Dogs love to eat and there’s very little they like more than protein-laden foods like chicken and beef.
Protein is just as important for dogs as it is for humans. If you want to see your dog grow properly while remaining in overall good shape, protein is an essential nutrient.
Whether it’s raw meat or pre-prepared food, generally dogs will need to take plenty of protein on board.
Today, though, we’re going to look at top 20 low protein dog food reviews for situations when you might need to drop the level of protein in your precious pet’s diet…
Table of Contents
- 1 Why do dogs need a low protein diet?
- 2 What are the benefits of low protein dog food?
- 3 Choosing the best low protein dog food
- 4 Top 20 low protein dog food reviews
- 4.1 1. Holistic select natural dry dog food
- 4.2 2. Natural balance limited ingredient diets dry dog food
- 4.3 3. Nutro ultra weight management dry dog food
- 4.4 4. Hill’s science diet dry dog food
- 4.5 5. Hill's prescription diet k/d renal health canned dog food
- 4.6 6. Royal canin dry dog food
- 4.7 7. Nature's recipe senior dry dog food
- 4.8 8. Hills k/d renal health dog food
- 4.9 9. Purina pro plan veterinary diets kidney function adult dog food
- 4.10 10. Royal canin renal support food
- 4.11 11. Purina NF kidney function canned dog food
- 4.12 12. Canidae all life stages large breed adult dog food
- 4.13 13. Purina pro plan wet food for renal function
- 4.14 14. Canidae life stages dry food
- 4.15 15. Blue natural veterinary diet KS kidney support dry dog food
- 4.16 16. Blue buffalo life protection
- 4.17 17. Nutro ultra small breed weight management
- 4.18 18. Natural balance limited ingredient sweet potato & venison dry dog food
- 4.19 19. Wellness core reduced fat dry dog food
- 4.20 20. Diamond naturals dry food for senior dogs
- 5 Wrap-up
Why do dogs need a low protein diet?
As a rule, they don’t.
Quite the opposite, in fact.
Sometimes, though, certain health issues or natural circumstances can bring about the need to reduce protein intake and hunt down the best low protein dog food…
- Kidney problems
- Inflammation of kidneys
- Liver issues
- Urinary stones
- Natural aging
- Large breed dogs at risk of overgrowth
- Lyme disease
- Portosystemic shunt
When your dog digests protein, the toxins produced are normally flushed out neatly through urination. When health issues make this impractical, it’s time to switch to some low protein dog food.
You should always consult with your vet first before making radical changes to your pet’s diet.
What are the benefits of low protein dog food?
Low protein dog food can still contain plenty of nutrients. As long as the level of protein is balanced and not too low – in itself another problem – there are several key benefits from opting for this type of diet…
- Help to decrease discomfort from kidney disease. With less protein to synthesize, your dog will produce less toxins and there consequently be less pressure on the kidneys
- Urinary stones can cause your dog a great deal of discomfort. Drop the protein levels and you can prevent these stones from forming in the first place
- By lowering the production of toxins, a low protein diet for your dog can help to manage the inflammation that accompanies kidney disease
- A liver shunt occurs when your dog develops problems with this organ and it starts to malfunction. Dialing back on the protein can help to ease digestion and improve liver health
- If your dog picks up Lyme disease, a low protein diet can work wonders
An alternative to reducing the level of protein is to focus on providing food loaded with proteins that can be more readily digested by your dog. This will ease the burden felt by their kidneys and liver.
Always chat with your vet first before making any dramatic dietary changes that might harm your beloved pet more than help them.
Choosing the best low protein dog food
With the market absolutely stuffed with dog food, choosing anything at all can seem overwhelming.
Luckily, we’re here to help…
We’ve gone through a huge selection from a range of brands and culled them down to the best 20 low protein dog foods available.
Before that, how can you navigate the minefield of choice and find the best option for your dog?
1. Think about the brand
Many of our purchasing decisions are brand-driven.
You wouldn’t go out and spend out on a no-name TV or opt for the very cheapest available food at all times so why compromise your dog?
Stick to brands that you know and trust. Check for user reviews and feedback to widen your knowledge.
Opting for a proven brand is the smart choice.
2. Check the protein content
Obviously, if your goal is to reduce your dog’s protein intake, it pays to look into the protein content of the food.
Insufficient protein can be equally as damaging as an excess of it so make sure it’s hovering around the right ratio.
3. Is the food balanced?
Look at the other ingredients of the food you are considering. Ask yourself how good it is for your dog’s overall dietary needs.
As long as there are no harmful ingredients that might react badly with your dog, you should be good to go.
Now you have a good idea about why you might need to start giving your dog less protein, here is a selection of 20 of the best low protein dog foods out there.
Read on and take the sting out of your buying decision…
Top 20 low protein dog food reviews
1. Holistic select natural dry dog food
Kicking off our look at the best low protein dog foods is some dry food from Holistic Select.
This manufacturer has a superb range of different dog foods formulated for a wide spread of ages and conditions. Whether you have a puppy, an adult dog or one advancing in years, you’ll be spoiled for choice.
This Weight Management Formula is a wise choice if you want to reduce the protein your dog consumes. With balanced ingredients including chicken and peas, you’ll get just enough protein along with fewer calories so it’s perfect if your dog is putting on a few pounds. The protein is also easily digested by your dog.
Holistic Select invest a great deal in providing a full digestive health support system. This food is packed with healthy fiber, active probiotics and digestive enzymes to ensure your dog stays in the rudest of health.
These foods are available in many sized to suit all wallets. We opted for the 28-pound bag. It’s not particularly cheap but the best things in life rarely are.
One thing to watch out for with dry food from Holistic Select is a kind of fishy smell on your dog’s breath after eating. This is fairly widely reported so give it a go and see if the odor bothers you or not.
With a host of all-natural ingredients, no icky meat by-products or artificial coloring and flavoring, Holistic Select is by no means the cheapest option at your disposal but it’s certainly among the best low protein dog foods on the market.
2. Natural balance limited ingredient diets dry dog food
Next up is a 26-pound bag at a more reasonable cost from the highly reputable Natural Balance.
For a mixture of high-quality protein from the bison and sweet potato for potassium and energy, you can deliver your dog all his nutritional needs without breaking the bank.
Bison is a lean meat which is rich in valuable amino acids while containing much less fat and fewer calories than many other meats.
If your dog turns his nose up at bison, there are several other flavors harnessing chicken, fish and venison for protein.
There are no artificial ingredients, preservatives or colorings in this food so you can be sure your dog is in safe hands. Overall, the limited ingredients mean if your dog is allergic to anything, it’s very simple to pinpoint whether it’s included in this dry food. Less is often more.
Be aware that the ratio is skewed far more heavily in favor of sweet potato than bison. This is good news if you are looking for a lower protein content in your dog’s food.
All Natural Balance dog food is submitted to a battery of 9 tests so you can buy with complete confidence knowing your pet’s health is uppermost.
For a source of premium protein in the right quantity along with carbohydrates and no grains, check out this Natural Balance dry food with limited ingredients. Your dog’s digestion will be nicely regulated with the added bonus of a shiny coat and healthy skin.
3. Nutro ultra weight management dry dog food
We’ll continue our low protein dog food reviews with some dry weight management food from Nutro, an industry heavyweight you can rely on.
Available in multiple sizes, we opted for the 30-pound bag of adult food. While it might not be cheap, it’s not going to cost you a fortune either.
The bulk of the ingredients in this dry food are sourced from the US with a smattering from New Zealand.
With lean protein sources, fruit, vegetables and essential oils, you can keep your dog’s weight in check while still giving them a delicious treat at meal time.
Nutro’s food has the appearance of being homemade. Although every dog has slightly different taste, most descend on a bowl of Nutro and polish it off double quick.
For a dry food that’s easy on your dog’s digestion, highly nourishing and also useful when it comes to regulating weight, Nutro Ultra should be on any shortlist.
While these packs of food are fairly expensive, if you end up saving money on vet bills and treatment for your dog, it could end up as a savvy investment.
As a parting shot, this is also available as a canned formula if your dog turns his nose up at dry food.
4. Hill’s science diet dry dog food
If you’re looking for some food specially designed to give your dog a helping hand as he gets older, Hill’s Pet Nutrition has got you covered.
The 33-pound bag offers great value for money. We opted for chicken but it’s also available in lamb or chicken. All of these flavors deliver top-notch sources of protein. It can be easily broken down by your aging dog and is in just the right quantities if he shows the need for less protein.
As well as regulated protein, this dry dog food has the full spectrum of minerals, vitamins and amino acids necessary to keep your dog healthy and strong as he advances in years.
When your dog gets older, the chances of kidney problems developing increases. You need to make sure that you take account for this by providing low protein food which also helps to manage weight conditions. As a bonus, this Hill’s Science dry dog food also provides plenty of vitality to stop your dog from flagging.
This food does contain corn. It’s labeled as whole grain so be aware of this before buying.
For a superb collection of natural and healthy ingredients low in protein, you could do far worse than this dry food from Hill’s Science. Take care of your aging dog and help him to enjoy his remaining years to the fullest.
5. Hill's prescription diet k/d renal health canned dog food
Another entry from the mighty Hill’s, this canned dog food is tailor-made for any animals suffering from renal problems.
You’ll get 12 regular-sized 13oz cans at a pretty reasonable price. Buying in bulk for your dog might seem like a stiff expense but the savings over time are considerable. The least cost-effective method is run to the store each day for a single overpriced can.
This food is designed to help your dog’s kidneys in a number of important ways…
With reduced protein, there will much less load placed on the kidneys. Lowered phosphorus keeps the organs running sweetly. There’s not much sodium which helps to keep blood pressure down. Omega-3 fatty acids enhance the way blood flows to the kidneys while B-complex vitamins help to make up for the vits lost in urine.
If your dog is experiencing any renal issues, this food will offer an incredible boost for his health.
Flavoring is chicken and barley. Most dogs find this highly appetizing.
For a specific solution to kidney issues, this low protein dog food is among the most effective on the market today. Give your dog a taste and watch the health benefits follow.
6. Royal canin dry dog food
Royal Canin have a well-deserved reputation for making extremely effective dog food for a variety of needs.
Any pet owner knows all too well how sad it is as your trusty friend starts getting older. This dry food is specifically targeted at really old dogs of 12 and upwards. Once dogs get to this age, kidney problems are all too prevalent. This, along with aging, is a key reason to limit the amount of protein they get.
As well as a food that doesn’t come laden with protein, you’ll also get the DHA, EPA and antioxidants that will help your dog through his later years.
The phosphorus levels are also controlled. This promotes the healthy functioning of kidneys.
As well as being kind to the kidneys, this food is a significant help in keeping your dog’s weight in check. The food serves up plenty of essential energy and makes use of L-carnitine to encourage fat metabolism.
If you have a small breed dog of 12 or more years old, this dry food is a fantastic choice. Give your dog all the goodness he needs without any of the artificial nonsense that will clog up his system.
7. Nature's recipe senior dry dog food
Nature’s Recipe produce fantastic natural dog food and a price you’ll love.
We tested the lamb meal and rice recipe with lamb being the primary source of protein. This food is heavy in grains and rather light on meat which is ideal if you want to cut back on the protein content.
Rice is full of carbs so your dog will get all the energy he needs. Fiber in the barley is great for digestive regulation and proper immune function.
The Senior food is specially formulated for older dogs. As dogs age, health problems naturally develop. It pays to buy food that’s designed with these needs in mind and Nature’s Recipe does not disappoint.
If you overfeed an aging dog, you’ll just end up with even more stress placed on joints and tendons that are struggling anyway. You’re killing your dog with kindness if you give him too much to eat when he’s old. By taking charge and buying a dedicated food like Nature’s Recipe, you’ll give him the best chance of enjoying his golden years.
For a natural, low protein dog food without spending a fortune, check out this senior dry food today!
8. Hills k/d renal health dog food
Another fine offering from Hill’s is up next in the form of this K/D Renal Health dry food.
In all other respects, this food is the same as the canned food from Hill’s we checked out above.
You can give your dog all the same benefits in dry form.
This is here for reference only because this food is much cheaper if you visit the vet and get a prescription. We always believe in giving honest advice. In this instance, you are better off researching the food and, if it’s what you think your dog needs, popping to see your vet instead of buying it online.
9. Purina pro plan veterinary diets kidney function adult dog food
This 18 pound bag of specially formulated dog food is rather expensive but that’s not surprising for such a specialized recipe.
If you have an adult dog suffering from chronic kidney issues, it will be money very well spent.
The kibble should tease your dog’s taste buds while it’s low enough in protein and phosphorus to help combat renal insufficiency. The food is also low in purines so it should help stave off any cystine or urate stones.
If you suspect your dog is struggling with chronic kidney disease (CKD), it goes without saying you should get to the vet as soon as possible. In the meantime, switching to a food like Purina Pro Plan will give him the best chance of coping with this condition.
Plenty of Omega-3 fatty acids will bring down high blood pressure in the kidneys. They also act as a natural anti-inflammatory.
Since dogs with CKD often experience a drop in appetite, providing them with tasty food is essential. They should gobble up this dry food and keep coming back for more.
It goes without saying that this type of food is not a miracle cure. However, if your dog is in pain and your budget will stretch to it, this 18-pound bag of food is the next best thing.
Give your dog a treat while doing your part to restore healthy renal functioning into the bargain! Check out some Purina Pro Plan today. It delivers in fine style.
10. Royal canin renal support food
More low protein dog food is up next with another entry from the formidable Royal Canin.
If you find your dog is running into renal problems, adjusting diet is the first thing you should do after consulting your vet. As outlined in our buying guide, too much protein leads to an excessive burden on your dog’s organs. The low doses in this Renal Support food mean that’s one less thing to worry about.
Another issue with renal failure is the body’s inability to break down phosphorus properly. For this reason, there are very low phosphorus levels in this dry food.
This particular food will act to manage every stage of kidney disease in large or giant breed dogs. With small to mid-sized dogs, the food helps to deal with the early stages of CKD.
The food contains DHA and EPA which both help to counter inflammation.
If your dog is not in the best of health, he might start eating less. This food is designed to be palatable as well as healing so serve up some Royal Canin and watch your dog gleefully scurry out to his bowl.
With appetizing ingredients and the low protein your dog needs, Royal Canin Renal Support Food will slow the progression of kidney issues and simultaneously stop some of the discomfort that comes hand in glove with renal problems.
Give this specialist food and shot and your dog will thank you!
11. Purina NF kidney function canned dog food
More food from the highly esteemed Purina Pro Plan next, this time some regular canned food specifically designed to combat canine kidney issues.
Whether your dog is experiencing acute or chronic renal problems, this reduced protein food is just what he needs to give his kidneys the chance to recover.
You’ll get 12 standard 13oz cans so you end up paying a fairly reasonable price per can by purchasing a dozen.
As well as lowered protein, this canned food is also low in phosphorus which will help to stave off any further renal damage. There’s not too much sodium either so all bases are covered. There are plenty of the fatty acids your dog needs and it’s packed with the B-complex vitamins crucial for your dog’s health.
Another advantage of this food – besides its taste – is the way it helps your dog to produce less nitrogenous waste. This is also crucial for robust renal functioning.
If your dog is finding things hard going, give him a break and invest in some Purina Pro Kidney Function food and he’ll be back up and running in no time. With no known side effects, you can relax knowing you’re doing all you can for your pride and joy.
12. Canidae all life stages large breed adult dog food
Canidae is another household name in the pet food space. This duck meal, brown rice and lentils formula is perfect for all large breed adult dogs. If you’ve got a beast of a hound, this will hit the spot.
Your dog will get protein in just the right quantity from the duck meal. This can be readily synthesized so it won’t end up overloading your dog’s renal system.
There’s no wheat, corn or soy in the mix and the food is specially formulated by vets.
Canidae design their foods to cater to all life stages. If you have multiple pets at home, this greatly simplifies feeding time and reduces the need for different bags of food all over the place.
If you are looking for some nutritionally dense food that doesn’t compromise on taste or deliver too much protein for your dog to break down, take a close look at this superb 30-pound bag from Canidae.
13. Purina pro plan wet food for renal function
Purina Pro Plan makes another appearance in our best low protein dog food reviews with this 12-pack of 400g veterinary diet cans.
If you find your dog has been sideswiped by kidney problems, restricting phosphates in the diet can be a highly effective strategy. You can accomplish this by introducing this renal function wet food.
Protein content is limited and also from high quality sources. This ensures that you protect your dog’s organs while also reducing the accumulation of toxins and lessening loss of muscle mass so it’s a real win-win.
Another bonus of buying from Purina is access to the PetCareTeam. There’s a nifty freephone service weekdays from 8-6. Their helpful team will dole out any advice you need about caring for your dog.
As with all specialized dog foods, this is only part of the puzzle. There’s absolutely no substitute for heading to the vet for some solid medical advice on managing any issues with your dog’s health.
With any dog food, you can never be sure your dog will like it or not until he tries it. For that reason, it’s always a smart move to buy a single can before investing in a multi-pack and potentially wasting your money.
Get some of this wet food to maximize your dog’s chances of fighting off renal problems and enjoying great health and a long, happy life.
14. Canidae life stages dry food
Canidae crop up once again with yet another awesome low protein dog food in a bumper 30-pound bag.
There are 5 flavors available and the mix we tested was the Large Breed Formula. If you’ve got a bumper dog, this is just what the doctor ordered.
This food caters for all ages from puppies through to adult and senior dogs. This comes in particularly handy if you have several dogs at various life stages. Kiss goodbye to multiple bags of food or confusion and take care of all their feeding needs with one simple package.
There’s no corn, wheat or soy just a range of natural ingredients.
Protein is low and easy to digest making this one of the best low protein dog foods you can buy.
The kibbles are small enough for your puppy to nibble on while the food is substantial enough to satisfy a large dog.
This is one of the best-selling dog foods on the market with almost unanimously positive reviews. Over 1000 people are rarely wrong!
If you want some outstanding low protein dog food from a brand you can trust, head out and get some Canidae Life Stages today. Your dog will be eternally grateful!
15. Blue natural veterinary diet KS kidney support dry dog food
As we get toward the end of our low protein dog food reviews, a kidney support food from Blue Natural is hard to ignore.
If your dog is developing kidney problems, dialing back the protein in his diet is a wise move. This 6-pound bag has protein levels perfectly controlled so it’s neither too much nor too little but exactly what your ailing dog needs.
Minerals are also restricted since you can have too much of a good thing. Balance is everything when it comes to a canine’s diet.
Grain-free and packed with nutrients, this food delivers everything your dog requires in one affordable package. None of these specialist foods are cheap but it’s not going to require a bank loan either. You generally get what you pay for in life and dog food is no exception.
Although buying online is not to everyone’s taste, you can make significant savings by getting this food outside of a store. Check it out today. Blue Natural hits the spot and gives your dog a taste sensation while taking great care of his organs.
16. Blue buffalo life protection
If you’re on the trail of some outstanding dry food for your large breed puppy, Blue Buffalo step in with their Life Protection range.
Blue Buffalo is a family-run company named for the pet of the founders. It’s great to know that food is designed and formulated by genuine dog lovers.
The package we opted for was the chicken and brown rice flavor which the dogs gobbled up with relish.
Although there is protein in the chicken content, it’s in levels that won’t overwork your dog’s renal system.
Packed with fruit, veg and grains, this food is void of any chicken by-products and has no artificial flavorings, preservatives or coloring. It’s a natural feast that will keep your puppy coming back for more and encourage healthy eating habits.
The price is in line with most dedicated foods like this so, while it’s not bargain basement cheap, it won’t break the bank either.
For one of the best low protein dog foods on the market, Blue Buffalo is a strong contender.
17. Nutro ultra small breed weight management
With this 8-pound bag of food, you can take care of your small breed dog is they are in need of a little weight management.
With a trio of easily digested proteins, this superfood mix also contains kale, coconut and chia. 12 superfoods in total are blended into this dry food. If you need to keep your dog’s weight in check, you need to make sure he is not deprived.
As with most foods of this nature, there’s no corn, soy, wheat or unappetizing chicken by-products. With just enough protein in just the right balance, you can ensure your dog is filled with energy without his kidneys being put through the ringer. Proteins come from chicken, lamb and salmon.
There are no GMO ingredients and you’ll find all the necessary minerals and vitamins to keep your pet’s system operating smoothly.
To help your dog toward a lean body and healthy renal functioning, invest in some of this Nutro dry food. It will be money very well spent.
18. Natural balance limited ingredient sweet potato & venison dry dog food
Natural Balance steps back into the mix with this 4.5-pound bag of dry food perfect for anyone on a budget.
Bison and sweet potato give a great combination of protein and carbohydrates that are essential for your pet’s dietary requirements.
There’s much more sweet potato than bison. Rather than feeling cheated, consider this a bonus as it brings down the protein content nicely.
The purpose of limited ingredients dog food is to minimize the number of different components your dog is exposed to. Keeping it simple is a great way to offer your dog all the nutrients he needs without going over the top with protein. Too much can be just as harmful as too little.
All-natural ingredients brimming with minerals and vitamins will set your dog up for his day without causing or worsening any health issues.
Natural Balance food is rigorously tested so you can kick back knowing that the vets and scientists have done all the hard work for you.
If you don’t have the budget for larger packs of food but want to give your dog the best chance in life, think seriously about this smaller package for a real win-win.
19. Wellness core reduced fat dry dog food
As we edge toward the end of our low protein dog food reviews, this 12-pound bag of grain-free dry dog food deserves a place on any shortlist.
We opted for the reduced fat package which is designed for any dogs putting on a few pounds.
Natural premium ingredients include rich sources of protein without being heavy-handed. This will help your dog to have a leaner body, better muscle mass and all this without burdening their system with an excess of protein.
Turkey, chicken and salmon oil provide the protein along with other highly beneficial nutrients.
This food is designed for adult dogs that are not reproducing. With puppies or pregnant mothers, opt for something different.
There is a range of different formulations available to cater for varying canine palates. Poultry-free or fish-free mixes widen your choice. You know your dog best so roll with what he likes most.
As with any switch in dog food, it’s best to ease your pet in gently. Transition gradually over the course of a week or so for best results.
If you’re looking for a no-nonsense natural dog food that will ensure your dog is in peak condition, give this grain-free recipe a whirl.
20. Diamond naturals dry food for senior dogs
Last up in our look at the best low protein dog foods is a dry food mix specially made for senior dogs.
Clearly, dogs have different health needs at various stages of their lives. One of the key areas of concern as they advance in years is the amount of work demanded of their renal systems so it’s a clever idea to start reducing the protein quotient in their diet.
With no soy, wheat or corn as standard, this collection of superfoods ensures your dog gets a healthy dose of vitamins and those all-valuable antioxidants.
Canine digestion often needs a little helping hand and the fiber and probiotics in this formula does exactly that.
Another snag with older dogs is the joint problems they can develop. This food has chondroitin and glucosamine to ease any aches and pains.
For a cost-effective and top-tier low protein dog food, Diamond Naturals dry food is one of the best formulations on the market.
We trust you’ve enjoyed this in-depth look at the top 20 low protein dog food reviews.
If you find the need to regulate the amount of protein in your dog’s diet temporarily, you’ll be truly spoiled for choice.
Feel free to drop us a line if you have any queries or feedback at all. We’re here to help in any way we can and we’ll try our best to reply promptly.
Come back soon for more valuable tips on feeding your dog the right way.