This is my detailed guide on what is the best low carb dog food in 2021.
A low carb diet is not just a trendy term for dogs. For them, this means natural and ancient nutrition. Therefore, you may want to consider a high-quality low-carb dog food for your pooch.
I spent the whole day searching for the best products. I also managed to talk to my vet acquaintances on the subject.
I chose Blue Buffalo Wilderness Healthy Weight Chicken Recipe as the best dog food with low carbs. In my article, I also reviewed several other products. That’s why you might want to check out my entire article because it is possible that another product will work for you.
I will also include some important nutrition tips.
Let’s get started!
What are the best low carbohydrate dog foods?
- Blue Buffalo Wilderness Healthy Weight Chicken Recipe
- Earthborn Holistic Great Plains Feast
- VICTOR Select Nutra Pro Active Dog & Puppy Formula
- Nulo Freestyle Grain-Free Turkey & Sweet Potato Recipe
- Wysong Epigen 90 Starch-Free Formula
- The Honest Kitchen Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dehydrated Dog Food
- Visionary Pet Foods Keto Low Carb
- Primal Lamb Formula Nuggets Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Dog Food
- Stella & Chewy’s Dandy Lamb Dinner Patties
- Purina Pro Plan Adult Shredded Blend Lamb & Rice Formula
10 best low carb dog food
Almost all pet food brands offer low carb dog food. However, now I want to make your job easier. I brought you the best low carb products from the best manufacturers. These meet the requirements of the dog’s ancient nutrition. Let’s look at my recommendations.
BLUE products are always very positive for me. The purpose of Wilderness was to imitate the diet of the ancestors of dogs. If you are looking for the best quality low carb dog food, be sure to consider BLUE Wilderness.
This dog food is grain-free and is high in protein thanks to its high-quality chicken. It perfectly meets the nutritional needs of dogs. The proportions of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are perfectly balanced. This way, your dog is not at risk for obesity. This recipe is suitable for achieving and maintaining ideal body weight.
What I really like about Blue Buffalo products is LifeSource Bits. It is a special blend that contains antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. It was compiled with the help of veterinarians and animal nutritionists. This maximizes the health and immune system of the dogs.
Wilderness is one of Blue Buffalo’s best-known products, not by chance. It contains only natural ingredients, with real meat, fruits, and vegetables. Because of the balance of calories and carbohydrates, your dog gets all the nutrients he needs without the risk of obesity.
Healthy dogs need a lot of high-quality protein. This product provides this with a lean bison meal. This protein source is red meat that has a balanced amino acid content. And this is very important for building and maintaining lean muscle mass. Egg white as a secondary protein source also has many positive properties.
In addition to high-quality proteins, this product also contains useful ingredients such as L-carnitine and omega fatty acids. The former will help your dog achieve a healthy weight. The latter promote skin and coat health.
Added vegetables and contain very useful vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These are essential for overall health and a well-functioning immune system.
I am always happy with Victor’s dog food. Nutra Pro is a very high-quality product that contains ideal proportions of fats and proteins. In addition, it is low in carbohydrates. Moreover, it is actually the highest protein and lowest carbohydrate dog food of the Victor brand.
The recipe provides long-lasting energy for all dogs, for all life stages. If your four-legged friend is living an active lifestyle, be sure to consider it. It is also ideal for puppies, pregnant and lactating females.
Victor purpose Nutra Pro Dry Food is also suitable for sensitive or allergic dogs as it is gluten-free. The AAFCO nutrient recommendation is maximally satisfied by this product.
It is also a product that absolutely meets AAFCO’s nutritional requirements. The Nulo brand is not the biggest on the market, but you can’t complain about it. Almost all products of the brand are characterized by high-quality protein and low carbohydrate content.
The Nulo Freestyle recipe is grain-free and packed with high-quality ingredients such as real meat, fruits, and vegetables. This provides all the dogs with the necessary nutrients. The manufacturer guarantees that at least 80% of the protein content is real meat. Examples are turkey, salmon, and lamb.
As I mentioned, the carbohydrate content is low. In addition, this dog food contains healthy and low glycemic index ingredients. Like sweet potatoes, lentils, and chickpeas. You won’t find questionable carbs and fillers in it.
The ingredients are well digested, with the help of added probiotics. The recipe does not contain artificial ingredients or anything that can cause sensitization or allergies in dogs.
Wysong was one of the first holistic pet food companies in 1979. These products have been developed with full dedication, using premium ingredients. When creating the recipes, the manufacturer’s goal was to mimic the diet of ancient dogs. The proteins and other ingredients used were selected accordingly.
Most Wysong dog foods are high in protein and low in carbohydrates. This is also the case with the Wysong Epigen 90 Starch-Free Formula. This product is otherwise ideal for both dogs and cats.
If a dog food product is a human-grade, it is always a positive sign for me. This means that the manufacturer strives to use only healthy and high-quality ingredients. Honest Kitchen is one such human-grade dog food.
The Honest Kitchen Chicken Recipe contains fresh meat and other organic products. It is dehydrated, so the ingredients retain their nutritional value and vitamin and mineral content. It is characterized by high protein and low carbohydrate content.
This recipe is grain free. Carbohydrate sources are well digested and complex.
If you want to feed your dog in the most natural way possible, you should strive for lower carbohydrate content. This product meets your expectations to the maximum, so be sure to consider it.
If you need really low carb dog food, this product will exceed your expectations. Visionary Pet Foods Keto Low Carb Dry Dog Food is high in 43% protein and very low in carbohydrates. Ideal for ketogenic and high protein diets.
Chicken meal, chicken, and chicken fat provide all the basic nutrients your dog needs. In addition, vitamins and minerals are found in this dog food. The fiber content is 7%, which guarantees your dog a feeling of fullness and healthy digestion.
If you are looking for a product that is extremely low in carbs, be sure to consider a Visionary product.
Primal freeze-dried raw is high in fat (38%) and protein (39%). Therefore, it can be presumed that its carbohydrate content is very low. It is made with natural and toxin-free lamb with internal organs that dogs simply love.
This is a simple, healthy, and convenient solution if your dog follows a low carb diet. The product also contains vitamins and minerals in natural form.
Due to its high protein content, Primal Lamb Formula meets the nutritional requirements of dogs to the maximum. The recipe is not only delicious but helps you achieve and maintain optimal body weight. In addition, it provides enough energy throughout the day.
Like the previous product, the Stella & Chewy freeze-dried raw diet is also a low-carb option. This recipe mimics the diet of the ancestors of dogs. It contains 95% lamb and offal. The lamb is of high quality, grass-fed.
Serving is very simple, just some added water is needed. The product is grain-free and gluten-free. Made in the USA. Your dog will love the taste, health benefits, and experiences this freeze-dried dog food provides.
Last but not least, a Purina product follows. This dog food contains exactly the optimal amount of fat and protein needed by dogs. Its carbohydrate content, on the other hand, is low.
The primary source of protein is real lamb, which is quite good quality. Other ingredients include rice and other healthy sources of nutrients. The recipe also supports your dog’s health thanks to its vitamin, mineral, omega fatty acid, and probiotic content.
In short, your dog will love this food, which not only tastes but also has an excellent texture.
Carbohydrates are not essential in a dog’s diet. In addition, many manufacturers pack their products with poor quality carbohydrates. Therefore, it is worth choosing a dog food that is low in carbs, and they are also of good quality, complex.
I choose Blue Buffalo Wilderness Healthy Weight Chicken Recipe as the best. This product maximally satisfies the nutritional needs of dogs with low carbohydrate content.
Click here to get one from Chewy.
Click here to get one from Amazon.
Below you will find more information on why you should choose a low-carb diet for your dog.
Do dogs really need carbohydrates?
One of the three macronutrients is carbohydrates. Their main types are starches, sugars, and fiber. Carbohydrates are very good sources of energy. Their main sources are various vegetables and fruits, but also dairy products.
Dogs are biologically carnivorous animals. This means that all they need to survive is protein and fat. Dogs are able to process carbohydrates. However, this is not the ideal source of energy for them, and in some cases, metabolic stress and inflammation can also be the end result.
So it can be said that from a biological point of view, carbohydrates are not the most suitable for dogs. Experience has shown that many inflammatory diseases can be prevented and treated with low-carb diets.
Why do manufacturers put carbohydrates in dog food?
You can rightly ask why carbs are used in dog food when dogs don’t need them. Well, there are several reasons for this.
Carbohydrates are very good sources of energy. The body can use them faster. For very active dogs, some carbohydrates are okay if they are contained in dog food. However, these ingredients are usually very inexpensive.
Unfortunately, this is exploited by many manufacturers and they pack their products full of the cheapest fillers. These fillers include wheat, corn, and soy. Although they provide energy, they are not very nutritious and cause sensitivity in many dogs. I suggest you look at the price tag as well as the list of ingredients if you are buying dog food.
Another reason for the use of carbohydrates is starch. This is key to the manufacture of kibbles. The ingredients in dry food would actually disintegrate without carbohydrates and starches. Of course, that doesn’t mean that more carbs are better.
One thing you should definitely know. The above does not mean that carbohydrates are bad for dogs. There are complex and complete sources of carbohydrates that are very good in a canine diet. They contain a lot of useful nutrients and fiber. This will be discussed later in my article.
Grain-free vs low-carb dog food
Today, grain-free dog food is becoming more common. The labels on these products often give the impression that we are dealing with low-carbohydrate dog food. However, the situation is not so simple.
Under the AAFCO standard, manufacturers are not required to indicate the exact carbohydrate content on the label of their products. This is why many people may simply buy a grain-free product for their dog instead of low-carb.
Always look at the ingredients in dog food. Sweet potatoes are not grains, but they do contain carbohydrates. “Grain-free” is a very trendy term and a marketing gimmick. This is because the average consumer thinks that which dog food is grain-free is probably healthier as well. This is, of course, true if your dog is allergic or sensitive to some type of grain.
The bottom line:
If you want to buy low-carb dog food, don’t confuse it with grain-free dog food. The thing is, sometimes grain-free dog foods contain quite a lot of carbohydrates.
Simple vs. Complex Carbohydrates
It is very difficult and not absolutely necessary to completely eliminate carbohydrates from your dog’s diet. With a raw protein diet, this can be solved.
Most commercial dog foods contain carbohydrates. It is not enough to pay attention to the quantity but also the quality of these. Simplified, two types of carbohydrates can be distinguished.
Simple carbohydrates can be digested quickly. Dogs are quickly able to gain energy from them. Of course, this also means a rapid rise in blood sugar. This is not the healthiest in humans either and is similar in dogs.
In the case of complex carbohydrates, the situation is exactly the opposite. They are absorbed more slowly. Dogs get a slower and more steady supply of energy, which is healthier for them. Some examples of complex carbohydrates are: oats, legumes, sweet potatoes.
Benefits Of A Low Carb Diet For Dogs
From the above, we can see that dogs do not need too many carbohydrates. We can also see that the quality of these macronutrients is important in addition to the quantity. Let’s look at the benefits of a low-carb diet for dogs.
As I mentioned, the diet of the ancestors of dogs does not contain carbohydrates. However, a raw food diet can be quite expensive and requires a lot of planning and research. But with a low-carb diet, that naturalness can be approached.
There may also be health benefits to this diet. A low carb diet causes less inflammatory diseases, allergies, and sensitivity. This can later lead to poor nutrient absorption and vomiting and diarrhea.
A low carb diet can help overweight and obese dogs lose body fat. Fewer carbs mean less insulin, which helps your dog reach his ideal body weight.
Fewer carbs mean fewer potential allergens. Of course, your dog may be allergic to some protein. However, most allergies or sensitivities are usually caused by some source of carbohydrates.
Other medical conditions
According to observations, a low carb diet can also help dogs with diabetes or certain types of cancer. However, be sure to talk to your veterinarian about the right dog food in these cases.
How to choose the best low carb dog food?
As with any other type of dog food, you need to be careful when buying low carb food. You must verify that the product you are testing complies with AAFCO guidelines. You can usually find this on the label in the form of a statement. This statement will reassure you that dog food will provide your dog with a complete and balanced diet.
Let’s see what else is worth paying attention to.
Macronutrients in the dog food
The proportion and quality of macronutrients is an extremely important consideration when shopping.
Since you want to buy low-carb dog food, check the fat and protein content to see if they meet your dog’s minimum requirements. Puppies need at least 22% protein and 8% fat. For adult dogs, a minimum of 18% protein and 5% fat is recommended.
Of course, these are minimum numbers. Protein is the most important nutrient, so having more of it in dog food is okay. Unless you have a large breed puppy. Too much protein can cause rapid growth in large breed puppies, which can lead to bone and joint problems. Too much protein is also not the best option for some dogs with kidney disease.
Fat is a very good source of energy for dogs. In any case, the amount should be 5% or more. However, excess calories due to too much fat cause obesity.
Quality of ingredients
From the above, it can be determined in advance whether the dog food you choose will meet your dog’s nutritional needs. After that, you might want to look at the list of ingredients. Whatever diet your dog follows, the most important ingredient is protein. This should be some good quality real source of animal protein. Examples are chicken, lamb, duck, fish, beef, and so on.
The first five ingredients usually have some sort of carbohydrate source. It must be well digestible, complex, and of good quality. Examples are rice, oatmeal, or barley. If your dog has any sensitivities or allergies, you may want to try gluten-free versions. Examples are sweet potatoes, tapioca, and legumes.
Animal fats are very healthy for dogs. In addition, omega fatty acid sources take care of the health of your dog’s skin and coat.
Other useful ingredients are various sources of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, such as fruits and vegetables.
Carb content in the dog food
It doesn’t hurt to be aware of the carbohydrate content of your chosen dog food. Unfortunately, this is usually not straightforward, as manufacturers are not obliged to include this information on the label. However, a fairly accurate estimate can be made based on the information provided in the Guaranteed Analysis.
If you subtract the values given in the guaranteed analysis from 100, you get the carbohydrate content of the product. If you want to buy low carb dog food, it is best to keep this value as low as possible.
Frequently asked questions about low carb dog foods
Is a low carb diet good for dogs?
As hard as it may be to believe, carbohydrates are not needed in a dog’s diet. This has already been confirmed by the National Research Council and several studies.
Is grain free dog food low carb?
It is a common misconception that grain-free dog food is also low in carbohydrates. This is not true, in fact, in many cases, these recipes have a fairly high carb content.
What carbohydrates can I feed my dog?
The most common (and healthiest) carbohydrates in dog food are:
Oats, barley, brown rice, potato, sweet potato, millet.
Is oatmeal or rice better for dogs?
Observations show that rice is better digestible for Asian breeds. But many veterinarians say oats are also an excellent source of carbohydrates for dogs.
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