This is our review of the best alternatives to Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d Kidney Care Dog Food in 2020.
I’m a former vet tech who understands the importance of nutritional support for dogs at risk of renal failure.
Aging dogs often suffer from kidney disease. And correct nutrition from specialized formulas like Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d Kidney Care dog food help manage this disorder’s impact.
This recipe’s key features include low sodium content, controlled phosphorus amounts, concentrated omega fatty acids, and high levels of amino acids. These characteristics help increase appetite, sustain muscle mass, and reduce stress on the urinary tract.
But this high-quality pet food is also grain-inclusive, high-fat, expensive, and a prescription diet. So in this guide, we will review the best alternative kidney care formulas that may be more suitable for your four-legged friend.
Let’s get started!
Best Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d Kidney Care Alternatives
- Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet KS Kidney Support Dry Dog Food (Best Grain-Free Alternative)
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Renal Support Canned Dog Food (Best Alternative for Picky Eaters)
- Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets NF Kidney Function Formula (Best Low Fat Alternative)
- Diamond Care RX Renal Formula Adult Dog Food (Best Budget Alternative)
- Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Chicken & Rice Recipe (Best Alternative for Non-Prescription Kidney Support)
5 Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d Kidney Care Alternatives Reviewed
Hills Prescription Diet recipes can provide valuable therapeutic nutrition for dogs suffering from reduced kidney function. But these costly formulas may contain common allergens and higher fat levels that can be problematic for some pups.
Here are our top picks for the best alternatives to Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d Kidney Care Dog Food. All formulas meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for dogs. But you should always consult your vet before changing your dog’s diet.
The Natural Veterinary Diet line from Blue Buffalo is a product range of prescription dog food that provides therapeutic nutrition using natural ingredients.
This grain-free formula features a specialized recipe with controlled levels of protein and minerals to support kidney function.
Blue Buffalo KS and Hill’s KD dog food share several vital features. Both formulas require veterinary authorization and include healthy levels of antioxidants, L-carnitine, and omega-3 fatty acids. But Blue Buffalo’s recipe is grain-free.
We recommend Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet Kidney Support dog food as a grain-free alternative to Hill’s K/D formula.
Hills emphasizes grain-based ingredients to achieve a lower protein content. But these grain-based ingredients like corn and gluten are common food allergies in dogs.  So Hill’s might not be the best choice for sensitive pups.
The 14% protein content in the Blue Buffalo formula comes from real chicken, the first ingredient. This crude protein content is slightly higher than the 12% protein content in Hill’s Kidney Care formula. But both offer safe protein levels for dogs with kidney problems.
Blue Buffalo keeps protein content lower in this grain-free recipe by using alternative sources of digestible carbohydrates like potatoes and peas. Just like Hill’s food, additional L-Carnitine encourages the development of lean muscle without excess protein amounts. 
Lower dietary protein prevents rapid decreases in kidney function by reducing strain on the organ. Kidneys excrete excess protein through their filtration mechanism. 
Although most dogs seem to prefer the taste of Blue Buffalo, exceptionally fussy eaters may turn their nose up at it.
Royal Canin has a similar line-up of prescription dog foods to Hill’s Prescription Diet Brand. In addition to providing appropriate nutritional content, their Renal Support formulas also feature appealing aromas and flavors to encourage a healthy appetite.
Low protein diets are less palatable to dogs. So dogs with kidney disease often experience a reduced appetite, which can lead to unwanted weight loss. This canned wet food helps stimulate appetite with enhanced flavor and texture.
Royal Canin Renal Support Canned Food is an excellent alternative for picky eaters who may not enjoy Hills recipes. The calorie-dense formula features tasty ingredients like pork liver, and most dogs prefer the texture of wet food.
Due to high moisture content, crude nutrient percentages in wet food differ significantly. The targeted 2.5% crude protein content from chicken and organ meat provides essential amino acids without straining diseased kidneys.
Like Hill’s k/d dog food, this formula also includes high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. These nutrients encourage healthy inflammation levels and protect organs from oxidative damage. 
A low phosphorus level prevents this mineral from accumulating in the blood of dogs with kidney disorders. But mandatory veterinary approval ensures that these formulas are safe for most dogs.
Many fussy dog owners found that this formula was the only food their pups would eat to stabilize their health issues.
The Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets NF formula uses limited amounts of high-quality protein and phosphorus to support kidney function. A lower fat and sodium content also helps reduce the risk of obesity and additional health problems.
A Hills k/d diet contains a higher fat content than Purina Pro Plan. Both dog food brands feature essential fatty acids to help reduce oxidative stress in dogs with kidney disorders. But excessive dietary fat can lead to weight gain in older dogs. 
If you have an older dog with kidney concerns that also suffers from obesity, consider Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets NF Kidney Function Formula. This recipe boasts a crude fat content of only 13%, compared to 18% in Hill’s k/d dog food.
This Purina formula is also grain inclusive and uses egg products to create a 12.5% low protein dog food. The first ingredient is corn, so it may not be suitable for sensitive pups with a corn allergy.
Fat is a primary energy source in your dog’s diet. Most pups with a risk of kidney failure are older dogs with sedentary lifestyles. So, excess fat content may cause obesity and other health problems.
Hill’s Prescription Diets use soybean oil as a significant source of fat. This ingredient has a much lower concentration of omega-3 compared to fish oil. Purina Pro Plan NF uses fish oil as its primary source of fat.
Vets commonly recommend this formula as a prescription diet for dogs who need low protein dog food. And many owners who feed this food share that their pet’s blood tests improved while on this diet.
Compared to the most popular prescription dog foods, Diamond Care RX Renal Formula Adult Dog Food features a much lower price tag. Despite the lower cost, this formula is still effective at using holistic nutrition to address health conditions.
Diamond Care dry food is almost half the price of Hill’s. But both kidney care formulas share nearly identical nutritional content as low-protein, high-fat recipes with reduced phosphorus.
We recommend Diamond Care RX Renal Formula dry dog food as a cheaper alternative to Hill’s k/d diet. Most prescription diets can be overwhelmingly expensive. This budget option helps more pet owners provide their pets with the right nutritional support.
Both formulas have an 18% crude fat content. Hill’s Prescription Diet Kidney Care dog food also has a 12% protein content, similar to the 13% crude protein content of this Diamond Care RX Formula.
These recipes also share a common first ingredient, Brown Rice. This whole grain is a concentrated source of minerals and provides energy from digestible carbohydrates.
High protein diets generally use meat as the first ingredient. But those recipes may place excess stress on the kidneys.
Owners often share that this dog food also helped their pups with digestive issues. Diamond Care RX formulas have proprietary probiotic blends that can improve digestive health. 
Science Diet formulas come from the same manufacturer of Hill’s Science Prescription Diets. This recipe contains beneficial ingredients for kidney health that do not require authorization from a vet.
Prescription low protein and phosphorus diets for chronic kidney disease require veterinary approval. Although not all pups experience kidney failure, most senior dogs can benefit from moderate nutritional kidney support.
Keep in mind that this recipe does not contain therapeutic levels of ingredients. But the Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Recipe is an excellent non-prescription alternative dog food for kidney support.
Unlike the Hill’s Prescription diet formula, this dry dog food excludes corn, wheat, and soy from your dog’s diet. It is well suited for seniors with sensitive stomachs.
Chicken is the first ingredient, providing a crude protein content of 17%. The prescription Kidney Care recipe has a much lower protein content of 12%. The lower protein content is more suitable for pups with more advanced disorders.
Antioxidant vitamins and carefully managed levels of minerals help this formula support overall kidney health in senior dogs. Unbalanced minerals can contribute to the development of kidney stones from struvite and calcium oxalate. 
If your pet develops serious kidney issues, talk to your vet about switching him to a prescription diet.
How To Transition To A New Dog Food
You may want to transition your furry friend to a new diet after finding your best alternative to Hill’s k/d dog food.
Unlike humans, dogs rely on consistent diets. They eat the same meal every day for long periods.
A rapid change in diet can upset your pet’s digestive tract. So you should always transition to a new dog food gradually to keep your dog’s tummy happy.
You can generally switch to a new dog food over 5 to 7 days. This period will take longer if your pup suffers from food allergies or sensitivities.
Start by introducing a small amount of new kibble into his regular meals. Then, gradually increase the portion of new dog food.
But, always remember to consult your vet before changing your dog’s diet.
Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d Kidney Care Dog Food is an ideal diet for dogs with Chronic Kidney Disease. But there are several high-quality kidney care alternatives that you should consider when selecting the best diet for your pup.
The best dog food brands for kidney health offer targeted protein, low phosphorus, low sodium concentrated amino acids, and high levels of omega fatty acids.
These diets generally require veterinary authorization to ensure that the mineral levels are appropriate for your dog.
Every dog has unique needs beyond their health conditions. You can find grain-free, budget-friendly, or low-fat formulas to meet those needs and support kidney function.
Talk to your vet about how to best provide nutritional support for your dog’s kidneys today.
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