High protein low carb dog food is essential for your canine athlete. From hunting dogs to dogs on the police force, any dog that works hard on a regular basis must be fed accordingly. Dog foods filled with cheap carbohydrates only serve to make dogs fat. Plus, dogs cannot transfer carbohydrates into energy as efficiently as they can fats, thus resulting in faster burn out.
Did you know wolves don’t eat any carbs in the wild? Despite what nature tells is right for dogs, dog food brands continue to stuff their “premium” foods with carbohydrate fillers.
So, what makes a good quality dog food?
Only 15% of foods in the US are considered high protein low-carb dog foods. This is concerning considering how important this type of diet is for dogs, especially hunting and sporting dogs. Luckily, there are a lot of high-quality dog foods out there you simply need to know what to look for. Here are 5 of the most important factors to consider when assessing high protein low carb dog foods.
1. Quality of protein source
The Nutrition Facts are important but the ingredients are often more telling. A dog food may contain high protein levels, but you must read the ingredients to identify where the protein really comes from. Not all protein sources digest the same way for your dog. For instance, high levels of meat by-products (beaks, bones, feathers, etc.) may technically measure as protein, but they don’t provide a suitable protein source for your dog.
Keep in mind, there is such thing as too much protein. Some dogs don’t need as much protein as others and too much protein can lead to upset stomach and digestive issues.
2. First and last ingredients
The first ingredients are the most prominently packed inside a dog food, aka the majority of whatever your dog eats. Any dog foods that list meat by-products as the first ingredient are rap with a C, if you know what I mean. While the last ingredients are in much smaller quantities they are still important. Here’s where you’re likely to find a list of unnatural fillers and preservatives. If an ingredient sounds funky, look it up and see what it is.
What about chicken meal vs. real chicken? Chicken meal is made up of dry chicken flesh and skin, and may also include ground up bones. Bones, beaks and other byproducts of animals are technically considered protein, but they are not the most digestible or reliable source of protein for your dog.
Even some of the highly-recommended dog foods on this list contain fish meal, chicken meal, and so forth. That’s because real chicken (and other meat) is hard to handle and more expensive. Some argue real chicken offers less protein than chicken meal because it contains more moisture and you can’t pack as much into each kibble. Chicken meal may vary in nutritional content based on how it’s produced. For instance, if it is dried out too heavily it’ll lose its amino acids.
Real chicken can cost as much as 50% more than chicken meal, yet another reason it is such a common ingredient in dog food. When reading the ingredients take into consideration how much turkey meal vs. real turkey is packed inside, and what other ingredients are included as well.
3. Limited carbs
Dogs don’t load up on carbs in the wild. Starchy and sugary carbohydrates make dogs as fat and lazy as humans who eat too much of the same. Unfortunately, carbs offer a cheap filler and are added to just about every dog food. All dog foods, even the best of the best grain-free options, include some carbohydrates. The important thing is that your dog consumes fewer carbs than fats and proteins combined.
Additionally, certain studies have shown that you can virtually “starve” cancer cells by depriving them of the sugar—or fuel—they need to grow and thrive. That means it’s possible that dogs fed high-carb diets are at a greater risk of developing cancer.
4. Weighing the Costs
Price matters because even with the stock market on a rip, most of us still adhere to a budget. You’ll find low carb high protein dog foods at all price points on our list. Purina offers one of the most affordable options that contains quality ingredients and packs a lot of protein.
5. Country of Origin
Pet food manufacturing plants in the USA are held to higher standards than plants in many other countries, albeit manufacturing in these locations is usually much cheaper. Companies that source production in cheaper countries are looking to cut corners and save a buck, which might be completely harmless. Or, it may carry over into other practices and impact the quality of dog food. There are so many great dog foods made right here in the USA, some featured on this list.
Here are some of the best low carb, high protein dog foods out there.
Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free High Protein
Protein Content - 32.0%
Taste of the Wild Pet foods is a committed family owned USA run company that's main focus in on providing quality products with rich whole foods. Inside the bag, you'll find ingredients like buffalo meat, lamb meal, sweet potatoes, peas and numerous other whole foods and nutrients.
All ingredients are hand selected and trusted by Taste of the Wild to ensure that they are coming from sustainable sources around the world. Made with no grain, corn, wheat, or artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. Taste of the Wild high protein dog food is one of the leading brands.
- 30 lb. Bag
- Real Roasted Bison Meat #1 Ingredient
- Made in the USA
CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Dry Dog Food
Protein Content - 34.0%
Inspired by a dog's natural diet, CRAVE introduces a rich high protein dog food that's first ingredient is Salmon. Packed with 34% protein CRAVE adult high protein dog food is designed to provide your dog with rich nutrients and taste. Specifically, formulated with absolutely no soy, grains, corn, or wheat fillers.
With such a rich high protein dog food it will lead to giving your dog a lean, healthy body with energy to exercise and hunt. You won't find any preservatives, artificial flavors or colors, just like the Taste of the Wild high protein dog food.
- 22 lb. Bag
- High-quality Salmon Protein
- Quality Ingredients With No Additives
Diamond Naturals Real Meat Low Carb Dog Food
Protein Content - 25.0%
Meticulously manufactured in the USA, Diamond Naturals dog food is specifically formulated in the top facilities under extreme quality control measures. With beef protein as the first rich protein ingredient. Diamond makes sure that only the best superfoods and rich nutrients are in their dog food to ensure that they provide energy and muscle building blocks for your dog.
Diamond is a natural dog food that has whole foods like fruits and vegetables that are designed to be highly digestible allowing your dog to absorb the quality nutrients to help provide health muscles and energy levels.
- 40 lb. Bag
- Rich Beef Protein
- Trusted Family Owned Company
Purina Pro Plan SPORT High Protein Dog Food
Protein Content - 30.0%
Purina is one of the largest if not the largest pet food and animal nutrition companies in the world. With access to some of the top animal nutritionists and chemists, you can have the confidence in knowing Purina Pro Plan is formulated to help your dog perform.
Purina Pro Plan is specifically formulated to contain 30% protein and 20% fat, which is a balanced performance diet for all life states. Designed to fuel metabolic needs and maintain lean muscle.
- 37.5 lb. Bag
- #1 Protein is Chicken
- Dependable Brand
Nature's Variety Instinct High Protein Dog Food
Protein Content - 47.0%
Nature's Instinct is the number one high protein dog food if you are looking at the percentage of protein along. Packed with 47% protein, made of cage-free chicken. This dog food is one of the only ones that is packed with real pure meat in every bite. It does come at a higher price point, however, if a high protein diet is what you are seeking in your dog's food, this is your top choice.
Compared to other brands Instinct is some of the most digestible high protein dog food on the market. Made entirely with no grain, potato, wheat, soy, corn, or any by-products, flavors, or preservatives. Instinct is one of the best dog foods if you are looking for optimal nutrient absorption for your dog.
- 20 lb. Bag
- #1 Protein is Cage-Free Chicken
- Grain Free
Brothers Complete Low Carb Dog Food
Protein Content - 36.00%
Brothers dog food obtains its cassava/tapioca from the roots of cassava plants, a low glycemic carbohydrate. This eliminates the presence of milk and sugars and more closely resembles your dog’s natural diet. According to the manufacturer:
“Additionally some studies have shown that up to 50% of the tapioca starch survives the digestive process and, instead of being absorbed into the bloodstream as a starch, gets to the colon where it feeds the beneficial bacteria that are essential for the health and functioning of the colon, the immune system, and the body as a whole. In effect, this diversion of starch to feed the beneficial bacteria makes brothers an even more concentrated source of protein and nutrients than the assured analysis reveals.”
- 25 lb. Bag
- Advanced allergy care
- Ingredients offer a more concentrated form of proteins and nutrients
BLUE Wilderness Rocky High Protein Dog Food
Protein Content - 30.00%
BLUE Wilderness food always starts with protein-rich Beef. No chicken by-products or fillers. No corn, soy, or wheat is added to the food to increase calorie count. Along with no artificial flavors or preservatives are added to the quality rich dog food. Instead, Blue Wilderness focuses on high protein grain-free mix that helps to build muscle and promote lean figure for your dogs.
Designed with a mixture of calcium, essential vitamins, and phosphorus, the Rocky Mountain High Protein dog food is designed to promote strong bones and healthy teeth.
- 22 lb. Bag
- Grain-Free & High Protein Dog Food
- Promotes Healthy Weight
Purina One Smartblend Low Carb Dog Food
Protein Content - 30.00%
Purina ONE SmartBlend is a formulation that is unique and different from Purina Pro Plan Sport. Instead of chicken, ONE SmartBlend uses real Turkey as the number one ingredient, as well as venison. The ingredients have no poultry by-product meals, only whole real foods.
The food and formulation are inspired by a dog's natural diet. Therefore, the choice of food is nutrient-dense found in nature. As a result, you get a food that is packed full of wholesome nutrients providing a 100% balanced diet that helps support body health for active adult dogs.
- 27.5 lb. Bag
- Highly Digestible Nutrients
- Turkey & Venison Protein
Blue Wilderness High Protein Dog Food
Protein Content - 32.00%
Blue Wilderness has not only been able to formulate one of the leading all natural dog foods. But they have started to formulate specific blends with select ingredients. For example, their leading high protein dog food is rich in protein with a robust 32%, mostly derived from deboned Salmon.
Specially formulated with no chicken by-product meal, corn soy, or wheat. The High protein dog food from Blue Wilderness is sure to help promote overall body health in adult dog breeds.
- 24 lb. Bag
- #1 Ingredient is Salmon
- Zero Grain & High Protein Dog Food
Nutro Lite and Weight Low Carb Dog Food
Protein Content - 23.00%
Nutro Lite and Weight is a wholesome recipe that helps to promote healthy weight in adult dog breeds. With protein derived from farm-raised chicken, the food has a natural sustainable source of protein for your dog. However, that's not the only whole food Nutro selected for their food. Sweet potatoes and lentils help to provide this dog food with a rich nutrient packed blend filled with natural flavors your dog will enjoy.
Nutro has a history of partnering with sustainable farms that are trusted and dependable. As a result, your dog is sure to get a low carb dog food that is packed with the same nutrient-rich contents year after year. No artificial flavors, preservatives or grains are used to fill this food. Instead, only the finest products are chosen for this dog food.
- 30 lb. Bag
- #1 Ingredient is Chicken
- Zero Grain & High Protein Dog Food
Does Your Dog Need More than Just a Low Carb High Protein Food?
High protein low carb dog foods offer the best source of nutrition for all dogs, especially athletic dogs. You can’t forget fats either! Fats are vital to your dog’s health in so many ways. While many of the dog foods on this list contain quality fats, adding a supplement that contains healthy fats, like omega 3 fatty acids, is a great way to ensure your dog is getting the nutrients necessary to repair joint damage and maintain a healthy heart and coat.
Vitality is the first omega-3 supplement made especially for hunting and sporting dogs. Each bottle packs 15,000 mg of krill oil, sustainably sourced from krill living in Alaska’s pure waters. Vitality offers natural protection and support for your dog’s heart, joints, skin and coat.