Finding the Best Low Protein Dog Food. 4 options to compare

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Low protein dog food is a type of dog food that is specifically formulated to provide lower levels of protein than traditional dog foods. This type of food can be beneficial for dogs with certain health conditions, such as liver or kidney disease, that require a lower protein diet.

Protein is an essential nutrient for dogs, as it is responsible for building and repairing muscle tissue, maintaining healthy skin and coat, and supporting a robust immune system. However, too much protein can strain the liver and kidneys, leading to health problems in dogs with pre-existing conditions.

Low protein dog food typically contains 8-18% protein, compared to the 18-30% found in traditional dog foods. It is also often formulated with high-quality protein sources, such as fish or chicken, to ensure that the dog still receives the essential amino acids they need.

In addition to lower levels of protein, low-protein dog foods also often contain higher levels of carbohydrates, such as rice or potatoes, to provide energy. They may also include added fiber to help regulate digestion and promote a healthy gut.

It is important to note that not all dogs require a low-protein diet, and it is always best to consult a veterinarian before making any changes to your dog’s diet. Sometimes, a lower protein diet may not be appropriate, and a more balanced diet with moderate protein levels may be a better option.

When choosing a low protein dog food, it is crucial to look for a high-quality product made with natural ingredients and free from artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors. It is also essential to read the label and ingredient list carefully to ensure that the food meets your dog’s nutritional needs.

Our picks on the best low protein dog food

A few low protein dog food options are considered high quality and well-reviewed by pet owners and veterinarians. Some of the best choices include:

Our picks on the best low protein dog food reviewed

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Renal Support E 

low protein dog food
Low Protein Dog Food

The main feature of Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Renal Support E dog food is its specially formulated nutrition to support the health and well-being of dogs with kidney disease. This food contains a reduced level of protein and phosphorus to help reduce the kidney workload and added antioxidants to support overall kidney function. Additionally, it includes a balance of essential nutrients to help maintain muscle mass and support a healthy immune system.

Nutrients
  • Protein (min): 14%
  • Fat (min): 8%
  • Fiber (max): 3.5%
  • Moisture (max): 78%
  • Vitamin E (min): 150 IU/kg
  • Vitamin C (min): 30 mg/kg
  • L-carnitine (min): 100 mg/kg
  • Omega-3 fatty acids (min): 0.3%
  • Omega-6 fatty acids (min): 2.2%
Reviews

Pet owners and veterinarians highly rate Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Renal Support E dog food. Many reviewers praise the food for its ability to support dogs with kidney issues and its palatability.

Some pet owners have reported that their dogs have improved kidney function and increased energy levels after switching to this food. They also appreciate the convenience of the small kibble size, which makes it easier for dogs with dental issues to eat.

However, some reviewers have noted that the food is expensive and may not be suitable for all dogs with kidney issues. Additionally, some dogs may not find the taste appealing.

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Renal Support E dog food is a highly recommended and effective option for dogs with kidney issues. Still, it is essential to consult a veterinarian before switching.

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Light Small Bites

LOW PROTEIN DOG FOOD
Low Protein Dog Food

The low protein content is the main feature of Hill’s Science Diet Adult Light Small Bites dog food. This formula is designed for adult dogs prone to weight gain and needs to maintain a healthy weight. The lower protein content helps to reduce the overall calorie intake while still providing essential nutrients to support overall health and well-being. This formula also includes smaller kibble sizes for small breeds and dogs who prefer a smaller kibble.

Nutrients

Here is the nutrient breakdown of Hill’s Science Diet Adult Light Small Bites dog food per 100 kcal:

  • Crude Protein: 18.5%
  • Crude Fat: 7.9%
  • Natural Fiber: 5.5%
  • Moisture: 10.0%
  • Calcium: 0.85%
  • Phosphorus: 0.6%
  • Sodium: 0.3%
  • Potassium: 0.8%
  • Vitamin E: 225 IU/kg
  • Vitamin C: 30 mg/kg
  • Beta-Carotene: 1.5 mg/kg
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: 0.5%
  • Omega-6 Fatty Acids: 2.5%
  • Total Microorganisms: (Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium animalis) not less than 1 x 10^8 CFU/g
Reviews

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Light Small Bites dog food is a well-reviewed food option for dogs that need to maintain a healthy weight. Many customers have noted that their dogs have lost weight and kept a healthy weight while eating this food. The small bite size is also a popular feature, as it is easy for small dogs to eat. Some customers have also reported that their dogs have improved coat and skin health while eating this food. 

Overall, Hill’s Science Diet Adult Light Small Bites dog food is a highly recommended option for dogs that need to maintain a healthy weight.

Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet 

Low Protein dog food

Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet dog food is specifically formulated to provide a simple, single protein source diet for dogs with food sensitivities. The main feature of this dog food is its low protein content, which is beneficial for dogs with sensitive stomachs or food allergies. This food is made with a single protein source, such as turkey or salmon, and does not contain any artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors. Additionally, this food is grain-free and gluten-free and does not contain common allergens like corn, wheat, or soy. The limited-ingredient diet is designed to provide a complete and balanced diet while minimizing the chance of an allergic reaction.

Nutrients

Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet dog food has a low protein content, typically around 18-20%. 

The primary protein source is a single animal protein, such as turkey or duck, which is easy to digest for dogs with food sensitivities. The food is also free from common allergens such as wheat, corn, and soy. 

The ingredient list is also limited, making identifying potential allergens or irritants easy. The food is also rich in essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals to support a healthy immune system.

Here is the list of ingredients:

  • Turkey (or Duck) (18-20%)
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Potato Protein
  • Tomato Pomace
  • Canola Oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols)
  • Ground Flaxseed
  • Natural Flavor
  • Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Niacin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate)
  • Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate)

It’s worth mentioning that this food is not ideal for dogs with high protein requirements or who are very active.

Reviews

Many customers have reported that this food has helped their dogs with digestive issues, skin irritation, and other health problems. The limited-ingredient formula is also praised for being easy to digest and understand.

Customers have reported that their dogs have improved their coat and skin health and have also experienced an increase in energy levels. 

Some reviewers also mentioned that it’s an excellent choice for dogs with a low-protein diet requirement.

However, some customers have noted that this food can be expensive and that their dogs have not been as enthusiastic about the taste. 

Overall, Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet dog food is highly recommended for dogs with food sensitivities or allergies, but it may not be the best choice for all dogs.

Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet dog food 

low protein dog food
Low protein dog food

The main feature of Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet dog food is its limited ingredient diet, which is designed to minimize potential allergens and provide a simple, easy-to-digest diet for dogs with food sensitivities or allergies. 

This food is made with a single animal protein source, such as turkey or lamb, and a limited number of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Additionally, this food is free from common allergens such as corn, wheat, and soy.

However, it’s important to note that this food may be low in protein, which may not be suitable for dogs who need a higher protein diet for their specific health condition.

Nutrients
  • Protein: 18%
  • Fat: 12%
  • Fiber: 3.5%
  • Moisture: 10%
  • Calcium: 1.2%
  • Phosphorus: 0.9%
  • Vitamin A: 15,000 IU/kg
  • Vitamin D: 1,500 IU/kg
  • Vitamin E: 150 IU/kg
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: 0.3%
  • Omega-6 Fatty Acids: 2.5%
Reviews

Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet dog food has received positive reviews for its low-fat diet options. Many pet owners have reported that their dogs have experienced improved digestion and reduced allergic reactions after switching to this brand.

One customer wrote, “My dog has a sensitive stomach and has been prone to food allergies. After trying a few different brands, we finally found Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet, which has been a game changer. He no longer has any stomach issues, and his coat is shiny and healthy. I highly recommend this brand.”

Another customer said, “I have been feeding my dog the Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet for several months now, and I am thrilled with the results. My dog has lost weight, and his energy levels have increased. He also seems to be less prone to gas and bloating. I will continue to use this brand.”

Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet dog food is an excellent option for dogs with sensitive stomachs or allergies. Its low-fat diet options are also beneficial for dogs that need to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.

Best Low Protein dog food Buying Guide

Low protein dog food

Under what circumstances do you have to consider low protein dog food?

Low protein dog food may be recommended for dogs with certain health conditions, such as kidney or liver disease, and certain breeds that may be predisposed to these conditions. It is essential to consult with a veterinarian to determine if a low-protein diet is appropriate for your dog.

Additionally, senior dogs may also benefit from a lower protein diet as they may have a decreased ability to digest and utilize protein as they age. In these cases, you must consult with a veterinarian before making any changes to your dog’s diet.

It’s also important to note that low protein dog food should not be fed to growing puppies as they have a higher protein requirement for growth and development.

What do you have to consider when buying the best low protein dog food?

When buying the best low protein dog food, there are several things to consider:

  • Quality of protein: Look for a protein source that is easily digestible and of high quality, such as fish or poultry. Avoid meat by-products or meat meals.
  • Protein percentage: Check the label to ensure the protein content is below 20%.
  • Carbohydrates: The best low protein dog food should have a high proportion of carbohydrates, such as sweet potatoes, rice, or barley, which will provide energy for your dog.
  • Fiber: Fiber is essential to help your dog’s digestion, so make sure the food has a good source of fiber, such as vegetables or fruits, but no more than 5%
  • Fat content: Low protein dog food should have moderate fat, essential for energy and maintaining healthy skin and coat. It should be a fat content of at least 5%
  • Additional ingredients: Avoid foods with artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors. Choose a food that is made with natural ingredients.
  • Consult your vet: It’s always best to consult your vet before making any changes to your dog’s diet, especially if your dog has any health condition.

What should you be avoiding when buying the best low protein dog food?

When looking for the best low protein dog food, it is essential to avoid the following:

  • High fillers: Some dog food brands may use fillers such as corn or wheat to bulk up their food and lower the protein content. However, these fillers are not nutritious for dogs and can cause digestive issues.
  • Artificial preservatives, flavors, and colors: These ingredients can harm dogs and contribute to allergic reactions or other health issues.
  • By-product meals: These are made from the parts of animals that are not suitable for human consumption and can contain low-quality protein.
  • High levels of sodium: Excessive sodium intake can lead to high blood pressure and other health issues in dogs.
  • High levels of sugar: High sugar levels can cause weight gain, diabetes, and other health issues in dogs.
  • Ingredients from China: Some dog food brands source their ingredients from China, which is known to have a poor reputation for food safety and quality control.

Frequently Asked Questions about low protein dog food

Low protein dog food

What is low protein dog food?

Low protein dog food is a type of dog food that contains a lower amount of protein than traditional dog food. This type of food is typically recommended for dogs with kidney or liver problems, as high protein levels can stress these organs more.

Why is low protein dog food recommended for dogs with kidney or liver problems?

Dogs with kidney or liver problems may have difficulty processing high protein levels. Low protein dog food can help reduce the workload on these organs and the risk of further damage.

What are some familiar sources of protein in low protein dog food?

Familiar protein sources in low protein dog food include fish, eggs, and vegetables. These protein sources are generally easier for dogs with kidney or liver problems to digest.

How can I tell if my dog needs low protein dog food?

Your veterinarian will be able to advise you on whether low protein dog food is appropriate for your dog based on its health status and any underlying medical conditions.

Can I give my pup low protein dog food even if they don’t have kidney or liver problems?

Yes, low protein dog food can be appropriate for dogs of all ages and health statuses. However, it is essential to consult with your veterinarian to ensure the food is suitable for your dog and that they are getting the necessary nutrients for optimal health.

Is there a specific brand of low protein dog food?

Several brands offer low protein dog food options, including Hill’s Science Diet, Royal Canin, and Purina Pro Plan. It is essential to read the ingredient list and consult your veterinarian to ensure the food is appropriate for your dog.

Our verdict 

Low protein dog food

We favor the Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Renal Support E due to its quality ingredients, protein-fat and fiber ratio, and being a dedicated food for renal support. 

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Renal Support E is a veterinary-exclusive, low-protein diet specifically formulated to support the nutritional needs of dogs with chronic kidney disease (CKD). This diet is designed to help manage the symptoms of CKD by providing high-quality protein that is easy to digest and metabolize while limiting the amount of phosphorus and other minerals that can harm dogs with kidney problems. 

Additionally, Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Renal Support E contains a unique blend of antioxidants and other nutrients that help to support the overall health and well-being of dogs with CKD.

What’s next?

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