The Best Low Phosphorus Dog Foods

Written by Judie Sigdel
Updated: November 28, 2022
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Key Points

  • The #1 Best Overall low-phosphorous dog food is Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet KS.
  • Your vet will probably suggest a low-phosphorous diet for your senior dog if it is showing signs of developing kidney disease, which results in renal failure in its advanced stages.
  • Dogs with weak kidneys can’t remove excess phosphorous and other toxins from their bodies, and phosphorus can build up to dangerous levels over time. Excess phosphorus damages tissues, bones, and important internal organs.
  • You can help your dog lower its phosphorous levels by cutting these items down in its diet: dairy products, whole grains, organ meats, salmon, shellfish, soy-based foods, and pork.

If your dog has kidney disease or renal failure, your vet may have recommended a low-phosphorus dog food. Unfortunately, these foods are expensive, and you can only get them with a prescription. Is it possible to get non-prescription dog food that is high quality and fits your budget? We put it to the test, and we found these brands that fit the bill.

  1. Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet KS
  2. Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet KS
    • A-Z animal's highest scoring low phosphorus dog food
    • Made with natural ingredients
    • Only contains .55% phosphorus and .8% calcium
    • Low sodium and easy to digest
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  3. Forza10 Nutraceutic Actiwet Renal Support Wet Dog Food
  4. Forza10 Nutraceutic Actiwet Renal Support Wet Dog Food
    • Formulated to help renal and cardiac problems, including chronic or acute renal failure, congestive heart failure, and other health conditions in dogs
    • Made with pasture-raised New Zealand lamb
    • Enriched with therapeutic plants and fruits
    • Free from corn, wheat, soy, by-products, oxytetracycline (harmful antibiotic), GMOs, artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors
    • Phosphorus level of only .76%
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  5. Kidney Restore Dog Treats
  6. Kidney Restore Dog Treats
    • Nutrient rich, and low sodium treats
    • Easy low phosphorous option for dog owners on the go
    • Made with natural disease fighting ingredients like pumpkin, cranberry, and more.
    • Note: Some treats are hard initially, but can be solved by soaking in water briefly.
    Check Amazon
  7. Dave's Chicken and Rice Delicate Canned Dog Food for Sensitive Stomachs
  8. Dave's Chicken and Rice Delicate Canned Dog Food for Sensitive Stomachs
    • Chicken & Rice blend for dogs with sensitive stomachs
    • Wheat and gluten free
    • Made in the USA
    • Pack of 12 13.2oz cans
    Check Chewy Check Amazon

Best Low-Phosphorus Dog Foods: Top 3 Products

#1Best Overall: Blue Buffalo Veterinary Diet KS Canned Dog Food

Our #1 Best Overall choice, Blue Buffalo Veterinary Diet KS Canned Dog Food, scored high on quality ingredients, palatability, and affordability. This food, which requires a veterinarian’s prescription, comes from a trusted brand known for its high quality. One thing our reviewers liked was that it came in a dry version as well, which allowed them to give their dogs some variety in feeding.

Blue Buffalo foods are low-sodium and made from natural ingredients. This grain-free food, which features 0.55% phosphorus and 0.8% calcium, also seemed to be the dog’s favorite when it came to taste. Several reviewers said this was the easiest food they had ever tried to switch their dogs to eat, though a few reported that their dogs refused to eat it.

Pros and Cons of Blue Buffalo Veterinary Diet KS Canned Dog Food

ProsCons
This affordable low-phosphorus dog food features high-quality ingredients.It requires a veterianarian’s prescription.
Most dogs like the flavor, and some reviewers reported that switching their dogs to this food was easy.Some buyers said that their dogs didn’t like the flavor and refused to eat it.
This grain-free recipe features 0.55% phosphorus and 0.8% calcium.
It’s also available in a dry formula.
#1 Best Overall
Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet KS
  • A-Z animal's highest scoring low phosphorus dog food
  • Made with natural ingredients
  • Only contains .55% phosphorus and .8% calcium
  • Low sodium and easy to digest
Check Chewy Check Amazon

2. Best Non-Prescription: Forza10 Renal Wet Dog Food

Forza10 Renal Wet Dog Food, which has a phosphorus level of 0.76%, was developed by two Italian veterinarians and is made in Iceland from pasture-raised New Zealand lamb. It uses primarily plant-based proteins and natural ingredients, including cranberries, dried dandelion, and rosemary extract. It’s not clear how those herbs help with kidney health, but they certainly won’t hurt your dog. This is a low-sodium, natural dog food and also includes omega-3 fatty acids for kidney support.

This wet food, which is also available in a dry version, does not require a veterinarian’s prescription. Most reviewers say their dogs enjoy the lamb flavor. Other pros reported were that it transitioning to this food was fairly easy, and one reviewer said that she noticed subtle improvements after just a few days of feeding this. Some buyers, however, reported that their dogs refused to eat this food. Another complaint was that it’s expensive.

Pros and Cons of Forza10 Renal Wet Dog Food

ProsCons
It has a phosphorus level of 0.76%, includes New Zealand land, but primarily features plant-based proteins.Some dogs refuse to eat this food.
It includes omega-3 fatty acids for kidney support and a variety of natural ingredients and herbs, including cranberries, dried dandelion, and rosemary extract.It’s expensive.
This wet food is also available in a dry version.
No veterinary prescription is required.
Best Non-Prescription Option
Forza10 Nutraceutic Actiwet Renal Support Wet Dog Food
  • Formulated to help renal and cardiac problems, including chronic or acute renal failure, congestive heart failure, and other health conditions in dogs
  • Made with pasture-raised New Zealand lamb
  • Enriched with therapeutic plants and fruits
  • Free from corn, wheat, soy, by-products, oxytetracycline (harmful antibiotic), GMOs, artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors
  • Phosphorus level of only .76%
Check Chewy Check Amazon

3. Best Treats: Kidney Restore Dog Treats

Kidney Restore Dog Treats allow you to give your dog with kidney disease nutrient-rich, low-protein, low-phosphorus, low-sodium supplements. These treats, which are suitable for dogs with sensitive stomachs, include natural ingredients like cranberry, pumpkin, astragalus root, and other natural antioxidants and disease fighters. Verified reviewers reported that these treats smelled wonderful, and their dogs loved them. Some said the treats were a little hard, and that they had to soak the treats in water to help their dogs eat them. Other reviewers stated that their dogs didn’t like the treats, while some buyers said that they were too expensive.

Each order includes a free e-book about dog kidney health.

Pros and Cons of Kidney Restore Dog Treats

ProsCons
These treats are nutrient-rich, low-protein, low-phosphorus, and low-sodium, and they’re suitable for dogs with sensitive stomachs.Some reviewers reported that the treats were a little hard and that they had to soak them in water before serving them to their dogs.
They include natural ingredients like cranberry, pumpkin, astragalus root, and other natural antioxidants and disease fighters.Some dogs won’t eat these treats.
Orders include a free e-book about dog kidney health.They are expensive.
Best Low Phosphorus Treats
Kidney Restore Dog Treats
  • Nutrient rich, and low sodium treats
  • Easy low phosphorous option for dog owners on the go
  • Made with natural disease fighting ingredients like pumpkin, cranberry, and more.
  • Note: Some treats are hard initially, but can be solved by soaking in water briefly.
Check Amazon

4. Best for Sensitive Stomachs: Dave’s Chicken and Rice Delicate Canned Dog Food for Sensitive Stomachs

Some dogs are prone to upset stomachs or digestion issues, so this can pose a problem when your dog needs to be on a low-phosphorous food. This food is geared towards dogs with sensitivities and allergies, providing them a non-prescription chicken and rice option that’s easy to digest.

This food includes vitamins, minerals, and nutrients for a balanced diet, while avoiding wheat, gluten, and artificial flavors and colors. The vast majority of verified reviewers reported that this food made an extremely positive difference in their dog’s health because it’s so easy on their stomachs.

If your dog is finnicky, however, be aware that this product is fairly bland tasting. In addition, a few buyers indicated that their dogs got sick (including one report of four dogs getting diarrhea and another going to the emergency vet) after eating this food.

Pros and Cons of Dave’s Chicken and Rice Delicate Canned Dog Food for Sensitive Stomachs

ProsCons
This low-phosphorus dog food is formulated for dogs with food sensitivities and allergies.It is bland tasting, so some dogs won’t like it.
This balanced, non-prescription chicken and rice recipe is easy to digest and includes vitamins and minerals.Some buyers reported that their dogs got sick after eating this food.
It’s free from wheat, gluten, and artificial flavors and colors.
Best for Sensitive Stomachs
Dave's Chicken and Rice Delicate Canned Dog Food for Sensitive Stomachs
  • Chicken & Rice blend for dogs with sensitive stomachs
  • Wheat and gluten free
  • Made in the USA
  • Pack of 12 13.2oz cans
Check Chewy Check Amazon

How to Feed Low-Phosphorus Dog Food

Phosphorus is an important mineral that helps a dog’s bones and tissues grow strong. Along with calcium, it’s important for building bone density in humans and animals. Getting too much, however, can be harmful.

Normally, a dog’s kidneys remove excess phosphorus and other toxins from her body. Dogs with weak kidneys can’t remove these toxins, and the phosphorus builds up to dangerous levels. Excess phosphorus damages tissues, bones, and important internal organs.

This can have severely negative effects, including:

  • Weak bones
  • Loss of vision
  • Urinary problems
  • Blocked blood vessels

Since most phosphorus comes from food, the best way to control it is with a low-phosphorus diet.

What Is Low-Phosphorus Dog Food?

It can be tricky to give dogs the right food when they need to control their phosphorus levels. Dogs need protein, but many high-protein foods are also high in phosphorus. A low-phosphorus dog food is low in protein, but it supplies the nutrients your dog needs.

When Do You Need Low-Phosphorus Dog Food?

Many senior dogs develop kidney disease, which becomes renal failure in its advanced stages. If your dog has shown signs of kidney disease, your vet has probably suggested this type of diet. The right diet can reverse kidney disease in dogs. With the proper, low-phosphorus diet, even dogs with chronic renal failure can live a longer, happier life.

You can buy vet-recommended dog food, or you can use over-the-counter dog foods that are equally good. Both types are featured on our list of recommended foods.

Are There Other Ways to Keep Phosphorus Levels Low in Dogs?

Besides using the right dog food, you can also control your dog’s intake of phosphorus.

Avoid feeding your dog the following as meals or snacks:

  • Dairy products
  • Bones
  • Whole grains
  • Organ meats
  • Salmon
  • Shellfish
  • Soy-based foods
  • Pork

How Do You Get Your Dog to Eat New Food?

When you start your dog on a new food, don’t make a sudden switch. Start by adding a small amount of the new food to your dog’s regular food. Over the next few feedings, gradually increase the amount of the new food and decrease the amount of the old food. Finally, start feeding only the new food.

Support Your Dog’s Kidney Health

The right food can help you keep your dog happy and healthy, even if it has kidney disease. These foods and treats are all good choices when it comes to healthy eating.

Our Criteria and Experience: How We Chose the Best

When reviewing these products, we researched recommendations from pet owners who have dogs with kidney conditions. They explained how frustrating it was to find foods that were vet-recommended, fit their budget, and were low in phosphorus. These were factors we took into account when looking for products to review.

Most of these products cost more than regular, non-prescription dog food, but the cost is low compared to the extremely high costs of kidney treatments. Although it might seem like a hit to your budget, high-quality dog food is the lowest-cost way to preserve — and improve — your dog’s health.

Another important factor was taste. Many of us know that our pets dislike the flavors of most vet-recommended and prescription foods. Our reviewers agreed that Blue Buffalo scored the highest in this regard. It was the easiest one to get most dogs to eat. It is also affordable compared to prescription brands. For these reasons, it was the best overall. The Forza10 was another winner in the taste department, but some users said the kibble in the dry version was too large for small dogs. We wrapped up our review with some low-phosphorus dog treats that will let you healthily reward your dog.

Up Next…

About the Author

My passion is writing about animals. I’ve published articles on pet parrots, birds, and small animal care and reviews about pet food and products. I have an ever-evolving aviary and menagerie that has included cockatiels, parakeets, conures, European starlings, a chukar partridge, guinea pigs, dogs, and cats. I’m also the author of Faith without Labels: a Guide to Eclectic Spirituality.

The Best Low Phosphorus Dog Foods FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How can I tell if dog food is low phosphorus?

Most dog foods labeled “kidney support” will be low in phosphorus and calcium. The best way to know is to read the label and get the exact percentages.

What is considered low phosphorus in dog food?

If a food has less than 1% phosphorus, it can be considered low phosphorus. Ideally, it should also have less than 1% calcium.

What percentage is considered low phosphorus in dog food?

It’s important to know how to calculate the amount of phosphorus a dog needs.

A dog who’s growing needs a diet that is 1.0% to 1.8% calcium and 0.8% to 1.6% phosphorus. Once your dog reaches early adulthood, that ratio should drop to 0.8% to 1.5% calcium and 0.6% to 1.2% phosphorus.

For an adult dog, the ratio should be 0.5% to 0.9% calcium and 0.4% to 0.8% phosphorus. For older dogs and dogs with kidney conditions, the ratios should be even lower.

Which foods contain the least amount of phosphorus?

If you’re wondering how to calculate the levels of phosphorus, just read the ingredients. These foods list the levels of phosphorus, calcium, and protein on their labels.

What foods should a dog with kidney disease eat?

A dog with kidney disease should avoid high-protein foods and foods high in phosphorus. Avoid giving your dog organ meats, dairy products, bones, and processed meats.

How can I lower my dog’s phosphorus levels?

The best way is with a vet-recommended, prescription, or over-the-counter dog food. You can also give your dog low-phosphorus treats. You can ask your vet how to calculate your dog’s phosphorus levels at home.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.