The Low Carb Diet Has Gone to the Dogs

KRISTIE LEE

Low carb diets are popular in human wellness.

Now they’ve found their way into mainstream dog foods too. In the United States alone, close to 60 percent of the dog population is too fat.

Clinical studies have shown that low carb dog food can prevent and treat obesity better than low-fat diets. There is also good evidence it reduces seizures in dogs.

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Controlling your dog’s weight can help them live up to two years longer! It also reduces the chance of joint problems, heart disease, and cancer.

Digging up the Dirt on Low Carb Dog Food

Every dog will have a different requirement for the exact amount of carbohydrates that suits them best. In general, anything below 20 percent is low. Anything above 40 percent is too high. Finding the right balance depends on the reason WHY you feed low carb formulas.

Before we get into how much your dog needs, you should know:

  • All dog food will have at least SOME carbohydrates.
  • Dry kibble will always have more carbs than wet food. Carb-containing ingredients are what gives kibble is hard form and shape.
  • Dog food companies are not required to list carbs on the label.
  • Grain-free and low-calorie dog food is not always low carb. In fact, some of it has MORE than regular dog food.
  • You’re going to pay more for the best low carb dog foods. QUALITY meat and plant ingredients cost more than cheap fillers and grains.
  • Not every dog will like a low carb diet right away. If you’ve ever tried to give up junk food, then you know how hard it can be to change your ways.

How Many Carbs ARE Needed?

  • Ultra-Low Carb Dog Food, below 10 percent, is a GOOD choice or dogs that are overweight and have diabetes or cancer.
  • Low carb dog food, between 11 and 20 percent, would be a good choice – If your dog has NO health problems, but you’re worried he or she might in the future.
  • Dog food with a moderately low carb content of less than 40 percent is a good regular diet for healthy dogs at LOW risk of developing problems. Many dogs do digest some carbohydrates just fine, as long as the ingredients have a low glycemic index. Like us, daily EXERCISE goes a long way towards burning off extra carbs we don’t need.

You can calculate the carb content on any dog food label yourself. Simply add together the percentages of fat, protein, fiber, ash and moisture content on the label. Subtract 100 from your total and the result is the total amount of carbohydrates in the food. If Ash content ISN’T listed, you can estimate it at eight percent.

What to Look For

the TOP 5 BEST Low Carb Dog Foods!

Here is our take on the Top 5 BEST low carb dog foods alongside the actual percentage of carbs we found in each recipe:

Ketona Chicken Recipe Low Carb Adult Food

Click HERE for Price on Chewy / Click HERE for Price on Amazon

Carb Content: 8%

Ketona gets less than eight percent of its digestible energy from carbohydrate ingredients. This makes it one of the LOWEST carb dog foods available in a kibble form. The formula is packed with essential fatty acids from flaxseed.

Pros:

  • It is very low in carbs and high in protein and healthy fats
  • All ingredients are sourced from the United States, Chile and Norway
  • Contains no potatoes or cereal ingredients
  • Has added vitamin and mineral supplements
  • It comes in a convenient, easy to feed dry kibble.

Cons:

  • While it does contain a digestive enzyme, it does not have live probiotics
  • There’s no indication on whether meat is organically sourced
  • The company’s claim that there’s no need to transition to this diet slowly is questionable.

Visionary Keto Pet Foods

Click HERE for Price on Chewy / Click HERE for Price on Amazon

Carb content: 1% (Note: Amount of Ash is estimated)

The primary ingredients of Visionary Keto Pet Foods are chicken, chicken fat, eggs, chicken liver and miscanthus grass. The formula contains approximately 46 percent proteins and 33 percent fats. It is a great option for dogs with serious obesity and diabetes-related problems.

Pros:

  • It’s high in dietary fiber, which may be helpful or diabetic and obese pets
  • It contains no grains or fillers
  • It contains gelatin, which may have a limited benefit for joint health
  • It’s appropriate for all life stages
  • It’s processed over low heat, which does a better job of preserving delicate nutrients.

Cons:

  • It is very high in fiber, which may increase stools
  • It lacks label information on amounts of taurine
  • A few owners have reported increased thirst in their dogs on this formula.

Nulo Adult Grain Free Dog Food

Click HERE for Price on Chewy / Click HERE for Price on Amazon

Carb content: 31.5%

Nulo’s carb count isn’t quite as low as some of the others on our list. But it is still well within the ideal levels. The main sources of protein are salmon, turkey and fish meal. The formula is free of eggs and chicken, which can contribute to food allergies and itchy skin.

Pros:

  • It has multiple ingredient sources
  • It contains added probiotics to help aid digestion
  • It is preserved with rosemary extract
  • It is made in the United States
  • It does not contain eggs or chicken, which are common food allergy triggers.

Cons:

  • It does contain potatoes
  • It has no label information on taurine amounts
  • Picky dogs may not like the smell or taste.

Ketogenic Pet Foods

Not Available on Chewy / Click HERE for Price on Amazon

Carb content: 6.5% (Note: Amount of Ash is estimated)

Keotgenic Pet Foods is a good option for those looking for something in the ultra-low-carb category. For example it may be beneficial for dogs suffering from cancer. It is strictly meat-based, with no added vegetables, plants or grains. The ingredients are chicken, coconut oil, avocado oil, and rice bran oil. It is called a ketogenic diet, and may be also an Atkins type diet – very high in good fats, high in protein and very few carbs.

Pros:

  • It is solely fat and meat based
  • Has added taurine
  • Chewy, freeze dried formula that any size or age dog can eat
  • High in omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids
  • It is starch free.

Cons:

  • It must be introduced to the diet very slowly
  • It is not actually a “ketogenic” diet, which typically has less fat
  • It only comes in small containers, which may make it cost-prohibitive for feeding large dogs.

Victor Select Nutra Pro Active Dog and Puppy

Click HERE for Price on Chewy / Click HERE for Price on Amazon

Carb content: 23.5%

For sporting dogs and puppies on a low carb diet, Victor’s Nutra pro is a great option. It contains approximately 22 percent carbs. Main ingredients are chicken and blood meal, with added chicken fat and sorghum. Overall, it has a good nutrient profile with added probiotics and botanical supplements.

Pros:

  • Low carb formula with a chicken base
  • Green tea and yucca extract
  • Contains three different probiotics
  • Provides adequate calories for active dogs and puppies
  • Most dogs seem to like the flavor.

Cons:

  • It uses rendered meals as main ingredients
  • It may cause diarrhea in some dogs
  • It has too many calories per serving for overweight dogs.

here’s our winner!

Ketona Chicken Recipe Low Carb Adult Food

Click HERE for Price on Chewy / Click HERE for Price on Amazon

Ketona Chicken low carb food gets almost 85 percent of its protein from non-rendered meat. 15 percent comes from healthy ingredients such as peas and pea protein. The eight percent carb content is good for both healthy, normal dogs and those needing a strict, controlled diet. It also has added omega fatty acids and a natural digestive enzyme. This makes it the best all round pick in our low carb lineup.

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