Best* Low-Protein Dog Food

Finding the right dog food for your pet is essential—yet the food they require may change from puppyhood to adulthood to their senior years, and they may even require special food for certain medical conditions. Low-protein veterinary diet dog food is commonly used for dogs with kidney disease, liver disease and bladder stones. These are some of the best low-protein dog food options for your pup.

 
 

Pet parent faves

Here are some of the best low-protein dog foods that Petco’s pet parent customers most frequently purchase.

Hill's Science Diet Adult 7+ Chicken Meal, Barley & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

The Best Nonprescription Low-Protein Dog Food:

Hill's Science Diet

Adult 7+ Chicken Meal, Barley & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

Looking for the best nonprescription low-protein dog food for your senior pup? This easy-to-digest recipe from Hill’s Science Diet helps promote heart and kidney health with the right balance of high-quality protein and minerals.

Features:
  • Available in 5, 15 and 33 lb. bags
  • Chicken meal, cracked pearled barley and brown rice are the first ingredients
  • Omega-6 fatty acids and vitamin E for the skin and coat
  • Made in the USA

WholeHearted Healthy Benefits Weight Control Lamb and Pea Recipe Dry Dog Food

WholeHearted

Healthy Benefits Weight Control Lamb and Pea Recipe Dry Dog Food

Grain-free diets can be a good choice for pups with food sensitivities, and this high-fiber, low-fat, low-protein dog food from WholeHearted has added benefits for those who need to lose weight. It’s even available without a prescription.

Features:
  • Available in 5 and 25 lb. bags
  • Lamb meal, peas, chickpeas, lentils and sweet potatoes are the first ingredients
  • L-carnitine to help metabolize fat

JustFoodForDogs Vet Support Diets Renal Support, Low Protein Frozen Dog Food

The Best Frozen Low-Protein Dog Food:

JustFoodForDogs

Vet Support Diets Renal Support, Low Protein Frozen Dog Food

JustFoodForDogs is known for their fresh and raw foods, and they also make some of the best low-protein dog food on the market. It’s lightly cooked and frozen fresh—all you have to do is thaw it and serve it up.

Features:
  • Available in 18 and 72 oz. packs
  • Lamb, rice, cauliflower, carrots and long-grain brown rice are the first ingredients
  • Made with ingredients approved for human consumption
  • No preservatives, growth hormones or artificial coloring

JustFoodForDogs Pantry Fresh Renal Support Low Protein Rx Support Frozen Dog Food

The Best Low-Fat Low-Protein Dog Food:

JustFoodForDogs

Pantry Fresh Renal Support Low Protein Rx Support Frozen Dog Food

Dogs with kidney and liver disease often have decreased appetites, and the best low-protein dog food helps make dinner time tastier. Fresh and raw foods like this one from JustFoodForDogs are almost certain to do the trick.

Features:
  • Available in 12.5 oz. packs or a case of 12
  • Lamb, white rice, carrots, brown rice and cauliflower are the first ingredients
  • Made with 100% whole food ingredients
  • Formulated for healthy electrolyte balance

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Renal Support D (Delectable) Wet Dog Food

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet

Renal Support D (Delectable) Wet Dog Food

Finding the best low-protein canned dog food ultimately depends on one thing—whether or not your pup will eat it. This Royal Canin formula is made with thin slices of wet food in a delicious gravy—that’s why it’s called the “Delectable” recipe.

Features:
  • Available in a case of 24 13 oz. cans
  • Chicken liver, chicken by-product, pork liver and pork by-product are the first ingredients
  • Thin slices in gravy can be easily mixed with Renal Support dry food to keep mealtime interesting

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Renal Support F (Flavorful) Dry Dog Food

The Best Low-Protein Dry Dog Food:

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet

Renal Support F (Flavorful) Dry Dog Food

Renal support dry dog foods from Royal Canin contain a precise complex of protein, fatty acids from fish oil, antioxidants and low phosphorus levels. And with an energy-dense formula, they can even help reduce meal volume.

Features:
  • Available in 6 and 17.6 lb. bags
  • Brewers rice, corn, chicken fat and chicken by-product meal are the first ingredients
  • Antioxidants, fatty acids and low phosphorus
  • Easy open, resealable bag

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Renal Support A (Aromatic) Dry Dog Food

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet

Renal Support A (Aromatic) Dry Dog Food

The best low-protein dry dog foods don’t skimp on palatability, and this Royal Canin recipe should do the trick. Your pup won’t be able to resist this delicious-smelling dog food—and it isn’t just tasty, it’s full of all the right nutrients they need.

Features:
  • Available in 6 and 17.6 lb. bags
  • Brewers rice, chicken fat and corn are the first ingredients
  • Energy-dense nutritional support in smaller portions
  • Helps encourage eating with rectangular-shaped kibble

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Renal Support S (Savory) Dry Dog Food

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet

Renal Support S (Savory) Dry Dog Food

The “S” in this dog food’s name stands for savory, and it’s formulated to stimulate your pup’s appetite. It’s also energy-dense, providing more nutrition in smaller portions for dogs with decreased appetites.

Features:
  • Available in 6 and 17.6 lb. bags
  • Brewers rice, corn, chicken fat and brown rice are the first ingredients
  • Unique, crescent-shaped kibble can pique your pup’s interest
  • Works in conjunction with appetite-stimulating Royal Canin adult wet food varieties

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Renal Support E (Enticing) Wet Dog Food

The Best Low-Protein Canned Dog Food

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet

Renal Support E (Enticing) Wet Dog Food

Royal Canin is a trusted brand that’s been around since 1968—which may help explain why they make so many of the best low-protein dog foods on our list. And this enticing pork and chicken recipe helps stimulate your dog’s appetite while providing energy-dense nutritional support in small portions.

Features:
  • Available in a case of 24 13 oz. cans
  • Brewers rice, pork by-product, chicken by-product and chicken liver are the first ingredients
  • Added antioxidants and fatty acids help promote kidney and overall health
  • Loaf-style canned food can be sliced and scooped

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Renal Support T (Tasty) Wet Dog Food

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet

Renal Support T (Tasty) Wet Dog Food

Wet food is more aromatic than dry food, and the chicken, pork and salmon flavors in this Royal Canin recipe make it one of the best low-protein canned dog foods for pups with low appetites.

Features:
  • Available in a case of 24 13 oz. cans
  • Brewers rice, chicken, chicken by-product, pork liver and salmon are the first ingredients
  • Low phosphorus and targeted protein levels help provide renal support
  • Comes in a canned loaf for easy serving

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Learn More About Low-Protein Dog Food

If you’re a new pet parent and want to learn more about caring for your pup, check out our Dog Care Sheet and New Dog Owner Guide to learn about all the supplies and solutions you’ll need.

Your dog’s protein requirements will depend on their age and their medical needs. Dogs typically need about 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight each day. Percentage-wise, certain life stages require more or less protein.

Puppies require more protein, and it should make up about 28% of the daily diet for dogs under 2 years. For adult dogs, protein should make up about 25% of their diet, yet it can be higher for active and working dogs. Senior dogs may need less protein due to decreased activity levels, but protein is still essential, so your veterinarian may not recommend a low-protein diet unless your pup is experiencing weight gain or if they have specific dietary needs for certain conditions.

The amount of protein in the best low-protein dry dog foods generally varies from 12% to 18%, although it can be slightly higher. For wet food, the protein percentage can range from 3% to 8%. That’s because wet food contains much more water than dry food, so the percentages of all other ingredients will be lower.

Many pups prefer a mix of wet and dry food to increase palatability. Plus, some senior dogs have trouble chewing or digesting dry food. Look for high-quality, tasty ingredients with no more than 8% protein in the guaranteed analysis. Experiment with different types of food—from loaves to gravy styles—to find what your dog likes best.

The right diet is essential for dogs with liver disease. Many veterinarians will recommend a low-protein dog food because it can ease the stress on the liver. You’ll want to find a food with protein from high-quality animal sources and complex carbohydrates to provide soluble fiber. Fat is another concern for dogs with liver disease—the liver processes fat, and too much fat can overwork this important organ. A low-fat, low-protein dog food with quality ingredients may be the best diet for your pup, but you should always consult your veterinarian to determine the appropriate choice.

*Based on petco.com sales data.