This (updated) guide reviews all of the best low-carb dog foods this year.
Here’s a fact:
Most traditional dog foods are made up of 50% carbohydrates on average. Compare this to the carbohydrate intake of wolves, which is just around 1%.
These figures can explain why canine obesity is so common these days. But we admit it. A low-carb diet cannot solve all of your dog’s problems.
However, what it can do is prevent those issues from aggravating and allow your dog to lead a healthier, more fulfilled life.
With that in mind, here are some of our top choice for the best low-carb dog foods. Feel free to scroll around, and do check out the buyer’s guide made just for you!
The 8 Best Low-Carb Dog Foods
|1. Stella & Chewy’s Super Beef Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food||4.7||Beef, Beef Liver, Organic Cranberries|
|2. Visionary Pet Foods Raw Frozen Keto Beef Patties||4.5||Beef & Beef Heart, Vegetables, Seeds Oil|
|3. Primal Venison Nuggets Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Dog Food||4.1||Venison, Venison Hearts, Organic Pumpkin Seeds|
|4. Ziwi Peak Lamb Grain-Free Air-Dried Dog Food||4.7||Lamb, Lamb Heart, New Zealand Green Mussel|
|5. Visionary Pet Foods Keto Low Carb Chicken Dog Food||4.2||Chicken Meal, Chicken, Dried Egg|
|6. Ketogenic Pet Food Keto Kibble Dog & Cat Dry Food||5||Chicken Meal, Chicken Fat, Coconut Oil|
|7. Wysong Epigen Chicken Formula Grain-Free Dog Food||3.8||Organic Chicken, Meat Protein Isolate, Dried Plain Beet Pulp|
|8. ORIJEN Fit & Trim Grain-Free Dry Dog Food||4.9||Deboned Chicken, Cage-Free Eggs, Whole Chickpeas|
Best Freeze-Dried and Frozen Low-Carb Dog Foods
The great thing about freeze-dried and frozen dog foods is that they don’t require carbs and starch to stay in shape. This allows manufacturers to significantly reduce the carbohydrate content of their dog food while filling the excess space with other nutritious ingredients. So, when you’re searching for a low-carb option, your eyes should be looking for the frozen dog food section. Here are some of our favorites amongst all of this particular category:
1. Stella & Chewy’s Stella’s Super Beef Meal Mixers Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food Topper
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Beef, 2. Beef Liver, 3. Beef Heart, 4. Organic Cranberries, 5. Organic Carrots
Labeling this dog food as the best all-around low-carb option wouldn’t be an overstatement. For comparison, it features a protein to carb ratio of about 4:1, and the entire formula only consists of 10% carbohydrates. This measly percentage is completely made up of low GI ingredients such as pumpkin seeds and cranberries.
Everything from the protein selection to the organic vegetables and fruits speaks of the dog food’s outstanding quality. Grass-fed beef is the only source of protein, and multiple portions such as meat, liver, kidney, and heart are used to boost the formula’s nutritional value. For what the dog food is worth, you will not get a better deal anywhere else than with Stella & Chewy’s Super Beef Dog Food.
2. Visionary Pet Foods Raw Frozen Keto Beef Recipe Patties Adult Dog Food
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Beef & Beef Heart, 2. Vegetables, 3. Seeds & Coconut Oil, 4. Beef Liver, 5. Vitamins and Minerals
No dog food can beat Visionary Pet Food’s Raw Keto Beef Patties when it comes to low carbohydrate content. According to the brand, their patties contain only 4-grams of carbs in a single 8-ounce patty. If you do the math, that’s a little over 1% of the total nutritional value. This figure makes these patties a true keto-only diet solution.
Since the formula is virtually free from carbs, it also contains zero starchy vegetables, added sugar, fructose, or any other kind of excuse for a carbohydrate. All of the protein comes from beef meat and heart, while fats and other micronutrients are derived from vegetable seeds and healthy oils. Because the patties are frozen and raw, they will require careful handling and freezing to preserve their freshness.
3. Primal Venison Nuggets Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Dog Food
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Venison, 2. Venison Hearts, 3. Venison Livers, 4. Organic Pumpkin Seeds, 5. Organic Cranberries
Amongst all dog foods in the freeze-dried category, Primal Venison Nuggets Freeze-Dried Dog Food is a shining star due to its excellent recipe list. After all, a dog food that only consists of 13% carbs is surely worthy of praise. But that’s not the whole story because whatever carbs the dog food does contain are only vegetable-based and have an extremely low GI.
Even without considering the low-carb content, the dog food is full of wholesome ingredients. Venison meat and organs are the primary sources of protein, while the remaining recipe is filled with fruits and vegetables. All of the produce is organic certified, and the meat is obtained from antibiotic and hormone-free venison.
4. Ziwi Peak Lamb Grain-Free Air-Dried Dog Food
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Lamb, 2. Lamb Heart, 3. Lamb Liver, 4. New Zealand Green Mussel, 5. Inulin from Chicory
Striking the perfect balance between dry and raw food is a difficult task. However, Ziwi Peak Lamb Dog Food has proved it possible with their unique air-drying process and incredibly low carbohydrate levels. Their advanced preservation method involved air-drying each batch to kill any bacteria while preserving the goodness of raw food.
Because this process also eliminates the need for starchy binders, the carbohydrate content of the formula is reduced to 4%. For dry food, that’s an insane figure. What makes the dog food even more appealing is its use of grass-fed free-range lamb protein. The recipe also contains a unique ingredient called New Zealand green mussels that enriches the food with glucosamine and chondroitin, two essential nutrients for good joint health.
5. Instinct Frozen Raw Medallions Grain-Free Grass-Fed Lamb Recipe Dog Food
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Lamb, 2. Lamb Kidney, 3. Lamb Spleen, 4. Apples, 5. Sweet Potatoes
Like all great raw frozen dog foods, Instinct’s Raw Medallions also provide tons of extra nutrients, but with the added benefit of being low in carbohydrates. Most of the recipe is made from lamb meat and organs, which provide loads of muscle-building protein. Similarly, the formula is also filled with multiple fruits and vegetables, most of which are non-GMO and obtained from organic sources.
With macronutrients in these quantities, carbs are reduced to a meager 7% of the entire formula. And what’s even better is that most of these are vegetable-based and easy to digest. Instinct uses a cold-pressing method here to preserve the taste and nutrients of raw food in their medallions. However, we still recommend handling the food with care to prevent the spread of germs and contaminants.
6. Nature’s Logic All-Natural Grain-Free Chicken Feast Patties Raw Frozen Dog Food
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken Liver, 3. Chicken Heart, 4. Dried Apple, 5. Dried Blueberry
Providing your dog with a delicious low-carb ancestral diet has been made easy by dog foods like Nature’s Logic Raw Chicken Feast Patties. Because the food doesn’t require any carbohydrates as binders, the recipe can be freely made with any ingredient of the brand’s choice.
Most nutritional value of the patties comes from chicken meat and organs, as well as dried vegetables and fruits. This eliminates the need for starchy ingredients and grains, leaving the carbohydrate content of the food at just under 6%. Because the majority of nutrients are derived from whole ingredients, the food is completely free from synthesized and artificial micronutrients.
7. Stella & Chewy’s Dandy Lamb Dinner Patties Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Lamb, 2. Lamb Spleen, 3. Lamb Heart, 4. Organic Cranberries, 5. Organic Beets
Some dogs naturally have fragile stomachs that can’t digest dense proteins like beef. That’s where Stella & Chewy’s Dandy Lamb Dinner Patties come in. These high-protein and low-carb pieces of heaven are made from grass-fed lamb meat and organs, so your sensitive dog can also enjoy an ancestral raw diet. While meat does form almost 38% of the recipe, the remainder is packed with organic vegetables and micronutrients.
Thus, carbohydrates are only found in minute quantities, 18% to be exact. Most of this is composed of pumpkin seeds and salt, both of which have a low GI and are unlikely to cause any digestive issues. Since the patties are freeze-dried, they’re also easier to store and serve compared to frozen food.
8. TruDog Feed Me Crunchy Munchy Beef Bonanza Raw Freeze-Dried Dog Food
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Beef, 2. Beef Tripe, 3. Beef Lung, 4. Ground Beef Bone, 5. Herring Oil
Rarely do you come across a dog food filled with only meaty goodness like the TruDog Feed Me Beef Bonanza. If you look at its limited ingredient list, you’ll only find mentions of beef meat, organs, and all sorts of portions found in the animal. That’s why the majority of the food also consists of protein and fats, leaving little room for unhealthy carbs.
As per our calculations, the dog food only contains 18% carbohydrates, though the brand claims the figure to be just 14%. While the source of carbs isn’t mentioned, this low of a carb quantity certainly places this dog food on our wish list.
9. Nulo Freestyle Beef Recipe With Apples Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Beef, 2. Beef Heart, 3. Beef Liver, 4. Apples, 5. Sweet Potato
When it comes to taste and nutritional value, Nulo Freestyle Beef Recipe Dog Food is a strong contender. Like every other freeze-dried option, it is also full of raw beef meat and organs that offer more proteins compared to processed dry foods. But aside from that, the recipe is also chock-full of healthy vegetables and fruits that provide loads of nutrients.
Amongst these nutrients are also carbohydrates that form roughly 18% of the recipe. But since most of them are plant-based, they digest easily and don’t contribute to weight gain. It’s also worth noting that the dog food contains GanedenBC30, a probiotic that aids digestion and allows your dog to absorb nutrients more effectively.
10. Vital Essentials Beef Mini Nibs Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Dog Food
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Beef, 2. Beef Lung, 3. Beef Liver, 4. Beef Fat, 5. Herring Oil
Who said using freeze-dried food is inconvenient? With Vital Essentials Beef Mini Nibs, you can store and serve your dog low-carb raw food just like your regular kibbles. The formula is made completely out of protein-rich beef portions that contain the same nutrients as raw meat. Thus, the food is also free from grains, fillers, and all kinds of artificial additives.
In fact, the formula only contains 17% carbs, which is a surprisingly low figure compared to standard freeze-dried foods. Since the food is in freeze-dried form, it preserves the natural goodness of raw meat that dogs love to taste. But the main benefit is that the kibbles don’t need freezing or special storage and can be fed like regular dry food.
Best Dry Low-Carb Dog Foods
Dry foods are the go-to for most dog owners because of their convenience and long shelf-life. Unfortunately, this comes at a cost that is a high carb count. Lucky for you, we’ve compiled a list of the best dry dog foods that have the fewest carbohydrates amongst all other options in the market. They are as follows:
11. Visionary Pet Foods Keto Low Carb Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken Meal, 2. Chicken, 3. Chicken Fat, 4. Dried Egg, 5. Natural Chicken Liver Flavor
If there’s one thing we’ve learned in our research, it’s that the best dog foods usually come from relatively unknown brands. Visionary Pet Foods is one such brand that undoubtedly, makes one of the best low-carb dry dog foods in the market. How do we know? It contains just under 7% carbohydrates, which is almost incomparable to almost any food in the market.
This means that most of the nutrients in the dog food are either sourced from proteins or fats, as they should be. Even these proteins and fats are sourced from 100% real chicken meat and fat, making the food significantly more nutritious and easier to digest. Since the food is nearly free from carbohydrates, it’s an excellent choice for dogs that suffer from allergies or digestive issues.
12. Ketogenic Pet Food Keto Kibble Dog & Cat Dry Food
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken Meal, 2. Organic Chicken, 3. Chicken Fat, 4. Beet Fiber, 5. Coconut Oil
The name of Ketogenic Kibble Dry Food is pretty self-explanatory. It’s designed to provide pets with an ancestral diet similar to keto, with 60% of its nutrient content consisting of proteins and 16% comprising fats. A major chunk of both of these macros is animal-based and derived from chicken and beef.
Because most of the recipe is already filled with proteins and fats, there are no starchy carbs like potatoes and tapioca in the recipe. As per our calculation, the exact carbohydrate content stands at around 9%, most of which is sourced from low GI ingredients like fruits and vegetables.
13. Wysong Epigen Starch-Free Chicken Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog & Cat Food
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Organic Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Meat Protein Isolate, 4. Chicken Fat, 5. Dried Plain Beet Pulp
Wysong is pretty well-known for creating dog foods with unprecedented nutrient levels. But if you’re precisely looking for a low-carb solution, their Epigen Starch-Free Dry Food would be our recommendation. The formula is specifically made to provide pets with a starch-free ancestral diet with staggering protein levels, so it’s no surprise that it consists of almost 60% protein.
Not only this, but the dog food is also made up of 15% fats and contains a variety of micronutrients like vitamins, probiotics, and antioxidants. Wysong uses a proprietary extrusion process to manufacture this food that eliminates all starchy carbs from the end product. This only leaves space for almost 11% of carbs, most of which are sourced from vegetables and fruits.
14. ORIJEN Fit & Trim Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Liver, 3. Cage-Free Eggs, 4. Whole Red Lentils, 5. Whole Chickpeas
Losing weight and becoming lean requires a very calculated macro intake but generally involves eating few carbs. Fortunately, with foods like Orijen Fit & Trim, you already have the homework done and can skip straight to feeding your dog a wholesome diet designed to keep them lean and active. It’s a special formula because it sources protein from various animal meat, including chicken, turkey, herring, and cod.
More than that, it only contains low GI carbohydrates like lentils and green peas that are much preferable over starchy carbs when it comes to weight loss. Proteins form at least 42% of the food, and fats consist of at least 13%. After considering fibers and moisture, carbohydrates accumulate approximately 1/4 of the nutrient content of the dog food.
15. Solid Gold Barking at the Moon High Protein Grain-Free Beef, Eggs & Peas Dry Dog Food
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Beef, 2. Ocean Fish Meal, 3. Potatoes, 4. Chicken Fat, 5. Blueberries
Dogs need lots of calories to stay active. But at the same time, these calories need to come from proteins and fats. Solid Gold measures up to this criterion with their Barking At The Moon Dog Food that is tailor-made to fuel your dog’s body with premium proteins and few carbs. Proteins are derived from real beef and eggs, while carbs are sourced primarily from potatoes.
Despite using starchy vegetables, the carbohydrate content of the dog food stands at just 27%, which is a respectable figure for dry food. Most of the nourishment will still be coming from proteins and fats. Another highlight feature of this dog food is that it contains probiotics. These ultimately benefit your dog’s gut flora and overall digestive health.
16. ORIJEN Regional Red Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Beef, 2. Deboned Wild Boar, 3. Deboned Goat, 4. Whole Red Lentils, 5. Whole Green Peas
There’s no better diet for dogs than one made from premium-quality red meat and easily digestible carbs. That’s exactly the philosophy behind Orijen’s Regional Red Dog Food. The brand focuses on providing canines with an ancestral diet full of protein from animals like beef, boar, lamb, goat, pork, and even fish.
Almost 85% of this protein consists of pure meat, and at least 38% of the dog food is composed of protein. While the food isn’t completely immune to carbohydrates, most of them are sourced from low GI ingredients like chickpeas and lentils. As for the quantity, carbs uptake a little over 1/4 of the dog food.
17. Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken & Freeze-Dried Raw Pieces Dry Dog Food
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Peas, 3. Chicken Fat, 4. Freeze Dried Chicken, 5. Freeze Dried Chicken Liver
A combined diet of raw bites and kibbles is the highlight feature of Instinct Raw Boost Dry Food. However, what makes this formula even special is its low carbohydrate count. If you consider the guaranteed analysis, carbs make around 30% or roughly 1/3 of the dog food. And as for the source, most carbs are derived from tapioca and pumpkin seeds.
Rest of the food is totally based on providing dogs with a high-protein and holistic diet. It uses chicken meat as the primary protein choice and contains freeze-dried raw bites that give your dog the pleasure of both food forms. Aside from that, the recipe is also enriched with probiotics to boost digestive health and various vitamins and omega fatty acids for good skin and coat health.
18. American Journey Landmark with Rainbow Trout and Herring Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Rainbow Trout, 2. Herring, 3. Dried Egg Product, 4. Lentils, 5. Dried Plain Beet Pulp
If your dog has a sensitive stomach, there’s a good chance that digesting beef and starchy carbs would be difficult for them. In that case, American Journey’s Landmark Dog Food would be an optimal choice. By using ingredients like rainbow trout and lentils, the formula becomes super-digestible for dogs that often suffer from red meat or grain allergies.
Despite using such light ingredients, the dog food still boasts 40% protein content and just under 32% carbs. Although the carb figure is slightly higher than average, the low GI lentils and peas make up for it. Plus, the recipe contains various micronutrients, including omega fatty acids and probiotics that encourage good digestive and skin health.
19. Earthborn Holistic Great Plains Feast Grain-Free Natural Dry Dog Food
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Bison Meal, 2. Peas, 3. Canola Oil, 4. Pacific Whiting Meal, 5. Flaxseed
As we head into the low-budget category, dog foods like Earthborn Holistic Great Plains start to shine. The formula is enriched with bison meal and egg protein to encourage muscle growth and nourishment. It also features multiple fruits and vegetables in the recipe list, which act as a natural source of vitamins and minerals.
On the carbohydrate side, the formula uses tapioca and peas to increase the nutritional value of the food. While these aren’t the ideal carbohydrate sources, they’re still better than what other manufacturers sell in the name of low-carb diets. And for the price, you really can’t go wrong considering that Earthborn is offering a super-diverse and relatively low-carb food for your dog.
20. Nulo Freestyle Grain-Free Turkey & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Turkey, 2. Turkey Meal, 3. Salmon Meal, 4. Chickpeas, 5. Sweet Potato
When we talk about dog foods, Nulo’s Freestyle Turkey & Sweet Potato formula is the perfect all-around product for canines of all breeds and sizes. It features an excellent macronutrient balance with carbohydrates contributing to just 35% of the entire nutrient count. Moreover, the food uses a bunch of wholesome ingredients, particularly animal-based proteins that are sourced from turkey.
Sweet potatoes and chickpeas are the main carb source as they have a low GI and encourage weight loss. In addition, the recipe contains multiple micronutrients such as probiotics, omega fatty acids, and minerals that improve overall well-being. For the price, Nulo Freestyle Turkey & Sweet Potato Dog Food is an easy pick when it comes to low-carb diets.
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Do you know that only 1% of a wolf’s diet consists of carbohydrates? Yes, that’s a crazy figure, because almost all of their nutrition comes from protein and fats. That is the true ancestral diet of a domestic dog.
Unfortunately, it’s neither practical nor cheap only to feed your canine lean meat cuts and healthy fats. However, changing to a food with relatively fewer carbs can have wonders on your dog’s health. Here’s all you need to know about feeding your dog a low-carb diet:
What is a low-carb diet?
To understand why low-carb diets became famous in the first place, let’s take a look at the history of dogs. One of the most important evolutionary traits that domestic dogs have acquired is the ability to digest carbohydrates. Carbs are a great source of energy as they are packed with calories.
However, there’s also a major downside to feeding your dog carbs. The first one is that not all dogs can properly digest carbohydrates. This can lead to digestive upsets and poor nutrient absorption. Another major issue with most kibble dog foods is that they are overloaded with complex carbs. Not only are these extremely difficult to digest, but they also provide zero nutritional value and are often stored as fat.
In comes low-carb diet. This type of diet contains high levels of protein and fat, with only few low GI carbs. Both proteins and fats are a major part of a dog’s ancestral diet, which is why they’re easier to digest and offer more energy than carbs. The purpose of low GI carbohydrates is to make your dog feel fulfilled without placing excess strain on their stomach.
The main purpose of a low-carb diet is to put your dog’s body into ketosis mode. This metabolic state can have tons of benefits on their body, mind, and overall health. In the long run, a low-carb diet can significantly improve your dog’s quality of life and overall lifespan. Let’s discuss its benefits in detail below.
Benefits of a low-carb diet
Since low-carb food resembles a dog’s ancestral diet, it has numerous benefits on their health. Even though most dogs can survive on standard dry food, a low-carb diet can have major benefits on their body, appearance, and energy levels. Here are some of the best benefits of feeding your dog a low-carb diet:
1. Helps in losing weight and becoming leaner
Obesity is the number one preventable disease amongst dogs in the US, with approximately 56% of canines being classified as obese or overweight. While there are multiple causes of canine obesity, such as inadequate exercise, the most significant one is poor diet. And in the majority of cases, this means feeding your dog too many carbohydrates.
When you switch to a high-protein and low-carb diet, your dog starts getting the nutrients they actually need. High protein intake helps them put on more muscle mass, while lower carb intake puts their body in ketosis mode, where it starts breaking down excess fat. This can help your dog lose weight while simultaneously become leaner and more muscular.
2. Better digestion and reduced allergies
There are too many dogs that have trouble digesting carbohydrates than we can count. Some suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, while most are simply allergic to grains and sensitive to high-carb foods. If these dogs are given too many carbs, it can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and poor nutrient absorption.
Feeding such dogs a low-carb diet can have wonders on their health. They’ll have more energy, have fewer bathroom accidents, and will generally become healthier and happier. Fewer allergies can also bring a lot of relief to dogs, and their coat health and mood will start improving as well.
3. Keeps diseases at bay
Dogs with diseases like diabetes and cancer can benefit immensely from a low-carb diet. By eating fewer carbs, their blood sugar level will stay regulated, and it will become easier for your dog to maintain a healthy weight.
A low-carb diet also has major benefits for dogs with cancer. Studies have shown that a body on ketosis mode can starve tumors prevent them from growing. This is because tumors mainly rely on carbohydrates for energy, and a low-carb diet can prevent the growth of cancer cells. Still, more research is needed on this topic in regard to canines.
4. Improves appearance and energy levels
A high carb intake can negatively affect your dog’s appearance in multiple ways. For starters, carbs are a common cause of allergies and obesity in dogs. When your dog develops an allergy, their skin becomes itchy, and scratching can lead to bald spots. Moreover, obesity can ruin your dog’s physique and reduce their energy levels.
By changing to a low-carb diet, you will notice a drastic improvement in your dog’s appearance. The high-fat intake will make their fur softer and shinier, while fewer allergies will help them grow a full and even coat. As your dog starts losing weight, their body will also become leaner, and they will become more active and energetic.
How to choose a low-carb dog food?
Once you’ve decided to put your dog on a low-carb diet, the next step is to choose a great dog food. Although the process is similar to buying any other dog food, there are a few factors you need to specifically consider. Here’s all you need to look for when purchasing a low-carb dog food:
1. Type and form of food
Before anything else, decide which food form your dog loves and is most convenient for you to handle. Our list includes three common food forms when it comes to low-carb dog food, which includes:
- Frozen food
- Freeze-Dried food
- Dry Food
The main difference between all of these types of foods is their preservation method.
Frozen food contains zero preservatives and usually comes in the form of patties or nuggets. It’s the most difficult to handle out of all three types since it poses a threat of cross-contamination and has to be stored carefully in a freezer. However, the good thing about frozen food is that it’s priced quite modestly.
Freeze-dried and dry foods have similar shelf lives but are different in all other aspects. Dry food is preserved with either artificial or natural preservatives. They are the easiest to serve and store out of all other types, and are also the cheapest of the bunch.
In contrast, freeze-dried food is manufactured through a preservative-free process. It’s as easy to serve and store as dry food, and has a shelf life equal to that of dry food as well. However, freeze-dried food is the most expensive of the bunch.
2. Carbohydrate content and source
Every dog food contains some amount of carbohydrates, even low-carb ones. The important thing is that this quantity be as low as possible, and all of the carb sources are wholesome and have low glycemic indexes.
What does this mean? A great low-carb dog food should consist of 25% or less carbohydrate content. It should preferably be made from simple carbohydrates with low glycemic indexes. This helps put your dog’s body in a ketosis state and eases digestion for canines that suffer from carb allergies or sensitivities.
Some examples of low-GI carbohydrates include lentils, oats, most fruits, non-starchy vegetables, and beans. When it comes to calculating the carbohydrate content of a dog food, a quick method is to sum up the protein, fat, fiber, moisture, and ash percentages from the guaranteed analysis, and then deduct that sum from 100. The lower this figure is, the better.
3. Protein source
Since low-carb foods usually contain less than 25% carbs, most of your dog’s nutrients will be coming from proteins. That’s why it is crucial to ensure that it is being derived from real and wholesome sources.
Most manufacturers use chicken, beef, turkey, lamb, fish, or a combination of these proteins in their dog food. But what’s even more important is ensuring that this protein is being obtained from the right portions.
Meat tends to be the most preferred choice since it is most nutrient and protein dense. Some dog foods also use rendered meals and organs to cut down costs, which is fine as long as most of the protein content is made up of meat.
3. Fat and fatty acid source
When your dog isn’t consuming carbs, they will need a good quantity of healthy fats to fuel their body. You’ll find that most brands use a combination of animal-based and plant-based fats in their dog food. Both of these are equally healthy and easy to digest.
Besides that, make sure that there is some source of omega fatty acids in the dog food too. These fatty acids are crucial for good skin and coat health, and are also known to carry anti-inflammatory properties that can help if your dog suffers from allergies or skin issues.
Do dogs need carbohydrates?
No, dogs do not have a dietary requirement for carbohydrates as their body can derive most nutrients from protein and fats only. But because a zero-carb diet is neither practical nor cheap, low-carb diets containing simple carbohydrates are the next best option.
What percentage of a dog food should consist of carbohydrates?
A good quality dog food should contain no more than 20-30% carbohydrates. These should preferably be simple carbs sourced from low-GI foods. Each dog has different carbohydrate requirements, so we recommend discussing your dog’s food options with your vet beforehand.
Is a low-carb diet good for all dogs?
A low-carb diet resembles the ancestral diet of canines and is healthier for the majority of dogs. However, some dogs can develop stomach issues if they’re fed too many proteins, so remember to make the transition slowly and take your vet’s approval before making the switch.
How much protein and fat should dogs consume?
The minimum protein requirement of the average dog is around 20-25%, while the minimum fat requirement is 10-15%. However, this figure can vary immensely depending on your dog’s breed, age, activity levels, health status, and several other factors.
What are good carbs for dogs?
The best carbs for dogs are simple carbohydrates and those that have low glycemic indexes. Most fruits and certain vegetables fall under this category and are the best type of carbohydrates for dogs. Oatmeal, lentils, and peas are also excellent sources of carbs for dogs.