Low carb dog food can offer various health benefits to your dogs. Cutting down on this nutrient can keep the cancer cells from growing. And not only that, it is believed that a low carb diet increases your dog’s chances to live a longer, healthier life.
It is easier for these carnivores to process the complex carbs. The problem arises when the food contains simple carbs that are hard to digest. These carbs store up as fats in their bodies, along with tons of other unhealthy ingredients that cause your dog’s weight to increase.
Carbs are calculated by subtracting the protein, fat, and some other nutrient from the overall percentage. And when it comes to nutrients, protein is what your dog substantially relies on. So if a diet contains more high-quality proteins and healthy fats, it will automatically make the best low carb diet for dogs.
Regardless of why you want to feed a low carb diet to your dog, we have saved you the effort by doing all the research for you. If you’re desperate and just want to get your hands on the best low carb dog food, check out our top choices below.
The Best Low Carbs Dog Foods
1. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Healthy Weight Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Protein (min.) 30% | Fat (min.) 10% | Fiber (max.) 13% | Moisture (max.) 10%
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Pea Protein, 4. Peas, 5. Tapioca Starch
Serve the world within your dog a high-protein diet based on chicken to satisfy your canine companion’s natural craving for meat. This weight management formula by Blue Buffalo Wilderness is a grain-free recipe that contains high-quality ingredients that keep your dog’s weight in check and support overall great health. The protein-rich meal has a limited amount of calories from fat and contains L-carnitine to help your dog develop strong and lean muscles. It includes LifeSource Bits that offer the best blend of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins to strengthen your dog’s immune system.
Help your dog stay in the best shape with a diet that’s rich in essential nutrients and contains low carbs to prevent unhealthy weight and health problems. The grain-free formula is prepared without corn, soy, wheat, or meat by-products.
2. Primal Lamb Formula Nuggets Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Dog Food
Protein (min.) 39% | Fat (min.) 38% | Fiber (max.) 1% | Moisture (max.) 3%
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Lamb Hearts, 2. Lamb Livers, 3. Ground Lamb Bones, 4. Organic Kale, 5. Organic Carrots
Primal’s complete and balanced freeze-dried raw formula contains 39% protein and 38% fat, leaving minimal carbs in the blend. This rich recipe is made with natural lamb organs free from steroids, hormones, and antibiotics. The lamb-based wholesome raw-food diet is an easy to prepare meal that offers various health benefits to your pooch. It is a nutritious and tasty food option packed with naturally derived minerals and vitamins to support your dog’s stronger immunity.
The best part about this food is its high-protein ratio that naturally fulfills your dog’s primal diet requirements. Not only it serves their taste buds, but it is a great way to maintain a healthy weight and overall great health. Witness your pooch lick the bowl clean and thrive on this balanced diet that’s low in carb content.
3. Purina Pro Plan Adult Shredded Blend Lamb & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food
Protein (min.) 26% | Fat (min.) 15% | Fiber (max.) 3% | Moisture (max.) 12%
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Lamb, 2. Rice, 3. Poultry By-product Meal, 4. Whole Grain Wheat, 5. Soybean Meal
This super-premium dry dog food by Purina Pro Plan is formulated with optimal levels of fat and protein. It is a low-carb diet option that features real lamb as the primary ingredient and main protein source. The blend also includes rice and various other healthy ingredients to maintain an ideal weight and body condition. Pick this wholesome recipe for your beloved pet that’s crafted into crunchy kibble with meaty shreds for greater palatability and delicious texture.
Fortified with vitamins A, omega-6 fatty acid, natural prebiotics, and probiotic fibers, the diet is also a great option for supporting your dog’s immune health and digestive system. Your furry friend is will definitely fall in love with this meaty food that contains all the essential nutrients they need to thrive.
4. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe with Red Meat Adult Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Protein (min.) 30% | Fat (min.) 15% | Fiber (max.) 6% | Moisture (max.) 10%
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Beef, 2. Fish Meal, 3. Peas, 4. Pea Starch, 5. Tapioca Starch
This grain-free formula by Blue Wilderness Rocky Mountain is based on dogs’ primal dietary requirements, fulfilling their need for higher protein content. The recipe cuts down on carbohydrates and has a very raw touch to it by imitating a diet derived from the wild. The focus is on keeping your pooch lean, active, alert, and sharper than ever. To guarantee this, the formula contains beef and fish meal for protein and a variety of vegetables and fruits for excellent weight management. The low carb content is another plus that helps prevent unnecessary weight gain and associated health problems.
Not only it’s a great meal for daily feeding, but this recipe is also free from chicken meat and poultry by-products, making it an excellent choice for dogs that are allergic to chicken. Additionally, this protein-rich food does not contain any harmful additives, corn, wheat, or soy.
5. Stella & Chewy’s Dandy Lamb Dinner Patties Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food
Protein (min.) 38% | Fat (min.) 38% | Fiber (max.) 5% | Moisture (max.) 5%
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Lamb, 2. Lamb Spleen, 3. Lamb Liver, 4. Lamb Heart, 5. Lamb Kidney
Provide your dog what he naturally craves with this perfect recipe featuring excellent nutrition for your dog. This Stella & Chewy freeze-dried raw diet is another low carb option that emulates their wild ancestors’ diet. This all-natural recipe is rich in protein and is crafted from sustainably-sourced ingredients to provide your pooch with the nutrition he can thrive on. The recipe contains 95% grass-fed lamb, bones, and organs, and 100% certified organic veggies and fruits. In simple words, it offers the best benefits of raw nutrition to your dog. What’s more is the convenience of preparing their freeze-diet food, which only requires adding water and viola!
Offer your pooch complete and balanced nutrition that would keep him healthy and happy. The limited ingredient raw diet is made in the USA and is free from grain and gluten.
6. Earthborn Holistic Primitive Natural Grain-Free Natural Dry Dog Food
Protein (min.) 38% | Fat (min.) 20% | Fiber (max.) 2.5% | Moisture (max.) 10%
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Turkey Meal, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Peas, 4. Dried Egg, 5. Pea Starch
This protein-rich formula contains chicken meal, turkey meal, and whitefish meal, all sustainably-sourced to ensure high-quality. The gluten-free recipe is low in carbohydrates to offer your dog a better balance of nutritional benefits. In addition to the protein sources, the recipe also includes a variety of carefully selected fruits and veggies, including apples, carrots, blueberries, peas, and spinach. All the ingredients blend to craft the delicious, crunchy kibble that guarantees your dog’s overall wellness.
This Earthborn formula also promotes body conditioning and lean muscle mass, ensuring maximum activity, and a healthier lifestyle. It includes L-carnitine that converts body fat into energy and muscle, keeping your pooch up and active all day long. The food is prepared using only high-quality, gluten-free ingredients, and high-tech processing to improve nutrient absorption and digestibility.
7. Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free Chicken & Duck Recipe in Broth Wet Dog Food
Protein (min.) 11% | Fat (min.) 2% | Fiber (max.) 1.5% | Moisture (max.) 83%
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken Broth, 3. Pumpkin, 4. Canola Oil, 5. Duck
Nature’s Recipe dog food is exactly what the name suggests – natural! The food is simple and prepared using only premium-quality ingredients to ensure delicious and healthy meals for your furry buddy. If you’re looking for a low-carb wet food option, this recipe won’t disappoint you. Prepared with bits in broth, the delectable formula offers 100% complete and balanced nutrition that works for all breeds. It contains no artificial flavors or preservatives and is made with real animal protein.
The grain-free formula does not contain animal by-product meals and includes added essential vitamins to support your dog’s health and immune system. The wholesome blend of carefully selected ingredients is highly palatable and served as a savory broth that your dog won’t resist.
8. Nulo Freestyle Turkey & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Adult Dry Dog Food
Protein (min.) 33% | Fat (min.) 18% | Fiber (max.) 4% | Moisture (max.) 10%
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Turkey, 2. Turkey Meal, 3. Salmon Meal, 4. Chickpeas, 5. Chicken Fat
The grain-free adult formula is suitable for all breeds and offers low-carb nutrition to support your dog’s great health. The Nulo Freestyle recipe has 85% animal-based protein and other low-glycemic ingredients. For dogs that cannot digest chicken and egg protein, this formula works best for them. Since it has a higher animal-based protein, it also means higher amino acid content, which aids in fueling lean muscles.
In addition to low-glycemic ingredients, the recipe also boasts advanced probiotics that help with digestion. Provide your pooch the nutrition they deserve with this rich recipe containing essential fatty acids to keep your dog’s coat and skin in the best shape.
9. American Journey Limited Ingredient Diet Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Canned Dog Food
Protein (min.) 9% | Fat (min.) 6% | Fiber (max.) 1.5% | Moisture (max.) 78%
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken Broth, 3. Chicken Liver, 4. Sweet Potatoes, 5. Flaxseed
This American Journey’s limited-ingredient-diet is a low carb canned food that you can serve your furry fella. It is a flavorful blend in the form of pate that’s specially designed for sensitive dogs using high-quality and limited ingredients. It works perfect for sensitive dogs because this grain-free diet eliminates common allergens such as wheat, corn, and soy. It includes real chicken as the primary ingredient and protein source in the blend, followed by wholesome sweet potatoes and chicken broth.
The low-carb formula serves as a nutritious meal for your dog that doesn’t only satisfy their taste buds but also delivers powerful nutrients, including essential amino acids. Manufactured in the USA, give your pup a diet that’s made from carefully selected premium ingredients from trusted suppliers.
10. Merrick Real Chicken + Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Adult Dry Dog Food
Protein (min.) 34% | Fat (min.) 17% | Fiber (max.) 3.5% | Moisture (max.) 11%
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Turkey Meal, 4. Sweet Potatoes, 5. Potatoes
Your four-legged buddy deserves nothing but the best when it comes to nutrition. This grain-free recipe by Merrick contains real chicken and sweet potatoes as an alternative to complex carbs in the blend. The recipe is thoughtfully prepared using only whole foods to guarantee great health benefits for your dog. The high-quality protein is based on real deboned chicken with various other ingredients that offer complete and balanced nutrition to your pooch.
The blend includes 65% fats and proteins and 35% produce, vitamins, fiber, minerals, and other natural ingredients. The glucosamine and chondroitin in the recipe help maintain great bone health by keeping joints and hips healthy. In addition to keeping your dog weight in check, the omega fatty acids present in the formula keeps your dog’s coat and skin in the best shape too.
11. TruDog Feed Me Crunchy Munchy Beef Bonanza Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Dog Food
Protein (min.) 41% | Fat (min.) 28% | Fiber (max.) 4% | Moisture (max.) 5%
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Beef, 2. Beef Tripe, 3. Beef Lung, 4. Ground Beef Bone, 5. Beef Liver
This one is delicious raw dog food made with premium-quality beef meat, blood, bone, organs, and herring oil. The TruDog formula is rich in protein and contains limited carbs to keep your dog in the best shape. Also, the recipe is also free of gluten, wheat, soy, corn, fillers, grains, artificial flavors, antibiotics, artificial coloring, hormones, salt, and added sugar. It has a freeze-dried formula that’s not only easy to prepare but has locked in all essential nutrients that enhances the flavor of the meal. Suitable for dogs in all life stages and all breeds, this natural recipe is also hypoallergenic.
If you have a picky eater at home that you don’t want to feed too many carbs to, this tasty food will serve as an irresistible option that your dog will come running for wagging his tail.
12. VICTOR Select Nutra Pro Active Dog & Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food
Protein (min.) 38% | Fat (min.) 18% | Fiber (max.) 3.5% | Moisture (max.) 9%
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken Meal, 2. Blood Meal, 3. Whole Grain Millet, 4. Chicken Fat, 5. Yeast Culture
Featuring 92% meat protein, Victor’s nutrient-dense formula is rich in protein and healthy fats and contains low levels of carbs. The recipe is fortified with minerals, vitamins, protein, amino acids, and essential fatty acids and contains a premium-quality chicken meal. It includes a healthy blend of ingredients that aid with sensitive digestion and is also a suitable diet for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
The no-corn, no-wheat, and no-soy formula is made from gluten-free grains to help your dog keep up with his daily activities. All the ingredients are carefully picked to ensure your dog has healthy digestive and strong immune systems.
13. The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Chicken Recipe Dehydrated Dog Food
Protein (min.) 24% | Fat (min.) 15% | Fiber (max.) 6.5% | Moisture (max.) 8.5%
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Dehydrated Chicken, 2. Organic Flaxseed, 3. Dehydrated Potatoes, 4. Dehydrated Sweet Potatoes, 5. Dried Apples
Serve your dog this dehydrated food recipe that is both delicious and nutritious. This healthy meal by The Honest Kitchen includes grain-free ingredients and is packed with protein derived from free-range chicken and a variety of high-quality fruits and vegetables including green beans, sweet potatoes, de-cored apples, pumpkin, bananas, and more. With this food in hand, you can rest assured that your dog is getting the best nutrition without excessive carbs. It is a low-carb option produced in human-grade facility to ensure maximum goodness.
Since dehydrated food options are also rich in natural minerals and vitamins, your little furry friend gets everything he needs to stay healthy and thrive. This recipe works for all breeds.
14. Diamond Naturals Extreme Athlete Formula Dry Dog Food
Protein (min.) 32% | Fat (min.) 25% | Fiber (max.) 4% | Moisture (max.) 10%
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken Meal, 2. Chicken, 3. Ground White Rice, 4. Chicken Fat, 5. Cracked Pearled Barley
This is another low carb dog food recipe by Diamond Naturals is a great pick for athletic and super active dogs. Your hardworking hound deserves nothing but the best when it comes to nutrition. This recipe offers superior nutrition and has a special formula that suits athletic dogs that stay active all day long. The recipe is enhanced with wholesome superfoods and guaranteed probiotics to support your dog’s overall health and development. It contains real cage-free chicken as the primary protein source, followed by various fruits and veggies to fuel your active dog’s muscles.
Provide your dog with a complete and balanced diet that’s not only rich in nutrients but also highly digestible. Made without corn, filler, wheat, colors, artificial flavors, or preservatives, the kibble is also rich in chondroitin and glucosamine to support your pal’s joint health.
15. Wysong Epigen 90 Starch-Free Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog & Cat Food
Protein (min.) 63% | Fat (min.) 16% | Fiber (max.) 3% | Moisture (max.) 10%
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken Meal, 2. Organic Chicken, 3. Meat Protein Isolate, 4. Chicken Fat, 5. Gelatin
If you’re looking for the best meal for your super active, athletic dog, this one by Wysong Epigen is the one! Nourish your furry fella with a specialized diet designed to meet nutritional standards and optimize absolute wellness. Fill your dog’s bowl with this rich kibble formulated with high-quality nutrients that are essential for your furry pal to stay active and energetic all day long. Serve your hard-working dog a meal that is not only grain-free and low in carbs but contains as much as 63% protein. This diet works for all breeds and has a starch-free formula closest to a dog’s primal diet.
The ultra-high protein recipe also features apple pectin and chia seeds along with antioxidants, probiotics, minerals, vitamins, and omega fatty acids to help support your dog’s overall health and maintain a lustrous coat.
In this section, I have included all the important information that will help you make the right decision and buy the best low carbs dog food.
Understanding Carbs for Dogs
To understand carbs and why they should or should be in dog food, you first need to figure out if dogs even need carbohydrates. Read on to learn more about this nutrient and why a low carb option is healthier for dogs.
Do Dogs Need Carbs?
Here’s the truth: No they don’t!
Dogs do not require carbohydrates to stay healthy because it isn’t their primary source of nutrients. Your dog’s diet should be based on the two main nutrients that are protein and fat. Carbs should be more like an afterthought.
Now the statement above doesn’t really mean that carbs are necessarily bad for your dogs. In fact, there are certain types of carbs that your pup may need to stay active and energized throughout the day. What you need to know is the difference between good sources of carbs and carbs that are present in modern dog food diets. Some formulas may contain too many carbohydrates, which can eventually cause problems.
Now compare how carbs can affect us, humans. Consuming too much of this nutrient from junk food, sugary drinks, cakes, and bread can lead to weight gain. This calls for following diets and lifestyles that cut the carbs out of your life. Carbs are believed to affect dogs in a similar way. Dog diets that are rich in carbohydrates lead to increased body fat. This will ultimately reduce muscle mass, decrease activity levels, and cause tons of health problems. By lowering your dog’s carb intake, these problems can be avoided.
When you lower the carb quantity, it will naturally increase protein and fat content in the diet. This is exactly the ultimate fuel your dog needs to stay healthy and active.
Adding Carbs in Dog Food
So why add carbs to dog food when they’re not needed?
It’s more of a money game! Carbs are abundantly available in cheap ingredients. The most common sources of carbs used in dry kibble are wheat, corn, and soy.
Some manufacturers add more of these cheap ingredients as carb fillers into the formula, which reduces the overall cost of the product. These are often the low priced options on the pet food aisle but despite that lower price tag, manufacturers can get maximum savings by trading off your dog’s overall well-being and health.
Another major reason that dog foods contain carbs is because it is impossible to produce a dry food formula without starch. With this essential part the kibble would fall apart. Starches are often classified as carb because of their same characteristics. Manufacturers add tons of carbs to create durable kibble.
Check out this video to learn more about why manufacturers add carbs to dog food:
Simple Carbs vs. Complex Carbs
To understand carbs completely, it is important to learn more about the types.
But before we get to that information, let’s get one things clear: no dog food is prepared without carb.
Sure you can make homemade dog food without carbohydrates, but that would require calculating the nutrients and investing in a raw protein diet.
If you’re looking for the best low carbs dog foods readily available in the market, do remember that they will all have some carbs in them. In addition to looking for options with lower carb content, you can also limit their food to complex carbs only. Contrary to what the name suggests, complex carbs are much healthier for dogs as compared to simple carbs. Here’s the comparison:
Simple Carbs are absorbed into your dog’s body very rapidly and often stored as fats. These are commonly present in dog food in the shape of corn, wheat, and soy. The consumption of more simple carbs can result in sudden energy hike that ends on a subsequent crash.
Complex Carbs, on the other hand, are exactly the opposite. These are broken down and are absorbed by the body at a much lower rate.
Instead of the sudden energy burst, complex carbs will deliver a more gradual supply of energy so your dog can stay active and sustain throughout the day. This is not only great for regular home dogs but also athletic and working dogs. The regular supply of energy will keep them going all day long. Some common examples of complex carbs present in dog food include peas, sweet potatoes, oats, legumes, and more.
Feeding a Low-Carb Diet to Dogs – The Benefits
Now that we know the problems of feeding a high carb diet to dogs, it’s easier to see the good side. Here are the top benefits you can offer your dog with a low carb diet:
Just like humans, cutting down on carbs can help with weight loss. If you’re trying to look for a more suitable weight control option for your overweight dog, a low carb option is good to start with. With a low carb diet, overweight or obese dogs can successfully lose their fats and get into better shape and health.
Improved Digestive System
Dogs with a sensitive digestive system can digest low carb food better. In addition to helping a malfunctioning digestive system, a low carb diet also reduces symptoms for dogs with inflammation in their bowel movement.
Better Overall Health
Since weight is associated with a list of other health problems, your dog can have better overall health by avoiding a carb-dense diet. Dogs diagnosed with cancer or diabetes tend to become healthier by lowering their carb consumption and benefitting from crude protein’s healing properties. Similarly, health issues like problems with muscle growth, heart deformities, and kidney issues can also be avoided by keeping your dog’s weight in check by limiting their carb consumption.
Perfect for Allergies
Low carb dog food is considered an ideal option for dogs with allergies. Carbs also work as common allergens and the lack of them will cause little or no allergic reactions.
Features to Consider When Picking the Best Low Carbs Dog Food
Not all carbohydrates are created equal. But if you want to completely eliminate the carbs, you should look for carb-free dog food or make your dog meals at home.
Check out the important features of the best low carb dog foods to make a smart choice.
Animal Source of Protein
Low carb diets are naturally denser in protein. Protein should always be on top of the ingredient list. Dogs thrive on diets that predominantly contain animal meat. Also, just like carbs, not all protein is created the same. Mystery meats and byproducts should be avoided. Not only they have a questionable source, but they’re often inferior in terms of quality and nutritional value. Opt for whole animal meats instead as they’re packed with amino acids that aids with building and maintaining muscle mass.
High-quality food will list at least 5% of fat. While protein should be on top of the list, having a little conservative approach with fat is important. And even though it’s a crucial nutrient, fat in higher quantity can lead to unwanted weight gain, defeating the overall purpose of feeding low carb food to your dog.
It is best to stick to options that contain natural fat from the protein. Avoid recipes that contain additional animal fat, especially if you have a lazy dog. However, fish oil and flaxseed oil are good fats as they contain omega fatty acids that help with your pooch’s cardiovascular health and even help maintain great skin and coat quality.
Simple or Complex
As mentioned above, always prefer complex carbs over simple carbs. Complex carbohydrates are packed in more nutrients, contain high fiber content, and digest slowly. This makes them more filling and helps sustain energy levels. They’re also a good option for weight control and are ideal for diabetic dogs, and help manage blood sugar spikes after meals.
Minerals, Vitamins, and Fatty Acids
In addition to great protein, additional vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids in dog food will guarantee more nutrients necessary for your dog’s overall well-being. Foods rich in these added nutrients add to the daily maintenance of your pooch’s bones, teeth, coat, fur, vision, and more.
Calculating Carb Content in Dog Food – The Formula
Unfortunately, most manufacturers do not mention the carb content on the nutrient profile. You need to do the calculation yourself. Check out the ‘guaranteed analysis’ table for the nutrient profile of the food you have shortlisted.
Now add the protein, fat, fiber, ash, and protein and subtract the total by 100. And viola! The figure you have is the total percentage of carb in the food.
Does grain-free food means it has low carb content?
Not necessarily. Grain-free food simply means the food has no grains. The food option may still contain tapioca, oats, or other ingredients that consists of carbohydrates. However, the grain-free concept is often used by manufacturers to deceive consumers into believing that the food contains less carbs.
How many carbs can I feed my dog in a day?
Your dog’s diet should mainly depend on their age, breed, weight, health condition, and level of activity. And since carbs are not necessary for a dog’s diet, there are no rules about how many carbs should you feed your dog in a day. According to the standard guidelines, carbs should not be more than 30%.
It is also important to remember that protein serves better than carbs for energy. So the minimal the carbs, the better.
Is carbs the reason why my dog is gaining so much weight?
It depends on the type and amount of carbs your dog is consuming. Too much of both simple and complex carbs can cause your dog to gain weight.