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Best Low Protein Dog Food

Best Low Protein Dog Food

Your beloved dog’s diet should be a balanced one, with all the nutrient groups adequately represented. However, there are many times when it might be necessary to modify the diet in order to optimize it for your pup’s specific health needs. A low protein dog food diet is a common example of that. It helps to alleviate and prevent kidney disease.

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Most commercial dog food formulations come with about 25 percent of protein. So, if you’ve been advised by a vet to place your pup on a low protein diet, you’ll need to look for specialty pet food products.

Top 5 Rated Low Protein Dog Foods

RecommendationBest Low Protein Dog Foods
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Runner UpNo products found.
Budget ChoiceNo products found.
Best Canned Low Protein Dog FoodNo products found.
Best Kidney Care Low Protein Dog FoodNo products found.

Our Top Pick: Nutro Ultra Weight Management Adult Dry Dog Food

Nutro Ultra Weight Management Adult Dry Dog Food

The Nutro brand has a reputation for making very healthy products, and this one does not disappoint. Apart from having a low protein content, this formulation is also very low in phosphorus. That makes it easier for the digestive system to process, thus putting much less strain on the kidney.

The ingredients are composed of lean protein sources and a lot of fruit and vegetables. Essential oils are also a major component of the recipe. All the nutrients from those premium ingredients will help to nurse your dog back to full health.

You can purchase the product in multiple sizes, meaning that you’ll be able to buy just what you need to keep your pups in fresh, tasty food. Also, there’s also a canned dog food formula available if your dog doesn’t fancy dry food.


  • Low phosphorus content
  • Vitamins help to control skin allergies
  • 100% natural ingredients – no artificial chemicals
  • Helpful for weight control


  • On the pricey side

Our Runner-Up Pick: Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Dry Dog Food – Sweet Potato & Bison Formula

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From Natural Balance, another industry heavyweight, the first thing you’ll notice about this product is that it’s deliberately formulated with a limited number of ingredients. That’s helpful for your pet’s health. There’s a lot less to process, making it simpler to digest and taking less of a toll on your canine’s organs.

It doesn’t contain any artificial chemicals in the form of flavorings, colorings or preservatives. That also reduces the strains on the digestive system. There’s also a limited risk of allergic reactions due to the limited ingredients.

Although the main ingredients are bison and sweet potato, the proportions favor the sweet potato. That’s helpful because there’ll be less protein in your dog’s diet, thus helping with the renal failure treatment.


  • Free from artificial flavors, colorings, and preservatives
  • High-quality control
  • Grain-free


  • Limited flavor options

Best Budget Pick: Hill’s Science Diet

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Even in a list about the best low protein dog food products, this offering from Hills Science stands out for the especially low percentage of protein contains. When combined with its very affordable price, it’s definitely one to consider for your pet’s low-protein diet.

The recipe has a lot of antioxidants in it from the various ingredients, all of which will help to improve your canine’s immune system. The protein content it contains is derived from high-quality chicken and lamb sources.

Although you can include this in your young canine’s diet, it’s particularly intended for older pets. The term usually refers to canine’s which are above seven years old. That is also the time when chronic renal failure usually begins to set in, so it’ll be right on time to prevent the disease or help manage it.


  • Specially produces for seniors’ needs
  • All natural ingredients
  • Contains essential b-complex vitamins for immune system maintenance


  • Limited flavor options.

Best Canned Low Protein Dog Food: Purina NF KidNey Function Canine Formula

Purina NF KidNey Function Canine Formula

From the Purina Pro Plan, the NF KidNey canned food formula is targeted at fighting kidney failure. It does that via its low protein content as well as low phosphorus and sodium levels.

In Besides, it contains significant omega fatty acid content to provide essential nutrients. They help make nutrients easier to break down and also facilitate the development of healthy skin and coat.

The most prominent ingredients in this recipe are beef and meat by-products, corn grits and rice.


  • Provides a balanced range of nutrients
  • Very palatable
  • High omega fatty acids content


  • Limited flavor options
  • Contains by-products

Best Kidney Care Low Protein Dog Food: Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Urinary SO

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Royal Canin brought all its 40 years of experience in canine health nutrition to bear in this product. It provides a balanced diet using its primary ingredients which are chicken by-product, corn, natural flavors and chicken fats (it’s still a low-fat diet).

Canines suffering from LUTD (lower urinary tract disease) will particularly benefit from having this formulation in their diets. It helps to combat urinary stones which could be very painful for your pet by acidifying the urine to prevent stone buildup.

Also, the formulation works against the onset and spread of bacterial infections. Most customers have also reported that their pets loved the taste, so you won’t have a problem getting yours to adapt to it.


  • Minimal magnesium content
  • Great taste


  • Quite expensive, especially over the long-term.

Buyer’s Guide

In the guidelines released by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), adult canine food should contain about 18 percent of protein when measured as dry matter. The distinction about the dry matter content is important because the water content in pet food dilutes the nutrients.

So when you’re looking to buy the best low protein dog food for your beloved pet, you’ll be looking for specially formulated ones. It’s important to understand exactly what you’re buying and how to buy the best one for your pet because the wrong formula could worsen your pet’s health and lead to disastrous consequences.

Benefits of Low Protein Dog Food

Protein is a very important nutrient for humans and dogs alike. While that is so, one of its characteristics is that it is difficult to break down and digest. The effect of that on the body is that the organs (especially the kidney) have to work harder to metabolize protein foods.

These products help to give the organs involved in metabolism time to rest, thus reducing the strain on the body and the attendant pain. Besides, they reduce the likelihood of total kidney failure occurring due to continuous overwork of an already weak kidney.

The best low protein dog food products also come with minimal phosphorous content. When combined with the low protein content, the effect is to reduce and eliminate certain stones which can occur in the urinary tract of canines. When unchecked, those stones can lead to a blockage of the urinary tract, a condition which is always painful and often fatal if not treated urgently.

How to Choose the Best Low Protein Dog Food for Your Pet

Calculate the Minimum Crude Protein Percentage

How much protein exactly is in your pet food can be confusing sometimes. This is often due to the water content of the foods. The best low protein dog food products usually have minimal protein content, such as the ones on this list.

If you want to compare two products to see which one has the lower protein content, you’ll need to first remove the moisture content. After subtracting the water content, you’ll be able to get an accurate estimate of just how much protein is in the product.

Consider Palatability

Protein and especially animal proteins such as chicken, lamb, fish, etc., are crucial determinants of the flavor of pet food. When the protein content is reduced, it can make the food taste much less palatable. This is especially true where your pet has been used to a high protein diet.

So when you’re considering dog food brands, look out for those that canines find very tasty. It’ll help your pet adjust to the reduction in dietary protein quickly, meaning that they’ll begin getting healthier that much faster.

Age of Your Pet

Canines can begin having renal problems at any age, and while you’ll need to begin giving them low protein dog food, you have to buy products that are age-appropriate.

This is because dogs have different dietary requirements at different developmental stages. The best low protein dog food manufacturers factor age differences into their formulations.

Young, fast-growing canines need more protein intake to fuel their growth, but senior dogs also need it for joint care. Either way, you’ll need to check the descriptions, calculate the exact protein content and select those that are suitable for your dog’s age.

Check for Premium Animal Proteins

If you’re going to be reducing the protein content of your pets’ food, then it makes sense that you give them the best quality protein you can find, right?

Look for the best low protein dog food products with high-quality animal protein sources. Animal proteins provide more complete nutrients than plant sources.

Skip the foods that are based on chicken by-products, beef by-products or any other similar ingredient unless you really have to. Whole proteins from chicken, salmon, beef or any other animal source are always better choices.

Consider the Environment

You might not think that the environment where your pet lives matters, but it does. Large breed dogs that spend more time in the cold outdoors use more energy than those that spend most of their time indoors or in more temperate areas. The difference between their energy usage can be as low as 10% to as much as 90% in extreme cases.

When choosing pet food, factor your pet’s energy usage into your decision. A lower protein content usually means more carbs which are used to produce energy but be sure that you’re getting the right amount of energy for your pet’s needs.

Consult a Vet

As we said earlier, a low protein diet is a deviation from the normal kind of food that healthy canines ought to be given.

Even if you suspect that your dog is having kidney-related health issues, resist the urge to change his diet. Have your pet inspected by a vet and act on the instructions. If the solution is to switch to a low protein diet, you can then proceed to do so, safely.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Should I Buy Wet Dog Food or Dry Dog Food?

Many high-quality dog food products are produced in dry and canned formulations, so you’ll usually be able to choose whichever one you and your pets prefer.

Pets often prefer wet food because they are usually more aromatic and flavorful.

Many people choose dry food for the sake of convenience and the fact that you can purchase it in bulk without worrying about shelf-life.
It’s important, however, that you consider the differences in final protein content as detailed above.

Q: Can Low-Protein Food Harm My Dog?

No, as long as you’re giving it to a dog that truly needs it. For a healthy canine without any kidney problems, a low protein dog food diet is likely to result in stunted growth.

If your pet has kidney problems though, the priority must be the elimination or management of the problems. As such, a low protein diet would be beneficial for your pet.

Q:  When Do Dogs Need Low Protein Food?

There are quite a few canine medical conditions which might require the modification of your pet’s diet to reduce protein content.
The most common one is ckd (chronic kidney disease) but liver problems could also occur, as could bladder stones and other urinary tract issues.

Most, if not all of the conditions can only be diagnosed by a vet, so be sure to get your pet seen to as soon as you notice any signs of illness.

Q: Can Low Protein Dog Food Cure Kidney Disease?

Sadly, no. Chronic renal disease, liver disease and the other conditions which usually require this sort of diet are chronic conditions.

That means they cannot currently be cured and can only be managed for your pet’s lifetime. The good thing is that with proper treatment and appropriate diets, canines can live normal lives for a long time.

Other Low Protein Dog Foods We Reviewed

  • Dog Treats
  • Grain Free Dog Food

Dog Treats

Mattie’s Treats Kidney Disease Dog Treats

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If you’re looking for a tasty treat that’s also healthy for your pet, then this is the one for you. With low protein and phosphorus, the treats are very good for canine kidneys. They have a pumpkin and cinnamon flavor that makes even the pickiest pets relish them.

The formulation doesn’t contain gluten as well, to make it even healthier. Made from rye and tapioca flour, pumpkin, and cinnamon as well as fish oil, the treats have a low protein content of around 7%. When you consider that the fat content is also very low at around 2.2%, it’s clear that you’d be hard pressed to find better treats.


  • Contains essential fatty acids
  • Average fiber content – ~1.2 percent
  • No gluten
  • Low phosphorus
  • Percentage of sales is donated to fund canine renal disease research

Hill’s Prescription Diet Canine Treats

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These treats are perfect rewards for pets with a protein restriction and other similar factors in their diets. For a very affordable price per bag, you can get enough to keep your pet feeling happy for quite a while.

Despite the fact that the treats are low in protein, they are still quite appetizing for your pets to enjoy. They have high fiber content, so your canines will feel satiated for a long time, thus reducing the chances of eating something they’re not supposed to.


  • Low sodium
  • Very filling

Grain Free Dog Food

CANIDAE Grain Free Pure Land Formula

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This Canidae low protein dog food uses a simple recipe to provide essential nutrition to your pet. The limited ingredients in the formulation were chosen to reduce the risk of allergic reactions. Also, the limited list makes it easier for you to identify exactly what’s in your pet’s food.

Although you can find it in different flavors, the products are all based on real meat or fish primarily. That provides a healthy (albeit limited) amount of animal protein which is then combined with other ingredients such as lentils, peas, etc., to provide a very healthy grain-free dry dog food.


  • Limited Ingredient list
  • Highly digestible


Overall, it’s clear that taking care of a pet with kidney problems or other similar health issues is going to involve a lot of work on your part.

You’ll have to be more careful about the kinds of food your pet eats, and choosing which products to buy can become stressful over time. Thankfully, you have this guide – You can see the very best low protein dog food products for your pet.

As soon as you consult a vet and get a prescription to change your pet’s diet, go through this list and choose the ones that are best suited for Fido’s needs. You’d be giving your beloved pet the best nutrition possible and helping them live a happy, healthy and long life.

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