best-low-fat-dog-food

5 Best Low Fat Dog Foods

In this guide we’ll take a look at the best low fat dog foods.
We’ve compared quality of ingredients, nutritional information, and value for money
to give you our top recommendations below.

Breed Advisor only recommends products that we’ve tested, or significantly researched . This page contains affiliate links, that at no additional cost to you, may earn a small commission for the site. Find out more here.

What is the Best Low Fat Dog Food?

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Vet’s Advice

There are a few reasons why you might require low-fat dog food for your pet. One of the most common is to feed a dog that suffers from pancreatitis, a painful condition where the pancreas becomes severely inflamed. Some dogs are prone to bouts of this illness due to high circulating fat levels, so a low-fat diet can help keep things under control. Some dogs with inflammatory bowel disease may benefit from an easy-to-digest low-fat food, and this type of diet can also be useful in helping to manage weight in obese animals. Here is what to look for in low-fat dog food.

Choose a fat content of 10% or less

To be truly low-fat the diet should contain less than 10% fat. Average dog foods will contain around 16 to 23% fat, so you will need to pick something much lower than this to have the desired effect.

Look for a diet that contains good-quality animal protein

Check the ingredients — the food should contain a good-quality animal protein at the top of its list. This could be either a type of whole meat or a meat meal.

Consider a low-residue diet as well as low fat (5% fiber or less)

A low-residue diet is usually easy to digest because of its low fiber content. This can help slow gut transit time and allow your dog to access nutrients more readily, which can be useful for animals with digestive issues. Look for a diet that contains a fiber content of less than 5%.

Choose a diet that is appropriate to your dog’s age and health status

Young growing puppies and pregnant or nursing bitches should not be on a low-fat diet. Speak to your veterinarian for advice if your dog has specific requirements.

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Compare Our Recommended Dog Foods

Use the dropdown to sort the table by the feature that’s most important to you.

  • Top 5 Ingredients
  • Type
  • Lifestage
  • Calories
  • Protein
  • Fat
  • Fiber
  • Cost
  • Our score

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Low Fat Dog Food Reviews

Nulo Freestyle Cod & Lentils Recipe Grain-Free Adult Trim Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Deboned Cod
    2. Turkey Meal
    3. Salmon Meal
    4. Lentils
    5. Yellow Peas

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 368 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 30%
  • Fat: 8%
  • Fiber: 6%

Nulo Freestyle Grain-Free Adult Trim is an excellent quality diet that is packed full of flavor to encourage hearty eating in dogs in need of losing a little weight. This diet is grain-free, taking its carbohydrates from high-fiber, nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables to ensure eating satisfaction, staying power, and optimal digestion.

The three main protein sources in this food are cod, turkey meal, and salmon meal, all lean meats to support a low-fat diet.  Both cod and salmon meal are high in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to aid in maintaining healthy skin and coat quality.

A diet rich in fiber, Nulo Freestyle is lower calories, but still provides dogs with that full feeling to discourage hunger and overeating. L-carnitine has been included to promote a strong metabolism to assist with weight loss efforts.

Probiotics have been added to this diet to ensure fluid digestion. This emphasis on digestive support makes Nulo Freestyle among the best low-fat dog foods for dogs with sensitive stomachs on the market today.

Pros

  • Owners with dogs that struggled with diarrhea noted that their dogs saw a return to normal stool quality when fed this diet regularly.
  • Several owners shared that they are pleased with the size of the kibble pieces in this diet, feeling they were unlikely to cause any choking.
  • Owners love that this diet is lower in fat, making it a great choice for dogs recovering from pancreatitis or that need to lose a little weight.
  • Dogs really enjoy the taste of this food. They consume their meals with hearty gusto.
  • Owners were pleased to report that dogs fed this food showed better energy levels and a more playful nature.

Cons

  • Some owners disliked the size of the kibble pieces, noting they were too big for toy and small breed dogs.
  • A few owners felt this diet was too cost prohibitive for them to feed their dogs on a regular basis.
  • In rare cases, some owners indicated their dogs’ coat and skin took on an unpleasant smell when fed this food consistently.
  • Several owners shared that they found this food smelled very strongly of fish. They found this off putting.
  • Some owners preferred to feed a diet that includes some whole grains in its recipe, feeling they are an important help in achieving ideal digestion in dogs.

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Wellness CORE Grain-Free Reduced Fat Turkey & Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Deboned Turkey
    2. Turkey Meal (source of Glucosamine)
    3. Chicken Meal (source of Chondroitin Sulfate)
    4. Lentils
    5. Peas

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 366 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 30%
  • Fat: 11%
  • Fiber: 12%

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Reduced Fat is a diet of exceptional quality that has been formulated specifically to address the needs of pooches needing to shed a few pounds. This diet contains 25 percent less fat than its original recipe. Turkey is the main protein, a meat that is highly flavorful to ensure eating satisfaction.

Wellness CORE, a diet considered to be among the best low-fat dog foods,  is grain-free with its carbohydrates taken from high-fiber fruits and vegetables that are also antioxidant-dense to provide excellent disease-fighting properties. Taurine has also been added to the recipe to support optimal cardiac health.

This diet contains no wheat, corn, soy, by-products, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.

Pros

  • Owners of dogs that suffer from anal gland issues were pleased to report their dogs found permanent relief from this problem when fed Wellness CORE Grain-Free Reduced Fat on a regular basis.
  • Dogs consistently fed this food were easily able to shed their excess pounds and maintain a healthy weight.
  • This food is highly flavorful, ensuring dogs remain feeling full and looking forward to their every meal.
  • Dogs that struggled with gastrointestinal distress saw a return to normal digestion and good stool quality when fed a steady diet of this food.
  • Owners like that this diet is grain-free, feeling it is a good meal option for dogs with food-related allergies.

Cons

  • Owners wished this bag had as Ziploc closure to help keep the food as fresh as possible for their dogs to enjoy.
  • A few dogs found this diet bland and hesitated to eat it. Owners indicated they had to mix in a topper, broth, or meat to encourage their dogs to consume their meals.
  • A few owners felt this diet was a little on the pricey side.
  • Several owners indicated they found this food to be very dry. As a result, the kibble crumbled easily.
  • A few dogs struggled with poor digestion when fed this diet. This may be the result of too rapid a dietary change and may resolve given more time.

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Dr. Tim’s Weight Management Metabolite Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Chicken Meal
    2. Dried White Potatoes
    3. Tapioca
    4. Dried Field Peas
    5. Powdered Cellulose

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 268.6 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 30%
  • Fat: 10%
  • Fiber: 8%

Dr. Tim’s Weight Management Metabolite is a food that was designed specifically with the needs of overweight pets in mind. This food’s formulation has been carefully calibrated to ensure it has adequate protein for flavor and eating satisfaction, a moderate amount of fat, and a unique blend of fiber-rich superfoods to help keep the dog’s metabolism revved to burn calories.

The selection of ingredients for this high-quality diet are unlikely to trigger skin or stomach sensitivities, making them an excellent choice for dogs with allergies. The addition of fiber-rich superfoods as well as a proprietary probiotic supplement supports excellent digestion.

L-carnitine has been included in this food to help encourage a strong metabolism to assist with effective weight loss. Fish oil has also been supplemented to reduce inflammation, fortify the dog’s immune system, and decrease shedding. In addition to this, coat and skin quality are improved through the omega 3 and 6 fatty acids present in the oil.

This diet has been specifically designed to meet the nutritional requirements of dogs needing to shed a few pounds. It is rated as one of the best low-fat foods for canine consumption.

Pros

  • Dogs love the taste of this food. They look forward to their every meal, being sure to lick their bowls clean.
  • Dogs in need of losing some weight were easily able to meet their goals and maintain their body weight when fed this diet on a consistent basis.
  • Several owners indicated that their dogs showed far greater energy levels when fed a steady diet of this food.
  • Owners are pleased this diet contains probiotics to assist their dogs with achieving ideal digestion.
  • Owners reported the coat quality of their dogs significantly improved when fed a regular diet of Dr. Tim’s Weight Management Metabolite.

Cons

  • A few owners indicated that they would prefer more detailed feeding instructions, particularly for toy and small breed dogs. They were unsure what the correct portion size should be.
  • Some dogs fed this diet in appropriate amounts did not lose weight as their owners had hoped they would.
  • A few dogs did not like the taste of this food and would not eat it.
  • A few owners were disappointed that their bags of food contained a lot of crumbled kibble.
  • In rare cases, some dogs developed a dry cough when fed this diet regularly. This may be from kibble crumbs.

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Nutro Natural Choice Healthy Weight Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Chicken
    2. Chicken Meal
    3. Rice Bran
    4. Split Peas
    5. Whole Grain Brown Rice

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 231 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 24%
  • Fat: 8.5%
  • Fiber: 11%

Nutro Natural Choice Healthy Weight is a delicious and nutritious food that owners can feel good about feeding their dog as it tries to shed a few extra pounds. The main ingredient in this diet is whole chicken, a high-quality meat that is reinforced by the addition of chicken meal. Together, these two proteins ensure the flavor and staying power dogs are looking for each time they enjoy a meal.

The outer layer on each piece of kibble contains a unique formulation of protein and fiber to increase the food’s appeal for dogs. Though this diet does include grains, each item is a whole grain that was carefully selected for its ease of digestibility. Antioxidants have been supplemented to encourage strong immunity as protection against disease.

Nutro Natural Choice Healthy Weight, one of the best low-fat dog foods,  contains no by-products, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids have also been included in this recipe to provide dogs with vital energy and to encourage healthy skin and coat.

Pros

  • Owners are very pleased with the price of this food, feeling it offers excellent nutrition and great value.
  • Dogs struggling with poor digestion found relief from their symptoms and a return of normal stool quality when fed Nutro Natural Choice Healthy Weight consistently.
  • Dogs in need of losing a few pounds were easily able to achieve their goal when fed this diet regularly. This diet kept dogs feeling full and assisted with maintaining their weight loss once the target was reached.
  • Owners love that this diet includes whole grains in its formula.
  • Owners of dogs suffering from anal gland issues noted that their dogs no longer had this problem when transitioned to Nutro Natural Choice Healthy Weight.

Cons

  • Some dogs dislike the taste of this food and would not eat it. Another Nutro offering with a different protein as its basis may be a better choice for these dogs.
  • Some owners disliked that this diet is grain-rich. They felt a grain-free formulation is a better choice for dogs suffering from allergies.
  • In rare cases, some dogs had more frequent bowel movements when fed this food. This may be because the transition from the old food to the new happened too rapidly. Time may resolve this problem entirely.
  • A few owners expressed they wished Nutro had more variety in their sizes of bags.
  • This diet contains both split peas and lentils, two ingredients of questionable nutritional value and that may be connected to such problems as poor fertility and elevated blood sugar levels in dogs.

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Merrick Grain-Free Healthy Weight Recipe Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Deboned Beef
    2. Chicken Meal
    3. Peas
    4. Sweet Potatoes
    5. Potatoes

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 354 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 32%
  • Fat: 10%
  • Fiber: 5%

Merrick Grain-Free Healthy Weight offers dogs in need of shedding a few pounds a food that packs a powerhouse punch when it comes to flavor, staying power, and nutrition. This low-fat recipe lists deboned beef and chicken meal as its two primary ingredients, two meats that dogs just love and that are filled with amino acids to encourage strong and healthy muscles.

This diet contains no grains and includes fiber-rich fruits and vegetables as the basis for its carbohydrates. This ensures a generous serving of antioxidants to encourage a healthy immune system.  Merrick Grain-Free Healthy Weight has been fortified with omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, glucosamine, chondroitin, and probiotics to promote healthy digestion, strong joints, and excellent skin and coat health.

Merrick’s outstanding quality makes it one of the best selections on a list of best low-fat foods for dogs.

Pros

  • Dogs love the taste of this food. They eat their meals with hearty gusto.
  • Overweight dogs were easily able to shed some weight when fed this food consistently. Once their weight loss was achieved, this diet was also effective at helping dogs maintain it.
  • Dogs with big appetites were easily satisfied with this food when fed the appropriate amount for their size.
  • Dogs that struggled with excess gas saw a return to proper digestion and a reduction of the amount of flatulence they experienced when fed this food regularly.
  • The stool quality of dogs consistently fed this diet was excellent.

Cons

  • A few owners commented that the recommended amounts are too generous for most dogs. They suggested feeding marginally less food if weight loss was desired.
  • A few dogs dislike the taste of this food and will not eat it. Merrick has several other offerings based on different proteins. One of these options may be a better fit for those dogs.
  • Owners noted this diet used to come in a resealable bag but no longer does.
  • Some owners expressed that they wished this diet included some whole grains in its formula, feeling these ingredients are an important help with digestion.
  • Several owners indicated that the bag of food now contains less kibble than it used to while the price has remained the same.

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How to Choose the Best Low Fat Food for Dogs

Since dogs love food, it is the natural tendency of most owners to slip them a few extra treats every now and then. Unfortunately, this habit can quickly to lead to weight gain, and getting pounds off a dog is far harder then putting them on in the first place.

Unfortunately, even a modest weight gain can cause significant health problems in dogs. Excess weight can contribute to the development of more serious illnesses and can even alter the dog’s lifespan. Thankfully, a commitment to daily exercise and a low-fat diet can help get Fido back in shape again.

Sadly, veterinary professionals indicate that as many as 60 percent of the pets they see carry excess weight with some of their patients falling within the category of obese. It is important for dogs that fall within these parameters to begin a program to remove excess pounds before their health is permanently impacted.

Among the health problems that can plague overweight or obese dogs are inflammation, type two diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, osteoarthritis, bladder stones, exercise intolerance, and more.

Though obesity is one of the most frequently seen problems in dogs, it can be treated with an excellent quality low-fat diet and moderate daily exercise. Once a healthy body weight is achieved, this body condition must be maintained for the dog to continue to enjoy improved health.

The best low-fat food for dogs can be a powerful help in achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight.

Choosing the Correct Calorie Count for Low-Fat Dog Foods

Low-fat foods are carefully crafted to ensure dogs remain satisfied even though the diet contains fewer calories. One of the most important elements of any low-fat food is that it remains extremely flavorful to encourage hearty eating. Through the use of lean proteins, low-fat diets can maintain a delicious taste while bulking up on fiber-rich vegetables to help dogs feel full on fewer calories.

Care must be taken to carefully measure the dog’s food to ensure overeating does not occur. When feeding a low-fat diet, treats should be eliminated or at least severely restricted, so as not to interfere with weight loss efforts. Many owners like to set aside a portion of the dog’s kibble to use as treats throughout the day.

To determine how much of the best low-fat food to feed a dog, it is a good idea to follow the suggested serving sizes found on the side of the bag. Use these as a starting point, making adjustments based on the dog’s weight or visual appearance until the correct amount is found.

Do not use the dog’s appetite as a guide as dogs who are overweight often do not understand when they have eaten a sufficient amount of food and will eat far beyond the point of satiation if permitted to do so. For dogs that regularly seem hungry in spite of adequate meals, choose instead to bulk up the dog’s portions through the addition of fiber-rich, low-calorie vegetables such as canned pumpkin, green beans, or carrots.

Dietary Requirements for Low-Fat Dog Foods

It is very important when starting a dog on a low-fat food that the amount of food given should not be drastically altered within the first week. Feeding too few calories can lead to setbacks and can also encourage the development of poor manners such as excess begging. Just as with people, physical and emotional satisfaction are important components to the diet’s success.

Not all low-fat dog foods are created equally. It is important to select a food that is comprised of the highest quality ingredients included in the correct ratio to encourage eating satisfaction. To this end, the primary ingredient in any low-fat food suitable for dogs who need to lose weight is a lean protein from animal origins. Whole meats are preferred, but meat meals also are an excellent dense source of high-quality protein.

By-products are low quality and offer far less nutritional value, and thus, should be avoided. Plant-based proteins such as corn, wheat, and soy are very hard to digest and can cause stomach and skin distress in many dogs. The best low-fat foods for dogs do not contain any of these items.

Carbohydrates play an important role in low-fat foods, providing the necessary dietary fiber that helps dogs to feel full. Fruits and vegetables are often the best sources as they offer not only staying power through their fiber but also antioxidants to help fight disease. Since digestion and elimination are critical components of any weight loss program, high-quality carbohydrates are an absolute must; whether they are derived from whole grains, fruits, or vegetables.

Healthy fat also plays a role in weight loss. Fats contributed through such ingredients as salmon oil or chicken fat provide dogs with the energy they need to remain active and well. These fats also benefit the dog through maintaining good skin and a healthy coat.

As a general guideline, low-fat foods should contain at least 18 percent protein. Fat totals generally range between 5-10 percent with slightly more acceptable but not less.

Low-fat food is not restricted just to dogs that need to lose a little weight. It is also an excellent choice for dogs suffering from such problems as pancreatitis or irritable bowel disease.

Things to Look for in the Best Low-Fat Dog Food

Here is a basic list of the most important things to look for in a low-fat dog food:

  • Whole meat or meat meal proteins heading up the ingredients list
  • Prepared without the addition of chemicals, flavorings, fillers, or mystery ingredients
  • Enriched with probiotics and helpful supplements
  • Meets AAFCO nutritional requirements for a complete and balanced food
  • Contains 5-10 percent fat

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