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.
Verified Review: Our Hands-On Experience
When reviewing these products, we relied on members of our review panel 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 our testers agreed that 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 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 testers 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 kibbles were too large for small dogs. We wrapped up our review with some low phosphorus dog treats that will let you healthily reward your dog.
Best Low Phosphorus Dog Foods: Top 3 Products
#1: Best Overall — Blue Buffalo Veterinary Diet KS Canned Dog Food
Our best overall winner scored high on quality ingredients, palatability, and affordability. This over-the-counter food comes from a trusted brand known for its high quality. One thing our reviewers liked was that it came in wet and dry versions, which allowed them to give their dogs some variety in feeding.
Blue Buffalo foods are low-sodium and made from natural ingredients. This food also seemed to be the dog’s favorite when it came to taste. Several testers said this was the easiest food they had ever tried to switch their dogs to eat. They also liked the small kibble size of the dry food, which was manageable even for tiny dogs.
- Made with natural ingredients.
- Has 0.55% phosphorus and 0.8% calcium.
- Dog-approved taste.
- Available in wet or dry versions.
#2: Best Non-Prescription – Forza10 Renal Dog Food
This dog food was developed by two Italian veterinarians. 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.
The dry food comes in a fish flavor, and the wet food comes in a lamb flavor. Our testers said their dogs seemed to like the wet food better, but both were quite tasty. One tester said it was the only one his dog would eat. It was fairly easy to make the transition, and one reviewer said she noticed subtle improvements after just a few days of feeding this.
- Made with vegetable and fish proteins.
- Has omega-3 fatty acids for kidney support.
- Phosphorus level 0.76%.
- Made in Italy from a veterinarian-designed recipe.
- Available in wet and dry versions.
- Excellent choice for kidney support
- Wet dog food is preferred in testing to dry kibble
- Phosphorus level of only .76%
#3: Best Treats — Kidney Restore Dog Treats
Are you worried you can’t give your dog treats because of his kidney disease? These nutrient-rich, low-sodium supplements are the answer. These treats have cranberry, pumpkin, astragalus root, and other natural disease fighters. Our testers said these treats smelled wonderful, and their dogs loved them. One tester said the treats were a little hard, and she had to soak them in water to help her dog eat them.
- Made with natural ingredients.
- Contain disease-fighting antioxidants.
- Low protein and phosphorus levels.
- Suitable for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
- Order includes a free e-book about dog kidney health.
How To Use 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. With the right diet, dogs can reverse kidney disease. Even those with chronic renal failure can manage the disease and 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. The foods on our list are available without a prescription.
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
- Whole grains
- Organ meats
- Soy-based foods
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 your dog has kidney disease. These foods and treats are all good choices when it comes to healthy eating.
Best Low Phosphorus Dog Foods: Updated for 2022 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.