Looking for the best low carb dog foods for your furry friend can be a challenge.
Carbohydrates are more than just grains.
This class includes all starches, sugars, and fiber contained in kibble.
Since balance is so important, we have analyzed here the best options in this class to ensure we are feeding our pups the highest quality kibble with reduced carbs and high protein.
In this article, we’re going to review the following low carb dog foods:
- Nulo Adult Grain Free Dog Food
- Natural Ultramix Grain Free with Raw Bites
- Instinct Raw Boost Small Breed
- Nutrish PEAK Natural, Grain Free Dog Food
- Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Adult Dog Food
- Natural Balance Ultra Premium Dog Food
- Taste of the Wild High Protein Recipe
- Purina Beyond, Grain Free Canned Food
- Merrick Lil Plates Grain Free Recipe
- Sojos Complete Natural Grain-Free Dog Food
- Stella & Chewy’s Freeze Dried Dog Food Meal Mixers
- Wag Grain Free Dry Dog Food
- Pet Craft Supply Wholesome Treats
- Primal Freeze-Dried Dog Food Chicken Formula
- Bravo! Homestyle Complete Freeze-Dried Dinners
Components of a High Quality, Low-Carb Doggy Dish
Quality of Protein Source
Not all proteins are made alike.
When buying dog food, taking a two-pronged approach to analyzing the protein source is diligent.
Firstly, is the source quality. Ensuring that the protein comes from meat and not by-products is essential.
The next step is to check the grade of the meat used in the food and make sure it is appropriate for your pup.
Read the Ingredients
The listed ingredients are always in descending order of content.
When you look at the list of foods used in the kibble, ensure that the protein source is at the top of the list.
You want a doggy diet focussed on perfect proteins (like those from meat).
Make certain by checking that the first listed ingredient is the main source of protein.
The act of controlling carbohydrates has many purposes.
Dogs benefit from reduced irritation to their intestinal tracts, prevention of weight gain, and the opportunity to focus more on proteins.
The energy dogs sustain comes from the meat consumed (not complex carbs).
While carbs add bulk, unless they offer nutritional value, there is no reason to include them.
Weighing the Costs
Cost is both financial and health related.
Though filler-food (that with a lot of by-products and carbs) tends to be cheaper, it can also result in costly health problems down the road.
Carbs potentiate weight gain and digestive strain (especially on canines).
These issues compound over time into costly veterinary bills.
When weighing the costs, factor in the well-being of the pup for an accurate assessment.
Country of Origin
Agricultural practices and standards of countries varies significantly.
To best assess the diet of your dog, look at the originating country of the ingredients used.
Carefully look at the label to make sure the reference is to the food’s origin and not the packaging location.
Kinds of Carb-conscious Canine Chow
Doggy diets that focus on low carbohydrates include small amounts of these complex sugars.
The source will often be variable (potato, sweet potato, rice, etc.).
This works to reduce gluten in the diet and adds some mineral benefits found in starchy vegetables.
By choosing a low-carb food, supplementing needs decrease.
No Grain or Grain Free
Grains are the originating point of contention in the food fads of puppy diets.
These grasses, while containing a lot of fiber and mineral content, also expose sensitive stomachs to glutamic acid (gluten), a well-known irritant.
Grain free does not necessarily mean low carb, as many of these diets include significant amounts of other, starchier carbohydrates.
Read To Learn: 39 Grain-free Dog Treat Recipes
There are some diets that remove carbs entirely.
When making this choice for your dog (raw diets or entirely protein-based diets), ensure not to neglect micronutrition.
Carbs are the class that include fiber (the cell wall of plants).
This component of carbohydrates facilitates hydration and uptake of nutrition.
If choosing a carb free food, make sure you have fiber covered.
Other Carb Considerations
Just as all proteins are not made alike, carbohydrates vary in their value.
Simple sugars (like glucose and fructose), tend to spike blood sugar and potentiate insulin regulation issues.
Complex carbohydrates can be straining for the pup to break down since they did not evolve with a high demand for amylase (the chemical that breaks down sugars).
Fiber is dietarily essential, though you can source it in a way that avoids starch and sugar.
We can only feed our pups a limited amount of food in a day.
Reducing carbs is a way to make sure your dog gets the most necessary nutrition out of their daily food.
What Are the Benefits of a Low Carb Diet for Dogs?
Doggy diets, and their values, differ from pup to pup.
Reducing carbohydrates can facilitate improved energy and cognitive function (since in lieu of carbs you are giving them essential proteins).
The act of limiting these starchy eats is a great way to improve digestion and reduce intestinal complications.
If your dog is having tummy troubles, mitigating the impacts of carbs is a great step you can take.
Tips for Choosing a Low Carb Product
The Fresher the Better
We all know that minimally processed food is ideal.
Dogs evolved eating a very uncomplicated diet, relying almost entirely on meat sources.
The best way that we can offer our canine companions a similar diet to their historical roots is to feed them fresh meals that have undergone minimal changes.
High Protein Animal Sources
Proteins are a collection of amino acids, manually shaped by the body into formed chemicals that can work as building blocks.
Because bodies construct proteins from base ingredients, not all proteins are made alike.
Animals (dogs especially) benefit highly from meat proteins.
Us pet-parents can ensure that our dogs have a perfect protein (all the necessary amino acids), simply by feeding them a meat-focussed diet.
Whole Grain over Wheat
Whole grains have the added value of mineral inclusion and significant fiber.
It is literally impossible to include fiber without including plants in the diet (since fiber is the cell wall of a plant).
Wheat (and not its whole counterpart), loses a lot of its benefits, being left with starchy, problematic materials.
Whole grains keep the entire grass together and keep fiber in the diet of the dog.
If there is a choice, whole grains are most always the preferable option.
Always Look for Supplements
When making a dietary change for your dog, it is best to cover all bases by finding a suitable supplement.
Picky eaters benefit from these additions, since their food cannot cover their nutritious needs.
While it is more ideal to include all needed nutritive values in the actual food source (in the spirit of limited processing), it is essential for the dog to have all necessary micronutrients.
Check with your vet to ensure that your supplement meets all the needs of your furry friend.
Good Return Policy
Many dog foods (especially the higher-end options), will have an accommodating return policy.
Before making a purchase of a new food, look at the policy for returning the material should it not live up to the promises of its label.
Most companies will have reasonable return policies.
Keep receipts and take photos of the product to ensure a clear and established timeline.
You May Also Know: What Is The Best Automatic Dog Waterer?
Ketogenic Food: The Ultimate Low Carb Option
The ketogenic diet is a great option for our fur families.
Instead of processing food in the standard method, the body goes into a state of ‘ketosis’, wherein the liver does the digestion through ketones.
This diet was originally developed as an answer to epilepsy.
Since that time, the mainstream population has noticed the benefits and adopted the practice.
Ketosis occurs when there are so little sugar/carbs to process that the body must work off fats and proteins.
Achieving the state of ketosis can be challenging yet is ultimately rewarding (resulting-more often than not- in shinier coats and improved energy).
15 Best Low Carb Dog Foods
This is a popular option for pet parents looking for a health-focussed option.
When reducing out grains and fillers (a large portion of the bulk in many dog foods), it is important to ensure that which replaces them is an improvement.
This food uses high quality proteins as a major constituent of the kibble, without losing the ease of kibble itself.
The ingredients come from the United States, with the product being packaged there as well.
Salmon is a great ingredient for its inclusion of omega fatty acids from a natural source- it is great for the coat of dogs.
Lamb is a suitable red meat that avoids beef as a potential irritant.
The turkey option steers clear of the potential pitfalls of chicken as a dietary irritant.
Probiotics work to improve internal flora (another thing that promotes healthy digestion).
Low carb diets are most frequently seen on dogs with sensitive stomachs.
This food makes every effort to avoid common issues amongst canines and provide a well-rounded diet.
- Uses salmon/turkey/lamb as protein sources
- Avoids all major irritants (soy, corn, etc.)
- Contains probiotics for balanced flora
- No additives or bulking agents
- Adult Formula (not suited for puppies)
Our furry friends have voracious appetites, so this has become a household favorite.
The relatively high caloric structure is filling without empty calories.
If you have a pup with high energy this food is a great option (especially on days that feature intensive physical exertion).
Another benefit is that the red meat recipe is high in iron.
While some dogs have a hard time processing red meat, there are a great many pups that have anaemic tendencies.
We are what we eat, so quality diets make a massive difference in wellbeing.
The fact that this recipe avoids all major irritants like soy and corn is of significant value.
Vegetables constitute the majority of plant matter in this food.
I am always reassured when I can actually see the fruits and vegetables since dietary uptake of vitamins is always superior to using supplements.
This food makes nutrition accessible through its raw kernel recipe and inclusion of well-sized kernels.
- Uses red meat for high iron content
- Avoids grains and all major irritants
- High in antioxidants and healthy fatty acids
- Contains peas (which, due to the theobromine, toxic to dogs in large amounts)
This option is ideal for small breed dogs, particularly those with sensitive stomachs.
Unlike many other options currently on the market, this kibble avoids potato starch as well as other carb sources like corn and wheat.
Potato, while high in the electrolyte potassium, is quite high in starch content.
Smaller dogs who may undergo less exercise during the day (due to less requirement for this exertion), benefit from the reduced calories of this diet.
It is a great option to keep on hand as a dietary staple.
Another key benefit of the formulation is the adding of raw ingredients.
Freeze drying technology has mitigated the need for adding excessive preservatives to food.
This process maintains all of the nutritive benefits of the raw meat source, without sacrificing the kibble crunch that canine stomachs love.
We want our dogs to have the best possible diet, and by bringing them closer to the food source of their ancestors (raw and meat focussed), we can give them added healthful benefits.
- Has a variety of protein sources
- Relatively low-cost option
- Suited only to small and toy breed dogs
- Contains peas as a vegetable source (a problem ingredient for pups)
Our family loves this food option for so many reasons.
The furry family enjoys the taste of this crunchy kibble (even the picky pups don’t make a fuss with this option).
Us pet-parents favor this option because of the high nutritional content and ethical manufacturing.
We care about animals and their well-being, something that extends beyond canines.
The beef used in this recipe is ethically sourced. The cows are from the USA.
The beef is farm raised which avoids the stressful conditions of factory farming.
When meat undergoes stress before it is butchered, that transfers to the food produced.
The stress ultimately impacts the taste of the kibble.
By farming the meat properly, there is less risk of this phenomenon and the taste of the dog chow is improved.
The healthfulness of the food comes from avoiding all major irritants for our canine companions.
There are no chicken, grains, or other filler ingredients.
The meal itself consists of thirty percent of the kibble’s calories.
This is on the medium/high end of the protein spectrum.
- No by-products, artificial flavors or colors
- Uses farm-raised beef as protein
- High nutritive value with quality ingredients
- Best for medium breed dogs
- Lacks probiotic inclusion
- Does not entirely avoid carbohydrates
High protein inclusion is the focus of this recipe.
The philosophy that goes into making this recipe is that the dog diet ought to consist mainly of meat.
While it is important to diversify the source of the protein itself, this is a much-favored option for energy improvement in dogs.
If your furry friend is experiencing excess fatigue (that is not seasonally related), changing to a higher protein option is a good first line of attack.
Especially for breeds with notoriously sensitive stomachs (such as Labradors), this choice is ideal.
The choice is free of by-products and filling agents, a major problem when looking to streamline the diet.
Kernels that focus on vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are prevalent the kibble.
The kernel size suits an adult dog, though they are small enough to afford smaller dogs the option of eating this meal.
By avoiding soy, corn, and wheat, the food is kept suitable to all breeds of dog.
When you are feeding your canine companion this food, make sure to carefully check the feeding charts (both as a factor of size and weight).
- High quality protein featured as main ingredient
- No by-products or filling agents included
- Avoids all common plant-based irritants
- Entirely grain free recipe
- Uses chicken as protein (a possible meat-based irritant)
- Relatively high calorie compared to other recipes
Diets cannot remain stagnant without impacting the wellbeing of the creature eating them.
Pup food is no different. Bodies require change and variety (in moderation, of course).
It is beneficial to our furry families to include wet food into their meal routines.
Whenever we serve this dish, our dogs know it is more of a treat than a regular meal.
If your dog has a delicate constitution, it is diligent to provide kibble at the same time as providing the wet food supplement.
The firmness of the crunchy kibble works together with the flavor of the wet food to provide a healthy, balanced treat.
This option is great because it avoids grains entirely.
Most sensitive-stomach dogs do not bode well with wheat as an ingredient.
This is most often as a result of glutamic acid (otherwise known as gluten).
This ingredient tends to irritate intestinal linings and result in diarrhea and other similar issues.
The option here mitigates these worries and provides a filling option for dogs of all ages.
A key benefit is that this food is suited to all breed sizes.
When checking the feeding charts for your pup, make sure to include the kibble given with the meal.
Since this does not reduce out all starch (with the inclusion of potatoes), this is not a weight loss food.
- Provides sustaining source of energy
- Features protein as primary ingredient
- Suited for all ages of dog
- Wet food option (not suited as dietary staple)
- Contains carbohydrates in form of rice and potatoes
When we feed our dogs, we try to use ingredients that we would ourselves enjoy eating.
Canines have exponentially superior senses of smell (and thereby taste).
Our furry family is able to discern taste specifics that we cannot even notice.
One of the best reasons to incorporate this food in the diet is the use of smoked salmon.
The fish itself serves as a great source of protein that keeps clear of saturated fats. Saturated fats are those which are solid at room temperature and require much more effort to break down.
Unsaturated fats remain liquid at this temperature and are easier on the puppy digestive system.
The key reason to limit carbohydrates in the canine diet (accepting weight loss needs), is to mitigate tummy troubles.
The best way to achieve this goal is to make all the ingredients as digestible as possible.
Uptake of nutrition is the goal of all digestion, and when we make this easy for our furry friends, it helps them greatly.
This food is an ideal option for easing stress on this critical bodily system.
- Includes smoked salmon for flavor
- Focus on protein quality
- Features antioxidants and necessary vitamins
- Higher price on the cost spectrum
- Recipe contains peas as the green vegetable ingredient
All wet food options have the drawback of being more of a treat than they are a dietary staple.
Due to this fact, the food is best when coupled with a dry kibble that works to help sensitive stomachs process the moisture food option.
Wet food, however, is a great way to incorporate healthy meals that keep the dog interested.
A great feature of this food is that it features spinach.
This dark, leafy green provides an easy way to uptake a variety of necessary minerals including iron and magnesium.
The calcium content natural to spinach makes this a good option for dogs prone to bone and joint issues.
Meat is the key ingredient in the recipe, providing a high protein content for the food itself.
Keep an eye on caloric intake (depending on the dog and their needs) as this provides a very filling meal.
Since it is grain free, it avoids gluten as a potential irritant.
We appreciate that this food avoids corn and soy, since these are filling agents that take the place of ingredients with more significant nutritive value.
- Comes in a variety of flavor options
- Stores well in pantries (and for roughly a day once opened)
- Avoids filling agents like corn and soy
- Grain free recipe for sensitive stomachs
- Suited to adult dogs only
- Contains chicken (a potential irritant for picky pups)
If you have a small or toy breed dog with tricky dietary demands, this is a common favorite.
One of the benefits of this meal is its inclusion of sweet potato.
Many dogs with fast metabolism have an easy time processing carbohydrates, just not wheat.
Often, these will be small or toy breed dogs whose systems do not like gluten yet have a fast enough metabolic system to easily digest starches.
This is a filling option for these little pups, since it provides a well-rounded source of nutrition.
By avoiding additives and by-products, bulking agents are absent (leaving space for the healthy ingredients).
We love the bite size of this dog food. Proper bite size makes it easier to digest.
Quick eaters who take small bites risk ingesting a great deal of air with their bites.
Since the goal of grain free is to improve overall health, we can help this along by making sure the food fits all our furry friend’s needs.
- Grain-free recipe
- Designed for small breed dogs
- Features sweet potato
- Not entirely carbohydrate free
- Only suited for small breed dogs
- Recipe contains peas as vegetable ingredient
This option is a family favorite for its high quality protein.
We care about our pups, and where their food comes from matters.
All the meat is USDA inspected to ensure oversight of the primary ingredient’s quality.
It is a great food for storage, since the food is designed for rehydration.
The bag itself keeps well in a pantry and requires minimal space.
The food itself works if made up to twenty-four hours ahead of time and keeps in the fridge.
It is best to prepare the food ahead of time such as to allow the water to fully saturate the kibble morsels.
This works to ease digestion issues by dampening the material.
We like the option because the textures are adjustable based on the taste of the individual dog.
The recipe avoids grains, and thereby gluten.
Our furry friends favor this option because of the raw feature.
Minimizing processing both improves tastes and makes the food easy for the system to process.
- Features raw meat as a key ingredient
- Uses freeze-drying technology
- Stores extremely well
- On the higher end of the cost spectrum
- More time consuming (rehydrating requirements)
The two main highlights of this food option are raw diet focus and freeze-drying techniques.
All the food is raised without hormones or antibiotics.
Both ingredients influence the quality of the meat (steering clear of them is always a wise choice).
A great feature is that turkey is as a key protein source in the recipe.
Turkey contains a significant amount of an often-forgotten amino acid, tryptophan.
This chemical is an essential building block for the neurotransmitter serotonin (a regulator of anxiety/calm).
The grain free recipe avoids the major irritants found in plants, such as soy, corn, and grain.
By avoiding chicken as a white meat source, the recipe keeps away from all known ingredients that upset canine stomachs.
I really like this option because it is suitable for all ages.
It makes a great transition food between the puppy and adult phases of the dog’s life.
Though re-hydrating the food takes time, it allows for control over texture.
This food keeps well in storage over the long-term (while it is still in its dry state).
Otherwise, the prepared meal will keep in the fridge for roughly twenty-four hours.
- Uses raw meat as a key ingredient
- Stores well and makes a great staple
- Avoids all major dietary irritants
- Higher end of the pricing spectrum
- Lower in fiber than other similar dog foods
This option is popular amongst pet-parents for its well-rounded nutrition.
The recipe suits all breeds of dog, making this a preferred option for many budget-focused households.
We like this option because of its high-quality ingredients that include salmon and flaxseed oil.
Including these ingredients encourages a healthy and shiny coat.
These beneficial oils also work to improve cognitive function.
By incorporating DHA, the option becomes suitable to puppies as well as adult dogs.
There is a great deal of fiber included in this recipe, sourced mainly through the inclusion of plant matter like lentils.
The balance of nutrition in the recipe is optimal, since the recipe puts focus on protein without sacrificing a balance of fats and necessary carbohydrates.
Lamb is the meat ingredient (the most prominent feature in the recipe).
This red meat option promotes healthy blood by providing easy access to dietary iron.
As with all food options, it is important to consult the feeding chart based on age and weight.
- Red meat protein as featured ingredient
- High in fiber for good hydration
- Incorporates omega fatty acids and DHA
- Contains peas as a vegetable ingredient
- Lack of glucosamine makes it less suitable to senior dogs
We love keeping our dogs healthy- and cutting down on carbs is a great way to achieve this goal.
In order to have a well-rounded and healthful pup though, we must consider psychological issues as well.
My family favors these treats because they are a nutrition-packed way to keep true to our low carb mission.
Dogs love the taste and I love the fact that these bite-sized wonders are packed with salmon (and the omega fatty acids it naturally contains).
The material comes from Canada and is formulated in small batches.
When food is made in smaller amounts, the quality is kept high due to the better access to oversight.
These morsels work for all purposes and store well in a pantry-style setting.
Another benefit is the size of the bites themselves.
They are a medium kernel design, which makes them suited to all breeds of dogs.
The recipe avoids additives and filling agents of all sorts, including soy and by-products.
Treats are a great part of a tasty diet that keeps our furry families happy.
- Uses salmon as a protein source
- Avoids additives and by-products
- Entirely grain-free recipe
- Dog treat, not a dog food
- Not suited to dogs with fish sensitivities
By avoiding common additives like corn, soy and wheat, this recipe becomes suitable to any stomach-sensitive dog.
The materials are all made in the USA and the dish itself provides sufficient balance to be used as a dietary staple.
We like it because the meats included are raised without hormones or antibiotics.
These chemicals leave trace amounts in the meat.
Residual hormones found in food can dramatically impact the temperament of dogs with sensitive constitutions.
The focus is on naturally maintained food.
The recipe displays this by sourcing minerals and vitamins naturally.
When the sources of essential micronutrients are dietary, the dog will have an easier time with uptake.
The idea of a low-carb and grain-free diet is to mitigate any potential health issues.
By providing a nutritionally balanced kibble, we give our furry friends the best chance of bodily success.
- All meat raised without antibiotics or hormones
- Suitable for all life phases
- Naturally sourced vitamins and minerals
- Uses chicken as a protein source
- Low fiber content in the food
This is an ideal staple for families with large or medium breed dogs.
The relatively high calorie count makes this food suited for dogs with heavy appetites (or pups who have had days full of exerting play).
This recipe uses raw meat as the protein source, which minimizes processing and makes it easy for the doggy digestive system.
By staying grain and gluten-free, the ingredients avoid all major irritants to sensitive pups.
An added benefit is the inclusion of cranberries.
The berry itself is packed with antioxidants, but it also works to prevent and treat urinary tract infections.
Kidneys are unseen, but they perform critical tasks for the dog’s excretion system.
These bean-shaped organs filter out much of the body’s toxins, so giving them a helping hand is a great benefit for the dog’s overall health.
I am a fan of the high fiber content (and the opportunity to sneak vegetables into my dog’s diet).
Dogs favor this recipe for its high protein content and amenable flavor palette.
- Includes cranberries for antioxidants
- Gluten and grain free
- Freeze drying for quality protein and reduced preservatives
- On the higher end of the cost spectrum
- Recipes include chicken (only suited to dogs who tolerate this white meat)
Frequently Asked Questions
# Is Low Carb Dog Food Good for Health?
Since dogs differ from breed to breed and creature to creature, the dietary requirements of canines are inherently subjective.
Some nutritional needs are standard and well-known: high protein, adequate vitamin/mineral supply, and sufficient hydration.
Other needs are more nuanced. If your dog is prone to tummy trouble, this is a viable option that is worth a try.
Now that we have carefully looked at these lovely low carb products, the winner is apparent.
Nutrish PEAK Natural, Grain Free Dog Food meets all dietary needs and reduces carbohydrates to such a significant degree it is amenable to most canine companions.
It avoids potentially problematic ingredients like peas and uses high quality proteins without filling agents.
The source of the ingredients is trustworthy, and the quality is sound with the kibble remaining affordable.
We all want our pups to have a good experience eating. Avoiding gluten and cutting back on carbs is a great way to promote strong muscles and happy pets.