Best Low-Fat Dog Foods for 2020: 10 Top Brands for Large Breeds

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To ensure your dog lives a long, healthy life, you need to make sure that his bodyweight stays within the proper range. This is especially true for large breed dogs, who are extremely susceptible to weight gain.

This will often lead owners to look for a low-fat diet for their dogs to help reduce caloric intake and control weight.

We’ll try to help you do this below by reviewing the best low-fat dog food for large breed dogs with 10 top commercial picks.

Just be sure to compare the recipes and formulas presented carefully, so you can select the best weight management dog food for your large dog.

low fat dog food

What to Look For in the Best Reduced Fat Dog Food 

You don’t want to run out and buy the first bag of dry low-fat dog food you see. Rather, you’ll want to make sure you select a high-quality weight management dog food that meets your dog’s specific needs.

It is always important to consider your dog’s age, breed, growth rate, and feeding schedule when trying to select a diet dog food. It’s also important to consider any health problems or special needs that he may have when making your selection.

In fact, you should always consult your veterinarian when trying to help your dog lose weight, or anytime you make a substantive change to his food or feeding schedule.

Additionally, you’ll want to look for a few important characteristics when selecting a new weight loss dog food:

  • Features a whole protein as the first ingredient. Deboned meat is more nutritious than meat meal. 
  • Not too high in carbohydrates or too low in protein. Some dog foods reduce fat by lowering the amount of protein in the food. However, food that’s high in carbohydrates and low in protein can cause other problems. 
  • Does not contain artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. Look for foods that are all-natural. Artificial ingredients are more likely to upset your dog’s digestive system. 
  • Made in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or Western Europe. These countries have higher health and safety standards than other countries. Especially be sure to avoid foods made in China, since they have low health and safety standards. 
  • Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which are necessary for healthy skin and coat. Fish and flaxseed are good sources of omega-3. 
  • Full of antioxidant-rich ingredients, including brightly colored fruits and vegetables. It’s better for your dog’s food to get nutrients from natural sources. 
  • Nutritionally complete and balanced. You don’t want to feed your dog something that’s lacking in essential nutrients. 
  • Less than 10% fat content (measured by dry matter basis) and 17% of calories from fat is ideal.
  • Low to moderate fiber content. Some dogs, especially those with pancreatitis, may struggle with diets that are too high in fiber.  

It’s important to note that puppies and dogs who are pregnant or nursing should never be on a low-fat diet. Puppies need fat to grow properly, whether they’re getting that fat from kibble, their mother’s milk, or in their mother’s womb.

If you think your puppy is overweight, talk to your vet to come up with a plan to help them lose weight without removing too much fat from their diet while they’re still growing. 

best low fat dog food large breed

Why You May Need to Buy a Diet Dog Food

Dogs can require low-fat diets for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common health conditions that may require a low fat diet dog food include:

  • Obesity. Low fat dog food can help your pup shed weight.
  • A sensitive digestive system. Fat can be difficult to digest. Diet dog food low in fat can be easier for your doggo to digest. 
  • Food allergies. Some dogs might have food allergies that can be relieved with a low-fat diet. 
  • Dogs with pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas helps digest food (especially fat), so reducing the amount of fat in your dog’s diet can help with pancreatitis. 
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Since fat can be hard to digest, feeding a dog food that’s low in fat could help improve the symptoms of IBD.
  • Veterinary recommendations based on other ailments. Always listen to your vet if they recommend a specific diet for your dog. 

You should always talk to your vet before switching your dog to a diet dog food. Fat is a necessary nutrient, and switching your dog to a low-fat food could cause more problems than it solves.

Also, make sure you talk to your vet about your dog’s ideal weight. This will help you calculate how much to feed your dog and will help you to know when your dog has reached a healthy weight. 

Best Low-Fat Dog Food for Large Breeds

1. Annamaet Grain Free Lean Reduced Fat Formula Dry Dog Food

Annamaet Grain Free Reduced Fat Dog Food is a holistic, US-made weight loss dry dog food that features chicken, duck, and herring. It is specifically designed to help your dog lose weight in a healthy, controlled manner.

Best Low-Fat Dog Foods for 2020: 10 Top Brands for Large BreedsRating: 4.8

Price: $$$$

Pros:

  • Designed specifically for overweight dogs
  • Great for large breed dogs, puppies and adult dogs with conditions such as pancreatitis
  • Made in the USA
  • Grain-free
  • Naturally preserved
  • Made with meat such as duck, chicken, and herring

Cons:

  • Expensive

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2. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Dry Adult Large Breed

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe is a nutritious and delicious dry dog food that seeks to provide your dog with an evolutionarily appropriate diet. Made with a number of nutritious meats, fruits, and vegetables, this grain-free dog food is a great choice for many large-breed dogs.

Best Low-Fat Dog Foods for 2020: 10 Top Brands for Large BreedsRating: 4.6

Price: $$$

Pros:

  • Formulated specifically for large breed dogs
  • Grain free
  • Made in the USA
  • Contains high-quality ingredients
  • Made with meat such as beef, chicken, and turkey
  • Formulated with glucosamine and chondroitin

Cons:

  • Fairly expensive
  • Comes in only 22 lbs. bag

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3. Solid Gold Holistic Whole Grain Dog Food with Superfoods

Solid Gold Dog Foods is a holistic diet, specifically designed for large- and medium-sized dogs. Made with responsibly sourced bison meat, this food is sure to provide your dog with all of the protein he needs while reducing the amount of fat in his diet.
Best Low-Fat Dog Foods for 2020: 10 Top Brands for Large BreedsRating: 4.6

Price: $$$

Pros:

  • Formulated specifically for large dogs
  • High-quality ingredients
  • Comes with recommended serving sizes listed
  • Made in the USA
  • No corn, wheat or soy which are common allergens for dogs as well as potato-free

Cons:

  • Not grain free (other types of grain are used)
  • Fairly expensive

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4. Solid Gold Holistic Weight Control Dog Food with Superfoods

This Solid Gold Fit and Fabulous weight control recipe is also made with holistic and nutritious ingredients, but it is designed to help your dog lose even more weight than the previously reviewed recipe. This low-fat diet recipe features Alaskan Pollock, which is a great lean protein for dogs.
Best Low-Fat Dog Foods for 2020: 10 Top Brands for Large BreedsRating: 4.6

Price: $$$

Pros:

  • Holistic weight control food formula that is ideal for adult dogs of all sizes
  • Made with real meat such as pollock, turkey, and chicken
  • High-quality ingredients
  • Comes with recommended serving sizes listed
  • Made in the USA
  • No corn, wheat or soy which are common allergens for dogs as well as potato-free

Cons:

  • Fairly expensive
  • Is not grain free (other types of grain are used)

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5. Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Large Breed Dog Food, Chicken & Rice

Wellness Complete Health is a high-quality dry dog food that is packed with a number of different nutritious ingredients your dog will love. Made with deboned chicken and brown rice, this recipe should help your dog lose weight without suffering from reduced energy.
Best Low-Fat Dog Foods for 2020: 10 Top Brands for Large BreedsRating: 4.4

Price: $$$

Pros:

  • Complete food formula for a large dog’s diet
  • Made in the USA
  • High-quality ingredients
  • Made with real meat such as chicken, whitefish, and salmon
  • Has strict sourcing of where ingredients are from so as to provide quality food for your pet
  • No corn, wheat or soy which are common allergens for dogs

Cons:

  • Fairly expensive
  • Is not grain free (uses other grains)

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6. Eagle Pack Natural Dry Dog Food Pork, Chicken & Fish Reduced-Fat 

This complete and balanced reduced-fat dog food is more affordable than many other foods on our list. It’s made in the USA with premium, all-natural ingredients. Eagle Pack dog food contains no corn, wheat, meat by-products, or artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. 

Best Low-Fat Dog Foods for 2020: 10 Top Brands for Large BreedsRating: 4.4

Price: $$

Pros:

  • Complete and balanced nutrition
  • Made in the USA
  • Made with real pork, chicken, and fish
  • Fortified with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, glucosamine, and chondroitin 
  • No corn, wheat, meat by-products, or artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
  • 35% less fat than Eagle Pack original to support healthy weight loss

Cons:

  • Many of the first ingredients are grains 
  • The protein comes from pork, chicken, and turkey meal without any whole meat

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7. Nulo Grain Free Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food

The first 3 ingredients of this food are all meat-based, so you can be sure you aren’t just filling your dog up with carbohydrates. This grain-free dog food also contains probiotics for easy digestibility. 
Best Low-Fat Dog Foods for 2020: 10 Top Brands for Large BreedsRating: 4.5

Price: $$$

Pros:

  • Contains no corn; wheat; soy; white potatoes; tapioca; artificial colors, flavorings or preservatives
  • Made in the USA
  • HIGH MEAT/LOW CARB proprietary formula, 74% animal-based protein, fewer carbs & low glycemic ingredients
  • Bacillus Coagulans bacteria aids digestion/metabolism promoting healthy weight
  • May reduce food sensitivities or allergies

Cons:

  • Protein content may be too high for some dog breeds

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8. Merrick Grain Free Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food Recipes

This Merrick Grain healthy weight recipe has deboned beef as the first ingredient, so you know your dog is getting quality food. This grain-free formula is 32% protein, which is a good amount for large breed dogs.

Rating: 4.5

Price: $$

Pros:

  • Deboned beef is the first ingredient
  • Made in the USA
  • Made from whole meat, not meat meal
  • Leading levels of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids to support healthy skin and coat plus leading levels of glucosamine and chondroitin to maintain hip and joint function.
  • No ingredients sourced from China 

Cons: 

  • Reported quality control issues

View Latest Price

9. Earthborn Holistic Natural Food For Pet Weight Control

This Earthborn Holistic weight control dry dog food is not just good for your dog, but it’s good for the environment too – you can recycle the packaging with the company. This recipe is grain-free, gluten-free, and potato-free with chicken meal as the first ingredient. 
Rating: 4.7

Price: $$$

Pros:

  • Recyclable packaging
  • Fortified with glucosamine and chondroitin
  • Balanced ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids
  • Made in the USA
  • 25% protein level is ideal for large dog breeds who shouldn’t have too much protein

Cons:

  • Protein comes from chicken meal rather than a whole protein

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10. Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food Reduced-Fat

This Wellness Core natural grain-free reduced fat formula has deboned turkey as the first ingredient with turkey meal and chicken meal as the second and third ingredients, so you know your dog is getting full on meat rather than filler. 
Rating: 4.6

Price: $$$

Pros:

  • No wheat, corn, soy, meat by-products, or artificial colors, flavors and preservatives
  • Made in the USA
  • Grain-free
  • Contains nutrient-rich ingredients like spinach, broccoli, and kale
  • Has glucosamine, chondroitin, and omega-3 fatty acids

Cons:

  • Somewhat expensive

View Latest Price

weight management dog food

The Importance of Weight Management for Your Dog

Being even just a little bit overweight can cause a lot of problems for your dog, including:

  • Arthritis and other painful joint conditions
  • Increased risk of bladder stones
  • Reduced tolerance for exercise and heat
  • Increased risk of diabetes
  • Chronic inflammation that can cause other health conditions
  • High blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems
  • Shortened lifespan (obesity can take 2+ years off your dog’s life)

For these reasons, switching to a low-fat dog food could help increase the length and quality of your dog’s life. That means more years with your fur child and (hopefully) lower vet bills along the way. 

Tips for Reducing Your Dog’s Fat and/or Calorie Intake

While switching your dog to a low-fat diet is one way to help reduce your dog’s fat or calorie intake, it isn’t the only way.

Here are a few other tips for reducing your dog’s fat or calorie intake and helping them lose weight:

  • Figure out how many calories your dog should be eating based on their IDEAL healthy weight, not current weight. Talk to your dog’s vet if you aren’t sure what their ideal body weight should be. 
  • Feed your dog a set amount twice a day. No more free-feeding – you need to know and limit exactly how much your dog is eating. 
  • Encourage your dog to be more active by taking them for several short walks over the course of the day and playing with them more throughout the day in your home. 
  • Reduce how many treats and table scraps you give your dog – they should account for no more than 10-15% of your dog’s total calorie intake.

homemade low fat dog food

Homemade Low-Fat Dog Food: An Alternative Approach 

If you ever feel like dried food or wet low-fat dog food varieties aren’t giving your loving pup enough nutrition or even the right nutrition, you can make your own homemade low-fat dog food instead.

This allows more control over what your pet is really getting in their food nutrition-wise, and permits you more liberty in excluding anything that is causing health issues for your pet.

If you ever feel like the dried food or wet food varieties aren’t giving your loving pup enough nutrition or even the right nutrition, there is always the raw food diets and making your own pet food.

This allows more control over what your pet is really getting in their food nutrition-wise, and permits you more liberty in excluding anything that is causing health issues for your pet.

There are many recipe guides and books to steer you in the right direction of making your own low-fat homemade dog food.

These guides include The Healthy Homemade Dog Food Cookbook, Feed Your Best Friend Better: Easy, Nutritious Meals and Treats for Dogs, or Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats.

All of these books and guides offer a wide selection of tips, tasty low-fat dog food recipes, and other important nutritional information regarding your dog’s health needs.

Also, be sure to check out our article: 10 Best Homemade Dog Food Recipes for Large Dogs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some of the most common questions people have about feeding their dog a low-fat diet.

What Is the Best Diet for a Dog with Pancreatitis? 

Generally, dogs with pancreatitis do best on a low-fat food made with high-quality natural ingredients and a single source of unique protein.

The food should be nutritionally complete and balanced yet low in fat, fiber, and carbohydrates. Look for a food that’s highly digestible, too. 

What Fat Percentage in Dog Food Is Considered “Low-Fat”?

According to veterinarians, low-fat dog food should have less than 10% fat measured by a dry matter basis. Foods with 10-15% fat are considered moderate fat diets, and food with more than 20% fat is a high-fat diet.  

Is Pancreatitis in Dogs Treatable?

You may be reading this article because your vet recently diagnosed your dog with pancreatitis and recommended a low-fat dog food. 

Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. It’s often a symptom of another health problem rather than a condition by itself. That can make diagnosis and treatment tricky. 

Mild forms of pancreatitis may clear up within a few weeks. In severe cases, it may be something your dog always struggles with.

Pancreatitis can even be fatal, especially if left untreated. That’s why it’s important to talk to a vet about all your pancreatitis questions. 

Is Chicken Dog Food Bad for Dogs?

Chicken is a common allergen in dogs that are affected by food allergens. Symptoms of food allergies include scratching, licking, and chronic ear infections. For dogs who aren’t allergic, though, chicken is a great protein source that’s lower in fat than many other protein sources. 

Is Grain Bad for Dogs?

The jury is still out on grain-free dog foods. Grains like corn and wheat can be common allergens, and some dogs have a hard time digesting gluten, which is typically found in grains.

However, the FDA has linked some grain-free dog foods to dilated cardiomyopathy (a heart condition) in dog breeds that aren’t usually prone to it.

Despite the apparent link, there is no proof that grain-free dog food causes dilated cardiomyopathy. If you have any questions about the safety of grain-free dog food, you should talk to your vet. 

How Much Should I Feed My Dog?

Dog food bags usually have a chart showing how much you should feed your dog each day based on their weight.

If you’re trying to get your dog to lose weight, go based on your dog’s ideal weight rather than their current weight.

You also need to factor in your dog’s activity level. Couch potatoes should eat less than active dogs. When in doubt, ask your vet. 

What Dogs Are More Likely to Struggle with a Weight Problem?

Like people, some dogs struggle with their weight more than others. The following dogs are more likely to struggle with obesity than other dogs:

  • Older dogs tend to be less active and have a slower metabolism, making them susceptible to obesity.
  • Inactive dogs have a harder time burning off the calories they consume. 
  • Dog with illnesses, injuries, or certain health conditions may struggle to exercise and burn off calories. 
  • Certain medications can cause weight gain.
  • Altered dogs (those who have been spayed or neutered) are more prone to obesity than dogs that have been fixed.
  • Overfeeding is one of the biggest causes of obesity in dogs. Whether you’re giving too much kibble or too many extra treats, you may be causing your dog’s weight struggle. 

Summing Up Our Top Rated Low Fat Dry Dog Foods

Although premium dog foods are often more expensive than low-quality foods, they are safer and more nutritious than economy-priced foods, and they’ll usually taste better too! However, it is hard to put a dollar value on your pet’s health and well-being.

All 10 of the low-fat diet dog foods listed above are high-quality products, which should serve your dog well.

Nevertheless, we’d consider Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Dry Adult Dog Food the best low fat dog food for large breeds of the 10.

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