12 Best Low Protein Dog Food in 2021

protein

This is our review of the best low protein dog food in 2021.

Many dogs thrive on high protein diets because they are omnivores. However, some conditions may make these types of diets hazardous for them to consume.

For example, dogs with liver disease or renal failure may require low protein dog food to manage the excessive strain on these vulnerable organs.

Most low protein diets are veterinary prescribed to provide your dog with the necessary nutritional support to manage these conditions. However, some non-prescription, low protein formulas are beneficial for elderly dogs.

Finding the right low protein dog food that is safe for your dog can be challenging. So I researched heavily to find the best low protein options currently available.

Overall, Hills Prescription Diet L/D Liver Care Dog Food is the best and safest option for dogs that suffer from liver problems and need additional support.

However, each dog is different. So I have reviewed the best low protein dog food for each scenario to help you make the best decision for your pup.

Our Best Low Protein Dog Food

  1. Hills Prescription Diet L/D Liver Care Dog Food (Best Overall Low Protein Dog Food)
  2. Diamond Naturals Light Formula Dry Dog Food (Best Budget Low Protein Dog Food)
  3. FirstMate Weight Control Limited Ingredient Dog Food (Best Premium Low Protein Dog Food)
  4. Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food (Best Grain Free Low Protein Dog Food)
  5. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diet Kidney Function Wet Dog Food (Best Wet Low Protein Dog Food)
  6. CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Dry Dog Food (Best Low Protein Dog Food for Small Breeds)
  7. Bil-Jac Reduced Fat Chicken Recipe Dog Food (Best Low Protein Dog Food for Large Breeds)
  8. Hill’s Prescription Diet g/d Aging Care Chicken Dry Dog Food (Best Low Protein Dog Food for Seniors)
  9. Solid Gold Holistique Blendz Sensitive Stomach Dog Food (Best Low Protein Dog Food for Digestion)
  10. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Low Fat Dog Food (Best Low Protein Dog Food for Sensitivities)
  11. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Healthy Weight Adult Dog Food (Best Low Protein Dog Food for Weight Control)
  12. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Renal Support S Dog Food (Best Low Protein Dog Food for Kidney Health)

12 Best Low Protein Dog Food Reviewed

All of the dog foods we are about to go through meet AAFCO recommended daily nutrient profiles for dogs. Before switching your dog’s food, consult a veterinarian. [1]

Hills Prescription Diet L/D Liver Care Dog Food

Hill's Prescription Diet l/d Liver Care Chicken Flavor Dry Dog Food
  • First 5 ingredients: Brewers Rice, Chicken, Chicken Fat, Egg Product, Soybean Meal
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 14.5% Crude Protein, 20.5% Crude Fat, 3.5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Estimated Carbohydrates: 51.5%
  • Caloric Content: 3,995 kcal/kg, 419 kcal/cup
  • Key Features: Pea-Free, Veterinary Diet, Low Protein
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best For: Overall Low Protein Dry Dog Food

Primarily, liver function is a reason many dogs transition to a low protein diet. This recipe features distinct nutritional support for liver functionality.

The relatively low but appropriate 14.5% crude protein content in this dog food originates from eggs. Eggs are a rich source of amino acids as well as providing substantial, high-quality protein.

Notably, damaged livers cannot process low-quality protein in significant amounts.

Therapeutic levels of L-carnitine and L-arginine contained in this low protein dog food aids fat metabolism in the liver. In fact, these amino acids prevent the rise of enzyme levels in the liver, which primarily cause damage. [2]

Added vitamins and minerals prevent nutritional deficiencies commonly linked to reduced liver function. Likewise, Hill’s incomparable SOx shield ingredients prevent crystals from forming in the urinary tract.

Meat-based protein sources are more bioavailable to dogs compared to plant-based proteins. 

This dog food does utilize soybean meal as a source of protein in the recipe, meaning it may not be suitable for dogs with soy allergies. However, soy protein does provide amino acids without adding strain on the liver.

This dog food’s nutritional content is suitable for dogs suffering from a wide range of urinary or kidney conditions. Many dog owners describe success stories where this formula aided in managing liver enzyme levels for dogs.

Diamond Naturals Light Formula Dry Dog Food

Diamond Naturals Light Formula Dry Dog Food
  • First 5 ingredients: Lamb Meal, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Cracked Pearled Barley, Ground White Rice
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 18% Crude Protein, 6% Crude Fat, 8% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Estimated Carbohydrates: 58%
  • Caloric Content: 3,035 kcal/kg, 275 kcal/cup
  • Key Features: Weight Control, No Corn No Wheat No Soy
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best For: Budget Low Protein Dry Dog Food

This affordable low protein dog food features high-quality ingredients that provide adequate nutrition for your dog without piling on excess calories.

In fact, the overall nutritional quality of the formula makes it a suitable option for overweight dogs or a less active lifestyle. 

Lamb meal is the first ingredient on the list and largely contributes to the formula’s 18% crude protein content. This high-quality meat is an excellent option for dogs with sensitivities caused by common allergens, such as chicken.

The use of meat meals in this formula ensures there are sufficient sources of glucosamine and chondroitin. Dogs with weight issues or senior dogs that suffer from liver conditions regularly suffer from joint conditions too. These nutrients help develop cartilage tissue which eases joint discomfort.

The exclusion of common allergens such as wheat, soy, and corn adds further appeal to dogs with sensitivity issues. But, this recipe does use whole grains as ingredients to support fiber content and additional vitamins and minerals. [3

Many reviews recommend this dog food as an affordable option for dogs that suffer from liver or kidney conditions, in addition to overweight dogs. 

FirstMate Weight Control Limited Ingredient Dog Food

FirstMate Weight Control Limited Ingredient Diet Senior Grain-Free Pacific Ocean Fish Meal Formula Dry Dog Food
  • First 5 ingredients: Potato, Pacific Ocean Fish Meal, Tomato Pomace, Chicken Fat, Fish Oil
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 18% Crude Protein, 8% Crude Fat, 8% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Estimated Carbohydrates: 56%
  • Caloric Content: 3,060 kcal/kg, 474 kcal/cup
  • Key Features: Sensitive Digestion, Grain-Free, Limited Ingredient Diet, Weight Control, Gluten-Free, Pea-Free, Low-Protein
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best For: Premium Low Protein Dry Dog Food

This recipe features high-quality fats and proteins, in addition to providing a healthy, balanced grain-free alternative for dogs that need a low protein diet.

Similar to various low protein diets, meat is not the first ingredient on the list. However, potatoes are the primary source of the 474 kcal/cup caloric content in this recipe. Potatoes are a starchy carbohydrate source that is abundant in fiber too.

The 18% crude protein primarily originates from the pacific ocean fish meal, rich in healthy nutritional fats. This low protein dog food is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which promotes skin and coat health.

Added L-carnitine promotes lean muscle development in low protein dog foods. [4]

Many dog owners comment on how well the formula works for their dogs with sensitivities. This formula is also suitable for senior dogs.

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food 

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Grain-Free Sweet Potato & Bison Formula Dry Dog Food
  • First 5 ingredients: Sweet Potato, Bison, Pea Protein, Potato Protein, Canola Oil
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 20% Crude Protein, 10% Crude Fat, 4% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Estimated Carbohydrates: 56%
  • Caloric Content: 3,460 kcal/kg, 355 kcal/cup
  • Key Features: Sensitive Digestion, Limited Ingredient Diet, No Corn No Wheat No Soy, Grain-Free, Chicken-Free
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best For: Grain-Free Low Protein Dry Dog Food

This grain-free, limited ingredient formula provides all the nutrients and vitamins needed for dogs in any life stage without excess calories. 

This dog food has a moderate 20% crude protein content compared to other limited protein options. This makes this formula is a suitable option for dogs that need a low protein diet.

The lower 355 kcal/cup caloric content largely originates from sweet potatoes in the recipe. This carbohydrate-dense ingredient also provides adequate potassium to the formula. It ensures there’s a suitable energy source for your dog. 

Bison acts as the primary contributor of the 20% crude protein while limited additional calories. The use of both sweet potato and bison ensures there’s an excellent source of DHA, which supports cognitive development and functions. [5]

Added flaxseed provides healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids, which aid in developing healthy skin and coats for dogs. The use of this ingredient also provides a stable source of carbohydrates as an energy source. 

While this recipe is suitable for dogs that require a low protein diet, it is also ideal for dogs with allergies caused by common allergen ingredients. Mainly, this is because the formula excludes corn, wheat, soy, and grains. Equally, this dog food eliminates chicken from the recipe too. 

This formula is a popular choice among dog parents who have dogs with sensitives. However, some owners have noticed changes in the recipe over time.

Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diet Kidney Function Wet Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets NF Kidney Function Formula Canned Dog Food
  • First 5 ingredients: Water for Processing, Meat By-Products, Rice, Corn Grits, Beef
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 3.8% Crude Protein, 5.5% Crude Fat, 2% Crude Fiber, 74% Moisture
  • Estimated Carbohydrates: 14%
  • Caloric Content: 1,282 kcal/kg, 483 kcal/can
  • Key Features: Low-Protein, Pea-Free, Veterinary Diet
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best For: Wet Low Protein Dry Dog Food

Some health conditions, such as kidney disease, can reduce a dog’s appetite. [6]

This is why this low protein wet food is a popular option for picky eaters that need additional nutritional support. In fact, many low protein dog foods can be unappealing to picky dogs.

As a result of the higher 74% moisture content in this recipe, the crude percentages will be lower than some of the dry dog food options we previously explored.

The 3.8% crude protein content is low and originates from animal-based proteins such as beef and liver. 

Added levels of animal fat predominantly stimulate fussy appetites by increasing palatability and taste. Fish oil provides a healthy source of omega fatty acids to the moderate 5.5% fat content.

But, this formula may not be suitable for dogs with sensitivities because this canned food contains some by-products and grains.

Many dog owner reviews say this is the only veterinary formulated renal support dog food that their fussy eaters will eat. The formula also has the bonus of it being crafted with veterinarians, researchers, and nutritionists.

CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Dry Dog Food

CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Limited Ingredient Bison, Lentil & Carrot Recipe Dry Dog Food
  • First 5 ingredients: Bison, Lamb Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Peas, Lentils
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 25% Crude Protein, 14.5% Crude Fat, 4% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Estimated Carbohydrates: 46.5%
  • Caloric Content: 3,507 kcal/kg, 462 kcal/cup
  • Key Features: Sensitive Digestion, Grain-Free, No Corn No Wheat No Soy, Gluten Free, Limited Ingredient Diet, Chicken-Free
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best For: Low Protein Dry Dog Food for Small Breeds

Small dog breeds require specific nutrients to maintain their muscle mass. However, this limited ingredient, low protein formula strikes the perfect balance between moderate protein levels, added nutritional support, and a moderate 462 kcal/cup caloric content. 

This low protein formula is suitable for both small breeds and large breeds, making it a popular choice among dog owners.

Bison is lean meat that largely contributes to the higher 25% crude protein content. This red meat is a rich source of iron and amino acids that support the maintenance of muscle mass in small breeds

The use of sweet potatoes gives the recipe a rich source of natural antioxidants such as carotenoids, protecting cell damage and preventing severe diseases such as cancer.

Sweet potatoes also have a low glycemic index, preventing significant blood sugar spikes. As a result, the inclusion of this ingredient makes it a suitable option for dogs with diabetes.

Added whole ingredients such as peas and lentils largely contribute to the 4% crude fiber content and natural sources of probiotics. 

A recent study found that peas are a rich source of a powerful probiotic known as Leuconostoc mesenteroides. [9

The limited ingredient in this formula makes it ideal for small breeds with sensitive stomachs. There are no by-products, preservatives, hormones, or rendered fats in this low protein dog food. 

This formula is also chicken-free, making it appealing to dogs that suffer from allergies caused by this ingredient. 

Many dog owners noticed improvements in their dogs’ overall wellbeing and energy when feeding them this diet.

Bil-Jac Reduced Fat Chicken Recipe Dog Food

Bil-Jac Reduced Fat Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken By-Products, Corn Meal, Chicken, Dried Beet Pulp, Oatmeal
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 17% Crude Protein, 10% Crude Fat, 5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Estimated Carbohydrates: 58%
  • Caloric Content: 3633 kcal/kg, 350 kcal/cup
  • Key Features: Weight Control, Pea-Free
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best For: Low Protein Dry Dog Food for Large Breeds

Large dog breeds typically have slower metabolisms that need less protein compared to smaller breeds. This low-fat, non-prescription formula gives your dog added fiber content essential for large breeds.

The chicken by-products are the first ingredient; however, this only contains organs for added ​​arginine. This meat-based ingredient broadly provides the 17% crude protein content in this formula and highly concentrated sources of vitamins and minerals.

This low protein dog food is made using a low-temperature vacuum-drying method to extract excess moisture from the kibble without compromising the nutritional content. Compared to many Bil-Jac dog foods, this low protein diet also features 30% less fat.

The 10% crude fat content includes rich omega-3 fatty acids sources that prevent inflammation in stressed joints for large dog breeds. [10]

The added oatmeal is a carbohydrate source featuring a low-glycemic index, ideal for a large breeds‘ slower metabolism.

Large dog breed owners often review that this low protein dog food helped their dog maintain a healthy weight.

Hill’s Prescription Diet g/d Aging Care Chicken Dry Dog Food 

Hill's Prescription Diet g/d Aging Care Chicken Flavor Dry Dog Food
  • First 5 ingredients: Brewers Rice, Chicken By-Product Meal, Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Corn, Whole Grain Sorghum
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 14.5% Crude Protein, 7.5% Crude Fat, 4% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Estimated Carbohydrates: 64%
  • Caloric Content: 3535 kcal/kg, 351 kcal/cup
  • Key Features: Pea-Free, Veterinary Diet
  • Life Stage: Senior
  • Best For: Low Protein Dry Dog Food for Seniors

As dogs age, they require less protein. In contrast, puppies require higher levels of protein to support their development. And while senior dogs need some protein in their diet, too much can cause some health conditions to be made worse by excessive protein.

This low protein senior dog food has a low 14.5% protein content, primarily from chicken by-product meals. This ingredient typically contains crushed bones, which provide a natural source of glucosamine

Glucosamine aids in the overall health of cartilage tissue and eases pain in aging joints. [11]

The 7.5% crude fat is an ideal ratio for senior dogs. Many elderly dogs are prone to excessive weight gain if they consume high fatty, high-calorie content. However, this low protein diet is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that support senior dogs’ cognitive health.

The added controlled sodium, phosphorus, and protein are essential elements for preventing the overloading of a senior dog’s heart and kidneys. In addition, aging dogs tend to have less liver functionality meaning a low protein diet is essential for them to remain healthy.

This low protein dog food can only be obtained through a veterinarian prescription as it’s been specifically formulated for senior dogs who need additional nutritional support. 

Many reviews appreciate that it’s been created explicitly for this reason. However, the dry kibble may not be suitable for picky eaters.

Solid Gold Holistique Blendz Sensitive Stomach Dog Food

Solid Gold Holistique Blendz with Oatmeal, Pearled Barley & Ocean Fish Meal Sensitive Stomach Dry Dog Food
  • First 5 ingredients: Oatmeal, Pearled Barley, Peas, Ocean Fish Meal, Dried Eggs
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 18% Crude Protein, 6% Crude Fat, 4% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Estimated Carbohydrates: 62%
  • Caloric Content: 3,265 kcal/kg, 340 kcal/cup
  • Key Features: No Corn No Wheat No Soy
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best For: Low Protein Dry Dog Food for Digestion

This high-quality, low protein diet is specifically formulated to aid dogs with healthy digestion issues, requiring a low protein diet. The high fiber ingredients also contribute to the low 18% crude protein content while supporting overall gut health.

The protein content primarily originates from ocean fish meal which provides a rich source of omega fatty acids. These fatty acids aid in managing inflammation in the gut. However, it is worth noting that meat is only featured as the fourth ingredient in this low protein dog food.

The primary ingredients of the formula are whole grain ingredients, oatmeal, and pearled barley. These whole grains provide a source of easily digestible carbohydrates that act as energy and additional fiber. [12]

The high fiber content provides a source of essential prebiotics, which stimulate good bacteria that aid in breaking down food in a dog’s digestive system. 

However, this formula features added probiotic ingredients that provide additional support for the digestive tract by producing good bacteria.

Many dog owners recognize the moderate levels of sodium and phosphorus in this low protein dog food. This non-prescription diet is suitable for dogs who are not suffering from liver or kidney disease.

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Low Fat Dog Food

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Low Fat Dry Dog Food
  • First 5 ingredients: Brewers Rice, Chicken By-Product Meal, Wheat, Barley, Natural Flavors
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 20% Crude Protein, 8.5% Crude Fat, 3.9% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Estimated Carbohydrates: 57.6%
  • Caloric Content: 3,227 kcal/kg, 248 kcal/cup
  • Key Features: Pea-Free, Veterinary Diet, Sensitive Digestion
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best For: Low Protein Dry Dog Food for Sensitivities

This palatable, digestible low-fat dog food helps a dog’s sensitive gastrointestinal system with moderate protein content and fat levels. Many high-fat or high-protein diets can be challenging for dogs to digest, leading to diarrhea and vomiting.

The first ingredient featured in this low protein dog food is brewers rice. This complex carbohydrate ingredient provides an easily digestible energy source that eases upset tummies.

The added use of chicken-by-product meals largely contributes to the 20% crude protein content but is easily digestible.

Fish oil prevents inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract and also provides a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids.

This low protein formula features suitable levels of probiotics and prebiotics, which promote healthy bacteria in a dog’s digestive system. Fiber-rich ingredients such as beet pulp are excellent foods for prebiotics. [13]

In addition, dogs that face weight-related health issues may find this formula a suitable option because of the low 8.5% crude fat and 248 kcal/cup calories. 

Many pet owners noticed improvements in their sensitive pups’ digestive health and reduced how often they would get an upset tummy. 

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Healthy Weight Adult Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Healthy Weight Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food
  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Barley, Pea Fiber
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 20% Crude Protein, 9% Crude Fat, 10% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Estimated Carbohydrates: 51%
  • Caloric Content: 3,251 kcal/kg, 326 kcal/cup
  • Key Features: Weight Control, No Corn No Wheat No Soy
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best For: Low Protein Dry Dog Food for Weight Control

This weight management formula from Blue Buffalo features high-quality protein sources and wholesome ingredients. The unique use of these ingredients provides additional nutritional support to help your dog maintain a healthy weight.

Deboned chicken is the first ingredient on the list. This protein-rich ingredient supports lean muscle development in dogs while restricting excessive fat. The lower 20% crude protein content is effectively used with the assistance of L-carnitine

This essential amino acid helps with a healthy metabolism and provides further support for muscle development.

A bonus is that real meat is featured as the first ingredient in this formula, unlike many low protein dog foods. The diet’s lower 9% crude fat content helps restrict the 326 kcal/cup caloric content. It prevents excess energy from turning into added pounds of fat on your dog. [14]

Dogs who are overweight or obese face difficulties with their joints due to the excess weight. The use of chicken in this formula provides a natural source of glucosamine and chondroitin, which help stressed joints.

The higher 10% crude fiber content, which originates from whole grains such as barley, helps your dog feel fuller for longer without piling on the extra calories. 

Many dog owners shared their successes in getting their dogs to lose weight using this low protein dog food.

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Renal Support S Dog Food 

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Renal Support S Dry Dog Food
  • First 5 ingredients: Corn, Brewers Rice, Chicken Fat, Brown Rice, Chicken By-Product Meal
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 10.5% Crude Protein, 16% Crude Fat, 3.7% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Estimated Carbohydrates: 59.8%
  • Caloric Content: 3,879 kcal/kg, 365 kcal/cup
  • Key Features: Low-Protein, Pea-Free, Veterinary Diet
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best For: Low Protein Dry Dog Food for Kidney Health

Many dog owners will consider a low protein dog food if they have concerns over their dog’s kidney health. 

This veterinarian-prescribed, low protein dog food has been formulated to help overworked kidneys by utilizing ingredients to provide them with additional nutritional support.

Although the chicken by-product meal is the fifth ingredient on the list, it is the primary source of the 10.5% crude protein content. Corn and rice are easily digestible carbohydrates that are the primary energy sources in the low protein formula. 

Moderate levels of phosphorus and sodium ensure overworked kidneys do not have to filter additional minerals. [15]

Added antioxidants, as well as omega fatty acids originating from fish oil, prevents excessive tissue damage.

This low protein dog food primarily appeals to dogs with kidney disease due to its savory flavor. Typically, dogs with severe kidney disease have a reduced appetite. And because this formula is rich in energy, it provides your dog with suitable nutrition in a smaller serving size.

You can also combine any Royal Canin formulas for dogs with multiple health complications safely.


Protein

Low Protein Dog Food Buying Guide

There could be various medical reasons why you may want to consider a low protein diet. But remember that protein is an essential part of any dog’s diet.

Before switching your dog onto a low-protein diet, it is always best to consult your veterinarian to establish a safe and nutritional diet for them. 

What Dogs Will Benefit From A Low Protein Diet?

Dogs need modest amounts of protein to develop crucial things such as cells and tissue. However, like many other nutrients and vitamins, several organs play a vital role in processing and breaking these proteins down so that the body can utilize them.  

For example, a dog’s small intestines process and breaks down proteins into amino acids. The secondary elements of these proteins are then sent to the liver for processing. The kidney then finally eliminates any wastage from the digestion process of the protein, for example, nitrogenous waste.

But, if your dog suffers from chronic kidney failure, then their kidneys cannot process and filter nutrients from the blood.

Kidneys can become overworked by high-protein contents, which effectively prevents them from removing harmful wastage produced by the digestive system. Should this wastage accumulate, it can be problematic. [16]

Severe health conditions such as hepatitis or reduced liver functionality can be caused by the accumulation of harmful wastage in the blood. However, even dogs that suffer from these types of conditions need some protein to support their body’s natural processes. 

Most low protein diets should still contain a minimum crude protein percentage of 18%. However, dogs who do not suffer from severe health complications can consume a 20% crude protein diet.

Some veterinary-prescribed diets will contain even lower amounts of protein to manage their extreme health conditions better.

Some low protein, non-prescription diets can be suitable for elderly dogs at risk of developing liver or kidney conditions. The ingredients typically found in these types of diets limit the stress on aging organs and help prevent the progression of these diseases.

What Are The Benefits of A Low Protein Diet?

As you can tell by our discussion in the previous section, some dogs will get numerous benefits from a low protein diet. Lowering the amount of protein allows organs involved in the metabolic processes and elimination of proteins to rest. 

In addition, lowering the amount of protein decreases the accumulation of nitrogenous wastes caused by the protein. These wastes can cause other severe health conditions such as encephalopathy.

Likewise, excessive protein can cause stones or crystals to gather in the urinary tract. A low protein diet prevents these types of conditions and limits toxin creation. [17]


Dog Eating Fish

Health Conditions That Require A Low Protein Diet 

Several health conditions require specific nutritional support, where a low protein diet can effectively manage such conditions.

Protein-Losing Nephropathy

Although this condition is not always linked with kidney failure, this disease can speed up the processes associated with renal failure. The filter mechanism inside the kidneys can become so damaged that it allows large molecules to pass through. 

These holes within the filtering mechanism become larger, causing increased losses of protein in the urine. This condition is otherwise known as proteinuria. 

Reducing protein intake is the most effective solution to manage this condition. It reduces the gaps and enhances the absorption of protein.   

Liver Disease

The liver is a vital organ that processes toxins associated with protein digestion and processing. Unfortunately, this organ is not exempt from developing problems. 

Reduced liver functionality can lead to the accumulation of wastage in the blood as the organ cannot filter the toxins as effectively.

These toxins can eventually accumulate in the brain, leading to hepatic encephalopathy. 

Reducing protein intake will reduce the levels of toxins that the liver is unable to process. As a result, this will reduce the accumulation of nitrogenous wastage.

Bladder Stones

Protein metabolism can cause the formation of urate crystals which gather in the urinary tract as bladder stones. 

However, some studies have shown that these crystals respond well to low protein diets, especially diets originating from natural acidifiers such as cranberries. Many low protein diets can help crystals dissolve, so your dog can return to their original diet.

Renal Failure

Scientific studies have shown that restricting protein intake slows the diseases process associated with renal failure. 

Renal failure is when the kidneys cannot perform their crucial functions by removing wastage in the blood and producing urine. By raising protein content levels, you risk overloading vulnerable kidneys and ultimately increasing nitrogenous waste in the blood. 


Dog and Cat Eating

Tips For Choosing The Best Low Protein Dog Food

Even dogs that suffer from severe health conditions need moderate protein levels for their body to perform essential bodily functions.

To find the best low protein dog food that is safe for your dog, first consider these factors.

Amount of Protein

Recommendations state that your dog’s diet should contain at least 18% crude protein content. However, suppose your dog does not suffer from severe health conditions. In that case, a non-prescription low protein formula containing 20% crude protein is suitable. 

Dogs at risk of developing conditions such as renal failure or liver disease may need a prescribed veterinary diet to give them additional nutritional support. 

Some veterinary diets can contain a little as 10% crude protein content. 

Remember, it is always best to compare dog foods on a dry matter basis. Wet food has lower crude percentages compared to dry food because of the higher moisture content.

If you’re looking for a wet low protein dog food, then look for one that contains around 4% crude protein.

Protein Source

It is vital to find a dog food with a high-quality protein source as with any dog’s diet. Many high-quality protein ingredients provide your dog with all the amino acids they need to promote and support muscle development. [18]

We always recommend a meat-based ingredient as the primary source of protein in any formula. Some low protein recipes won’t have meat as the first ingredient. It is best to find a formula that still contains meat as a source of protein.

Whole meats are best as their rich in amino acids and an easily digestible ingredient.

A dog’s digestive system is optimized for the digestion of meat as they are omnivores. While plants are considered a suitable alternative as a protein source because they boost the overall protein content, a dog may struggle to digest them.

Balanced Nutrition

Like most diets, low protein diets still need to be comprehensive and balanced to support your dog. Equal levels of minerals, vitamins, and nutrients are crucial for dogs that suffer from severe health conditions that need a low protein diet.

Whole ingredients are the best source of micronutrients that do not compromise the protein and fat content of the recipe.

If your dog is suffering from liver disease or reduced kidney functionality, choose a lower phosphorus content recipe.

Final Thoughts

A low protein diet can be particularly effective in managing health conditions such as liver disease or renal failure.

By switching to a low protein diet, it reduces strain on vital organs that filter metabolic wastage. The gathering of this waste result in other severe health conditions such as proteinuria or hepatic encephalopathy. 

Based on my research, I found Hills Prescription Diet L/D Liver Care Dog Food is the best overall low protein dog food. These types of veterinary prescription diets offer low protein content that is safe for your dog to consume.

Many low protein dog foods have high-quality, meat-based protein sources that will provide your dog with essential nutrients needed to prevent severe health conditions. 

However, always discuss any dietary concerns you have with your veterinarian before switching your dog to a low protein diet. 

James Fuller

James Fuller

Founder of Honest Whiskers

Hey! I’ve owned a pet pretty much all my life, in fact, I currently have both a cat and a dog! My mission is to deliver a reliable, trusted website that only uses evidence-based information

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