Has your pup recently suffered from pancreatitis or another fat-intolerance disease? Then most likely, you have been instructed to find a low-fat dog food to help them recover.
If your dog was diagnosed with EPI, IBD, or hyperlipidemia you may have even been told they will need to be on a low-fat diet for the rest of their lives.
Whether your pup is working hard to get back to optimum health or looking at a lifelong battle with fatty foods, you’ll want to find a quality diet that will support their health that also contains very little fat. Read on to find out our pick for the best low-fat dog foods for fat-sensitive dogs.
Is a Low Fat Diet Right for Your Dog?
Is your dog a little on the pudgy side? Are you looking for an ultra low-fat food because you think it will help them lose weight faster?
This is a mistake that many well-intentioned owners make.
As humans, we know that lower fat diets often lead to weight loss. It only makes sense since fat carries more than twice as many calories as carbs and protein.
But, it’s important to remember that dogs and humans have very different systems and our dogs are much better at digesting and utilizing higher fat foods than we are. One clear way this is demonstrated is in the occurrence of certain heart diseases in dogs.
Humans are known to suffer from clogged arteries and heart attacks from high-fat diets. But, according to Tufts University, dogs do not suffer from these types of heart disease.
If your dog needs to lose weight, a diet low in carbohydrates with a moderate fat percentage will be more effective.
Check out our list of the best dog foods for weight loss to find a diet better suited to help your pooch shed a few pounds
On the other hand, if your dog suffers from chronic pancreatitis, high triglycerides in the blood, or certain digestive issues, then a diet very low in fat may be the only answer. If your dog requires a low-fat diet, your veterinarian will let you know.
How to Determine if a Low Fat Dog Food is Quality or Crud
There are many low-fat dog foods available in pet stores. Your vet may have even offered you a high-priced prescription diet.
Unfortunately, many of these diets, including many vet diets, are made with low-quality ingredients or inadequate amounts of protein and other nutrients.
If the whole point is to keep your pup thriving in spite of their fat-intolerant condition, then why would you put them on a diet that will cause other health issues? Luckily, there are some quality foods out there that contain low-fat levels, high protein, and a high nutritional profile.
If your dog is recovering from acute pancreatitis, look for food with a moderate amount of protein, up to 30% according to Whole Dog Journal. If your dog is healthy, they recommend looking for a food with a higher protein level since dogs get most of their nutrition from protein and not carbohydrates.
In addition to protein amount, look for foods made with quality ingredients like named meat sources (chicken, chicken meal, lamb, beef, etc.). Avoid foods made with corn and soy as these are unuseable filler ingredients with low nutritional value.
How to Calculate the Actual Fat Content of Dog Food
If you’ve looked at the back of a bag of dog food recently, then you’ve probably noticed the “guaranteed analysis” section. This chart gives you a breakdown of the amount of each major ingredient in the food based on the total percentage.
Fat is listed in this section, but the number given only provides a rough idea of the actual amount of fat your dog will be consuming with each serving. To figure out if a food is actually low fat, you need to calculate how many calories come from fat.
To do this with dry food, you will need to take the percentage of fat listed in the guaranteed analysis section divided by the total kcalories per kg and times that number by 10,000:
Fat% / kcal per kg x 10,000 = grams of fat per kcal
Vets recommend a low-fat diet for dogs recovering from pancreatitis, according to petmd.com. According to Whole Dog Journal, veterinary nutritionists consider a diet low fat if it contains 25g or less of fat per kcal.
Reviews of The Best Low Fat Dog Foods
#1. Solid Gold – Fit & Fabulous – Grain-Free Natural Chicken, Sweet Potato & Green Bean – Holistic Weight Control Dry Dog Food
When it comes to low-fat dog foods with high levels of quality protein, you don’t have to look any further than our number one choice. Solid Gold’s Fit & Fabulous formula is the lowest fat dog food featured on our list and it maintains a higher than average protein content.
This food comes in two great flavors, chicken and Alaskan pollock.
The chicken recipe is ultra-low-fat at only 19.5 grams per kcalorie. It also contains an amazing 26% protein.
The pollock recipe is just a touch higher in fat at 21g and also contains 26% protein.
Both of these flavors contain quality ingredients with chicken and chicken meal, and pollock and pollock meal being the first in each. They are also grain free, making this recipe one of the best low-fat grain free dog foods out there.
This diet meets all our requirements for a great food for dogs suffering from fat intolerance diseases. And, because of its super-low-fat content and a protein content under 30%, it is the best dog food for pancreatitis and dogs still recovering from a recent episode.
In addition to all the great macro ingredients, this food is crafted with superfoods and holistic ingredients to give your dog the extra boost they need to get to peak health.
Best of all, this food is moderately priced and will easily fit into most budgets, especially those stretched thin by frequent vet visits.
#2. Merrick Grain Free Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food Recipe
Our second food was made for dogs who need a low-fat diet for the long term. Merrick’s healthy weight recipe combines a low fat content with super-high protein to keep your dog healthy and energized despite their condition.
Because of its quality, this food is one of the best dog foods for high triglycerides and dogs who suffer from fat-caused digestive disorders. This is because these types of dogs often have to be on low fat food for life, so they need a quality formula that will give them everything they need to thrive.
Luckily, this recipe checks off all the boxes of a quality food while still coming in with only 23g of fat per kcalorie.
This food is protein packed with 34%. This number comes from a multitude of quality meat ingredients like beef, chicken meal, and turkey meal.
With a protein percentage over 30%, this food may not be appropriate for dogs still recovering from a recent pancreatitis episode. But it is perfect for those with other fat sensitivities that can still tolerate protein well.
Like our first choice, this food is also grain free, which makes it a great option for dogs who are also sensitive to some plant-sourced ingredients.
This food is moderately priced as well and is sure to fit into your budget for the life of your furry friend.
#3. CANIDAE Grain Free PURE Dry Dog Food
Our third choice food comes in just over our vet recommended amount of fat but carries a ton of protein and high levels of animal sourced ingredients that just about make up for it.
Canidae carries a ton of great options for dogs of all types, but our focus today is on their weight management formula.
This food contains a respectable 27 grams of fat per kcalorie and an impressive 28% protein. If your dog really struggles to digest fat, you are better off with our first choice food.
But, if your pup can handle slightly higher amounts, this food is a great choice with its nutrient-dense formula and more abundant animal proteins. The first three ingredients in this diet are chicken, chicken meal, and turkey meal which add a high amount of bioavailable protein for your dog.
Another great feature of this food is its limited ingredient recipe. In addition to being grain free, this formula only contains nine different whole food ingredients.
This is a key feature, as many dogs with EPI and IBD have extra sensitive stomachs that can be triggered by a number of different foods.
With all that quality plus designation as a specialty limited ingredient food, it should come as no surprise that this food is a little pricier than others on our list. But, if your pup struggles with a sensitive stomach and fat-intolerance, this is one of the best low-fat dry dog food limited ingredient diets you’ll find.
#4. Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Natural Adult Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food
Our fourth food on the list of best low fat dog foods comes from Blue Buffalo. This popular company is known for dependable, quality diets at a fair price and their healthy weight formula is no exception.
This is a moderately low fat diet at 28g fat per kcalorie. Unlike our other selections, however, this one contains only 20% protein.
While the average healthy dog, even those with fat-intolerance issues, does well on higher protein diets, some require low protein. This is especially true for some dogs still recovering from acute pancreatitis or those with chronic pancreatitis.
Despite the lower protein, this food still contains some quality animal ingredients, including chicken and chicken meal. Like our other choices, this one is grain free but does contain a higher amount of pea and potato ingredients that lower the overall bioavailability of the protein and nutrients in the food.
#5. Solid Gold – Fit & Fabulous – Grain-Free Natural Chicken, Sweet Potato & Green Bean – Holistic Weight Control Canned Food
It can be tough to find a quality canned diet that is low enough in fat for your fat-sensitive pooch. While Solid Gold’s low-fat canned food still contains a higher amount of fat than any others on this list, it can be a good option for many dogs.
Canned foods require different processing than dry foods and often contain higher fat concentrations because of it. While Solid Gold’s Fit & Fabulous dry food came in first on our list with 19.5 grams of fat per kcalorie, their wet food comes in a notably higher with 167g.
However, given the average canned diet has closer to 300g, we would still consider this low fat where wet food is concerned. And for that reason, this is one of the best low fat canned dog foods you’ll find.
Like the dry diet, this food contains a high amount of protein, at 34%. It also contains quality ingredients like chicken, chicken liver, and ocean whitefish.
While the higher fat and higher protein content may make this food a poor choice for dogs recovering from pancreatitis or those with severe fat-sensitivities, it is a better choice as a wet food to mix with dry kibble than many other canned diets out there.
If your dog has a poor appetite or you just want to spoil them on occasion, they would no doubt appreciate a spoonful or two of this added to their bowl.
However, this is still an all-natural food with no added chemicals or filler ingredients and is a great choice, especially for those on a budget.
What is the Best Low Fat Dog Food for Fat-Sensitive Dogs?
After looking at the true fat content and reviewing protein and ingredient quality of many diet dog foods, we have named Solid Gold’s Fit & Fabulous diet as the best low fat dog food.
If your pup suffers from pancreatitis, IBD, EPI or high triglycerides in the blood, this diet is a great choice to keep their symptoms from flaring up and the rest of their body healthy. With high protein levels and quality ingredients, and most importantly, super low fat levels, this food is sure to help your pup thrive.
If your dog needs something a little higher in protein or much lower, we included many great options on our list for those as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
Some studies have shown that dogs with EPI do best on a diet with moderate fat. Talk to your vet about what will work best for your dog’s specific situation.
Also, make sure to talk to your vet if your dog has any additional medical problems. Dogs with diabetes or other diseases may need an even more specialized diet to stay healthy.
Summed Up: The Best Low Fat Dog Foods
|Solid Gold Fit & Fabulous Dry||Merrick Healthy Weight||Canidae Pure Weight Management||Blue Buffalo Healthy Weight||Solid Gold Fit & Fabulous Wet|
|Features for Fat Sensitive Dogs||19.5 grams of fat, moderately high protein, quality ingredients||23 grams of fat, very high protein, high in animal-sourced ingredients||27 grams of fat, high protein, limited ingredients||28 grams of fat, low in protein for protein sensitive dogs||Low fat for a canned diet, high protein, very palatable|
- Mary Strauss. “Healthy Low-Fat Diets For Dogs With Special Dietary Needs” wholedogjournal.com, 12 Nov 2008.
- Cailin R. Heinze. “The Skinny on Fat: Part 1 – The Basics” vetnutrition.tufts.edu, 15 March 2018