Anyone who loves their pets knows just how important it is to feed them the best quality food. You want to make sure that they feel great and that they’re going to be healthy and happy for a long time to come. However, that requires taking a closer look at the type of food they eat and the type of food that they actually need. For a dog that needs a low protein diet with more other nutrients as it may be prone to kidney disease, food allergies, renal failure or something similar, these best low protein dog foods for senior dogs are the way to go. Most offer lower protein levels, are grain free, are high in essential fatty acids and amino acids, and offer no artificial preservatives.
Although we will usually notice the main ingredients, we seldom remember to pay attention to the specific list that is found in the back. For dog owners, this label should be the main source of information when it comes to the manufacturer telling us what they have used to create the product, and the only legally recognized way of doing so. Additionally, dog owners should always check if the food is made for a specific type of dog, or dogs in general. Most human ingredients are inedible for canines, and the nutritional value available in puppy feed is very different than that used in food for senior dogs.
The main difference between young dogs and those with more life experience is the amount of protein they need in their diet. All dogs need protein to maintain their bodily functions, but senior dogs do not spend as much energy as their youthful counterparts and can have issues with ingesting the wrong amount, as well as the wrong type of protein. Also, dogs need 22 different amino acids to be healthy, and as all heterotrophic organisms, they only create a portion of those by themselves, namely 12. All of the rest they need to take from their food, either as amino acids or as part of proteins.
As what can be described as a senior dog depends on the breed of the dog and can differ between individual dogs of the same type, you will need to make sure that providing your dog with a low-protein diet is medically backed. Healthy dogs, and especially large dogs shouldn’t use low-protein diets, which is why this type of nutrition is seldom readily available over the counter and should be purchased only once your vet has determined that your dog would benefit from such food. Finally, as a responsible pet owner, you should always monitor your canine’s health regardless of the diagnosis, and realize if the general well-being of your dog is improving or not.
When going through the list, make sure that you are taking into account if your aging dog has any food intolerances or any other issues that could make you reconsider. While all brands listed are trustworthy and tested, the final test will be your own dog, and you should always pick a dog food that is precisely for them.
- Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula
- Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Dry Dog Food
- Diamond Naturals Real Meat Recipe
- Nutro Lite and Weight Management Adult Dry Dog Food
- Rachael Ray Nutrish DISH Dog Food
- Orijen Senior Dry Dog Food
- Natural Balance Fat Dogs Dry Dog Food
- Canidae All Life Stages Dog Dry Food
- Purina Pro Plan SAVOR shredded Blend Weight Management Formula
- Wellness Core Natural Grain-Free Dog Food
Guide for Buying the Best Low-Protein Dog Food for Senior Dogs
Aside from the obvious requirement that the product is low in protein. This shouldn’t be the only parameter when you are choosing the best possible food for your elderly canine. Aside from the reliability of the brand, and the general quality of the food, there is also a question of specific ingredients, levels of various elements like phosphorous, as well as the question if the formula is made for a senior dog in mind or not.
While it might sound silly that we are making our shopping based on the letters and symbols that are on the box, this is by no means a wrong way to inform your purchases. A proven and trustworthy brand is very important. The company is waging their name and livelihood on the quality of their product. Additionally, if your dog prefers some specific brand, there is a chance that that food contains some particular ingredient or way of preparation that is the right fit for them.
It is essential that your dog always gets the right amount, as well as the right mix. Proteins, vitamins, amino acids, and other nutrients that they need to survive and to be healthy. Everything should enter your calculation. For low-protein diets that are made for senior dogs, you will need to provide your elderly pet with protein sources like chicken, fish, eggs, and dairy, as well as to search for regular sources that were mixed with dietary fiber and had had their protein levels reduced. These sources might include beef, turkey, or similar ingredients, but their protein count should be visibly lower on the label.
Additionally, the food must not contain any soy, corn, or wheat, as these ingredients are generally bad for the overall health of the dog. Things like soy were often used in older formulae of dog food, and could still be found in some lesser brands, and you should avoid them in favor of whole grains like oatmeal.
Finally, ingredients like omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, as well as vitamins and minerals are always welcome, and you should always look for them if shopping for the best products on the market.
3. Nature of the Food
Thankfully, low-protein dog food comes as both dry dog food and wet dog food, meaning both kibble and canned product. In general, dry kibble has a lower average protein level than the ones that come in cans, but this isn’t always the case as now there are ways to remove protein from meat and other ingredients that were originally rich in it.
Wet dog food smells better and has a much nicer aroma to it, meaning that most dogs will prefer this sort of diet to the dry one, especially senior dogs that do not have their senses at the level that they used to. On the other hand, dry food is both cheaper and much easier to store and dose. If you keep the kibble dry, it can be stored for months, while a can must be used as soon as it is opened. This is on top of the fact that dry dog food has less protein to start.
While all dogs do, in fact, go to heaven, not all dogs are equal, and their diets and a responsible dog owner should never feed senior dogs with food meant for puppies, and vice versa. Although a product might be marketed as ”balanced”, this would only refer to a specific type of dog depending on their age, breed, size, and weight, as well as some allergies and intolerances that specific dogs can have.
If you are an owner of a senior dog, you should only buy specific food that is meant for senior dogs. And, you should only buy low-protein food if it is recommended by your vet for your dog, as there is a good possibility that your dog is still in it’s prime and that there are other reasons besides age why they are losing energy or gaining weight.
5. Level of Phosphorus
The amount of phosphorous that is in the food is essential when it comes to aging dogs, as too much of the element can place an additional burden on their kidneys. A small amount is both acceptable and wanted, but this level should be reduced as the dog grows older. As you reduce the amount of phosphorous in the dog’s diet, you should increase the amount of potassium, antioxidants, vitamins, and omega (3 & 6) fatty acids.
6. Environmental Conditions
What we call ”base metabolism” is the amount of energy needed to retain the optimal bodily temperature in mammals. In dogs as well as humans. This indicates that any dog that spends a lot of time in the cold, or just outside, will need much more energy than those that are mostly indoors. You will need to take this into account when searching for the best choice. Sometimes your aging dog might need the same amount of calories as a younger dog somewhere else, but with a lower protein count and with more nutrients coming from carbs and other sources.
10 Best Low Protein Dog Food for Senior Dogs
You will always have a choice when selecting between the best brands on the market. Thus, you should try to find the type of food that is will fit your individual dog. Compare the aspects of the food with your canine and pick out a product that will not only be beneficial for them but one that they will like as well. Additionally, we have made a selection of brands that all have a good return policy. So, if you happen to order a product that your dog doesn’t like, you will be able to exchange it for another one.
We hear a lot about Blue Buffalo lately because they have real meat in their dog food and it’s the first ingredient, which is different from some of the less quality pet food types that can actually cause problems with the kidneys. In fact, they actually have a range of different options when it comes to their food. This one is made with deboned turkey and potato which provides a lot of carbs that are easier for older dogs to digest. It also has fewer ingredients overall, but still provides plenty of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for older dogs.
- Turkey, single meat
- Limited ingredients
- Easily digestible carbs
- Can be a little expensive
This dog food is actually made with fish and sweet potato. This means that it gives a limited amount of protein and a limited amount of ingredients in general. Even still, it provides your dog with plenty of great nutrition including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. There are no grains in this food, and it’s great for improving your dog’s coat and digestive health.
- Fish and sweet potato
- Limited ingredients
- Balanced nutrition
- A somewhat high price
Designed specifically for older dogs. This food is made with cage-free chicken, eggs, and oatmeal to provide plenty of nutrients. And it doesn’t have any added protein that your dog doesn’t need. What’s really unique is that this company is family-owned, meaning that the manufacturer has taken great care that the product provides plenty of fruits and vegetables as well as superfoods that your dog definitely needs as they get older.
- Made in the USA
- Sustainable sources
- No corn, wheat or fillers
- Includes superfoods
- Not easily digestible for all dogs
With this product, you’re getting all the nutrients that your adult dog needs from farm-raised chicken, lentils, and sweet potatoes. Even better, they’re getting vitamins and antioxidants with just the amount of protein that they actually need. Not only that but there are no GMOs included, and there is plenty of fiber, which means less weight gain and better management overall.
- Non-GMO ingredients
- Chicken for low protein
- Balanced nutrients, vitamins, and minerals
- Not all products made in the USA
With this product, you’re getting the USA raised chicken as the first ingredient, and you’re getting just the right balance of fruit and veggies. It has plenty of vitamins and minerals that your older dog definitely needs but doesn’t have the artificial preservatives, flavors, fillers or colors that they don’t. It’s also made by a company that’s pretty well known (though not necessarily in the dog food industry).
- USA-raised chicken
- Plenty of vitamins and minerals
- No artificial ingredients such as preservatives, flavors or fillers
- The dog may gain weight eating this food
Made from free-run chicken and turkey as well as wild caught fish and eggs. This food is designed to give your dog just the amount of protein that they need and no more. It promotes lean muscle mass as well as limited carbs and calories, which means that your dog is going to be as healthy as possible. It also has plenty of vitamins and minerals without using fillers. Grain is what many other types of dog food use (and that you definitely don’t want).
- Moderate protein
- Made with free range chicken and turkey
- Promotes lean muscle mass
- Low in carbs and calories
With this food, you’re going to be able to help your dog lose some pounds if they happen to be overweight. It’s designed to give them a low-calorie diet but still provide them with chicken, salmon, and plenty of vitamins and minerals. It’s great for improved digestion, and it gives them balanced nutrients. They will need these nutrients as they get older.
- Great for overweight dogs
- Low-calorie meal
- Balanced nutrition
- Not for all dogs
This product gives you everything that your less active dog needs in order to stay healthy. It’s also great for families that have multiple dogs and need to keep everyone happy and healthy at the same time. Lower in fat and protein, it includes high-quality ingredients that never include corn, wheat or soy. It’s also made by vets and provides well for dogs getting closer to the older years of their life.
- For low activity dogs
- Great for multiple dogs
- High-quality ingredients
- Not all dogs like the flavor
Made with chicken, this low protein dog food is designed with high-quality protein, rather than just filler. It’s a hard kibble food with pieces of tender meat mixed in to really make your dog feel like they’re getting something special. Designed to help your adult dog manage their weight, it has plenty of the vitamins. Also, it has nutrients that they need in order to stay in better shape and keep themselves healthy.
- The first ingredient is chicken
- Includes pieces of meat with kibble
- Live probiotics
- Includes corn and other fillers
This dog food has absolutely no grains and has reduced fat. It’s also filled with turkey and chicken with absolute not meat by-products or fillers. Designed to help your dog get a leaner body mass and maintain their weight, it’s also great for helping to support the hips and joints that keep your dog going a whole lot longer.
- Deboned turkey
- Improves joint and hip health
- Reduced fat
- Weight maintenance
- Small pieces
Overall, you’re going to find a number of great low protein foods for your senior dog. Additionally, you’re definitely going to find some great balance to keep them full and healthy. Keeping your furry family members in top shape is crucial for everyone in your family.