As if it wasn’t hard enough to pick out the right dog food – it gets so much harder when your pooch needs a special diet, either due to a medical condition or to have gained a few extra pounds. A dog food low in protein can help keep your doggy friend happy and healthy for many long years to come so that you can go on many more adventures together.

It is important to always look for the best renal dog food or dog food with less protein so that your pup isn’t left without essential nutrients. There are many reasons why a dog might need a high-quality low protein dog food, so talk to a veterinarian for guidance if you think your dog could use a diet change.

View The Best Low Protein Dog Food Below

1. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Gastro Intestinal

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Gastro Intestinal Low Fat Canned Dog Food

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This highly digestible low protein dog food contains a mix of antioxidants – precisely composed to boost the immune system and strengthen the canine body from the inside and out, and it is an ow phosphorous dog food suitable for furry friends with a sensitive stomach or problems with the GI tract.

Fat can often be an issue for dogs with certain health problems, and this low-fat dog food with prebiotics, healthy fiber and omega-3 could be the solution you have been hoping to find. Some websites and pet stores require veterinary authorization before selling the product, so make sure you talk to your vet if you think this low protein diet for dogs might be right for your four-legged friends.

Pros:
+ Helps with chronic digestive issues
+ A unique blend of antioxidants
+ Fatty acids DHA and EPA
+ Supports a healthy immune system

Why We Like It – A low protein canned food like this mushy delight from Royal Canin will do plenty of good for your sensitive dog, while also being appealing in both flavor and scent.


2. Veterinary Diets Purina Veterinary Canine NF Kidney Function

Veterinary Diets Purina Veterinary Canine NF Kidney Function Dry Dog Food

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Kidney problems? If so, perhaps this low protein dry dog food could be the right choice for you! It has been specifically formulated to slow down the process and physical signs of kidney failure, to keep your dog healthy for as long as possible, even with a chronic disease.

It is designed for health conditions that might require reduced sodium levels; such as encephalopathy, renal failure, and hepatic disease, and made with a recipe to help reduce the otherwise large workload on the dog’s kidneys.

Added vitamins and adjusted amounts of key ingredients aid in providing a complete meal for dogs all ages and breeds, provided they have been pre-authorized to use this therapeutic dog food by a licensed veterinarian.

Pros:
+ Slows down signs of kidney failure
+ Low levels of phosphorus
+ Added B-complex vitamins
+ Optimal nutrition for dogs with special needs

Why We Like It – Low fat low protein dog food is often prescribed by veterinarians for dogs with renal failure, and this is a recipe that is packed with vitamins and minerals, without working the kidneys too hard when being processed in the body.


3. Nutro Ultra Weight Management Adult Dry Dog Food

Nutro Ultra Weight Management Adult Dry Dog Food

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Weight management nonprescription low phosphorous dog food that tastes delicious and provides your pup with plenty of nutrients! It is lower in fat than average dog foods, to help dogs prone to weight gain keep those extra pounds off. It contains a blend of highly nutritious superfoods; like kale, chia, coconut and blueberries, and the regulated levels of protein come from a combination of lamb, salmon, and chicken.

Nutro uses only high-quality grains in their recipes; which is a great way to regulate fat- and protein content, without robbing your pup of essential nutrients, and a big plus is that it has an ingredient list one can actually read and understand.

Pros:
+ 15 superfoods like chia and kale
+ Glucosamine and Chondroitin
+ With chicken, lamb and salmon
+ Formulated for overweight dogs

Why We Like It – Many diet low protein foods for dogs are also lower in quality and nutritional content, but not Nutro’s dog food with low protein! They have found a way to reduce protein and fat by replacing it with equally nutritious ingredients so that your dog can get the most out of each meal. See more diet dog foods here.


4. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Urinary SO Dry Dog Food

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Urinary SO Dry Dog Food

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Royal Canin is one of the leading therapeutic dog food brands, and this dog food with low protein and phosphorous is great dog food for dogs with urinary tract problems and health issues. The ingredients in this kibble help acidify the urine, which will in turn work to prevent kidney stones and another stone build-up, and the Omega-3 works to lessen the risk of urinary tract infections.

Protein levels, phosphorous and magnesium are carefully controlled, to reduce any unnecessary waste and keep your fur baby’s body and system working properly.

Pros:
+ Acidifies the dog’s urine for stone prevention
+ Omega-3 to prevent urinary tract infections
+ Controlled levels of protein and magnesium
+ Suitable for small dogs and big dogs

Why We Like It – The reason for liking this dog food with lower protein is obvious – it helps dogs with urinary tract issues, by providing them with an apt diet which they will also love.


5. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Dry Dog Food

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Dry Dog Food

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Low protein grain free dog food is the ideal option for dog owners who prefer to feed grain-free diets, and this limited ingredient recipe aids in minimizing the number of ingredients your dog are exposed to at mealtime. There is only one animal protein source – bison, in this case – to aid with digestion for dogs with sensitive stomachs.

The canine metabolism is a complex thing, and while many dogs can eat almost everything – other dogs require a different diet. It contains no fillers, no artificial flavors or colors and no preservatives, and you can even use it as a low protein puppy food as it is suitable for all ages.

Pros:
+ Made with only one quality protein
+ Natural and wholesome ingredients
+ Suitable for dogs all ages and breeds
+ No fillers, artificial colors or preservatives

Why We Like It – Just because your pup has special dietary needs, it does not mean you have to pass on a natural and healthy diet. This grain-free low protein dog food is also fine for dogs without special dietary needs to eat, which works perfectly if you have more than one dog.


6. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Adult 7+

Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Adult 7+ for Senior Dogs

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Senior dogs have different nutritional needs compared to young pups and adult dogs, and planning accordingly by providing proper nutrition is key to a long and healthy life. When comparing different low protein dog foods, this product ranks as the best low protein dog food for dogs over 7.

Chicken meal is used to pack this kibble with healthy and regulated levels of protein, and a nutritional blend of vitamin C and vitamin T and antioxidants help boost the immune system to protect from age-related diseases. There is also Glucosamine and Chondroitin for stronger bones and joints; providing an older dog with what their bodies have started producing less of.

Pros:
+ Boosts the immune system
+ Improves cardiac function
+ Promotes strong bones and joints
+ For aging dogs all sizes

Why We Like It – An older dog deserves a good low protein senior dog food, after the long life they have lived, and Hill’s Science Diet offers this lower protein dog food to help regulate protein, fiber and carbohydrate levels.


7. Holistic Select Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food

Holistic Select Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food Weight Management Duck Meal

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Is your four-legged friend ready for a natural and low protein low-fat dog food? Holistic Select presents a contender for the best dog food for kidney health, and it is an option without preservatives and artificial colors and flavors.

There are also no wheat, soy, fillers or animal by-products, and the controlled amounts of protein make it suitable for dogs that need to lose weight. Prebiotics, probiotics, digestive enzymes and natural fiber help the metabolism work properly – which is another way to keep those additional pounds off your furry friend.

Weight management is all about providing a dog food that helps your dog feel full without so many calories, and it is made possible here thanks to the wholesome fiber.

Pros:
+ No animal by-products
+ For weight loss and weight control
+ With natural fiber and digestive enzymes
+ Made in the United States

Why We Like It – This high-quality low protein low phosphorous dog food gives your dog a balanced and complete diet without adding extra calories.


Bonus Buy

Mattie’s Treats Kidney Disease Dog Treats

Mattie's Treats Kidney Disease Dog Treats

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Low Protein Dog Food Buyers Guide

The most important step towards finding the best low protein dog food brands is to fully understand what a low phosphorous dry dog food is, what it is good for and what dogs that might benefit from it.

A high-quality protein low phosphorous dog food is not the same as protein-free dog food or a no protein dog food, as all dogs should have protein in their diet, but instead, it is an adapted kibble or low protein wet dog food where the levels of certain nutrients have been carefully adjusted.

A Low Protein Diet

Dogs with kidney problems, liver issues, allergies or sensitivities are just some of the canines that might need a special diet with less protein. When you buy dog food low protein might not be the first thing you think to look for, as many believe the dog to be a carnivore, but due to certain health issues, it might become a necessity.

A low protein dog food is not the same as low-quality dog food, and it does not mean you should head to the supermarket to pick out a cheap store brand where the protein was never a priority. No, instead it is important to look for a quality product where the levels of protein have been reduced, without compromising the quality of the existing protein.

When the protein level is reduced, the protein quality becomes even more important; to make sure your furry friend gets as much out of the remaining protein as possible.

Learning to look at the ingredients in a dog food product is a great way to establish quality; and you want to avoid any products containing animal by-products, as this is considered a low-quality meat source. Only the best should be good enough for your dog, also when he or she needs a dog food with reduced protein, so never confuse low protein with low quality.

Dog Food Without Protein

Are there dog foods completely free from protein? Probably not. You might find a dog food free from meat, which is used sometimes in extreme cases where a dog is sensitive to all meat protein. Dogs, however, are omnivores (some argue they might even be strict carnivores), so a meatless diet is not recommended unless there is no other way to keep your dog healthy.

Only a veterinarian can determine this, but it is very rare for a dog to be prescribed a meatless diet. A meatless diet and a protein-free diet would be two different things, and it is highly unlikely that you will find a protein-free diet. All living beings need protein to survive, so just because your veterinarian thinks your dog should eat less protein – it does not mean you should go look for the dog food with the lowest protein content.

Veterinary Authorization

An interesting detail when it comes to therapeutic dog foods (Royal Canin and Hill’s Science Diet offers several of these products) is that they often require veterinary authorization before you can buy them. Both Amazon and Chewy require you to scan and send an authorization from a licensed veterinarian before they will send you a product, and pet stores do the same.

This, however, applies in the United States, and there are countries where no authorization is required (or at least where this is not enforced) and where anyone can pick up a bag at any time. If you live somewhere where authorization is not required, this does not mean that you should buy it without first having talked to a vet.

Feeding a dog properly is a big responsibility, and you should never make the decision yourself to switch your dog over to a low protein diet. If your veterinarian feels it would better your pup’s life quality – he or she will write you an authorization (similar to a prescription) for you to purchase the dog food best suited for your dog’s needs.

Best Low Phosphorous Canned Dog Food?

If your dog is one of those pups that would much rather eat wet, mushy and delicious dog food, then you might want to consider the ‘Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Gastro Intestinal Low Fat Canned Dog Food’ – a carefully designed product for dogs with digestive issues and more.

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Gastro Intestinal Low Fat Canned Dog Food

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Keep in mind that many places will (and should) not sell this product without veterinary authorization, and you should respect this by only feeding this canned Royal Canin food at the recommendation of a licensed vet.

Best Renal Dog Food Brands?

You can now find these low protein options from several different brands, but two of the largest brands within therapeutic dog food are still the universally known dog food giants Hill’s Science Diet and Royal Canin. You should not be surprised if your veterinarian recommends one of these brands, as many vet clinics sell them, and they have spent years to perfect their recipes to better suit dogs with health issues and temporary food restrictions.

Can Any Dog Eat A Low Protein Dog Food?

Low protein dog food should not be fed unless your veterinarian has told you to switch your pup’s diet. Generally, dogs do very well on high-protein diets as it helps them stay energized throughout the day, but some health conditions could result in intolerance or sensitivity, or another reason to why your dog’s protein intake should be restricted. Only use low protein foods if your dog has been properly diagnosed with something that requires it.

Best Low Phosphorous Dog Food for Senior Dogs?

Due to a senior dog’s changing needs as they age, you will be best off with ‘Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Adult 7+ for Senior Dogs’ or with a similar product made for dogs that are reaching (or that have already reached) a mature age. It is packed with nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, and has enough glucosamine and chondroitin to support bone health as the dog’s body starts producing less.

Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Adult 7+ for Senior Dogs

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Conclusion

Dogs are just like us when it comes to food – they have different preferences, and what works for one dog might not work for another. You often hear how important it is for your dog to get plenty of protein through food and treats, and how meat (which tends to be the biggest protein source in dog food) is essential for a canine to thrive and stay healthy.

This is true in the majority of cases, but there is always that one dog that needs something different. It could be a health condition like renal failure, where a low protein dog food might work to slow down the process, or food allergies and sensitivities that tend to cause stomach upset and discomfort.

It is impressive what the right dog food can do for a dog, especially where there are pre-existing health concerns, and your veterinarian can help you decide if your four-legged friend would do better on a reduced protein diet. This is a case where Google or other search engines cannot help you, so avoid trying to self-diagnose and head straight to the veterinary clinic for a thorough check-up if you have concerns.

Expert Tip:

Keep open communication with your veterinarian and do your own research after your dog has been diagnosed, to further understand his or her health condition and what you can do to help.

Did you Know?

Dogs share about 98% of their DNA with wolves, but the remaining 2% makes their nutritional needs slightly different.

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