It seems like a no brainer that a high protein, low carb diet is absolutely essential for your dog’s health.
Dogs are natural carnivore’s. Their closest cousin in the wild, the wolf, eats a high protein diet. Not to mention that many dogs work their bodies hard on a regular basis. Just think about police dogs, hunting dogs, and guide dogs. Even your daily walks, runs, hikes, and playtime is hard work.
Yet, many commercial dog food brands are filled with cheap carbohydrates. This is less than ideal for dogs. They make them sluggish and overweight.
While every dog is different and some need less protein than others, basically all healthy dogs need a high protein diet.
Only 15% of dog food in the US is low carb and high protein. It is important to make sure you choose the right, high protein option for your dog.
So what makes a good quality dog food and how do you choose the right one?
Let’s talk about it!
What Role Do Carbs Play In Your Dog’s Diet?
While cats are obligate carnivores – which means meat is their biological necessity – dogs are different.
Dogs are scavenging carnivores. They are primarily meat-eaters, however, when meat is not available, they can survive on plant foods, at least for a while. They also need some level of plants, such as some fruits and veggies in their diet. Wolves, their wild cousins, are hunters that eat their entire prey, including their stomach, which is filled with plant materials.
However, it is important to note that the primary macronutrients dogs need are protein and carbs. They do not have a biological need for too many carbs though. Some vegetables and fruits can provide fiber and nutrients, however, a low carb diet is ultimately ideal for dogs.
What Are The Benefits Of A Low Carb Diet For Dogs?
Dogs are able to get their nutritional needs from a balanced, meat-based diet. Raw food diets are absolutely ideal for dogs. Even if you find it expensive, it is important to invest in your dog’s health. You can save a lot on vet bills! Even if your dog is not on a full raw food diet, it is important to buy high-quality, high-protein dog food for them.
If your dog is used to kibbles and other commercial foods made with too many carbs, it is important to adjust their diet slowly. Introduce them to their now highly nutritious high protein diet slowly. You won’t regret it.
Low carb diets for dogs are fantastic for their digestive health, especially if they have inflammatory bowel disease, food allergies or sensitivities, or other tummy troubles. It is great for their fur coat, skin, energy levels, and weight as well.
Characteristics Of Good Quality Dog Food
Quality Of Protein Source
Did you know that not all protein sources digest the same? Meat by-products, such as bones, beaks, and feathers, are technically high protein, but don’t digest well and are not as nutritious as high-quality raw meat.
First And Last Ingredients
When you look at the ingredient list, the first ingredient is the most prominent. You want to make sure that this is raw meat, not meat by-products, and definitely not carbs. Last ingredients have the smallest amounts, however, it is important to check them. You want to avoid any unnatural fillers and preservatives at all costs.
Let’s talk about the meat part a bit more. There is a difference between chicken meal and real chicken. Chicken meal is made of dry chicken by-products, such as chicken flesh, skin, and maybe bones. Fish meal and so on follows the same logic. Even many highly-recommended brands use chicken or other animal meal. Real chicken is costly, however, it is the better choice. Make sure that the product you are buying is at least 50% or more real chicken versus chicken meal, real turkey vs turkey meal, real fish vs fish meal, and so on. Again, raw meat is always the best choice.
Look At The Macronutrients
Dogs need a minimum of 18% protein, as well as 5% fat in their diet. Puppies need more: 22% protein and 8% fat. Remember, this is the minimum. Always make sure to read the labels correctly. Not only too many carbs, but too many calories from overfeeding can also result in overweight dogs.
Avoid Gluten And Grains
Even high protein, low carb dog food is not 100 percent protein. It shouldn’t be. Dogs need a good amount of fat and some carbs too. For dogs, gluten and grains are hard to digest and not natural. Sweet potatoes, peas, lentils, and tapioca are excellent gluten-free and grain-free options that can provide lots of fiber and vitamins. Additionally, fresh fruits and veggies, as well as animal-based fats are important.
Humans may need to carbo-load before a long run. Dogs don’t. Starchy and sugary carbs lead to bloating, weight gain, and health issues in dogs. Some vegetables and fruits can provide a healthy amount of good carbs in your dog’s diet while keeping it high protein. Stay away from dog food that is made with grains, corn, soy, and other carbs.
Weigh The Costs
Price matters. While high-quality raw dog food is often more expensive than your off-brand kibbles, the price is not always the best guide when you are looking for quality. There are some expensive brands with great marketing that are still made with animal by-products, grains, and carbs, instead of high-quality meals. Raw dog food can also be affordable, not to mention all the money you save on vet fees by keeping your pup healthy. While watching your wallet, make sure you read the labels too.
Country Of Origin
USA pet food manufacturing plants are kept to higher standards than the manufacturing plants in some other countries. If you look at the environmental factor, the less your dog’s food travels, the better it is for the environment.
Our Favorite Top 5 Low Carb Dog Foods
FEED ME Beef is the ideal raw dog food diet. You get the power of raw nutrition, without the thaw. There’s no defrosting, cooking, or mess. No need to refrigerate, FEED ME can be stored on your counter, in the pantry, or even in your bag or backpack as long as the bag is resealed after each use. It looks and smells like meat because it is meat! Why feed your dog powdered mixes or styrofoam-like blocks of freeze-dried food when you can fill your dog’s bowl with the meaty aroma and taste of real, quality, hand-deboned beef?
FEED ME Beef is made from USA sourced raw frozen and freeze-dried pet food.
It’s made with ground turkey with bone, meaty bones and whole organ meats. You will never find any grains, fillers, preservatives, or coloring in any of our products. It’s made in the USA.
Say no more to foul smelling doggie breath. This dog food is easy to digest, all-natural, hypoallergenic, appropriate for dogs of all ages and breeds, dog approved and dog preferred. No more fear of food contamination or harmful effects of filler-laden kibble! FEED ME makes happy healthy pets.
Rawgo™ is the new standard in premium species-appropriate raw dog food. Unlike traditional kibbles that are processed at high heat temperatures and infused with artificial nutrients and preservatives, Rawgo™ uses only gently air-dried raw premium cuts of meat, fruits, and vegetables to retain nature’s wholesome nutrients. Rawgo™ provides the meaty aroma and taste your dog loves as a dry or re-hydrated complete meal.
TruDog’s Rawgo™ is a dehydrated raw meat-based premium dog food that’s easy to feed. Using only high-quality select cuts of real meat and fresh wholesome herbs and veggies, Rawgo™ is the ideal diet for discerning dogs. It’s non-GMO!
TruDog’s BOOST ME is a freeze-dried , versatile supplement that contains simple ingredients packed with powerful nutrition. BOOST ME contains USA midwest-raised, high-quality cuts of raw beef muscle meat, vital beef organs, beef blood, beef bone, and a little herring oil to aid digestion. It’s the raw diet that Mother Nature intended for your dog to eat – without the mess and hassle. Freeze drying locks in the freshness without adding chemicals or cooking out vital nutrients your dog needs to stay healthy. BOOST ME enhances the nutritional value of your current dry or wet food and is an excellent choice for ill or senior dogs, finicky eaters, or a great way to transition to a freeze dried raw diet.
It’s one of the healthiest and yummiest treats for your dog. It is made in the USA from 100% Wild Alaskan Salmon. It’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids to boost immune system. There is NO wheat, corn, grains, sugar, fillers, chemicals or by-products, refined carbohydrates, or added salt. The benefits of these treats include improved healing time, reduced skin infections, nicer coat and drier skin.
A high-quality, high-protein, low-carb, raw food diet is the best for your dog’s health and energy levels. Make sure to follow our guide and read labels carefully to select the best for your furry friend. At TruDog we are committed to offering the most nutritious and healthiest raw food designed by holistic vets and dog nutritionists for your dog. Check out our shop to find our suggested foods and other high-quality raw dog foods and treats.
Do you feed your dog with a high protein diet? Have you given them raw food? What are your experiences? Share them in the comments, we would love to hear your thoughts and stories.