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We all love to spoil our dogs, but too much love can be a bad thing. At least, it can when that love comes in the form of high-calorie treats and snacks. Low-fat dog food has been increasing in popularity along with the rates of pet obesity, but how do you know if it’s right for your dog—and which brands are best?
If your dog is starting to pack on the pounds, make some positive changes to help him achieve and maintain a healthy body weight. Switching to low-fat dog food is one option to consider. We’ve gone through the options to bring you the top-rated, along with all the information you’ll need about pros and cons of a low-fat diet for dogs.
We’ll dive deeply into these results below. Our top picks for low-fat dog food this year are from these brands (links lead to their lean, low-fat, or weight management formulas.)
- Solid Gold
- Nulo Freestyle
- Nutro Healthy Weight
- Earthborn Holistic
- Merrick Healthy Weight
- Annamaet Lean
- Blue Buffalo
- Nutro Weight Management
- Castor & Pollux Organic
- Wellness CORE
What Are the Dangers of Obesity for Dogs?
Showering your dog with treats might be your favorite way of showing him you care, but what you may not realize is that you’re actually doing him harm. Gaining even a pound or two can be significant for a dog and being overweight or obese can shorten your dog’s lifespan and increase his risk of disease.
Obesity isn’t just a human problem. In fact, Dr. Justin Shmalberg, DVM and veterinary nutritionist for fresh pet food company NomNomNow, states that up to 60% of dogs are overweight and nearly half of those are obese.
Here are some of the risks associated with canine obesity:
- Chronic, low-level inflammation that contributes to other diseases
- Increased risk for developing type two diabetes
- High blood pressure and other markers for heart disease
- Osteoarthritis and increased joint degeneration
- Increased risk for urinary bladder stones
- Reduced tolerance for heat and exercise, and other respiratory issues
Not only is obesity one of the most common medical conditions seen in dogs, but it’s also one of the most preventable. Meeting your dog’s calorie needs with a high-quality dog food, without going overboard on treats and snacks, is the best way to keep him healthy.
If your dog needs to drop a few pounds, switching to a weight management formula might help.
What to Look for in a Low-Fat Dog Food
When you want to lose weight, you probably eat less and choose low-calorie options. The same principle applies to weight loss in dogs, except that you’ll be the one making the decisions.
As difficult as it might be to say no to those puppy dog eyes, it’s in your dog’s best interest!
You shouldn’t simply cut your dog’s feeding amount in half, however. Drastically reducing your dog’s food intake might achieve the desired result (weight loss) but less food means fewer nutrients. If you’re feeding your dog well below the recommended volume, he might not be getting the nutrients he needs.
Switching to low-fat dog food or a weight management formula is a better option.
Look for a recipe that is rich in whole animal proteins to help your dog build and maintain lean muscle mass. Extra fiber and moisture content will help your dog feel full while boosting digestion and reducing calories. Make sure your dog’s minimum dietary requirements for fats are met (minimum 5% for adult dogs) without going overboard—something at or under 10% is ideal.
Low-fat dog food is a great choice for dogs who need to lose weight, but it can also be a dietary necessity. For example, dogs with pancreatitis or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may have trouble digesting dietary fats. Switching to a low-fat dog food could help manage these conditions.
10 Best Low-Fat Dog Foods
Whether your dog requires a low-fat dog food for medical reasons or weight loss, the quality of his diet is still extremely important. Make sure that your dog’s food is rich in protein and provides complete and balanced nutrition.
Here are our top picks for the best low-fat dog foods:
Featuring fresh chicken, chicken meal, and sweet potatoes, this holistic natural recipe is limited in fat and calories to support weight loss and healthy weight management.Buy Now on Chewy for $54.99
This low-fat dog food features 74% protein from premium animal sources like fresh cod, turkey meal, and salmon meal. It is also low-glycemic, grain-free, and supplemented with probiotics for digestion.Buy Now on Chewy for $62.99
Made with farm-raised chicken and whole-grain carbohydrates, this healthy weight formula more than meets your dog’s protein requirements but contains only 7% crude fat.Buy Now on Amazon for $49.92
This holistic natural recipe features premium ingredients like lean chicken, wholesome fruits and veggies, and beneficial supplements to ensure healthy digestion and balanced nutrition.Buy Now on Chewy for $51.99
This grain-free recipe provides optimal protein and fiber without extra calories or fat. It features real deboned beef as the main ingredient with fresh fruits and vegetables for nutritional balance.Buy Now on Amazon for $59.99
Designed specifically for dogs with pancreatitis and dogs who are watching their weight, this low-fat formula provides plenty of lean protein but is limited in fat and calorie content.Buy Now on Chewy for $67.99
Packed with protein and natural flavor, this grain-free formula features deboned chicken as the main ingredient for a total of 30% protein with just 10% crude fat.Buy Now on Amazon for $50.99
Made with a trio of premium animal proteins and loaded with superfoods, this weight management formula is an excellent source of quality nutrition but still low in fat.Buy Now on Amazon for $59.49
Featuring lean proteins like deboned turkey, this reduced fat formula helps your dog maintain his lean muscle mass without going overboard on fat or calories. Plus, it’s 100% grain-free for digestibility.Buy Now on Chewy for $67.99
With organic, free-range chicken as the first ingredient, this recipe is protein-rich and supplemented with a variety of other organic ingredients for optimal nutrition and healthy immunity.Buy Now on Amazon for $47.36
Don’t skimp when it comes to your dog’s health and wellbeing. If you’re having trouble finding an affordable low-fat dog food, you might consider homemade dog food as an alternative. Check out some of our healthy homemade dog food hacks to pick up some tips.