Here is my detailed guide to the best low phosphorus dog foods in 2021.
Kidney disease is a very common condition in dogs, especially the elderly. Diet cannot cure it, but an important part of treatment is choosing the right dog food.
A low phosphorus diet can relieve stress on your dog’s kidneys, and this will greatly reduce the worsening of serious illnesses.
I researched for over a day before I found the best low phosphorus dog foods on the market. Prescription and non-prescription products will also be on my list.
Of the former group, my favorite is the Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet KS Kidney Support, and of the latter, Dr. Harvey’s Canine Health The Miracle Dog Food Pre-Mix.
In addition to their low phosphorus content, I chose these products because of their exceptional quality. By the way, you will also find other useful information in my article.
What are the best Low Phosphorus Dog Foods?
- Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet KS Kidney Support
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hydrolyzed Protein Moderate Calorie
- Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d Kidney Care with Chicken
- Dr. Harvey’s Canine Health The Miracle Dog Food Pre-Mix
- Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Sweet Potato & Venison Formula
- Wysong Synorgon Dry Dog Food
- Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Adult Lamb & Brown Rice Recipe
- Zignature Limited Ingredient Formula Grain-Free Trout & Salmon Meal
- Dave’s Pet Food Chicken Meal & Brown Rice Delicate Dinner
- Solid Gold Wolf King Bison & Brown Rice Recipe
Best Prescription Low Phosphorus Dog Foods
If your dog needs a low phosphorus diet, you should definitely check with your veterinarian.
In some cases, experts recommend products that are subject to prescription. Pay attention because these diets are not always of the best quality. Although their phosphorus content is generally adequate, they may contain poor ingredients, such as meat by-product meals.
I wanted to make your job easier, and I have collected the best prescription low phosphorus dog foods for you.
Phosphorus level: 0.25%
Whatever your dog’s diet, Blue Buffalo is almost certain to have a suitable product. I love this brand because their products contain plenty of premium quality ingredients, with real meat in the first place.
The other ingredients are usually digestible carbohydrates, healthy fats, fresh fruits, and vegetables. And a special blend called LifeSource Bits, developed by Blue Buffalo, adds the right amount of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids to recipes.
Of the prescription diets, this product is the best possible because of the ingredients.
The main source of protein is real chicken, which is an easily digestible low-fat meat with low phosphorus content. Besides, the product contains Dried Egg Product, which has excellent biological value.
The recipe is grain-free and includes carbohydrate sources such as Potato Starch, Pea Starch, Peas, and Potatoes. They provide the energy you need and contain plenty of fiber and other useful nutrients.
Sources of fat are Chicken Fat, Flaxseed, and Fish Oil. They add a well-balanced omega fatty acid profile to your diet.
Omega-3 fatty acids are known to positively affect various inflammations, dog skin and coat, and overall health. Because of this, they are included in many low phosphorus diets.
In this recipe for Blue Buffalo, protein and mineral levels are properly regulated. This gives maximum support to the work of the kidneys.
If your veterinarian recommends a prescription diet for your dog with some kidney problem, consider the Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet KS Kidney Support first. It’s also available in a canned wet form.
Phosphorus level: 0.84%
More than 50 years old, this company has set itself the goal from the beginning to provide the best possible diet for dogs.
Moreover, Royal Canin is one of the few brands that also makes products for specific breeds. This is very impressive to me, as I myself experience that there can be many individual differences between dogs in terms of nutrition.
The brand has a prescription line, and the Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hydrolyzed Protein Moderate Calorie belongs to this line.
The product has a moderated 21% protein content. The first ingredient is Brewers Rice. This grain has the same nutritional value as white rice but has better digestibility.
The second ingredient is Hydrolyzed Soy Protein. Hydrolyzed protein sources are broken down proteins commonly recommended for dogs that have a problem digesting conventional proteins.
And easy digestion of proteins contributes excellently to relieving the kidneys. Also, Soy Protein has less phosphorus content. The total phosphorus content of the product is 0.86% which is especially suitable for dogs with kidney disease.
The fat sources in the recipe are Chicken Fat and Fish Oil. Both contain plenty of useful omega fatty acids. These are essential for the integrity of the skin and coat and the coat’s overall health.
Other useful sources of nutrients can be found among the ingredients. Examples include various fiber sources and prebiotics. These are responsible for proper digestion.
And the added vitamins and minerals ensure that your dog’s immune system works at maximum efficiency.
The caloric content of the product is 307 kcal/cup. That is, it is suitable for dogs that need to maintain a healthy weight.
Although the protein source is not the most appropriate in this recipe, I still consider it an acceptable option.
This food is also available in a canned wet form.
Phosphorus level: 0.32%
It is clear from all of Hill’s products that veterinarians and animal nutrition experts have been involved in the development. The Prescription Diet is a line of the brand with recipes for various health problems. The dog food currently reviewed is one of this line.
The primary goal of Hill’s Prescription Diet Kidney Care is to support kidney function and joint health. Renal function is aided by low levels of phosphorus (0.32%) and sodium. And the content of omega fatty acids, chondroitin, and glucosamine has an excellent effect on the joints.
The protein content of the product is shallow (12%). In other words, this is really worth using in justified cases.
By the way, the source of protein is excellent quality chicken meat, which is a favorite of many experts due to its digestibility. And the egg product has an outstanding biological value.
The primary ingredients are Brown Rice, Brewers Rice. These are nutritious grains. They provide plenty of energy, fiber, vitamins, and minerals for dogs.
The main sources of fat are Pork Fat, Soybean Oil, and Fish Oil. As I have already written, they contain adequate amounts of omega fatty acids.
The benefits are not over here. The product contains many added vitamins and minerals to ensure the normal functioning of your dog’s immune system.
This product has a shallow protein content but with some degree of kidney damage. That is what is needed. In all other cases, you may want to choose an option with higher protein content.
Best Non-Prescription Low Phosphorus Dog Foods
I will list non-prescription products below. They are all low in phosphorus, and their quality rivals that of prescribers. If your vet doesn’t stick to certain brands, feel free to choose from these products.
Phosphorus level: 0.62%
Dr. Harvey’s Healthy Formulations is a specialty company that makes health formulas specifically for pets. The product range is not very wide, but they are all human-grade and delicious.
All products contain only natural ingredients and are free of artificial preservatives, dyes, or flavor enhancers.
The recipe currently reviewed is absolutely suitable for dogs with liver disease. These dogs need little phosphorus, and great attention must be paid to the amount and quality of protein.
Dr. Harvey’s Canine Health The Miracle Dog Food Pre-Mix is a product that can be mixed with an arbitrarily selected meat and liquid to provide a complete diet for dogs.
Of course, it is worth choosing low-phosphorus meat. Examples are ducks, other poultry, or lambs.
The ingredients include 6 organic grains, 9 vegetables, herbs, and added vitamins and minerals. This way, this recipe will be perfectly digestible, nutritious, and healthy.
Phosphorus level: 0.6%
One of the best choices, if you are looking for low phosphorus, is limited ingredient diets. This is why this product was added to my list.
Due to the few ingredients, the number of protein sources whose phosphorus content would make the kidneys more difficult is also limited.
Otherwise, the total protein content of the recipe is 20%, which is given by venison. It is outstanding quality, well digestible meat with a phosphorus content about the same as chicken.
Also, the food contains Pea Protein and Potato Protein. They are of lower quality than animal meats but contribute to the maximum to make this product suitable for a dog on a low phosphorus diet.
Canola Oil and Salmon Oil provide the necessary omega fatty acids responsible for skin, coat, brain, and overall health.
In addition to the ones listed so far, the product contains many added minerals and vitamins. This way, you can be sure that your dog is getting all the nutrients he needs for a healthy immune system.
The product is also available in a wet canned version.
Phosphorus level: 1%
This company was founded in 1979. It has been unique from the beginning because of its natural and holistic products.
This quality is evident in all Wysong formulas to this day. The company produces all its recipes with the utmost care, from natural ingredients. Wet and dry food and treats are also available.
The product currently under review has a phosphorus content of 1% and is, therefore, suitable for dogs with kidney disease.
Its protein content is still high. This can be positive if your veterinarian does not recommend a protein restriction. Not all dogs with kidney problems need low protein. Chicken and Turkey Meal provide all the necessary amino acids for your dog, yet they are deficient in phosphorus.
Brown Rice, Peas are carbohydrate sources that are easily digestible and strengthen the immune system with many fibers and other useful nutrients.
The product also contains premium omega fatty acid sources such as Flaxseed and Chicken Fat. Omega fatty acids are essential in the diet of every dog. This is especially true for those with renal failure.
The added fresh fruits, vegetables, vitamins, and minerals guarantee that this recipe is as balanced as possible. Probiotics are a big plus to help your digestive system. This product is highly recommended.
Phosphorus level: 0.7%
The next member on my list is a Blue Buffalo product, but this time it’s no prescription. Nevertheless, it is excellent for dogs with kidney problems as it has a phosphorus content of 0.7%.
Also, it has enough protein content to provide your dog with the necessary amino acids.
Deboned Lamb and Menhaden Fish Meal are very high-quality protein sources that are easy to digest and low in phosphorus. Besides, fish also contains very healthy fatty acids, essential for maintaining healthy skin and coat.
Brown Rice, Barley, and Oatmeal are complex and wholesome carbs. Their digestibility and nutrient content is very high.
Chicken Fat and Flaxseed add other useful fatty acids to the recipe. Plus, Chicken Fat is very tasty; dogs love it.
In addition to those listed so far, the product contains some vegetables and fruits. They themselves contain a lot of vitamins and minerals.
This is aided by so-called LifeSource Bits. This is a special blend developed by veterinarians and other professionals. It contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Added probiotics support digestion and, at the same time, overall health.
Phosphorus level: 1%
This recipe also has a limited ingredient, meaning it is suitable for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
The main protein sources are Trout and Salmon Meal. These are excellent quality and well digestible meats with low phosphorus content and plenty of omega-3 fatty acids.
These fatty acids contribute greatly to the health of dogs’ skin and coat and the prevention and treatment of inflammation. Additional omega fatty acids include Sunflower Oil, Salmon Oil, and Flaxseed.
The product has a total phosphorus content of 1%, ideal for inclusion in a low phosphorus diet.
The recipe is grain-free and includes carbs like Chickpeas and Peas. These are healthy high-fiber legumes with lots of vitamins and minerals. Zignature also contains added vitamins and minerals.
If your dog needs a diet low in phosphorus and high in protein, consider this recipe.
Phosphorus level: 0.89%
By examining the ingredients, we can be sure that this product is suitable for a low phosphorus diet. The main source of protein is Chicken Meal, which gives the product a 25% protein content.
You do not have to worry. Meals are not worse than real meat. These are dried minced versions of meats with minimal moisture content. It is also a great source of glucosamine and chondroitin, which is very good for joint health.
Carbohydrate sources include grains such as Brown Rice, Oat Groats, Sorghum, and Millet. They are complex, wholesome, and nutritious ingredients, high in vitamins and minerals.
Chicken Fat and Flaxseed contain many omega fatty acids that have been shown to have a positive effect on dogs’ skin and coat.
The added probiotics, vitamins, and minerals guarantee that your pooch’s immune system is working at full efficiency.
The product has a total phosphorus content of 0.89%, ideal for dogs with kidney problems.
The last member on my list is the Solid Gold product, which was developed specifically for large breed dogs.
Bison and Ocean Fish Meal are low-phosphorus protein sources that provide your dog with the maximum amino acids it needs.
Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Pearled Barley, Chickpeas, Peas, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes are excellent sources of carbohydrates, high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Chicken Fat and Salmon Oil are great sources of fat, plus Salmon contains a lot of omega fatty acids. These fatty acids have an excellent effect on the skin and coat of dogs.
The product contains plenty of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support the immune system. And the added probiotic makes this diet even healthier, as the intestinal tract’s health affects the whole body.
The phosphorus content of the product is 0.9%, so it is suitable for dogs with renal disease.
You should know that, although I have selected all the products with great care, the first step should be to consult with your veterinarian. Thanks to the various tests, he will be able to determine the exact disease of your dog, its severity, and the treatment needed. Only then choose the right diet. And remember: the change of dog food should be gradual in all cases!
Why Do Dogs Need Phosphorus?
Phosphorus is an essential mineral that every dog needs. It plays a key role in the growth of bones and teeth. It also helps with motor functions and the storage and transport of energy.
So it is not worth missing this mineral from your diet unless it is causing problems.
A developing puppy needs about 0.8-1.6% phosphorus. This figure is 0.6-1.2% for adults and 0.4-0.8% for seniors. So you can see that as your age progresses, your dog’s diet should contain less and less phosphorus.
Otherwise, excessive intake of this mineral can cause kidney problems. General commercial dog foods, in many cases, contain more phosphorus than they need.
Therefore, as your dog gets older, it is worth considering his or her individual needs and choosing a diet accordingly.
What’s wrong with a lot of phosphorus in a dog’s diet?
Excessive phosphorus intake can cause kidney problems or exacerbate pre-existing kidney disease. When this paired organ cannot perform its function properly, phosphorus and other minerals can accumulate and cause stones or other serious problems.
As I mentioned, most commercial dog foods contain slightly more phosphorus than necessary, about 2%.
This is not a problem as long as your dog’s kidneys are working properly. However, in kidney failure, other kidney problems, or old age, you inevitably look for a suitable diet.
Grains and protein sources contain a lot of phosphorus. Getting rid of the former is easy, but not the latter. A healthy dog’s diet needs a sufficient amount of protein.
A deficient protein diet can be just as harmful, so look for another solution. And the best solution is a low phosphorus diet.
What causes kidney disease in dogs?
Kidney disease, also known as renal disease, is widespread in aging dogs. In many cases, this condition can be inherited.
There are two types of this condition. Acute kidney disease develops suddenly with symptoms and chronic over a longer period of time.
Apart from aging and heredity, there are other causes of kidney disease. These are usually other diseases. Examples are:
- Autoimmune disease
- Toxicity (e.g., from medicines)
Symptoms of kidney disease in dogs
The symptoms of kidney disease can be very diverse. They also depend on the type of disease (acute or chronic) and the cause.
It is usually not easy to recognize the symptoms of kidney disease because they can often resemble other diseases’ symptoms. However, I have collected the most common ones below:
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Bloody urine
- Increased thirst
- Increased urination
- Decreased urination
- Poor coat
- Lack of energy
- Incorrect and hunched posture
- Towed motion
If you notice any of the above symptoms, take your dog to a veterinarian immediately. An accurate diagnosis can only be made after appropriate tests have been performed. The test can be a physical or blood or urine test or an X-ray.
Treatment depends on the severity of the disease. In almost all cases, a change of diet is essential.
Types of low phosphorus dog foods
Of course, low-phosphorus dog foods have the same purpose. However, there may be differences in the ingredients.
Depending on the severity of the kidney disease and individual needs, high or low protein foods may be needed.
A diet high in protein and low in phosphorus is needed if your dog does not have severe kidney disease. This is because enough protein is important for muscle maintenance and cell regeneration.
The situation is quite different when the kidneys are severely damaged. This is because these organs are responsible for filtering out various toxins and other substances.
Damaged kidneys cannot filter out enough protein, so it accumulates in the blood and can lead to serious problems.
A low protein and phosphorus diet helps relieve the renal system. This will help slow the progression and worsening of the condition. You may also want to reduce your dog’s sodium intake.
Omega-3 fatty acids have a beneficial effect on the immune system and with it on kidney disease.
Low phosphorus dog foods include both prescription and non-prescription. My list includes both types. It is important to consult your veterinarian about the options.
How these low phosphors diets can help?
These special diets are not so old in the pet food industry. Previously, lower phosphorus intake was achieved by limiting protein and other useful nutrients. This, of course, was not expedient.
Today, more and more solutions are being developed to treat kidney disease. The goal of good low-phosphorus dog food is to provide the right amount and quality of protein and fatty acid in addition to the level of phosphorus in question.
A solution may be to use certain ingredients that offset the phosphorus in the diet. But there are meats and other sources of protein that prove to be a low-phosphorus alternative. Thus, all dietary requirements are met for a dog with kidney disease.
Things to look in a good low-phosphorus dog food
Of course, you should definitely consult your veterinarian on this issue. This is even more true for prescription recipes. If your dog has kidney disease, you should choose the best possible product. Listed below are the ingredients you should look out for if your dog needs a low-phosphorus diet.
Whatever the diet, the most important ingredient in dog food is protein. After all, it builds up the whole body, regenerates cells, and plays a key role in thousands of more processes.
Of course, in case of severe kidney failure, it is worth consuming less protein. However, this diet is also 18-20% of the minimum. For safety reasons, consult your veterinarian about the recommended dose of protein, as this number may be lower if warranted.
In addition to the amount of protein, its quality is also critical. In sick dogs, meat with a high phosphorus content should be avoided. Stick to the identified animal meats so you can rule out the possibility of poor quality.
High phosphorus protein sources include sardines, liver, and beef. These occur in many dog foods, but you should avoid them.
Low-phosphorus meats include shrimp, duck, and other poultry such as chicken or turkey. Shrimp are very expensive, but duck and poultry are affordable options.
As I mentioned, real meats are the best sources of protein. Nevertheless, some vegetable protein sources are of acceptable quality and low in phosphorus. Examples include quinoa, rice, and potatoes.
It’s not good to have proteins from these plants as your dog’s primary protein sources, but they can be great supplements to a low-phosphorus diet.
Thanks to the guaranteed analysis, the phosphorus content of a product can be easily determined. Most commercially available dog food has a phosphorus content of 2%.
The recommended diet for a dog with kidney problems should contain about 0.6% phosphorus. Slightly larger quantities are still allowed, but rather look for one with less.
Some minerals can help your dog’s kidneys function. One of these is potassium. Potassium aids in the filtration process and the reconstruction of the kidneys.
It doesn’t completely cure ailments, but it does help so much that you might want to consider the potassium content in your dog’s diet. Various supplements or high potassium ingredients (e.g., bananas) can also help.
Another such mineral is calcium, which acts as a so-called phosphorus binder. Binders prevent phosphorus from entering the bloodstream. Instead, it enters the colon and leaves the body along with the feces.
The amount of calcium required is about 500 mg per pound of dog food. Your veterinarian must determine the exact amount. The best sources of calcium are bones, eggshells, or other supplements.
Nitrogen traps deliver by-products from protein metabolism to the colon instead of the kidney. This can significantly reduce kidney strain.
This is because these nitrogen-containing by-products normally enter the kidneys and are excreted in the urine. Excellent natural nitrogen trap sources are probiotics and prebiotics.
Should I choose prescription or non-prescription low phosphorus dog food?
Both options have their advantages and disadvantages. Veterinarians often recommend prescription dog foods for kidney problems.
These products have been specifically developed to treat these diseases. This can be reassuring for you as you don’t have to worry about the right phosphorus level.
However, these recipes often have deficient protein and sodium levels. This can be a problem in the long run. Also, these products are more expensive.
Please don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. I don’t want to talk you out of prescription dog food. Of course, if your veterinarian has recommended such a product, be sure to listen to it.
However, if you have the opportunity to get the most out of your dog with over-the-counter food, it will be much more beneficial to both of you in the long run.
The point is to consult your veterinarian about all the options available.
Frequently asked questions
What foods are the lowest in phosphorus?
Among the meats, poultry and lamb contain little phosphorus. Some fish (e.g., tuna) also have low phosphorus levels. Among the grains, quinoa, rice, and barley are the best choices. But potatoes are also a good alternative.
Is Chicken OK for dogs with kidney disease?
Various poultry (e.g., chicken) are excellent sources of protein for kidney disease because of their low phosphorus content.
Is Sweet Potato good for dogs with kidney disease?
Sweet potatoes are a great source of carbohydrates, with good digestibility and low phosphorus content. For this reason, it is also suitable for dogs with kidney disease.
What foods contain a lot of phosphorus for dogs?
Bones, certain fish (along with bones), dairy products, egg yolks, and organs contain a lot of phosphorus. You need to pay close attention to the amount of these foods in your dog’s diet if he or she has kidney disease.
My final verdict
A low phosphorus diet is crucial for dogs with aging or kidney disease.
But as you can see, it’s not enough to provide the right phosphorus level. The quality of the ingredients in dog food is just as important. It is also an important issue whether we want to buy a prescription or non-prescription product.
The Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet KS Kidney Support was clearly the best for me of the prescription products. This product is low in phosphorus and contains a sufficient amount of high-quality protein sources.
Of non-prescription products, my favorite is Dr. Harvey’s Canine Health The Miracle Dog Food Pre-Mix.
All you need to do with this recipe is add a low-phosphorus protein source, and you’re ready for the perfect kidney-sick diet for your dog. The other ingredients are simply perfect; all components of the product support overall health.