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10 Best Low Phosphorus Dog Foods in 2021

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This is our review of the best low phosphorus dog food in 2021.

Phosphorus is an essential mineral in canine diets. But high phosphorus levels in dog food can be troublesome for pups with kidney issues.

Most safe low phosphorus formulas are prescription diets, requiring authorization from a veterinarian. These recipes are not suitable for puppies, as deficiencies of this mineral can cause skeletal problems.

I’m a vet tech who researched the best low phosphorus dog foods to help you find a safe diet for your special needs pup.

My top pick for the best overall food for dogs on low phosphorus diets is Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet Kidney Support Dog Food.

But some dogs with kidney disease have additional special needs. So I’ve reviewed ten of the best low phosphorus recipes for every dog.

Let’s get started!

Our Best Low Phosphorus Dog Food

10 Best Low Phosphorus Dog Foods Reviewed

All of these dog food formulas meet AAFCO’s recommended daily nutrient profiles for dogs. Always talk to your veterinarian before making any changes to your dog’s diet.

Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet Kidney Support Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet KS Kidney Support
  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Potato Starch, Pea Starch, Peas, Potatoes
  • Phosphorus Content: 0.55% Max
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 14% Crude Protein, 18% Crude Fat, 7% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 404 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: Grain-Free, No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy, Veterinary Diet
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best For: Overall

Blue Buffalo’s kidney support formula provides the best overall nutritional support for dogs who need low phosphorus diets. This recipe features vital nutrients from natural ingredients like kelp and turmeric that support overall health and renal function.

Therapeutic controlled levels of minerals reduce kidney stress in dogs with renal conditions. [1] This low phosphorus dog food has a maximum phosphorus content of 0.55% and has only 0.25% sodium.

High levels of protein also place additional stress on the kidneys. The low 14% protein content from deboned chicken is safe for dogs with renal concerns but still provides enough essential amino acids for healthy muscle function. 

Added L-Carnitine helps promote lean muscle development in this low-protein dog food. Unlike some kidney support formulas, real meat is the first ingredient. This recipe is also grain-free, using potatoes as the primary source of digestible carbohydrates.

Fish oil and flaxseed act as sources of omega-3 fatty acids in this recipe. These healthy fats encourage natural oil production by the skin and help reduce inflammation. And natural fiber from chicory root helps regulate digestive systems to boost overall health further.

Dog owners prefer this low phosphorus dog food for sensitive dogs who have adverse reactions to grains and by-products. Many witnessed an improvement in the overall health of their pups with renal disease.




Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets NF Kidney Function Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets NF Kidney Function
  • First 5 Ingredients: Whole Grain Corn, Brewers Rice, Dried Egg Product, Animal Fat, Sugar
  • Phosphorus Content: 0.4% Max
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 12.5% Crude Protein, 13% Crude Fat, 2.5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 478 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: Low Protein, Pea-Free, Veterinary Diet
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best For: Premium Low-Phosphorus Dog Food

This premium product from the Purina Pro Plan line features a specialty formula designed by veterinarians and nutritionists to support kidney function. The low protein levels, phosphorus, and sodium make this prescription recipe ideal for pups with renal concerns.

A 12.5% protein content reduces protein waste that must be filtered by the kidneys. Eggs and whey provide complete sources of essential amino acids without drastically increasing protein percentages. [2]

Instead of using meat as the first ingredient, this food features whole grains as the primary energy source. Your pup can easily digest whole grain corn and brewers rice, efficiently absorbing vitamins and minerals from these natural plant sources.

The inclusion of animal fat in this recipe makes the taste appealing to picky eaters. But vegetable and fish oils contribute most of the essential fatty acids present in this dog food’s low 13% fat content.

Although this product is more expensive than some competitors, veterinarians recommend it for the 0.4% maximum phosphorus and sodium content. But the low fiber and high sugar content may not be suitable for dogs with digestive issues.




 Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Renal Support S Dog Food

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Renal Support S
  • First 5 Ingredients: Corn, Brewers Rice, Chicken Fat, Chicken By-Product Meal, Natural Flavors
  • Phosphorus Content: 0.39% Max
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 10.5% Crude Protein, 16% Crude Fat, 4% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 365 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: Sensitive Digestion, Low-Protein, Pea-Free, Veterinary Diet
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best For: Low-Phosphorus Dog Food for Seniors

Senior dogs with kidney conditions often also have reduced appetites. This Royal Canin veterinary diet formula provides concentrated nutrition in a small serving. And the savory taste helps stimulate appetites to ensure elderly dogs consume all of the nutrients they need.

The exceptionally low 10.5% crude protein content is ideal for weak kidneys. Chicken by-product meal acts as the primary source of protein. This animal product also contains natural sources of glucosamine, which helps ease joint discomfort in senior dogs.

Like many low-protein formulas, meat is not the first ingredient. Brewers rice and corn are gentle on sensitive older stomachs. And dried beet pulp boosts fiber content to help regulate digestion. [3]

Energy-dense ingredients like chicken fat and brown rice provide adequate calories in a small serving size to maintain body condition.

There are several recipes included in the renal support line from Royal Canin, and you can combine different formulas safely to suit the individual tastes of your pup.

Reviews recommend this dog food for helping skinny seniors gain weight without stressing their kidneys.

However, some dog owners share that this food can be quite greasy. Like all Royal Canin veterinary diets, this dog food requires a prescription from your veterinarian.




Hill’s Prescription Diet Kidney Care Dog Food

Hill's Prescription Diet kd Kidney Care
  • First 5 Ingredients: Brown Rice, Brewers Rice, Pork Fat, Cracked Pearled Barley, Chicken
  • Phosphorus Content: 0.5% Max
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 12% Crude Protein, 18% Crude Fat, 5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 402 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: Pea-Free, Veterinary Diet
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best For: Low-Phosphorus Dog Food for Large Breeds

Kidney disease can impact dogs of all sizes. But large breeds with renal issues need a diet that is also suitable for their unique nutritional needs.

This formula has controlled mineral content but still includes high-quality protein sources for dogs with large muscle mass.

A controlled protein content of 12% comes from real chicken. But the first ingredient in this recipe is brown rice.

Most other low phosphorus diets use corn as their primary ingredient, but rice’s lower energy content is more suitable for large breeds’ slower metabolisms.

Large dogs also often suffer from gastric issues like bloat. [4] The beet pulp and 5% fiber content of this recipe help nourish the good bacteria in your dog’s gut to prevent the buildup of gases responsible for this severe condition.

Therapeutic levels of l-carnitine also supports lean muscle mass in large dogs. And high levels of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil help reduce inflammation associated with common joint conditions in gentle giants.

Hill’s line of prescription dog food is clinically proven to lengthen the quality of your pup’s life. But some pet parents have difficulty getting picky pups to eat this formula.




Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Urinary SO Small Breed Dog Food

Royal Canin Urinary SO Small Breed Dry
  • First 5 Ingredients: Brewers Rice, Corn, Chicken Fat, Chicken By-Product Meal, Corn
  • Phosphorus Content: 1% Max
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 18% Crude Protein, 15% Crude Fat, 3.6% Crude Fiber. 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 358 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: Pea-Free, Veterinary Diet
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best For: Low-Phosphorus Dog Food for Small Breeds

Toy and small breeds have higher energy needs that some low phosphorus dog food formulas don’t meet. This recipe from Royal Canin has higher protein levels but still reduces stress on the kidney by diluting excess minerals and increasing urine production.

The 18% protein content of this recipe provides enough energy for the high metabolisms of toy breeds.

This protein content comes from chicken by-product meals. Although not the first ingredient, this animal product is an excellent source of concentrated protein.

High levels of digestible carbohydrates from brewers rice and corn are also ideal for small dogs.

Tiny pups cannot store adequate amounts of glycogen in their small muscle mass, so they need consistent sources of carbohydrates to prevent hypoglycemia. [5]

A 1% phosphorus content is slightly higher than some of the other formulas on this list. But the unique relative supersaturation of this recipe lowers the concentration of ions in urine, reducing stress on the kidneys.

Reviews from pet parents share that the kibble size is ideal for tiny mouths and helps encourage chewing to prevent tartar buildup. The appealing aroma also helps promote a healthy appetite in extra fussy toy pups.




Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet Kidney Support Wet Food

Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet KS Kidney Support Canned
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Water, Potato Starch, Potatoes
  • Phosphorus Content: 0.08% Max
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 3% Crude Protein, 2.5% Crude Fat, 3% Crude Fiber. 78% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 336 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: Grain-free, No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy, Veterinary Diet
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best For: Low-Phosphorus Wet Dog Food

This grain-free wet dog food from Blue Buffalo features a veterinary formula with natural ingredients that support optimal renal function. The canned pate recipe is an excellent option for picky dogs who won’t eat dry dog food.

The 78% moisture content of this wet food reduces the other crude macronutrient percentages compared to dry alternatives. A controlled 3% protein content from real chicken provides a high-quality source of amino acids that won’t overload your pup’s kidneys.

A low 0.08% phosphorus content is also ideal for dogs kidney disease. Excess mineral content can stress renal function and cause kidney failure in these pups.

Sensitive pups with grain allergies may benefit from getting their daily carbohydrates from the potatoes in this recipe instead. Other vegetables like carrots and peas offer natural antioxidants that help protect tissue from free radical damage. [6]

L-carnitine promotes the development of lean muscle on a low protein diet. And omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil support skin and coat health to improve overall well being.

Dog owners highly recommend this formula for other pet parents who struggle to get their dog to eat different kinds of prescription food.

The exclusion of by-products and common allergens makes this canned dog food an ideal choice for dogs who suffer from allergic reactions.




Hill’s Prescription Diet C/D Multicare + Metabolic Dog Food

Hill's Prescription Diet cd Multicare Metabolic Weight Care
  • First 5 Ingredients: Brewers Rice, Corn Gluten Meal, Powdered Cellulose, Pea Fiber, Chicken Meal
  • Phosphorus Content: 0.45% Max
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 21% Crude Protein, 8.5% Crude Fat, 16% Crude Fiber. 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 279 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: Weight Control, Veterinary Diet
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best For: Low-Phosphorus Dog Food for Weight Control

Some more high-maintenance pups need special diets that can help address multiple health conditions.

This prescription dog food provides a low-phosphorus diet that is also suitable for dogs with metabolic disorders.

Hill’s clinical formulas have a higher protein content than most kidney care products. But the controlled mineral content ensures that dogs at risk of kidney failure can safely eat this dry dog food.

Chicken meal contributes to the 21% protein content. This lean animal meat is ideal for dogs with weight and metabolic issues due to its low-fat content. Lean protein is the best energy source for dogs on weight control diets. [7]

The low caloric content and 8.5% crude fat content help reduce excess energy in overweight dogs’ diets.

This low-calorie diet is made possible by a high 16% fiber content from fruit and vegetables as fiber is not a source of energy for dogs.

Most pet parents who feed this dog food to their extra fluffy pups notice weight loss within 30 days. But unlike other weight control formulas, this dog food does not negatively impact kidney health.




Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hydrolyzed Protein Dog Food

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hydrolyzed Protein Moderate Calorie
  • First 5 Ingredients: Brewers Rice, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Chicken Fat, Natural Flavors, Dried Plain Beet Pulp
  • Phosphorus Content: 0.84% Min
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 21% Crude Protein, 10% Crude Fat, 3.2% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 307 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: Sensitive Digestion, Weight Control, Limited Ingredient Diet, Pea-Free, Veterinary Diet, Hydrolyzed Protein
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best For: Low-Phosphorus Dog Food for Sensitivities

This veterinary diet features hydrolyzed proteins that help reduce stress on the kidneys. These tiny pieces of protein are also less likely to trigger an immune reaction in dogs with allergies. [8]

The hydrolyzed soy protein in this recipe provides a 21% protein content. Combined with a low 10% fat content, this recipe offers a moderate caloric content ideal for most dogs.

A limited ingredient recipe also helps reduce adverse skin and GI reactions in sensitive pups by eliminating common allergens.

The formula is fortified with chelated minerals to meet your dog’s daily nutrient requirements. But, limited phosphorus helps minimize kidney health risks.

Therapeutic levels of omega-3 fatty acids help support skin health. Sensitive dogs often experience bad skin reactions when they suffer from allergies.

Prebiotics and fiber from dried beet pulp also help promote a healthy digestive system and limit gastrointestinal upset.

But, veterinarians and pet owners recommend a gradual transition to this prescription diet to allow your pup to adjust to the hydrolyzed proteins.




Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d Mobility Dog Food

Hill's Prescription Diet kd Kidney Care Mobility
  • First 5 Ingredients: Brewers Rice, Flaxseed, Pork Fat, Egg Product, Dried Beet Pulp
  • Phosphorus Content: 0.29% Min
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 15.3% Crude Protein, 23.6% Crude Fat, 3.9% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 496 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: Pea-Free, Veterinary Diet
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best For: Low-Phosphorus Dog Food for Joint Health

Most dogs only develop chronic kidney disease as seniors. Your elderly companion is also likely to suffer from joint discomfort as he ages.

This prescription dog food formula uses therapeutic nutrition to address both health concerns.

This recipe features controlled phosphorus and sodium for kidney health. The managed 15.3% protein content is safe for kidneys. But high levels of amino acids from eggs support the muscle protein necessary for healthy mobility. 

Added glucosamine and chondroitin provide the building blocks for healthy joint cartilage. Therapeutic levels of these chondroprotective ingredients are critical for easing joint discomfort and improving mobility. [9]

Supplemental vitamin E and other antioxidants also protect joint tissue from oxidative damage.

The second ingredient is flaxseed, contributing to a high 23.6% crude fat content with high levels of DHA and EPA to provide further anti-inflammatory support.

Reviews include success stories improving joint comfort in dogs on a safe kidney diet. But dog owners frequently mention that a strong odor can discourage picky pups from eating this dry dog food.




Hill’s Prescription Diet c/d Urinary Care Dog Food

Hills Prescription Diet Urinary Care C:D Multicare dry
  • First 5 Ingredients: Whole Grain Corn, Chicken Meal, Pork Fat, Corn Gluten Meal, Soybean Mill Run
  • Phosphorus Content: 0.41% Min
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 18% Crude Protein, 13% Crude Fat, 5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 375 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: Pea-Free, Veterinary Diet
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best For: Low-Phosphorus Dog Food for Urinary Health

Dogs with kidney disease can also suffer from urinary health concerns. High phosphorus content can overload weak kidneys, but excess minerals can also cause the collection of crystals in the urinary tract.

This low phosphorus urinary care formula also features controlled levels of magnesium and calcium. These minerals can contribute to the formation of urinary struvite and calcium oxalate stones. [10]

Carefully balanced protein, fat, and sodium levels also help promote normal renal function.

Chicken meal contributes to the 18% protein content. And a 13% crude fat content features sources of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Unlike other urinary formulas, this diet does not increase urination. Pet owners who have to leave their pets at home for extended periods appreciate the reduced accidents that their pets with urinary problems experience when eating this food.




dog licking closeup

Low Phosphorus Dog Food Buying Guide

Phosphorus is an essential mineral in canine diets. But excess levels of phosphorus can cause complications in dogs with kidney disease.

So understanding how to select safe, low phosphorus dog food for your special needs pup is critical.

Phosphorus in Dog Food

Phosphorus is a macromineral that plays a crucial role in bone growth and development. All dogs need to consume enough phosphorus from their diet to support a healthy skeletal system.

Growing puppies require significantly higher concentrations of phosphorus in their diet.

Phosphorus requirements decline in adult dogs, but deficiencies can still cause severe health problems. Still, there are some instances where excess phosphorus can be harmful.

When is a Low Phosphorus Diet Useful?

Your dog’s kidneys help maintain a healthy balance of minerals in his body. But when kidney disease reduces renal function, excess minerals can accumulate in the organ. These minerals can overload the kidney, causing stones and, eventually, renal failure.

Research shows that phosphorus is incredibly taxing on weakened kidneys. So feeding low phosphorus dog foods is essential for the management of chronic kidney disease. [11]

dog eating

Things to Consider When Selecting Low Phosphorus Dog Food

Very few dog food brands offer pet food with safe phosphorus levels for kidney health management.

Because of the potential risks of phosphorus deficiencies, be sure to consider these factors when selecting the best diet for your pup.

Phosphorus Content

Most dry dog foods have a phosphorus content of around 2%. This meets the nutrient requirements of an average healthy dog but may be harmful for pups with reduced kidney function.

Most kidney care dog foods have a phosphorus content of less than 1%. A 0.6% phosphorus content is ideal for most dogs with kidney conditions.

High-Quality Protein Source

High protein content can also be detrimental to kidney health. But your dog needs adequate levels of amino acids to support his muscle health.

Real meat may not be the first ingredient, but look for a kidney care formula containing high-quality animal protein like whole chicken.

Your veterinarian may recommend lower protein diets depending on the severity of your dog’s kidney condition. These diets are generally always prescription formulas that require veterinary authorization.

Low Phosphorus Proteins

Although animal proteins should provide the omnivorous canine diet foundation, many meats have a high phosphorus content. Examples of proteins with a high phosphorus content include premium meats like beef and liver.

Duck, chicken, and turkey are some of the most common low phosphorus alternative protein sources used in dog foods. Try to limit meat by-products in the diet as these ingredients can also have high concentrations of phosphorus.

Potassium

Not all minerals harm kidney health. Adequate levels of potassium are vital to renal function. And low levels may contribute to kidney failure.

Many kidney care formulas include supplemental potassium in their recipe. This mineral can assist with filtration and help rebuild weakened kidneys over time.

Calcium

Instead of reducing phosphorus directly, some kidney care dog foods use phosphorus binders to prevent your dog’s body from absorbing the mineral.

These binders attach to phosphorus before it is absorbed from the diet, allowing excess phosphorus to pass through the digestive tract.

Calcium is the most common phosphorus binder. It is also an essential mineral for dogs that plays a vital role in bone development. High levels of calcium can help limit the amount of phosphorus that reaches your pup’s kidneys.

Nitrogen Traps

Nitrogen traps work in a similar way to phosphorus binders. But instead of binding phosphorus, these traps help reduce the kidneys’ workload by addressing protein waste.

The byproducts of protein digestion often pass through the kidney to be expelled in urine. But nitrogen traps direct these molecules to the colon instead. Prebiotic fibers help create these nitrogen traps. So select a kidney care formula with a high fiber content.

Prescription vs. Non-Prescription Dog Food

Dogs with chronic health conditions often need therapeutic nutrition and special diets to manage their diseases. Prescription diets are the safest way to ensure that your furry friend’s food is appropriate for his special needs.

Prescription dog foods require veterinary authorization. Since phosphorus plays a vital role in your dog’s health, I only recommend feeding low phosphorus formulas approved by your veterinarian.

All veterinary diets are backed by clinical research that ensures they are safe and effective for dogs with specific health conditions. The best way to provide your pet with the appropriate nutritional support for his individual needs is to select a specialized diet with your vet.

Our Verdict

A low phosphorus diet can be a valuable nutritional tool for managing kidney conditions in dogs.

Chronic renal failure can significantly limit your pup’s quality of life. And excess phosphorus can overload weak kidneys, causing severe complications.

I recommend Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet Kidney Support as the best overall food for dogs on low phosphorus diets.

Kidney care formulas and other prescription diets feature unique recipes tailored explicitly to your four-legged friend’s special needs. Talk to your veterinarian today about selecting the best diet to help your pup live his healthiest possible life.

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