There’s an emerging trend among natural dog food manufacturers called limited ingredient dog food. Limited ingredient dog food is dog food designed with fewer ingredients than regular dog food and is recommended for a variety of health issues. Limited ingredient dog food is a great option for many dogs, so we’ve made a run down of the best limited ingredient dog foods on the market.
What Is Limited Ingredient Dog Food?
Limited ingredient dog food is a dog food that is made with fewer ingredients than regular dog food. Some manufacturers may use as few as two ingredients to produce these foods. Typically, limited ingredient dog food is made with single protein and a small range of carbohydrates. Limited ingredient dog foods also tend to be grain-free and often use novelty sources of protein like game meats. Since limited ingredient dog food uses less ingredients, there are no fillers or byproducts. So they use more complex carbohydrates like vegetables for fiber and energy. Therefore, limited ingredient dog foods are generally more nutritionally dense than other foods. Limited ingredient dog foods can be bought at specialty stores and are made by many of the same trusted brands that produce natural dog food.
Why Should You Choose A Limited Ingredient Dog Food?
Limited ingredient dog foods are designed specifically by veterinarians and dog nutritionists to deal with specific health issues. Limited ingredient dog foods are often given to a dog as a temporary option to deal with these problems. You may want to speak to your veterinarian about introducing your dog to a limited ingredient dog food if they have any of the following health issues:
- Food allergies
- Gluten intolerance
- Recovering from surgery
- Sensitive digestion
Besides health issues, many dog owners like to feed their dogs limited ingredient foods because they are usually made with natural, whole foods and are often times more nutritionally dense than other foods. Since limited ingredients typically utilize novelty, game meats like venison, buffalo, pheasant, and rabbit, other dog owners like the idea of feeding their dogs a food with ingredient that better resembles what they would eat in the wild. This diversity of protein sources may provide a more rounded diet for dogs.
Choosing A Limited Ingredient Dog Food
True limited ingredient dog foods have very few ingredients. However there are many brands that label their foods as limited ingredients but have as many ingredients as any other standard dog food. So when you are shopping for a limited ingredient food the best thing to do is go with whatever brand your veterinarian recommends. If your veterinarian has not recommended any particular brand or you want to introduce a limited ingredient food to your dog because you believe they will benefit from the novel protein, simple recipes, or the nutritional profile, you need to be careful about your selection.
First you need to carefully read the label. The listed ingredients should contain only one source of protein and the carbohydrates should only come from a few sources. You also want to read the guaranteed analysis panel to make sure that you are buying a product that has a lot of nutrition for your dog. Finally you want to make sure that the limited ingredient dog food comes from a trusted manufacturer, so you know the ingredients are high quality and the recipe is is designed by a veterinarian or dog nutritionist.
The Top Three Limited Ingredient Dog Foods
The following is a rundown of the three best limited ingredient dog foods on the market. These are all dog foods you can buy from any pet specialty store or online. Keep in mind when working with your veterinarian they may prescribe a prescription limited ingredient food for your dog. So you will want to follow your veterinarian’s recommendation. However, if you are shopping for a limited ingredient dog food, here are the top three we recommended checking out:
- Nature’s Valley Instinct Limited Ingredient Grain Free: Instinct Limited Ingredient dog food is made with one animal protein and peas. It is available as a dry kibble, wet food, and treats. Instinct Limited Ingredient comes in turkey, lamb, duck, and rabbit flavors, small breed, and is an all life stages blend.
- Wild Calling: All of Wild Calling’s dog foods are made with limited ingredients. Their Xotic Essentials kibble line contains a single animal protein, sweet potatoes, lentils, and peas and comes in rabbit, kangaroo, and bison flavors. Their canned dog foods are all made with just a single animal protein and come in a great range of flavors including bison, chicken, rabbit, duck, cow, salmon, pork, lamb, turkey, and alligator.
- Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free: Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet dog food is made with a single animal protein, sweet potatoes, peas, and potatoes. It is available as both a dry kibble and a wet dog food and comes in duck, lamb, salmon, turkey, and chicken flavors. Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet is also an all life stages formula.
Limited ingredient dog food is a great natural dog food option for your dog if they have any health problems. They are also nutritionally dense, easily digestible, and a great way to introduce unique protein sources into your dog’s diet. So if you think that a limited ingredient dog food is right for your dog, consult your veterinarian for recommendations. As with any dietary changes, make sure you introduce the food slowly and watch for any changes in behavior.