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A Closer Look At Low Protein Dog Food

A recommendation for low protein dog food from your vet often means your pet has been diagnosed with one of several ailments usually related to the kidneys.

Healthy dogs of average age require anywhere from 20% to 28% percent of their total caloric intake coming from sources of proteins, with 25% being the norm. Protein is one of the absolute essentials for canines. When digesting proteins, a healthy dog will produce by-products known as uremic toxins that are expelled from the body via the urine. But, when the kidney's function is compromised for some reason, these toxins build up in the system, causing serious problems for the dog.

Could Your Dog Need a Low Protein Food?

A combination of various factors determines whether or not a dog will need a low protein food and for how long. Acute or chronic kidney (renal) failure, which can strike dogs of all ages and breeds, is perhaps the most serious ailment that is associated with a low protein diet.

Some of the other conditions that will necessitate following a low protein diet include genetic diseases of the kidneys, urinary stones, urinary tract infections, and glomerulonephritis, which is a disease that causes inflammation of the kidney's blood vessels. In addition to these numerous kidney problems, congestive heart failure is yet another diagnosis that might warrant a low protein dog food for your pet.

Advantages And Special Considerations

The advantages of a low protein diet for dogs are plentiful. Because of the extra help that a dog's kidneys are getting, they won't have to work as hard to remove toxins. Low protein dog foods also have less phosphorous than other foods, which is imperative for dogs suffering from any type of kidney problem.

There are, of course, special considerations to keep in mind when it comes to the question of feeding your pet a low protein dog food. Remember that senior dogs will typically, but not always, need more protein coming from easily digestible sources than their younger counterparts, perhaps as much as 50% of their daily intake.

Any dog being fed a low protein food will need to be closely monitored for things like malnutrition. One of the reasons for this, which won't come as a surprise to owners of stubborn dogs, is that low protein foods tend to be quite a bit less tasty, causing some dogs to refuse to eat them. Obviously, this is one of the very last things you want to happen to a dog who is already coping with some type of illness.

3 Of The Best Brands

Here are three of the best brands of low protein dog foods based on ingredients, consumer reviews, and prices:

Hi-Tor Veterinary Select Neo Diet For Dogs

  • Contains ground brewers rice, ground yellow corn, by-product meal derived from poultry, chicken fat that is preserved with Bha, rice bran.
  • This particular brand of Hi-Tor dog food contains a minimum of 13% protein.
  • Price: A 20-pound bag costs around $30.
Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Renal LP 11 Modified Dry Dog Food

  • Contains rice, brown rice, ground corn, chicken fat, as well as natural flavors.
  • This brand is recommended for adult dogs with renal failure and contains a minimum of 11.47% protein.
  • Price: A small, 5.5-pound bag costs around $18 while the 16-pound bag is roughly $35.
Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Vegetarian Formula Dry Dog Food

  • Contains oatmeal, rice, brown rice, potato protein, as well as natural flavors.
  • This brand is used for the management of urinary tract disease rather than renal disease, which is why the protein content (17%) is a bit higher than typical low protein dog foods.
  • An 8.8 pound bag costs around $24 and the larger 16.5 pound bag usually sells for around $42.

Final Comments

As with any type or brand of dog food, always look for certification from the AAFCO (The American Association of Feed Control Officers) who do in-depth tests on both dog and cat foods. The AAFCO does not allow potentially harmful ingredients like bones or feathers in any of the pet foods it certifies.

Choosing a dog food with the right amount of protein is an important part of pet ownership, as a quality diet will give your dog the foundation for the longest, healthiest life possible.

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