Some dogs may need a low-protein diet for various reasons, such as having a medical condition that affects their liver or kidneys, or having a type of bladder stone. A low-protein diet can help improve their condition, make them feel less lethargic, and even extend their lifespan. However, a low-protein diet is not something you can decide on your own. It should only be recommended by your veterinarian and followed with caution and care. 

In this blog, we will explain what a low-protein dog food is, how to choose the best one for your dog, and what are the benefits and risks of this type of diet. By the end of this blog, you will have a better understanding of how to feed your dog with a low-protein diet and how it can affect their health and happiness.

Why Dogs Require a Low-Protein Diet

Some dogs require a low-protein diet due to certain health conditions like liver or kidney disease. By feeding your dog food with reduced protein levels, you can help ease the strain on its organs and potentially slow the progression of disease. A lower-protein diet may also benefit older dogs or those prone to specific conditions like bladder stones.

Choosing an appetizing, nutritionally-balanced low-protein food is key to your dog’s health and happiness. This article will explain what to look for when selecting low-protein dog food, review the top 10 low-protein formulas in, and provide tips for transitioning your dog to this type of diet. Read on to learn more!

What Is a Low-Protein Dog Food?

Low-protein dog foods contain reduced levels of protein compared to regular dog food. According to Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) guidelines, adult dog food should contain a minimum of 18% crude protein. Low-protein formulas contain less than that.

Some examples of the best low protein dog food in the UK:       

  • Hill's Prescription Diet k/d Kidney Care with Chicken Canned Dog Food – 9% protein
  • Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets NF Kidney Function Dry Dog Food – 13% protein
  • Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Hepatic Dry Dog Food – 12% protein
  • How to Choose the Best Low-Protein Dog Food

When selecting a low-protein dog food for your pup, consider the following factors

  • Protein content – Look for a formula with protein levels recommended by your vet, usually less than 18%.
  • Fat content – Higher fat can make up for lower protein but avoid high fat for dogs with pancreatitis.
  • Nutrition – Make sure the food offers complete, balanced nutrition even with less protein.
  • Flavor – Pick flavors your dog gets excited for to keep them interested in eating.
  • Price – Prescription low-protein foods can get pricey so also look at high-quality over-the-counter options.
  • Individual needs – Factor in your dog’s age, activity level, breed size and health issues.
  • Getting your vet’s input can help narrow down the best low-protein dog food for your pup!

The 10 Best Low-Protein Dog Foods

If your dog needs a low-protein kick, here are 10 top-rated options:

Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets NF Kidney Function

Protein content: 13%

Key benefits: Restricted protein and phosphorus for kidney health

Pros: Veterinarian recommended, excellent for picky eaters

Cons: Expensive compared to regular dog food

Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d Kidney Care Chicken & Vegetable Stew Canned Dog Food

Protein content: 7%

Key benefits: Help improve kidney function with low protein and fat

Pros: Palatable chicken and veggie flavor most dogs love

Cons: High moisture content means you may need to feed more cans

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Renal Support D Dry Dog Food

Protein content: 10.2%

Key benefits: Low phosphorus plus omega-3s for kidney health

Pros: Kibble texture easier for some dogs to chew

Cons: Contains corn and wheat some dogs are sensitive to

Purina NF KidNey Function Canned Dog Food

Protein content: 11%

Key benefits: Water-rich food to promote hydration for kidneys

Pros: Very affordable price for prescription low-protein food

Cons: Quality of ingredients not as high as pricier brands

Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d Kidney Care with Lamb Canned Dog Food

Protein content: 7%

Key benefits: Clinically proven nutrition to improve kidney function

Pros: Many dogs love the tasty lamb and rice recipe

Cons: High sodium content compared to some kidney formulas

Blue Natural Veterinary Diet Kidney + Mobility Support Potato & Duck Recipe

Protein content: 12.5%

Key benefits: Limited phosphorus and protein for kidney health

Pros: Whole potatoes and duck provide natural sources of carbs and protein

Cons: Higher price tag than regular Blue dog foods

Dave’s Pet Food Restricted Protein Chicken Recipe

Protein content: 10%

Key benefits: No corn, wheat, soy or by-products

Pros: Uses human-grade ingredients

Cons: Limited availability in pet retail stores

Nature’s Recipe Easy to Digest Rice, Barley & Salmon Meal Recipe

Protein content: 14.5%

Key benefits: Probiotics and easy-to-digest carbs for sensitive stomachs

Pros: Affordable price for over-the-counter low-protein formula

Cons: Higher protein content than prescription kidney care foods

Holistic Select Weight Health Chicken Meal & Pea Recipe

Protein content: 16%

Key benefits: Lean protein and fiber to help dogs feel fuller

Pros: Made in the United States with no recalls

Cons: May not be low enough in protein for kidney disease

Nutro Wholesome Essentials Senior Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe

Protein content: 14%

Key benefits: Low-fat and natural source glucosamine for senior joints

Pros: Budget-friendly price for senior dogs

Cons: Contains chicken by-product meal


Feeding your dog a nutritious low-protein food can go a long way in supporting their health, especially for dogs with liver or kidney issues. Work closely with your veterinarian to determine your dog’s ideal protein needs. Choose recipes with appetizing flavors to keep your pup interested in eating.

The low-protein dog food formulas reviewed above offer complete nutrition tailored for dogs requiring reduced protein intake. Brands like Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets NF and Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d are top choices for kidney health, while options from Blue Buffalo, Dave’s Pet Food and Nutro provide quality nutrition at more affordable over-the-counter prices.

Has your dog tried any of these low-protein dog foods? Checking with your vet first is always recommended when transitioning your dog to a new diet.