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8 Best Low Carb Dog Food Brands: Our 2022 Buyer’s Guide

Best Low Carb Dog Food

Is low-carb dog food necessary? We’ve seen an uptick in consumers who are choosing that option for their pets. And many dog sites are also pushing it for pups. So why are more and more people choosing this diet for their pets?

Dogs are omnivores by nature, but they are primarily meat-eaters. They can subsist on plant foods when meat is not available, but meat is still the best option for their bodies and what they prefer.

So what role do carbohydrates play in a dog’s diet? It is important to note that dogs don’t have any specific biological need for carbohydrates—protein and fat are the most important macronutrients in a balanced diet for dogs.

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Carbohydrates can, however, provide your dog with usable energy as well as dietary fiber and key nutrients. The thing to remember with carbohydrates, however, is that there are two different kinds—simple and complex. 

Simple carbohydrates require little digestive breakdown. Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, take longer to break down, which means that they provide a steady stream of slow-burning energy. It also means that they have a lesser effect on your dog’s blood sugar levels. This is important because high blood sugar can contribute to weight gain in dogs and may also lead to diabetes.

Still interested in the diet? Let us help you choose the best low carb dog food in the market today! We’ve personally tested some of these dog foods and had different batches of testers do the others. Everything was researched thoroughly and with the average consumer in mind. 

OUR TOP 3 PICKS FOR LOW CARB DOG FOODS

8 Best Low Carb Dog Food Brands: Our [year] Buyer's Guide 2
  • High content of L-carnitine
  • With natural fiber sources
  • Made from real bison
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8 Best Low Carb Dog Food Brands: Our [year] Buyer's Guide 4
  • Limited ingredient recipes
  • 50% off first order
  • Every recipe is handmade
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8 Best Low Carb Dog Food Brands: Our [year] Buyer's Guide 4
  • Made without extra calories
  • Precise balance of carbs and calories
  • Exclusive LifeSource Bits
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Our Top Picks for Low Carb Dog Foods

If you were to peruse the selection of recipes offered by most of the top pet food manufacturers, you would probably come across at least one low-carb recipe.

Not all pet food companies are dedicated to upholding a low-carb nutritional philosophy, however. If you want to find a low carb dog food that adheres to your dog’s natural evolutionary diet, we recommend the following:

IMAGE PRODUCT  
8 Best Low Carb Dog Food Brands: Our [year] Buyer's Guide 7
Nom Nom Fresh Pet Food
  • Limited ingredient recipes
  • 50% off First Order
  • Every recipe is handmade
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8 Best Low Carb Dog Food Brands: Our [year] Buyer's Guide 8
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Healthy Weight Chicken Recipe
  • Made without extra calories
  • Precise balance of carbs and calories
  • Exclusive LifeSource Bits
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8 Best Low Carb Dog Food Brands: Our [year] Buyer's Guide 9
Earthborn Holistic Great Plains Feast Formula
  • With lean, red meat bison meal
  • Proper ratio of omega 3 and 6
  • Guaranteed levels of antioxidants
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8 Best Low Carb Dog Food Brands: Our [year] Buyer's Guide 10
Nulo Freestyle Turkey & Sweet Potato Recipe
  • Fresh, protein-rich, low carb
  • With 80% protein from real meats
  • AAFCO approved dog food
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8 Best Low Carb Dog Food Brands: Our [year] Buyer's Guide 11
VICTOR Select Nutra Pro Active Dog & Puppy Formula
  • High protein, low carbohydrates
  • Nutrient-dense recipe
  • Ideal for growing puppies
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8 Best Low Carb Dog Food Brands: Our [year] Buyer's Guide 12
ACANA Regionals Appalachian Ranch
  • Inclusion of whole, fresh meats
  • Made with finest ingredients
  • A great choice for low carb diet
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8 Best Low Carb Dog Food Brands: Our [year] Buyer's Guide 13
Wysong Epigen 90 Starch-Free Formula
  • Designed for state-of-the-art nutrition
  • Starch-free diet
  • Mimics archetypal canine diet
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8 Best Low Carb Dog Food Brands: Our [year] Buyer's Guide 14
Nature’s Logic Canine Duck & Salmon Feast
  • 100% natural formula
  • MSG-free formula
  • With probiotics and digestive enzymes
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What is the Best Low Carb Dog Food in 2022?

  1. Nom Nom Fresh Pet Food
  2. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Healthy Weight Chicken Recipe
  3. Earthborn Great Plains Feast Formula
  4. Nulo Freestyle Turkey & Sweet Potato Recipe
  5. Victor Select Nutra Pro Active Dog & Puppy Formula
  6. Acana Appalachian Ranch Regional Formula
  7. Wysong Epigen 90 Starch-Free Formula
  8. Nature's Logic Canine Duck & Salmon Feast
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1. Nom Nom Chicken Cuisine

First 5 Ingredients: Diced Chicken, Sweet Potatoes, Squash, Spinach, Water Sufficient for Processing

Rating: 5/5

8 Best Low Carb Dog Food Brands: Our [year] Buyer's Guide 15

Nom Nom is a dog food service that provides specific recipes based on whole, natural, and restaurant-grade ingredients. Its recipes are crafted by experts using a very limited ingredient list (most recipes are under eight ingredients, total.)

The products have limited availability and are available for purchase only on the company’s website. This makes sense being that everything is prepared in small batches to prevent spoilage, which is what made it so interesting to us.

We know that the brand always uses all-natural, mostly organic components, and it does everything in its power to retain as many nutrients in the food it produces before shipping it to its customers. So we went on the brand’s website and created a pet profile based on our pups’  lifestyle and other personal details.

The delivery was quick, even though the recipe is handmade (weekly). It was brought right to our doorstep, and we served some of the pre portioned meals right away to our pups. We were expecting that they would like the food, but they did more than that. ‘Devoured’ is a mild word to describe it. 

We’re quite pleased with the formulation and its effects on our dogs. So, this Chicken Cuisine recipe only has seven main ingredients (absolutely no fillers included), which is a definite win. The first five are listed above and the remaining two are made of oils to supply the fat our furry friends need. 

The carbs in this food is only 22% on a caloric basis. This is, in fact, the lowest carb recipe by Nom Nom. 

After using the product for a few weeks, we’ve observed our pups becoming more energetic. They were always playful, but they were a little bit more active than before. They looked somewhat healthier overall too with brighter eyes, so yes, this recipe gets two thumbs up from us. 

Pros:

  • Super low carb content
  • Human-grade and limited ingredients
  • Single animal protein source
  • Always freshly made
  • Customized for each individual pup
  • Provides better energy for pups and an overall healthier look

Cons:

  • Takes up a bit of fridge storage space
  • A little more expensive than mass-produced commercial foods

2. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Healthy Weight Chicken Recipe

First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Pea Protein, Peas, Tapioca Starch

Rating: 4.5/5

8 Best Low Carb Dog Food Brands: Our [year] Buyer's Guide 16

Inspired by the diet of wolves, true omnivores whose endurance is legendary, BLUE Wilderness is a grain-free, protein-rich food that contains more of the delicious chicken your dog loves.

It’s packed with meat and is formulated to meet the unique nutritional needs of large dogs while helping them achieve and maintain their ideal weight. It also features the brand’s exclusive LifeSource Bits, which are a precise blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals selected by holistic veterinarians & animal nutritionists to support a dog’s overall health.

We were looking for a grain-free recipe to test that would also be light on the pockets. And since some of our testers were also looking for low-carb dog foods to keep down the weight of their chubby fur buddies (the recipe has approximately 35.93% carbohydrates on an as fed basis), this formula fit the bill. 

After feeding this to their dogs, several of our testers have reported that when combined with regular walks or other forms of exercise, this food has helped bring down the weight of their pups to a more manageable one. Two have said that it was the only dog food that managed to do so.

One thing, however, of note. Not all of our tester dogs were happy with the taste of the LifeSource bits, some would pick these out from the rest of the kibble and leave them in the bowl. 

Pros: 

  • Grain-free and free from meat by-products and artificial ingredients
  • Contains l-carnitine to help pups burn excess fat
  • Results in denser poops
  • Formulated with guaranteed levels of chondroitin and glucosamine for joints
  • Contains superfoods

Cons:

  • Pups are not crazy about the LifeSource bits included in the kibble

3. Earthborn Holistic Great Plains Feast Formula

First 5 ingredients: Bison Meal, Peas, Pea Protein, Tapioca, Dried Egg

Rating: 4.75/5

8 Best Low Carb Dog Food Brands: Our [year] Buyer's Guide 17

According to the company website, Earthborn Holistic offers a wholesome approach to nutrition. This means that there are no artificial ingredients in any of its recipes, only high-quality products are used, and everything is made right here in the USA. 

This particular Earthborn formula uses bison, which is a lean and red meat protein. It features egg protein, beef meal, Pacific Whiting meal, and Alaska Pollock meal as further animal protein support. 

There is not much carbohydrate content because the company states that it contains approximately 28% of carbs on an as-fed basis.

Since this low-carb dog food has so many reviews (and most are positive), and because we were intrigued by the good ratings and we wanted to personally make sure that our review is accurate, we had a batch of testers try out the Great Plains Feast recipe. 

What we found out is that many picky eaters love the stuff. It is probably down to the meaty formulation, because normally finicky dogs did not turn up their nose at this dog food. And although it is not billed as a weight management food, one tester has observed that her pooch has been acting more playful, which has led to a bit of weight loss.

Two tester did comment that while the dog food is billed as suitable for all life stages and breed sizes (except for large dogs), the kibble are a little too big for small pooches. 

Pros:

  • Mostly a win for picky eaters
  • Uses a unique novel animal protein as the main source of protein
  • Contains l-carnitine, which converts fat into energy
  • Has a proper ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat

Cons:

  • Kibble size is a little too big for small pups

4. Nulo Freestyle Turkey & Sweet Potato Recipe

First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal, Salmon Meal, Chickpeas, Chicken Fat

Rating: 4.5/5

8 Best Low Carb Dog Food Brands: Our [year] Buyer's Guide 18

Though not one of the largest brands on the market, Nulo is unique from most other pet food manufacturers in its commitment to craft ecipes that contain at least 80% protein from real meats like chicken, turkey, salmon, and lamb. 

The brand also states that each of its recipes is low in carbs and contain only low-glycemic ingredients like lentils, chickpeas, and sweet potatoes. This particular recipe has a carbohydrate content of only 31%. 

We tried this grain-free formulation on our foster pup who had a mild chicken allergy. We also asked a few testers to feed this to their dogs who prefer turkey/had chicken or grain sensitivities/required a low glycemic diet.

Well, on the plus side, our pup highly enjoyed the taste. Since it’s free from chicken proteins, it did not trigger any of her allergies. It does contain chicken fat, which does not contain any protein so we deemed it quite safe for our buddy. 

While we didn’t notice any itching in our pet nor did many of our testers, one of our testers reported otherwise. His dog was not able to tolerate even the chicken fat so if your dog has a chicken allergy, consult with a vet first before feeding this.

As for the other positive, we were pleasantly surprised to feel our pup’s fur becoming softer. It wasn’t coarse to begin with, but it definitely felt smoother to the touch. A few other testers agreed with this observation. A couple were just happy the dog food was very well tolerated by their dogs with sensitive stomachs.

Pros:

  • Helps makes coats softer
  • Free from chicken and egg proteins
  • Low glycemic ingredients
  • Made of 85% animal-based proteins

Cons:

  •  Contains chicken fat, which some chicken-sensitive pups might not tolerate

5. VICTOR Select Nutra Pro Active Dog & Puppy Formula

First 5 Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Blood Meal, Whole Grain Millet, Chicken Fat, Yeast Culture

Rating: 4.5/5

8 Best Low Carb Dog Food Brands: Our [year] Buyer's Guide 19

Victor Nutra Pro is made by the Victor Pet Food company that believes in maximizing the genetic potential of every pup. Every recipe it formulates contains the VPro Blend, which consists of selenium yeast (for metabolic function and immune response), prebiotics, mineral complexes, and probiotics.

The brand offers a very low carb content dog food despite the use of a grain product as the source of fiber and carbs. As per the company, the formula contains approximately 27.6% carbohydrate content on an as fed basis and 29.79% on a dry matter basis.

There are no legumes, peas, or potatoes in this food, which makes it ultra safe for pups as there is no risk of DCM (which is more probable in dog foods that rely heavily on those three ingredients). 

We asked a batch of our testers to feed this to their pups for a few weeks for a more personal and accurate feedback. Since the formulation is designed for all life stages, we made sure that this batch of testers had pets ranging from pups to seniors.

After the tests we’ve done, the feedback came back. More stamina was the unanimous thing that their pups had in common (across all age groups) as well as firmer/denser stools. This is ideal if your pup usually suffers from soft or loose bowel movements. 

Some were quite concerned that their pups stools turned dark (one said it was almost black). But for most, the dog food is a win.

Pros:

  • 92% of the protein is derived from animal sources
  • Provides lots of energy for pups
  • Suitable for all life stages and breed size
  • Has l-carnitine to help burn off excess fats
  • Features DHA for brain and eye development in puppies

Cons:

  • Can make dogs’ poops look black

6. ACANA Appalachian Ranch Regional Formula

First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Beef, Deboned Pork, Deboned Lamb, Lamb Meal, Beef Meal

Rating: 5/5

8 Best Low Carb Dog Food Brands: Our [year] Buyer's Guide 20

Known for its biologically appropriate pet foods, the Acana brand offers what it calls “a new class of meat-based foods to mirror your dog’s evolutionary diet.”

Every one of its products is designed to mirror the high and varied inclusions of whole, fresh meats that dogs are naturally evolved to eat.

The dog food’s first five ingredients are all animal proteins, and there are more further down the list. It’s an extremely meat-packed dish that we feel is worth trying out, especially since it has a 4.7 out of 5 rating from many dog owners. 

Since the dog food is labeled as suitable for all life stages and most breed sizes (it is not recommended for large-sized pups), we decided to spread the test across pet parents who had pups in different age groups and breeds. 

What we found out is most dogs can’t resist it. We put it down to the freeze-dried raw ingredients and coating, which are highly attractive to dogs. While it does have starch, there is so very little that it’s almost negligible. 

Our testers say that their dogs cannot have enough of the kibble. And because it is so very tasty and meaty, two of them have used the kibble as training treats with good results. Another tester said that he is happy he’s found a poultry-free food that his sensitive pooch loves.

We did not get any negative feedback from our testers, which is a first. 

Pros:

  • Freeze-dried raw formulation attracts finicky pups
  • Crafted with 70% animal protein
  • Features guaranteed levels of EPA, DHA, glucosamine, and omega fatty acids

Cons:

  • Not made for the development of large-sized puppers

7. Wysong Epigen 90 Starch-Free Formula

First 5 Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Organic Chicken, Meat Protein Isolate, Chicken Fat, Gelatin

Rating: 4.75/5

8 Best Low Carb Dog Food Brands: Our [year] Buyer's Guide 21

Established all the way back in 1979, the Wysong pet food company was one of the first pioneers in the natural and holistic pet food industry. It’s not as commercialized as other dog food brands, but it is consistent in producing many quality pet food products.

It’s also currently patenting an extrusion process for its kibbles that makes the food starch-free to help dogs eat foods that they are biologically designed to eat.

This is one interesting recipe because it is labeled as entirely starch-free by the brand. It means that there is zero carbohydrates included. Combine that with an ultra high protein content, and you’ve got a dog food that will keep performance pups in perfect condition even after strenuous activities. 

We divided our testers into two groups. One group was filled with dog owners who had highly active doggos. The other group was composed of testers with dogs that simply needed more energy to move around and lose excess weight.

After several weeks on this diet, we found that it has been able to sustain the energy needs and more of working dogs. They don’t tire out easily and are still quite playful and energetic at the end of a long day. For pups who are on the chunky side, this dog food has managed to help them trim down and maintain their reduced weight. 

Some did complain about the size of the kibble. Pet owners with larger dogs would like the kibble to be bigger.

Pros:

  • Provides high levels of energy
  • Unprecedented levels of meat protein
  • Single animal protein source
  • Safe for multi-pet households because it is good for cats too

Cons:

  • The pieces are too tiny for big dogs

8. Nature’s Logic Canine Duck & Salmon Feast

First 5 Ingredients: Duck, Duck Broth, Poultry Liver, Salmon, Poultry Heart

Rating: 4.75/5

8 Best Low Carb Dog Food Brands: Our [year] Buyer's Guide 22

Nature’s Logic is a pet food company that proudly boasts of all-natural dog food products that are clean, sustainable, and protein-packed.

The dog food recipes are claimed to be free of common allergens, do not contain synthetic vitamins or minerals, and packed with probiotics for digestion. 

Because it sounded good (the food label is a dream) and there are little reviews for this product, we decided to check this wet dog food out and have our team of volunteers try it on their doggos.

Canned food is normally more palatable to dogs than dry so we weren’t surprised by this recipe’s reception from our canine testers. This is even more so because of its dense muscle meat and organ meat formulation. Only one pup out of several was not amused and quite ignored the food, but his owner feels that this is due to the flavor which his pup is not really fond of.

Our human testers not only liked the quality ingredients, but they were also happy about the smell. Unlike other dog foods, this doesn’t smell that bad at all, especially for something with fish in it. 

Pros:

  •  A hit with most pups
  • Made with 90% animal ingredients
  • Gluten-free
  • Naturally-sourced nutrients

Cons:

  • More expensive than other canned dog food

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What Should You Look For In A Low-Carb Dog Food?

When shopping for a low-carb dog food, you want to use the same degree of caution you would use when shopping for any other type of pet food.

1. Check the label for an AAFCO statement of nutritional adequacy. This confirms the product is complete and balanced for your dog’s life stage (or for all life stages).

2. Take a look at the guaranteed analysis. Make sure the product exceeds your dog’s minimum requirements for protein and fat.

Adult dogs need a minimum of 18% protein and 5% fat, while puppies need at least 22% protein and 8% fat. Remember, protein is the most important nutrient for your dog so you want that number to be as high as possible.

Fat is a concentrated form of energy for your dog so it should be higher than 5% but not so high that it leads to an excess in calories that could cause your dog to gain an unhealthy amount of weight.

3. Check the list of ingredients. No matter what type of dog food you are shopping for, you want to see a high-quality source of animal protein (poultry, meat, or fish) as the first ingredient.

Most commercial dog foods list at least one carbohydrate within the first five ingredients and several within the first ten. This isn’t a problem for most dogs as long as those carbohydrates come from high-quality, digestible sources and they don’t outweigh the meat-based ingredients.

For dogs that don’t have food allergies or sensitivities, whole grains like brown rice, oatmeal, and barley offer decent digestibility. For other dogs, however, gluten- and grain-free options like sweet potatoes, tapioca, peas, and lentils are more digestible.

You’ll also want to make sure that the recipe includes high-quality, animal-based fats as well as fresh fruits and veggies plus beneficial additives.

Calculating the carbohydrate content

In addition to evaluating a low carb pet food by the quality of the ingredients, you should also get a feel for the amount and type of carbohydrates used in the product.

Unfortunately, pinpointing the exact carbohydrate content of a dog food is difficult because pet food manufacturers are not legally required to disclose this information.

You can, however, use the information provided in the Guaranteed Analysis to make an estimate. To do so, you’ll need to remember that the crude protein and fat content plus the ash, moisture, and carbohydrate content will all add up to 100%.

To calculate the estimated carb content of the product, then, you simply subtract the values you are given from 100% and whatever is left over will be the estimated carb content.

Once you have that value, you can make a direct comparison of different products until you find the one that is right for your dog.

8 Best Low Carb Dog Food Brands: Our [year] Buyer's Guide 23

What Are the Benefits of a Low Carb Diet for Dogs?

Switching your dog to a low carb food isn’t just a means of making your dog’s diet more natural – it can also provide significant health benefits in certain cases.

Reduced risk of allergies and digestive problems. Low carb diets are particularly beneficial for dogs that have digestive issues like inflammatory bowel disease or food allergies and sensitivities.

These conditions can lead to chronic inflammation in the digestive tract which can not only cause symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting but can actually interfere with the absorption of essential nutrients.

Helps dogs in losing weight. Low carb formula can also be beneficial for dogs who are overweight and obese

Lowers the risk of diseases.  This goes especially for dogs with diabetes or certain types of cancer. Based on a few studies, a body in ketosis (a process that happens when your body does not have enough carbohydrates to use for energy) can starve tumors from growing.  Less carbs can also mean that your dog’s blood sugar remains regulated (if he has diabetes).

Improves your pup’s energy levels. A pup who eats dog food that is protein-based instead of carb-based is often more active. They’re also generally leaner and overall healthier.

If you really want to mimic your dog’s natural evolutionary diet, however, you should find a product that is low in carbohydrates.

Switching your dog to a low carb food isn’t just a means of making your dog’s diet more natural – it can also provide significant health benefits in certain cases.

Low carb diets are particularly beneficial for dogs that have digestive issues like inflammatory bowel disease or food allergies and sensitivities.

These conditions can lead to chronic inflammation in the digestive tract which can not only cause symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting but can actually interfere with the absorption of essential nutrients.

Low carb formula can also be beneficial for dogs who are overweight and obese and for dogs with diabetes or certain types of cancer. The key is to make sure that your dog is still getting all of the nutrients he needs.

Conclusion

Though carbohydrates do serve a few important purposes in your dog’s diet, that doesn’t mean he can’t do without them.

Going back to the example of wild wolves, it is possible for your dog to get all of the nutrients he needs from a balanced meat-based diet.

Unfortunately, raw food diets for dogs are pretty expensive and making your own meat-based diet at home requires a good bit of research and planning.

The easier and more affordable alternative is to feed your dog a commercial dog food which, in most cases, means feeding him some carbohydrates. Dog foods that are low in carbohydrates should be able to keep your pup in top shape while giving him extra energy for any and all activities.

If you really want to mimic your dog’s natural evolutionary diet, however, you should find a product that is low in carbohydrates. We’ve spent a lot of time researching and testing the products above, and we hope you find one of them suitable for your pup.

Good luck on your low-carb dog food diet journey!

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