any stage, but especially older dogs. They can improve the quality and appearance of your dog’s skin and coat.
Plus, the food contains glucosamine and chondroitin, two ingredients that improve joint health and mobility.
- Great for older dogs
- Has essential amino acids and omega 6 fatty acids
- Can assist with weight loss
- Uses some imported ingredients
7. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Gastro Intestinal Low Fat Canned Dog Food
Royal Canin is another veterinarian-recommended brand for dogs who need to eat a low-protein diet. It was created to help reduce the prevalence of acute intestinal absorption disorders. It also promotes nutritional restoration and is offered in a format that your dog will love.
As a wt food, it is easy to digest and contains limited amounts of high-quality proteins. It’s low in fiber and also includes ingredients like fructooligosaccharides and hydrolyzed yeast. These help support the development of healthy bacteria in your dog’s digestive system, which can help with digestive problems.
- Helps dogs maintain a healthy weight
- Contains easily digestible carbohydrates and proteins
- Has probiotics and other ingredients to boost digestive health
- Ingredients’ list includes some animal byproducts and grains
What to Look for in a Low-Protein Dog Food
There are several features you will want to keep an eye out for when you are shopping for the best low protein dog food.
For starters, make sure your dog food is offered by a reputable brand. While the name isn’t everything, it is smart to stick to a reliable brand so you can make sure your dog food hasn’t been subjected to lots of recalls or quality control issues.
You will want to make sure the limited proteins that the dog food does contain are high-quality, too. Look for proteins that are easily digestible and made out of solid ingredients like chicken, beef, soy, fish, eggs, and dairy.
Make sure protein isn’t the only ingredient you’re looking at, either. The best low protein dog food will not contain harmful ingredients like artificial preservatives, generic animal fat, artificial sweeteners, or colors.
Finally, make sure you find a low-protein dog food that your poop doesn’t mind eating. Unfortunately, low-protein dog foods can be unpalatable. If you find the right one, though, your dog will be sure to gobble it up – and he won’t suffer any health issues from it, either.