Low Purine Dog Food – Pick Your Dog’s Best Food

Why does my dog need a low Purine dog food diet, the health benefits, the issues and what foods you need to avoid or keep.

You might have just come back from the vets telling you that you now need a Low Purine dog food Diet, well what does that mean? What is a Purine and why does my dog need to watch what they eat? 


Simply you need a Low Purine dog food diet for your dog to ensure they live a long and healthy life and don’t suffer with any very painful medical conditions in the future. There are several breeds like Dalmatians which have issues and lots of foods like red meat to avoid.


So what is a Purine Diet

Dog with food close

Purines are a naturally occurring organic compound in plants and animals and yes that includes humans too!

Purines are a key component in the building blocks of DNA but having too much of anything can be a bad thing and that goes for Purines too, a high Purine dog food Diet for certain breeds can lead to additional Health conditions and Kidney issues.


In more detail when your dog consumes purines they are broken down in the body into a waste product called uric acid. This substance is then filtered by the kidneys and excreted through urine.


In healthy dogs, this process occurs efficiently, and uric acid levels are well-regulated. However, the following dog breeds have been proven to struggle with Purine metabolism, Dalmatian, Beagle, Bulldog, Basset Hound, Cocker Spaniel, Bichon Frise, Miniature Schnauzer, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Poodle, Yorkshire Terrier, Dachshund, Newfoundland, Irish Terrier, Scottish Terrier or Irish Setter all struggle with the breakdown and elimination of purines, leading to an accumulation of uric acid in the body. 


Too much Uric acid leads to formation of small crystals in the kidney and bladder eventually turning into Kidney and / or Bladder stones – something very painful and needing surgery to correct. 


There are all kinds of dog food, RAW, Science Based diets, superfoods and kibbles and many many more. Low Purine dog food diet refers to a type of Purine diet that is made with the goal to reduce the amount of purines in your Dog’s system, it’s a common thing depending on the breed of dog and any specific health condition recommendations from your Vet.


Switching your Dog’s Diet to a Low Purine Diet

Switching your dog’s diet can be tricky and often requires some preparation and planning, in this article we will have a look at some of the foods to avoid as well as offer a few suggestions.

I personally follow the gradual changes detailed in our How to change dog food article and a keen eye on how Bruce is going to the toilet to make sure any changes we make stick.


Understanding the role of purines and the role a Purine low purine dog food diet can have is essential to keep your dog healthy, especially if you have one of the breeds mentioned earlier.

It’s an extremely painful condition to suffer with and if simple Purine dog food Diet change can be made to avoid it I would gladly make those changes, i’m sure you would too!


Why can purines be bad for some dog breeds

The increase in Uric acid causes a calcification and creation of stones which are formed in the kidney and bladder can cause all kinds of issues including blockages, inflammation, infection, severe pain and discomfort for the affected dog or person in some cases! 


In severe cases, excessive uric acid can also cause kidney and liver dysfunction, which can be life-threatening if left untreated. The Dog Breeds mentioned earlier are predisposed to issues with Uric Acid metabolism Dalmatian, Beagle, Bulldog, Basset Hound, Cocker Spaniel, Bichon Frise, Miniature Schnauzer, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Poodle, Yorkshire Terrier, Dachshund, Newfoundland, Irish Terrier, Scottish Terrier or Irish Setter.


What dog foods are low in purines

Dog food Spices

So what can the Dog’s eat?! 


While most meats and fish contain purines, It’s not all bad for those of us with Dogs on a RAW diet here are a few examples of foods which would be possible to continue on even with a low Purine dog food diet restriction. 


Chicken: Lean white meat, such as chicken breast, is a lower purine dog food option compared to red meats and organ meats, this could be expensive though if maintained for a long time. 


Turkey: This is a cheaper alternative to Chicken for 90% of the year, the exceptions being Christmas or Thanksgiving for the Americans. 


Rabbit: A low-fat, low purine dog food meat source however I personally found the quantity required to feed Bruce was outrageous. 


Cod: As a Lean white meat this is often recommended to Humans and Dogs when you need to reduce purine intake or start on a Purine Diet. 


Carrots, Pumpkins, Sweet potatoes and other Dog Safe Vegetables / foods are extremely low in purines and make a great food source for all dogs, especially those with issues linked to purines. Most Grain free dog foods are a really good place to start if you are given the instruction to swap to a low Purine dog food Diet. 


What dog foods are high in purine?

SO, we have looked at the good foods but what about the ones that will cause issues on a low Purine dog food Diet, what kind of foods are high in Purine? 


Red meats: Beef, lamb, and pork although most dogs love these but they are packed with purines.


Organ meats: Liver, kidneys, essentially any organs where purines are processed in other living things. 


Fish: Eel, Scampis, Pike Perch, Shellfish, anchovies, sardines, herring, mussels, scallops, trout not ideal when focusing on a low purine diet.


Haddock: This is a higher purine food even though it is a white meat. 


Have a look at this excellent resource when checking the Purine content of food when preparing your Purine dog food diet, or even if you have been diagnosed with Gout yourself its a very handy website to see what you can and can’t eat.


Which other ingredients often found in dog food are high in purines?

In addition to high purine protein sources, some vegetables and other ingredients found in dog food can contribute to elevated purine levels. High purine vegetables and other ingredients include:


Asparagus: Another vegetable with a high purine content that should be avoided in a low purine dog food diet.


Cereal products: Most cereal products have a high purine content and should be avoided where possible. 


Maize – Although not common it is found in some cheaper brands of dog food similar to Grain.


Spinach cooked (which it normally is in kibble): Not good for a low Purine dog food diet, although it’s a green vegetable the purine content is high.


Yeast: Yeast-based ingredients and supplements can also be high in purines and should be limited.


Which dog breeds should consider eating a low purine dog food

Dalmatian low Purine Dog food

We have looked at some of the good and bad Purine dog food Diet related goodies and briefly mentioned the breeds that have a predisposition to Uric acid related issues.


Below is a list of the dog breeds I have researched and their issues, as well as a bit of an explanation of one of the most common issues for any non scientist readers!


Hyperuricosuria is a genetic condition affecting many breeds of dog, mainly males and leads to excessive build up of Uric acid in the kidneys, with that in mind the highlighted breeds below would absolutely benefit from a low Purine dog food diet. 


Basset Hound –  Potential genetic condition Hyperuricosuria 


Beagle – Potential genetic condition Hyperuricosuria


Bichon Frise – Potential genetic condition Hyperuricosuria


Bulldog – Potential genetic condition Hyperuricosuria


Cocker Spaniel – Potential genetic condition Hyperuricosuria


Dachshund – Potential genetic condition Hyperuricosuria


Dalmatians (mainly males): Compared to most dog breeds Dalmations only process about 30-40% of the normal amount of Uric acid meaning its very common for them to have an issue and they should be on a low Purine dog food Diet.


English Bulldogs: Genetically and rather sadly this type of Dog is predisposed to Kidney Stones and has poor Uric acid metabolism.


Irish Terrier – Potential genetic condition Hyperuricosuria


Lhasa Apso – Poor kidneys often having issues with kidney disease, don’t overwork the kidneys by giving them a high purine dog food diet.


Miniature Schnauzers: Same as English bulldogs, genetic predisposition to build up of Urate crystals. 


Newfoundland (mainly Males) – Due to a defect in the reabsorption of amino acids in the kidney tubules 


Scottish Terrier – Genetic predisposition


Yorkshire Terriers: Low Purine dog food diet as standard to avoid any issues with Genetic predisposition


If your dog belongs to one of these breeds or is otherwise at risk for purine-related health issues, consider transitioning them to a low purine dog food diet.


What is Leishmaniasis and how does a Low Purine Diet help

Leishmaniasis is an awful condition caused by a parasite found in dogs, cats, and certain rodents in many parts of the world, most commonly in rural areas. The parasite is transmitted by small biting sand flies. This although pretty rare where I am in the UK has been known to have cases.


If your dog does contract this condition it will likely be treated with allopurinol but reducing the workload of the kidney and how much Uric acid it has to process might be able to help with treatment so a Low Purine dog food diet can be of assistance! 


Final thoughts

I would always recommend spending some time and doing some research, there is absolutely loads of information out there and if you are unsure consult with your local vet they should be able to tell you about the benefits of a low purine dog food diet and how it can benefit your dog.  


A low purine diet, consisting of alternative protein sources and low purine vegetables like pumpkin, can help prevent health issues related to high purine intake damage to your dogs kidneys and generally improve their overall health and wellbeing. 


When changing the type of food that your dog is going to be eating, always consult with your vet to make sure your dog is getting the right amount to eat and the right nutrients for their breed. Keep in mind the requirements for a dog do change throughout their life as they progress from pup to old man like my Bruce! 


It’s often recommended by Vets to swap to a Low Purine dog food diet and hopefully after reading this article you now understand the reasons why! 


Thank you for reading and if you did enjoy it but you still have burning questions like How to choose the best dog food or dangerous foods you should avoid feeding your dog look no further click the links and let us know what you think or if there are any we missed!