Low fat dog foods can be beneficial for pets with health conditions such as pancreatitis, obesity, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). However, finding a quality low fat dog food can be challenging because pet food companies tend to reduce fat by incorporating less meat, resulting in low protein and high carbohydrate content. To assist with selecting a suitable low fat dog food, our research team has identified products that meet the following criteria: well below-average fat content, reasonable protein levels, and a rating of 4 stars or higher. To meet these requirements, low fat dog foods may contain less meat and more plant-based protein.
Best Overall, Dry Dog FoodPurina Pro Plan Adult Weight Management Dog Food
What We Like:
– Affordable price
– Manageable kibble size for all breeds
What We Don’t Like:
– Can be sold out due to popularity
Purina Pro Plan Adult Weight Management Formula is a great option for dogs who need to lose weight, with 15% less fat than other similar adult formulas. The protein-to-fat ratio helps maintain muscle mass while fiber helps your dog feel full. The formula includes omega-6 fatty acids and Vitamin A for a healthy coat, as well as probiotics for better digestion. The first ingredient is chicken, with no artificial colors or flavors. We recommend the “Shredded Blend” for some variety in texture. Other ingredients include rice, whole grain corn, and fish meal, with a full spectrum of vitamins. Feeding instructions are based on weight, with separate guidance for weight maintenance or calorie reduction. Suitable for all life stages and available in small and large breed formulas, in 6, 18, and 34-pound bags.
Price at time of publish: $48 (18-pound bag)
Life Stage: Adult | Available Flavors: Chicken & rice, shredded blend chicken & rice | Sizes: 6, 18, 34-pound bags | Primary Ingredients: Chicken, rice, whole grain corn, poultry byproduct meal, corn germ meal, soybean meal, whole grain wheat, corn gluten meal, beef fat, fish meal
Personalized Fresh Food: The Farmer’s Dog
The Farmer’s Dog provides natural, fresh, and high-quality meals made from human-grade ingredients. The recipes are tailored to meet your dog’s specific dietary requirements and pre-portioned for convenience. By completing a short survey that includes your dog’s age, breed, current weight, and health status, you can customize the food to achieve weight loss goals.
The food options include turkey, pork, or beef recipes, which are formulated by certified veterinary nutritionists and flash-frozen. You can have the meals shipped to your doorstep on a regular basis.
The turkey recipe contains 38% crude protein, 26% crude fat, 2% crude fiber, and 282 kcal per 1/2 lb. The ingredients include USDA turkey, chickpeas, carrot, broccoli, parsnip, spinach, fish oil, and TFD nutrient blend. The price starts at $2 per day, and shipping is free.
Blue Buffalo Fit & Healthy
The first five ingredients in Blue Buffalo Fit & Healthy include deboned chicken, chicken meal, oatmeal, barley, and brown rice. Each cup of this food contains 324 kcals and a 24-lb bag is priced at $59.98. This all-natural dog food is designed to help manage your pup’s weight with the inclusion of L-carnitine and fiber to promote a feeling of fullness between meals. The recipe is made with wholesome ingredients such as chicken, menhaden fish meal, brown rice, flaxseed, and cranberries, and also contains LifeSource Bits, which provide a precise blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to support immune system health and healthy oxidative balance. With real chicken as the primary ingredient, your pup is sure to enjoy the taste of Blue Buffalo Fit & Healthy.
Wellness Complete Healthy Weight
The Wellness Complete Health product line offers an impressive selection of foods, including their Healthy Weight recipe. This formula, like all other Wellness Complete products, contains no artificial additives, poultry by-products or fillers. However, as a weight-control formula, it has lower fat content than some of their other recipes.
The Wellness Complete Healthy Weight Recipe is rich in premium proteins such as deboned chicken, chicken meal, and whitefish. It also features whole grains that help your furry friend feel full for longer and provide sustained energy. The recipe stands out for its inclusion of fruits and vegetables, including spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes, and blueberries. These ingredients not only enhance the flavor of the food, but also provide essential vitamins, minerals, and immune-boosting antioxidants.
This chicken-based dog food recipe also contains four different probiotics to promote proper intestinal function, as well as fortified vitamins and minerals to ensure your dog gets all the essential nutrients they need.
Merrick Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food – Best Overall
Merrick Healthy Weight dog food is free from cheap fillers and animal by-products, ensuring that your dog avoids consuming empty calories. This premium food is made up of all-natural ingredients, limiting the intake of any harmful additives. With 32% protein, this kibble contains deboned beef as its primary ingredient, along with chicken meal, turkey meal, and chicken fat. While there is a bit more plant protein than desired, it is a minor issue. The inclusion of meals is particularly beneficial as they contain glucosamine, which is essential for joint support in overweight dogs. The food also contains probiotics, which helps regulate your dog’s digestive system. The addition of fruits and vegetables such as sweet potatoes, apples, and blueberries provide essential vitamins and minerals while also being a tasty treat for your dog. While not perfect, Merrick Healthy Weight is a high-quality dog food that is suitable for all breeds and weights, making it the clear choice for our top spot.
How to determine the best food for your dog
When it comes to ensuring your dog’s food promotes good health, two primary factors come into play: nutritional completeness and balance, as well as appropriate portion sizes based on your dog’s weight and size. According to Dr. Megan Shepherd, a certified veterinary nutritionist and owner of Veterinary Clinical Nutrition, PLLC, it’s essential to look beyond just the label when selecting your pet’s food.
While the label can provide important information, such as the AAFCO statement indicating the food’s suitability for specific life stages and how it’s substantiated, there are other critical factors to consider. The World Small Animal Veterinary Association’s Global Nutrition Guidelines recommend researching the brand to determine who formulates and manufactures the product and whether they regularly analyze their finished products for nutrient content, pathogens, and other harmful substances.
Dr. Brian Roberts, a board-certified veterinarian and regional medical director for VCA Animal Hospitals in the Mid-Atlantic region, stresses the importance of brands that invest in research and employ board-certified veterinary nutritionists. To help you navigate the world of high-quality dog food, we’ve outlined some key considerations recommended by experts.
What is the number one healthiest dog food?
There is no single healthiest dog food. Generally, healthy foods meet the AAFCO’s nutritional requirements for complete and balanced nutrition and contain only high-quality ingredients. However, no individual dog food can be considered the healthiest.
What is the best dog food recommended by vets?
Given the wide variety of dog foods and the different health needs they cater to, there’s no one best dog food that veterinarians recommend. A vet will consider many factors, such as a dog’s overall health status, life stage, and lifestyle, to determine which dog food is most appropriate for an individual dog.
What is the best food I can feed my dog?
Every dog is different, so there’s no end-all-be-all, best dog food. Shepherd shares a few indications that your dog is eating a food that’s right for them: 1) maintaining a healthy weight (body condition score of 4 or 5 out of 9, normal muscle condition score); 2) having normal poop (easy to pick up and not overly firm); 3) no vomiting between meals; 4) having healthy skin and coat (no dry, flaky skin); and 5) achieving appropriate growth if they’re a puppy. The best food for your dog will also be one they enjoy eating, which can take some trial and error.
What is human-grade dog food?
If a dog food says it’s “human-grade,” it means the finished food is processed, handled, stored, and transported according to the manufacturing practices for human foods. This process must be meticulously documented, and the label should clearly mention the food is for dogs. In his years of experience, Swanson has tested a few human-grade pet foods in his lab. “While I don’t have a strong preference to any one type or brand of diet, I can say that the human-grade foods I have had experience with are highly palatable, highly digestible, and resulted in a low volume of stool that allowed for easy clean up,” he says.
Do dogs need grain-free food?
No. No. Despite pet food marketing suggesting that grain-free foods are better for dogs than grain-containing foods, no scientific evidence supports this claim. “Animals require nutrients, not ingredients,” says Swanson. Concern over grain-free dog foods began in 2018, when several veterinary cardiologists noticed unusually high numbers of non-genetic dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs. As of November 2022, approximately 1,400 cases of DCM in dogs have been reported to the FDA, up from several hundred cases since 2018. In its latest update, the FDA notes that this increase in reported cases does not indicate a definitive link between grain-free dogs and DCM in dogs. The investigation is ongoing.
Are meat byproducts bad?
Not necessarily. The AAFCO defines byproducts as “secondary products produced in addition to the principal product.” Pet food advertising often portrays byproducts as undesirable and unappetizing, but properly processed byproducts are safe and nutritious. For example, liver is a byproduct full of vitamins and minerals that are good for pets. Before meat byproducts can be used in dry or canned pet food, they must be heat-treated and undergo additional processing to eliminate all disease-causing bacteria. Sometimes pet food manufacturing facilities render byproducts, meaning that the byproducts are cooked to kill disease-causing bacteria. On a dog food label, you will see a meat byproduct listed as “byproduct” or “meal.” This indicates that the meat ingredient has undergone additional processing and is safe for your dog to eat.
How often should I feed my dog?
Several factors determine how often you should feed your dog, such as their life stage, health status, and the food’s palatability. Your veterinarian can provide recommendations for your dog to ensure proper nutrition and calorie intake. “The most important thing is to feed a complete and balanced diet and provide controlled amounts of food,” Swanson says. “Monitor your dog’s body weight and body condition over time and adjust feeding amounts so that a healthy body weight is maintained.” Because dogs aren’t known for their portion control, don’t leave food out for all-day eating. Treats should comprise no more than 10% of a dog’s daily caloric intake. Your veterinarian can help you determine how many “treat” calories your dog can have daily. Check out our guides to the best dog treats and best organic dog treats to find healthy options for your pet.