Low Protein Dog Food

That dogs needs low protein dog food as they get older is a myth. Dogs usually require a 25 percent protein level in their food regardless of age. However, some illnesses require a lower protein food, so be aware of high quality diets that have reduced protein.

Reasons for Low Protein Diets

Just because your dog is getting older doesn't mean he requires less protein. He may need to be fed less as his energy decreases, but protein is still an important part of a healthy diet.

However, certain illnesses such as kidney disease, kidney failure, congestive heart failure and frequent urinary tract infections require a low protein diet. Low protein diets limit the amount of uremic toxins produced. These are byproducts of a normal functioning kidney that get excreted through urination. However, if the kidneys start to fail, these can become harmful to your dog.

Choosing High Quality Diets

Many commercial diets reduce protein content by filling the food with cheap fillers such as corn and wheat that dogs can't digest. Make sure that your low protein diet doesn't result in a lower quality kibble for your pet. There are many ways to reduce protein without cheap fillers.

If your dog has an illness that requires less protein, such as kidney disease, your dog is probably also sensitive to carbohydrates. Make sure the diet you choose isn't making up for proteins with carbs that will also be harmful to your dog.

Make sure phosphorous levels remain low and calcium levels remain high. Also, make sure the alternative sources of protein are easily accessible. Vegetables should be ground up and organic, so the nutrients are easily accessible since dogs can't easily digest plant matter.

Sample Diets

All quality commercial foods offer low-protein options, often in the form of senior or diet formulas. Solid Gold Holistique offers a low protein option (18 percent as opposed to 25 or higher found in most foods) that uses fish as the main protein rather than beef or poultry. It also includes healthy fillers oatmeal and barley and a wide range of additional supplements to boost the immune system.

Natural Balance's lower calorie formula (16.5 percent protein) utilizes salmon or chicken along with oatmeal, barley, brown rice, fresh potatoes, fresh carrots and other nutrients. These brands don't utilize any preservatives, food coloring or other substances that would be harmful to your dog. There are no meat byproducts, corn or wheat.

There are many other dog food brands that offer similar, high-quality ingredients or you may choose to create a homecooked diet that utilizes more grains and fresh vegetables. However, before switching your dog's diet, be sure to consult your veterinarian and do your research. Compare brands before making a decision.

Ease your dog into his new diet by gradually introducing the new food. Don't change the food suddenly as this will cause stress to his system as well as diarrhea.

A high-quality diet is extremely important if your dog has been diagnosed with an illness. Low protein does not have to be low-quality. There are many great low-protein diets available to your dog.