The 7 Best Low Fat Dog Foods

By Kevin Myers | 2020 Update

✓ Reviewed by Dr. Sara Redding Ochoa, DVM

This guide covers all of the best low-fat dog foods for weight management, pancreatitis, IBS and other issues.

Getting an overweight dog to lose weight is one of the toughest things for a dog owner.

But with low-fat dog foods, you have a great tool in your arsenal. These foods are not only great for weight loss in dogs, but also for those that suffer from diseases like pancreatitis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

According to the Institute of Pet Obesity Prevention, 55.8% of dogs in the USA are obese. The relative lifespan of dogs is being greatly reduced due to the number of diseases caused by obesity. These include hypertension (high blood pressure), heart, and kidney diseases.

But all’s not lost, my friend.

With the right low-fat food for dogs and daily exercise, you can reduce their weight and lower the risk of your dog developing obesity-related diseases.

For this article, our team spent hours on end to find just the right products for your pet. We’ll review each of them in this post and go into the details on how to choose the right recipe for your pooch.

The Best Low-Fat Dog Foods – My Top 5 Picks

1. Solid Gold — Fit & Fabulous Low-Fat Dry Dog Food

Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,095 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 26%, Fat (min.) 6.5%, Fiber (max.) 9%, Moisture (max.) 10%
  • FormDry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Pollock, 2. Pollock Meal, 3. Pea Fiber, 4. Oatmeal, 5. Brown Rice

With a minimum fat content of 6.5%, the Fit and Fabulous recipe by Solid Gold is easily one of the lowest fat recipes on  the market. The manufacturer uses quite an interesting meat choice for this product: The Alaskan Pollock fish. It’s not quite often that you see this meat type in dog foods, however, it’s an excellent source of Omega fatty acids which promotes a healthy,  smooth coat for your dog. Not just that, but this recipe also contains 20 nutrient-rich “superfoods” that provide a natural diet for dogs.

You might be wondering:

Even though my dog’s a chunky one, he’s a small breed. But that’s completely fine because Solid Gold’s Fit and Fabulous recipe is for dogs of all breeds and sizes. With natural foods like cranberry, pumpkin, broccoli, lentils, and almond oil, this formula is as closest to nature as possible. Also, did I mention that it contains natural oils like canola, salmon, and olive oil? You can pretty much agree that with these ingredients, your pooch is on their way to having a fit body and a lovely coat!

Buy on Chewy

2. Blue Buffalo — Life Protection Healthy Weight Formula

Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,251 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 20%, Fat (min.) 9%, Fiber (max.) 10%, Moisture (max.) 10%
  • FormDry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Brown Rice, 4. Barley, 5. Pea Fiber

With real deboned chicken as its first ingredient, Blue Buffalo’s Life Protection Formula is number 2 on our list. The percentage of fat in this recipe is extremely low at around 9% minimum. It also contains the signature Blue Buffalo LifeSource Bits that many dogs are in love with. As this dog food is lower in fat, it’s also lower in calories which helps dogs reduce weight.

But that’s not all:

This delicious weight-control recipe contains L-carnitine which is perfect for building lean muscle mass in dogs. This nutrient utilizes excess fat for energy so healthy muscle can be developed. Since many overweight dogs suffer from bone diseases, Blue Buffalo has added a healthy amount of Calcium and Phosphorous in this formula which helps strengthen bone cells. To add to that effect, chondroitin, and glucosamine further strengthen the joints. With no by-product meals like corn, wheat or soy, this is truly a great low-fat dog food.

Verdict: One of the best low-fat dog food, highly recommended!

Buy on Chewy

3. Merrick — Grain-Free Healthy Weight Recipe

Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3342 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 34%, Fat (min.) 8%, Fiber (max.) 5%, Moisture (max.) 11%
  • FormDry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Beef, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Peas, 4. Potatoes, 5. Sweet Potatoes
  • Gluten-Free
  • Grain-Free

Only a few commercial dog food manufacturers are able to keep their protein content constant while reducing the fat in their low-fat recipes. Normally, when the fat is reduced, the protein suffers as well. But with a minimum of 34% protein and 8% fat, Merrick defies the odds with this low-fat food for dogs. What’s more, it’s perfect for dogs with allergies as it’s completely grain and gluten-free. The vitamin sources in this dog food are natural fruits and veggies which is a sign of the quality of this product.

But the awesomeness doesn’t just end there. This recipe is fortified with Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids which work their magic on your dog’s coat to give it a lush shine. Not to forget, with added glucosamine and chondroitin, this formula helps increase joint mobility and strength.

Buy on Chewy

4. Earthborn Holistic — Weight Control Grain-Free Dog Food

Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,090 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 25%, Fat (min.) 7%, Fiber (max.) 9%, Moisture (max.) 10%
  • FormDry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Peas, Tapioca, Pea Fiber, Tomato Pomace

With a minimum of 7% fat, the Earthborn Holistic Weight-Control formula is second in line for the lowest fat content (only behind our number 1 pick: Solid Gold) Like any high-quality weight-control formula, this one reduces calories without affecting the overall nutrition and protein content. Also, your dog certainly won’t feel unsatiated with this food as it contains plenty of natural sources of fiber like fruits and veggies. These help keep the dog’s tummy full without excess calories.

Among the supplements in this diet, L-carnitine is on top of a list that is perfect for fat reduction and the development of lean muscle mass. Additionally, this recipe also contains both Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids which means it’s wonderful for your dog’s coat.

Buy on Chewy

5. Annamaet — Grain-Free Lean Low Fat Formula 

Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,242 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 30%, Fat (min.) 7%, Fiber (max.) 3.5%, Moisture (max.) 10%
  • FormDry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken Meal, 2. Field Peas, 3. Lentils, 4. Potato, 5. Tapioca
  • Grain-Free
  • GMO-Free

As the name suggests, this dog food is one of the leanest in line. With a minimum of 7% fat, you can rest assured that your dog is eating as little fat as possible. At the same time, Annamaet doesn’t compromise on the protein content which stands firm at 30%. This formula is particularly useful for dogs that suffer from pancreatitis. With added L-carnitine, this dog food helps burn excess fat to keep your dog energetic and lean. This recipe also has DHA, a supplement which is missing in a lot of dog foods but is vital for cognitive development.

But it gets better:

You’ll find a healthy portion of Omega-3 fatty acids in this weight loss dog food, and that too, from the best natural source: fish oil. The presence of chelated minerals adds to the protein content in this food which is why it’s abundant in lean proteins. What’s more, the prebiotics helps to improve digestion which is why dogs with sensitive stomachs farewell with this formula.

Buy on Chewy

6. Now Fresh — Grain-Free Senior Weight Management Recipe

Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

  • Life Stage: Senior
  • Suitable for: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,252 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 24%, Fat (min.) 10%, Fiber (max.) 6%, Moisture (max.) 10%
  • FormDry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. De-Boned Turkey, 2. Potato Flour, 3. Apples, 4. Pea Fiber, 5. Peas
  • Grain-Free
  • Gluten-Free

If you’re particularly choosy about finding grain, by-product, and gluten-free recipes, then this might be the best option for you. With supplementary L-carnitine, this low-fat dog food helps heart function and sheds extra weight at the same time. You’ll be amazed to see the pre and probiotics in action with this formula as they ease the digestive process for your pooch.


7. Blue Buffalo — Wilderness Healthy Weight Chicken Recipe

Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,269 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 30%, Fat (min.) 10%, Fiber (max.) 10%, Moisture (max.) 10%
  • FormDry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Pea Protein, 4. Peas, 5. Tapioca Starch
  • Grain-Free

With this dog food, Blue Buffalo promises that your pooch will be strong enough to win any game of tug of war. Although we haven’t tried that claim, the 30% protein in this formula surely provides a strong muscle-building fuel. With the strengthening action of L-carnitine, your pup is sure to return to shape with this dog food. Not to mention, you’ll also find Blue Buffalo’s signature LifeSource Bits in there as well.


Related:

FAQs

Before we head on to the rest of the list, we decided to have a crack at some of your frequently asked questions about low-fat dog foods. There were dozens of them, but we chose the top ones that we found the most suitable for this article.

What is the best low-fat dog food?

If you’d ask us, we’d say Solid Gold’s Fit & Fabulous Formula is the best low-fat dog food in town. With only 6.5% fat (minimum) and an optimum blend of nutrients, it’s truly a great option for all fat dogs.

What percentage of a dog’s diet should be fat?

Well, this really depends on what your end goal is from your dog’s diet. If you’re looking to reduce weight, then the fat content in your dog’s diet should be a lot lower than, say, if you wanted to maintain it. However, 10-15% fat is a good fat content range for a healthy dog. You’d want to make sure that you provide ample opportunities for exercise for your pooch, though.

Is a high fat diet bad for dogs?

Any nutrient in excess is harmful to dogs and fat is no different. If your dog is ingesting more fat than he can burn, then he’s in danger of becoming obese and contracting diseases like pancreatitis. The risk is especially high if your dog gets little-to-no exercise or enjoys regular high-carb meals.

What is a healthy dog diet?

A healthy dog diet is one that contains all the necessary nutrients in the right proportion. It should also contain some grains (unless you’re looking for grain-free options for an allergic dog), meat, fruits, and veggies. You should always go with high-quality options when it comes to your dog’s diet as this helps you to avoid digestion problems and heavy vet fees down the road.

What meats are good for dogs?

Ideally, those meat types are the best for dogs that come from animals that dogs might actually hunt in the wild. However, here’s a list of meats that dogs love to have:

  • Turkey
  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Pork

How many calories should a dog eat to lose weight?

Dogs come in all shapes, sizes, and personalities, just like we do. Because they are individuals, we recommend you consult with your veterinarian about their ideal caloric intake. With that said, reducing your dog’s caloric intake regularly by 250 calories until your dog starts shedding some weight is a common option suggested by vets.

Should dogs eat fat?

Fat, like proteins and carbs, are a necessary part of a dog’s diet. However, your dog’s health is dependent on getting the right percentage for each of these nutrients. Fats, ideally, should constitute 10-15% of your dog’s diet.

Are eggs good for dogs?

Eggs are a fine source of protein and can be served in boiled or cooked form to your dog. However, the uncooked egg is a great habitat for bacteria to grow. That’s why you should always avoid feeding uncooked eggs to your dog.

What is the best low-fat dog food for pancreatitis?

Annamaet’s Low-Fat Formula is a great option for dogs that suffer from Pancreatitis. The manufacturer specifically designed it for dogs that suffer from this problem. Not to mention, its fat content lies at a minimum of 7% which is quite impressive.

Is chicken dog food bad for dogs?

Certainly not. Chicken is a fine protein source for dogs, one that they regularly hunt in the wild. It contains a good amount of healthy amino acids and proteins and can be easily obtained in its deboned form. Unless the chicken used in dog food is allergic or sick, there’s nothing to worry about.

Is grain bad for dogs?

This myth plagues the minds of a lot of dog owners. But the fact remains that grains are actually beneficial for dogs. Grains like corn, soy, wheat, and barley are actually useful for dogs unless they are allergic to them.

Can dogs recover from pancreatitis?

Dogs can usually recover from pancreatitis. If the disease is mild, the vet might recommend a few days of fasting for the dog until the vomiting subsides. In severe cases, dogs would have to be hospitalized and intravenously fed and treated.

Are preservatives bad for dogs?

Natural preservatives are completely safe for use in dog foods. They’ve been used to preserve foods for thousands of years and pose no real threat. However, synthetic preservatives are considered carcinogenic and should be avoided at all costs.

What foods should dogs avoid?

There are dozens of foods that dogs should avoid — some are even considered poisonous for them! Here’s a list:

  • Chocolate
  • Salty foods
  • Avocado
  • Alcohol
  • Milk
  • Dairy
  • Onions, garlic.
  • Raisins

Should I leave food out for my dog all day?

No. Leaving your dog’s food out all day is a bad option as this often leads to overeating. Many dogs really don’t know when they’re full so they’ll keep eating unless you stop them. This would lead to obesity and untimely toileting, both of which you want to avoid.

Is Tuna healthy for dogs?

Tuna is a controversial ingredient for dogs. Since this fish contains high levels of mercury, it’s considered to be dangerous for dogs. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so it’s recommended to avoid this ingredient in dog foods.

Buying Guide For Low-Fat Dog Foods

While buying a low-fat diet for your dog, you can’t just pick one with the least amount of fats. You see, there are a plethora of factors that you need to consider to be able to choose one option that stands out from the rest. And truth be told, not every product would tick all the right boxes. Finding the right balance is key here.

So, in this section, we’ll show you which factors to consider when purchasing a weight-management dog food.

Low-Fat Content

This one’s a given. Usually, a regular adult dog food contains about 12% fat which is great for healthy dogs. We wouldn’t recommend anything different for a pooch that lies in the right weight bracket for its breed. However, statistics prove that almost every second dog tips the scales on the weight machine so you’ll need to buy a diet for them that has less fat. In that case, 9-10% is fine. However, you should always consult your vet before making a dietary change, especially if your pooch is pregnant or is still a pup.

Protein Intake

A lot of low-fat dog foods compromise their protein content when reducing fat. But that shouldn’t be your aim when reducing your dog’s weight. A healthy amount of protein should always be present to substitute fats with lean muscle in the body. Here is more information on this topic.

Digestion

Digestibility is a major factor in weight-control dog foods. You need a diet that swiftly passes through the digestive tract if you’re looking to manage calories for your dog. Foods with low carbs are the easiest to digest as well as those containing a good amount of fiber. Also, by-products are harder to digest so you should avoid them in dog foods.

Nutrients

As I mentioned above, finding the right balance is key. The correct nutrient blend can make the difference between a chunky dog and one that proudly struts its stuff in the park. When you’ll reduce the fat content in your dog’s diet, your pooch would inevitably rely on other nutrients. So make sure you don’t compromise on protein, fiber, and essential fatty acids in its diet.

Artificial Additives

This is a big no-no when it comes to  a low-fat diet for dogs. Artificial additives like preservatives and flavors can be detrimental for health and many are even being researched as possibly cancer-causing.. So, dog foods that state “No Artificial Additives” should be top priority.

Fibers

Fiber is a controversial topic when considering low-fat dog foods. How much fiber your dog needs depends on the individual scenario. Dogs that suffer from pancreatitis not only need low fat but low fiber as well. However, a moderate amount of fiber is ideal for fat dogs that don’t suffer from pancreatitis as fiber aids  digestion. Make sure you consult your vet on this one!

My Alternative picks for the best low-fat dog foods

8. Nulo — Freestyle Cod & Lentils Recipe (Grain-Free)

Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,122 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 30%, Fat (min.) 7%, Fiber (max.) 6%, Moisture (max.) 10%
  • FormDry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Cod, 2. Turkey Meal, 3. Salmon Meal, 4. Lentils, 5. Yellow Peas

If your dog doesn’t enjoy chicken and egg or is allergic to them, then Nulo has created this recipe with you in mind! With 74% proteins based on animal protein and lesser glycemic ingredients, this low calorie dog food is great for overweight dogs.

9. VICTOR — Senior Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food

Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

  • Life Stage: Senior
  • Suitable for: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3385 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 27%, Fat (min.) 11.5%, Fiber (max.) 4.5%, Moisture (max.) 9%
  • FormDry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 

This recipe contains 78% animal-based proteins along with a plethora of supplements like chondroitin and glucosamine.

10. Wellness — Grain-Free Reduced Fat Recipe

Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Adult
  • Caloric content (per cup): 360 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 33%, Fat (min.) 10-12%, Fiber (max.) 12%, Moisture (max.) 10%
  • FormDry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Turkey, 2. Turkey Meal, 3. Chicken Meal, 4. Potatoes, 5. Peas
  • Grain-Free
  • Gluten-Free

Wellness has designed this grain-free diet with extreme care which makes it ideal for dogs with allergies. Fortified with taurine, this formula is great for your dog’s heart as well. Not to mention, this dog food has no artificial flavors or colors and is devoid of wheat, corn, and soy.

11. Eagle Pack — Reduced Fat Adult Formula

Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,240 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 24%, Fat (min.) 6%, Fiber (max.) 4%, Moisture (max.) 10%
  • FormDry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Pork Meal, 2. Dehulled Barley, 3. Peas, 4. Ground Brown Rice, 5. Oatmeal

Eagle Pack has designed this formula with 35% reduced-fat for efficient weight control in dogs. It uses a blend of chicken and pork meals as its protein sources and contains glucosamine hydrochloride for improving joint mobility and strength. Also, it contains no by-products or artificial colors and flavors.

12. Dr. Tim’s — Weight Management Metabolite Formula

Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

  • Life Stage: Senior, Adult
  • Suitable for: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3027 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 30%, Fat (min.) 10%, Fiber (max.) 8%, Moisture (max.) 10%
  • FormDry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken Meal, 2. Brown Rice, 3. Whole Oat Groats, 4. Dried Field Peas, 5. Powdered Cellulose

With a healthy amount of proteins and BC30 probiotics, Dr. Tim’s Weight Management Formula makes its way onto our list of the best low-fat dog foods. This recipe contains a good amount of proteins for a low-fat diet and includes supplements like DHA and EPA which are great for cognitive development in dogs.

13. Nutro Ultra — Weight Management Dry Dog Food

Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3348 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 23%, Fat (min.) 10%, Fiber (max.) 4%, Moisture (max.) 10%
  • FormDry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Whole Brown Rice, 4. Brewers Rice, 5. Rice Bran

Nutro is known to produce some high-quality stuff in the dog food industry and this product is no exception. They use 3 protein sources for this formula to find the right blend of amino acids and fortify the recipe with antioxidants…

14. Hill’s Science Diet — Large-Breed Light Recipe

Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Adult
  • Caloric content (per cup): 271 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 20%, Fat (min.) 5.5%, Fiber (max.) 14%, Moisture (max.) 10.5%
  • FormDry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken Meal, 2. Cracked Pearl Barley, 3. Pea Fiber, 4. Whole Grain Wheat, 5. Whole Grain Corn

Hill’s Science Diet’s weight control formula contains 18% fewer  calories than its regular diet. This reduces the caloric content which allows excess fat in the body to be burned. With glucosamine and chondroitin, it’s also perfect for dogs with weaker joints as these supplements help improve joint mobility. For a healthier immune system, Hill’s adds a blend of vitamin E, C, and antioxidants.

15. Purina ONE — Smartblend Healthy Weight Adult Formula

Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3336 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 27%, Fat (min.) 8%, Fiber (max.) 5.5%, Moisture (max.) 12%
  • FormDry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Turkey, 2. Rice Flour, 3. Soybean Meal, 4. Corn Gluten Meal, 5. Chicken By-Product Meal

This formula has 25% less fat and 15% fewer calories than Purina’s regular dog food. It also contains Omega-6 fatty acids to give your dog a smooth, shiny coat.

16. Purina Pro Plan — Shredded Blend Weight Management Formula for Adults

Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,492 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 25%, Fat (min.) 8%, Fiber (max.) 5.5%, Moisture (max.) 12%
  • FormDry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Rice Flour, 3. Whole Grain Corn, 4. Corn Germ Meal, 5. Poultry By-Product Meal
  • Pea-Free

17. Iams — ProActive Health Adult Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food

Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,348 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 20%, Fat (min.) 9%, Fiber (max.) 5%, Moisture (max.) 10%
  • FormDry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Ground Whole Grain Barley, 3. Ground Whole Grain Corn, 4. Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, 5. Chicken By-Product Meal

If your dog gets less than twenty minutes of exercise per day, then it’s more prone to packing on the pounds. Iams’ ProActive Health Formula can help you combat weight gain by reducing its fat content by 16% when compared to their regular adult formula. It’s also free of artificial fillers and preservatives.

Conclusion

Buying a quality low-fat dog food means more than seeing “low-fat” on the label. Read the ingredients to ensure that it is low-fat, that it does contain the right amount of proteins and a moderate amount of fiber. And remember that exercise is an essential part of the diet, especially for our dogs.

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