If your dog has kidney problems, they will likely require a low phosphorus food to keep them healthy, and the protein may also be restricted. Since this isn’t the type of food we normally need, it can be challenging to find a suitable brand your dog will eat that fits in your budget. You may also wonder about what ingredients the food should contain.
We’ve chosen 10 of the best low phosphorus foods for dogs to review for you so you can get an idea of what the differences are between brands. We’ll give you the pros and cons of each one and let you know what our dogs thought of them as well. We’ve also included a buyer’s guide where we describe what a low phosphorus dog food is and what makes one brand better than the next.
Join us while we look at phosphorus percentage, protein percentage, natural ingredients, and more to help you make an educated purchase.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2022
The 10 Best Low Phosphorus Dog Foods
1. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Dry Dog Food – Best Overall
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Dry Dog Food is our pick for the best low phosphorus dog food overall. It contained deboned lamb as it’s the first ingredient, and it has a good amount of protein at 22% by volume. Omega fat supplying fish meal is the second ingredient on the list, and it contains plenty of other high-quality ingredients as well, including tomatoes, flaxseed, peas, blueberries, cranberries, and barley grass. Glucosamine will help ease the pain of swollen joints and arthritis and can even help to reduce inflammation. There are no harmful chemicals or preservatives, nor is there any corn, wheat, or soy to upset your pet’s delicate digestive system.
Our dogs liked this food, and we felt good about feeding it to them. The only thing we can complain about is that the bag has no way to reseal it once it is open.
2. Dave’s Pet Food Restricted Diet Canned Dog Food – Best Value
Dave’s Pet Food Restricted Diet Canned Dog Food is our pick for the best low phosphorus food for the money. Its limited ingredients are for pets with malfunctioning kidneys and help to reduce the risk of an allergic reaction. It features highly controlled levels of phosphorus, calcium, and protein, which can be hard on the kidneys and make symptoms worse. There is also less sodium in this brand to help prevent your pet from retaining water and swelling up. High-quality vegetables like peas and carrots help provide vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants, while sunflower oil provides important omega fatty acids.
The only real downside to Dave’s Pet Food is that one of our dogs didn’t like it and would wait until we put something else down to eat.
3. Hill’s Prescription Diet Kidney Care Dry Dog Food – Premium Choice
Hill’s Prescription Diet Kidney Care Dry Dog Food is our pick for premium choice low phosphorus dog food. It contains less than 0.5% phosphorus and has a low protein count of 12% to take it easy on your pet’s kidneys so they can recover. It’s also a low sodium food that can help regulate blood pressure. It contains a lot of high-quality ingredients, like brewer’s rice, barley, and beet pulp, to supply complex carbs for energy and a full feeling. Fish oil supplies the omega fats your pet requires, and fortification enhances the food and adds important vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and essential amino acids.
The downside to Hill’s Kidney Care is that it’s quite expensive and required a vet prescription to purchase, so you will need to pay for the food as well as the vet bill. Also, some dogs didn’t like it or would try it a few times and stop eating it.
4. Natural Balance Original Ultra Canned Dog Food
Natural Balance Original Ultra Canned Dog Food has a low phosphorus count of only 0.25%, and the protein level kept at about 8% as well. It contains real fruits and vegetables, including blueberries, cranberries, kelp, and spinach, which supply plenty of important vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, which will help regulate your pet’s digestive system. There are additional vitamins and minerals added to the food as well, and the salmon provides powerful omega fats in the recipe.
One of our biggest problems with Natural Balance Original is that the can does not have an easy lift mechanism, so you are forced to use a can opener. The food inside the can is very mushy and takes some effort to remove. It also leaves your dog with bad fish breath.
5. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Kidney Function Formula Dry Dog Food
Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Kidney Function Formula Dry Dog Food features 12% protein and 0.4% phosphorus to help your pet recover from kidney problems. It’s also low in sodium and contains fish oils, which will provide your pet with beneficial omega fats. It’s fortified with vitamins and minerals as well as antioxidants that will help boost your pet’s immune system and ward off disease.
Our biggest problem with Purina Pro Plan is that it has corn listed as the top ingredient, and corn is an ingredient we usually try to avoid it altogether. It’s prescription-only, so you will need to schedule an appointment with the vet to obtain it, and it’s very dry food, and our dogs didn’t like it. The kibble is also a little large for many smaller dogs.
6. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hydrolyzed Protein Dry Dog Food
Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hydrolyzed Protein Dry Dog Food contains 0.84% phosphorus and 21% protein, so it’s a little higher than many of the other brands on this list. However, it’s perfect for dogs with minor problems that need to reduce phosphorus intake but can still have protein. Fiber and prebiotics can help regulate the digestive tract and can help prevent diarrhea as well as constipation. Limited ingredients mean there is less chance your pet will suffer from an allergic reaction. It’s also fortified with vitamins and minerals to provide your pet with a balanced diet complete with antioxidants.
Unfortunately, some dogs didn’t like Royal Canin, and we couldn’t convince them to eat it. When they did eat it, they often got loose stools as a result.
7. Diamond Care RX Renal Formula Adult Dry Dog Food
Diamond Care RX Renal Formula Adult Dry Dog Food is a prescription food that contains 13% protein and 0.5% phosphorus. Flaxseed delivers the omega fats your pet needs, and it’s low in sodium, so it can help reduce blood pressure in some dogs. Here is no corn or soy that can upset your pet’s digestive system listed among the ingredients, and it’s fortified with vitamins and minerals to provide a complete and balanced meal.
The downside to Diamond Care RX is that you need a prescription to order it, which means a costly visit to the vet. While it was easier to get our dogs to eat than many other brands on this list, it also causes loose stools on occasion.
8. Solid Gold Green Cow Green Beef Tripe in Beef Broth
Solid Gold Green Cow Green Beef Tripe in Beef Broth is a limited ingredient wet dog food that features beef tripe as its top ingredient. It keeps protein down to 9.5% and has only 0.19% phosphorus. It’s grain-free, and there is no corn or soy in the ingredients or harmful chemical preservatives. You can purchase this food in an easy-open can or convenient single-serve packages.
The downside to Solid Gold Green Cow is that it is very mushy and smells bad, which leaves the dog with bad breath. It doesn’t look or smell much like tripe, and the light-grey color doesn’t look very appetizing. We also feel that the potatoes are just filler, and you could get brands that only contain tripe.
9. Lotus Good Grains Oven-Baked Adult Dry Dog Food
Lotus Good Grains Chicken Recipe Oven-Baked Adult Dry Dog Food contains chicken is its top ingredient hell is slightly higher in protein than most of the other brands on this list at 24%. It’s also slightly higher in phosphorus at 0.76%, but it’s still pretty low, which makes it helpful for dogs with minor problems. It contains plenty of real fruits and vegetables, like apples, spinach, blueberries, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes, which provide plenty of vitamins and minerals, including antioxidants. Salmon and olive oils provide healthy omega fats. It also contains healthy grains that provide complex carbs for energy, and its oven-baked to lock in flavor.
The primary downside to Lotus Good Grains is the higher phosphorus content compared to several other brands on this list. It also has a strange smell and caused our dogs to have loose stools.
10. Nulo FreeStyle Grain-Free Puppy Dry Food
Nulo FreeStyle Grain-Free Turkey & Sweet Potato Recipe Puppy Dry Food Is the final low phosphorus dog food on our list to review, and this brand contains deboned turkey as its top ingredient, but this food doesn’t limit the protein to turkey. It also includes deboned trout, bringing the protein level up to 33%, which is the highest on this list. It contains real fruits and vegetables like yellow peas, carrots, tomatoes, blueberries, and apples, and it has a low glycemic index, so it won’t affect your pet’s blood sugar.
The higher phosphorus count in Nulo FreeStyle makes this better as a preventative food, but it’s still pretty low compared to uncontrolled brands. It’s also extremely expensive and has a bad smell to it. It’s dry and left plenty of the dust in the bag when the food was gone, and our dogs didn’t like it.
Related Read: 10 Best Dog Foods of the Year
Buyer’s Guide – Choosing the Best Low Phosphorus Dog Foods
Here are some things to consider when choosing the best low phosphorus foods for dogs.
Slowing the Progression of Kidney Disease
Reducing phosphorus in the diet and adding omega-3 fatty acids are the best ways to slow the progression of kidney disease and prolong your pet’s life, but there are some other steps you can take that we’ll list here.
Unfortunately, reducing phosphorus will not help slow the progression of kidney disease until it has already progressed to the point where it adds too much creatinine to the bloodstream. Once the disease has progressed to the point where reducing phosphorus is helpful, experts recommend keeping phosphorus levels below 0.6%. When comparing dry food to wet food, look for the dry matter calculation, as the amount per can or serving will vary between brands. As the disease progresses, you may need to reduce phosphorus even more.
Unlike phosphorus, you can begin omega fat treatments as soon as kidney disease is detected, if not sooner. Experts recommend looking for fish oil that provides 50 milligrams (mg) EPA+DHA per pound of body weight to get the maximum benefit from the supplement.
Experts suggest that limiting protein is not required unless your pet is your uremic or has protein in their urine. Dogs rely heavily on protein as a source of energy and to build lean muscle. It also helps them stay full, so we only recommend reducing protein when ordered by a vet.
Wet Food vs. Dry
Ordinarily, we recommend dry dog food because it helps clean teeth, is easier to store, and is much less expensive. However, wet food adds important moisture to your pet’s diet that can help keep them hydrated and hydration is a primary requirement for dogs with kidney problems. If you prefer to give your dog dry food, we recommend adding water to it at feeding time but remember dry dog food will spoil once you add water, so only wet what they’ll eat quickly.
You can also add fresh foods to your pet’s diet to help phosphorus levels low, or to get them to eat the food, especially if you want to keep protein levels high. Foods like potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, and pasta are filling, taste great, and are naturally low in phosphorus. Adding these foods to a commercial diet will help bring down the phosphorus levels in that food.
When choosing a brand of low phosphorus dog food for your pet, our pick for the best low phosphorus dog food is a great place to start. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Dry Dog Food is low in phosphorus but still provides protein and delivers a healthy dose of omega fatty acids. It also contains glucosamine, which can help with arthritis and swollen joints. Dave’s Pet Food Restricted Diet Canned Dog Food is our pick for the best low phosphorus dog food for the money, and this wet food provides moisture and plenty of real fruits and vegetables while keeping phosphorus and sodium levels low.
We hope you have enjoyed reading our reviews and our short buyer’s guide, and they have helped you choose a food for your pet. With luck, it can help prevent the progression of the disease and be something your pet can tolerate eating. If you have found it helpful, please share this guide to low phosphorus dog foods on Facebook and Twitter.
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