Best Weight Loss Dog Foods


Dog at the Table Faced with Weight Loss
In her popular article, How to Help Your Overweight Dog Lose Weight, Dr. Donna Spector, a respected veterinary specialist, shared her secret to predictable weight loss.

Dogs that consume fewer calories than they burn — lose weight

To lose weight, Dr. Spector suggests feeding your pet a dog food containing:

  • Above-average protein1
  • Below-average fat2
  • Below-average calories3

How We Selected
Our Best Weight Loss Dog Foods

If you believe your pet is overweight, here are a few weight loss dog foods for you to consider.

Suggested products must meet all three conditions mentioned above. They must contain above-average protein, below-average fat and not exceed 400 calories per cup of dry or canned dog food.

In addition, they must also be rated 3 stars or higher.

If you know of a specific dog food you believe should be included on this list, please share your suggestions in the Comments section below.

Best Weight Loss Dog Foods

The following table of best dog foods for weight loss is not meant to be complete. However, these products are a good place to begin your own research.

Acana Light and Fit (Dry)39113605
Annamaet Grain Free Lean Low Fat Formula (Dry)33103505
Castor and Pollux Indulgent Mix All-Beef Sausage Links and Sweet Potato (Canned)47163475
Dr. Tim’s Metabolite Weight Management (Dry)33112865
Fromm Four Star Nutritionals Shredded Chicken Entree (Canned)4473114.5
Halo Spot’s Stew Grain Free Healthy Weight Turkey Liver and Duck (Dry)31133584
Premium Edge Healthy Weight I (Dry)49133475
Taste of the Wild Southwest Canyon (Canned)44173735
Victor Senior/Healthy Weight Formula (Dry)30133604.5
Wellness Core Reduced Fat (Dry)37133605

A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

We rely almost entirely on the integrity of the information posted by each company on its website. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the quality of the test results from any specific batch of food a company chooses to publish.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

However, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit for your pet.

For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".

Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

However, we do receive a fee from for each purchase made as a direct result of a referral from our website. This fee is a fixed dollar amount and has nothing to do with the size of an order or the brand selected for purchase.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.


  1. Average protein: 29% (dry) and 40% (canned)
  2. Average fat: 16% (kibble) and 23% (canned)
  3. Modified by The Dog Food Advisor: no more than 400 calories per cup of dry or canned dog food
  • Francesca G

    I was at the pet store today and the sales person suggested I try Nulo Freestyle Adult Trim. Has anyone tried it? How do you figure out the carbs? Do I add ash, protein, fat & moisture and subtract by 100?

  • theBCnut

    Take a look at The Honest Kitchen Zeal. It’s fish based. I wouldn’t exactly call it low carb, but it’s lower than a lot of foods.

  • Francesca G

    I have a cockapoo and IMO they are sensitive to chicken and rice. My dog always had ear infections and scabs on her body when I fed her chicken.

  • Francesca G

    Does anyone know of a good protein diet/low fat/low carbs for a senior dog that isn’t chicken? Not sure it even exists.

  • aimee

    Hi Patrick,

    If you are using a standard measuring cup and only feeding 1/2 cup a day you’re not meeting her nutrient needs. Of great concern is that you won’t be meeting her protein needs which will lead to muscle loss.

    When using a commercial food you will need to use one formulated for weight loss, and she may need a customized diet.

    Exercise is an important part of a weight loss program.

  • Crazy4dogs

    Hi Patrick,

    The weight is causing stress on the joints, so it’s kind of a strong relationship between the two issues. Once the dog has blown the knees, there will always be arthritis in the joint. The joints are painful, so she isn’t as active. I would begin (or continue) with slow walks. Enough to get her moving, but you want to go slow so she doesn’t get painful. Gradually increase the time and distance. If she will walk in the water with you that would be really good since the water keeps her somewhat bouyant and is less stressful on her joints.

    Have you tried adding some fish oil to her diet? It’s an anti inflamatory which could help her joints.

    Here are a couple of links:

  • KcQ8ov

    Below is a common disclaimer you will find regarding supplements.
    Usually on the container in small print and on their websites.
    “Statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration”.
    “Products shown are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease”.

  • Marie Brancaccio

    Theirs a wonderful joint and cartridge support that will not just support but heal must use mixed into wet canned foods for quick results it’s K 9 LIQUID HEALTH glucosamine with MSM you can purchase on amazon also look into another formulated supplement created with special technology for dogs vetri science Glyco -Flex stages 1, 2, 3

  • Marie Brancaccio

    High moisture protein in either cooked or lower fat canned it the way to go not just for a healthy weight but for healthy kidneys and preventive health dogs are
    Natural carnivores and need high moisture meat diets that’s their natural DNA. ..

  • KcQ8ov

    Well, find an activity she can tolerate and encourage her, even if it is for only 10 minutes at a time. Several slow motion walks around the block per day, for example.
    Decreasing the amount of food she gets may result in a depressed dog who is even less inclined to get up and move around. Talk to your vet….see what the treatment options are?

  • Patrick J Murphy

    Thank you. We go to a lake when we can, but she isn’t a swimmer. Just happy she walks in the water up to her chest. My Sky hated water all together. I live on a lake, but none will go off the dock, they need to walk in gradually. Even when she goes in, she comes out and lays down until it’s time to walk. Then she’s up and going. Slow but going. Right now, joints don’t seem to be the problem, overweight seems to be the culprit. She goes out fast but burns out faster than the others.

  • Crazy4dogs

    Hi Patrick,

    KcQ8ov is absolutely on point about the rehab.

    I have a dog (my avatar) who blew both her knees several years ago. It was a mild tear in both and we did the rehab therapy. It worked wonders and now many years later, she is still very active even though she does have some arthritis in both knees. We keep her on the lean side and she walks briskly for a mile or more daily. She runs after squirrels and plays with the other dogs. I had a previous dog who blew both knees, had the surgery but rehab wasn’t as available back then. He did fine, but was much stiffer than my current dog. I can’t stress the rehab therapy strongly enough, along with weight control.

    As far as food goes, Wellness Core has a good reduced fat food as does Earthborn. You might take a look at those.

  • KcQ8ov

    I was just putting it out there. Swimming (aquatic therapy) is easy on the joints and can burn a lot of calories.
    The vets say that extra weight is a big problem with dogs and can lead to health issues $ and shorten the life span. Might be cost effective in the long run. Not sure how often, maybe 3 X a week…..if she was a senior I wouldn’t have suggested it.
    Anyway, best of luck.

  • Patrick J Murphy

    She is physically OK. She has just become lazy. Tires quickly because of being overweight. Therapy, unless psychological, isn’t going to help. Lol She runs, jumps on the bed…. the one she did lije playing with, my oldest, Sky, passed last September 3rd at 15 1/2. My other two play rough, but now Cheyenne is pushing the Alpha female takeover and sometimes goes a little bit too serious. So then she loses her playmate at the time. She needs to get down to at least 55-60 pounds, she is at 77.

  • KcQ8ov

    Have you asked your vet about rehabilitation therapy, such as: “aquatic therapy in a heated pool and underwater treadmill, therapeutic laser, massage and mobility therapy and therapeutic exercise. Similar to human rehabilitation, our services include a complete medical evaluation specifically tailored to your pet’s condition, including home care instructions and education”. (excerpt from the site of a local vet)
    Four is young, I would look into it, if it was my dog.

  • Patrick J Murphy

    Cheyenne is a 4 year old Husky who had two ACL knee surgeries in a 5 month period last year. Needless to say, she put on a lot of weight during nearly a year of no running or playing and limited walks. She need to get energy and loose about 17 pounds or more. She is lazy, plays very little, while my other two are running all over. Looking for a grain free kibble for her. They love their Taste of the Wild salmon. They only eat one cup a day with boiled chicken in it. Cheyenne has been cut down to 1/2 a cup a day of the kibble. But I give her 1/2 a cup of cauliflower and broccoli to try to fill her.

  • Amateria

    I actually never even saw the other 2 dogs before when looking at it, just the koala in the middle haha
    I even made the picture bigger and although I only looked at it for a moment I still didn’t see them.
    It wasn’t until she mentioned that there’s 3 dogs and a pic link that I pressed on it and my mind was blown!
    Now every time I look at the pic I see 2 dogs and a koala still but hey it’s better than seeing just a koala!

    The picture is bigger in the recent comments section so I see 3 dogs in there.

  • InkedMarie

    Boone, 10yr old pbgv

  • InkedMarie

    Ginger the 6yr old brittany

  • InkedMarie

    I assume you are referring to O’Malley, our Longhaired whippet puppy who will be a year next month,

  • GSDsForever

    OMG this thread cracked me up.

    The smallest thumbnail pic/avatar DOES look like there’s a featured koala! LOL.

    In the full size pic, that dog (I now see) is SOOO cute with such a pretty, pretty, sweet face. What kind? Really neat markings and coat.

    Thanks for sharing all of them. I so enjoy their intent looks of focus & facial expressions! Quite the menagerie there that you’re traveling with on car trips!

  • InkedMarie

    Car seat!!

  • InkedMarie

    Oops you’re right, it’s a chair LOL

  • Amateria

    Well that is indeed 3 dogs haha and that is certainly not a couch :p

  • InkedMarie

    Here is the picture!

  • Amateria

    Oh dear your right, no I didn’t I saw one dog and a couch haha

  • InkedMarie

    Hopefully you see 3 dogs when you make it bigger!

  • Amateria

    You know I’m just going to go out and say this because every time I look at your avatar I see a koala, I made it bigger to see what dog it is, but seriously when it’s small it looks like a koala picture.

  • InkedMarie

    Oh, I understand now. he may not like it. I’d try a grainfree food & use the feeding calculator here to find a starting point to feed.

  • Jasmine Prokott

    Thank you! We do feed him twice a day, but he only eats it maybe once, if that. Maybe he doesn’t like it? I’ll have to look for some grain free food. Maybe he’ll like that better!

  • InkedMarie

    There are weight loss foods but most have chicken.
    Try a grainfree food.
    Feed twice a day. In humans, keeping the body fueled is important to weight loss.

  • Jasmine Prokott

    I have a 1 year old cockapoo who is “slightly” overweight.
    We currently feed him Diamond Naturals Lamb and Rice, which he only eats about once a day. He also gets exercised as much as possible for us.
    Is there any dry food that can help with his weight loss???
    P.S. He is very sensitive to chicken (it makes him itch).

  • KcQ8ov

    Yes, one egg scrambled with a dash of water, with a drop of olive oil in the frying pan. I divide it among the two maybe once a week, for 2 meals.
    They are both moderately active and the little one is a senior. Different metabolisms, I guess.

  • jennj99738

    That’s really interesting about the two dogs eating the same amount. How much egg? Is this one egg between them? Thank you so much for sharing the information.

  • KcQ8ov

    I only use kibble as a base, 1/4 cup twice a day with something tasty added.
    I don’t always go by calories.
    My 9 pound dog eats as much as my 20 pound dog and both are fit.
    However, when I tried Orijen a while back, I noticed they were both putting on a little weight. I still use Orijen, but in moderation.

  • jennj99738

    The Nutrisca looks like a very good food. The calorie content is 390 per cup of food which is higher than the others on this page.

  • jennj99738

    You’re really bumming my dogs out! No marrow bones! πŸ˜‰ I will check on the sticks. My little one won’t eat them anyway. Charlie loves mint flavor. I only feed the bones when I’m home with them and take them away once they get the good stuff off of them. They do run around a bit but I will get them out more once it’s not 112 degrees here in Las Vegas. I brush their teeth too. Maybe not daily though.

  • jennj99738

    Oh, I do know what you’re talking about. When I say jerky, I mean like Plato’s or Thinkers. Not really jerky but texture is similar. Everything I feed is made in the U.S. and is from a company that hasn’t had any recalls. I give them carrots sometimes as well.

  • Crazy4cats

    Hi Jennj-
    I am not anti-grain, but I am a little anti-jerky. There has been way too many issues with jerky for me to risk feeding it. You can google jerky dog treats if you don’t know what I’m talking about. Maybe you could replace those with a carrot or something else with less chemicals and calories like the KcQ mentioned below!
    Fingers crossed that your appt. with the cardiologist is positive!
    Here is a link to the calculator:

  • KcQ8ov

    Nutrisca Salmon and Chickpea has no chicken or grains. Check
    Also, a lot of small breed dogs have heart murmurs, often they are asymptomatic and don’t require treatment….but see what the specialist recommends.
    Those treats and dental sticks you mentioned can be high in sodium and chemical junk. Give the dog a raw carrot instead, don’t be alarmed if you see carrot chunks in the feces.
    There is only one way to lose weight (imo) move more and eat less. It works every time, unless there is a medical condition that counteracts.
    Be careful with the bones…more trouble than they are worth. Brushing the teeth daily helps to prevent tartar buildup. Bones break teeth and can cause GI blockage.

  • jennj99738

    He gets two small jerky (no grain) treats a day and one dental stick that he loves. Once in a blue moon, he’ll get a raw bone from the butcher. He has really good teeth so I want to keep them that way especially with the heart murmur. It’s grade 3 according to the vet. He’s 10 y.o. I adopted him at 15 months. I have to take him to a cardiologist to have a full workup, though. Very upset about this.

    I have not checked the calculator. I’ll do that. That fruit and veggie nugget looks really good so I will try that, too. Thank you for the information!

    ETA: the vet did not recommend a diet food for either dog.

  • Crazy4cats

    Big boned, LOL! That’s my excuse too! Do you feed Charlie snacks/treats through the day? Those can add up rather quickly also. I hesitate to recommend feeding less food if you already feel like you aren’t feeding very much as it is. You want to make sure he is getting all his required nutrients. Have you checked out the Dog Food Calculator on this site? Adding a little more activity to his day would also be helpful. How bad is his heart murmur? Has the vet recommended a diet food? Here is a fruit and veggie frozen nugget link that I add to my dogs’ meals if they get chunky and I reduce their kibble amount for a while.
    Best wishes! πŸ™‚

  • jennj99738

    I actually feed Whole Earth Farms Pork, Beef & Lamb and cycle that with the WEF fish diet (I forget what fish it is-salmon maybe?). They get so little as it is. I really don’t know why the Schnauzer is now considered overweight by the vet He’s been the same 24 lbs for 9 years, as long as I have him. However, he now has a heart murmur and I want to make sure he doesn’t carry any extra weight.

    ETA: Charlie is a larger than average “Miniature” Schnauzer. Tall. Big boned. LOL.

  • Crazy4cats

    Two kibbles that I feed that are poultry free and are lower than average in calories are 4health Beef & Potato and Whole Earth Farms Pork, Beef and Lamb recipes. I believe you can achieve weight loss with foods that are not labeled as such. What are you feeding now?

  • jennj99738

    Is there any weight loss kibble that doesn’t contain chicken or turkey? My Schnauzer could stand to lose a couple of pounds and I have a new Shih Tzu mix that could definitely stand to lose a couple of pounds but my Schnauzer is allergic to poultry, especially turkey. He has an autoimmune disorder so it’s more than mere allergies. All of these dry foods have chicken. It’s hard to find a food for him.

  • Diana Carmichael

    Coconut oil is supposed to be a good oil and help dogs. at least that is what I was told

  • Phil Schenk

    How about Fromm Weight Gold and Gold Coast Weight? 25% prot 10% fat and 341 calories/cup

  • Harrison

    Hi Shawna. Thanks for your thorough post. I recently wrote an article similar to the ketogenic diet resource article but a little more thorough and up-to-date:

    Also, this is an interesting podcast about how MCTs can benefit pets:

  • Odette Mohler

    Thank you for caring enough to try to help me, I appreciate hearing from you and will look into alternate food sources once this course of treatment has ended. πŸ™‚

  • Odette Mohler

    Thank you for replying Babslynne. I have tried EVCO – they didn’t tolerate it well, runny stools with only a 1/4 tsp added to their diet. Since having Dash tested I am not allowed to feed him any extra fats because of his liver/pancreas situation, in any case, so coconut oil is definitely out at this time. Thank you for caring.

  • Odette Mohler

    Thank you for replying Lulu. After this course of medication is through (another week) I will be doing exactly that – getting them tested. I still think they have an ongoing yeast infection due to the high starches in the grain free diet I was feeding them. Since they’ve been on the medications and the Royal Canin, although the starches (corn, etc) are still causing a minor reaction in them, the Apoquel is keeping the itching in check. Once the medicine is finished and their weight has started to fall (They are on 120 cals per day!) I am doubtful that it’s actually allergies that have caused the problem, but I will test to make sure. It may be a combination of both, allergies and a yeast reaction. I will know for sure in a couple of months when their weight has (hopefully) dropped off! If I’m lucky, the weight loss may resolve the yeast issue and things will be back to normal. I do know, just from a process of elimination that chicken causes my little girl to chew her paws. My Dash was ok with chicken. He cannot have any fatty meats – he starts to scratch immediately.

  • Lulu Citron

    Mine had same symptoms and is allergic (confirmed) to lamb and peas and 5 others. I feed him with natural balance LID fish or duck. No more scratching no more ear infection. Get him test it is so much easier than trying to find out yourself by test error like my vet was making me do. There are peas in almost every dog food even the hypoallergenic the vet was selling me. I found a vet that agree to do the test right away and drove 2 hours to get there. When the results came in, I was advised there might be a few fault posivitive but I had only 7 positive total. Took the result to my pet store and they helped me to find a food my dog would not be allergic.

    No more scratching, no more cortisone/Benadryl, no more more ear infection.

    Good luck.

  • Babslynne

    Would you consider adding Coconut oil the their diet for a few months to see if it helps with any of their current problems?

  • Odette Mohler

    I have 2 chubby dogs that are very difficult to feed. Both have food sensitivities (not confirmed allergies). In a process of elimination, chicken and beef seem to be the culprits, so I went with a grain free Lamb and Potato (Blue Buffalo). After almost a year of feeding my little guy started scratching so badly he bled and my little girl developed the worst ear infection. Both had developed major yeast problems due to the abundance of starch from the carbs in this food, which when digested convert to sugar, which in turn converted to a really bad yeast inflammation. My dogs had never experienced ear infections in their lives (they are 7 yrs old, bichon/yorkie). The problem with grain free foods is that they generally substitute grains with starchy veggies like sweet potato, potato, rice, peas, lentils, etc. SO, I switched to raw for a short period – 2 months or so. Their stool became runny, and my little guy started refusing his food. I was feeding Nature’s Variety Raw Lamb. Back to Square One! I decided to try Orijen’s Tundra – very protein rich, low carbs. They seemed to do well on that for a couple of months – then my little girl started to have very soft, smelly stools – I had to wash her bum 2-3 times a day! Scoot marks on the bedroom carpet were not an option! And while my little guy’s teeth are ok, my little girl’s teeth became so stained with plaque/tartar I had to take her to get her teeth cleaned. I decided to take Dash along for the ride with Daisy to the vet for her teeth cleaning and while I was there have them both checked over. My vet did bloodwork on both dogs. Daisy’s bloodwork was fine – no huge issues, BUT Dash’s bloodwork came back with his liver enzymes through the roof and mild pancreatic disease. His pancreas was inflamed and painful for him! I was totally unaware as he didn’t show any signs of discomfort, and was his usual perky self. Luckily, these two issues were caught on time and are fixable. (His liver enzymes were 425, normal is 125). My vet told me that their dog food was far too high, protein-wise and is the culprit in raising his liver count. I would have to put him on a low fat, gastro diet until he lost weight and his liver enzymes were shown to be back to normal or at least falling back to normal. I was to feed both of them Royal Canin Vet Gastrointestinal food at the rate of 1/4 cup, twice a day to help them lose weight. This dog food is garbage! Corn, by-product chicken, so many worthless carbs, but it is low fat, low protein (20% per cup). Because they don’t tolerate grains, starches, I also spent a fortune on allergy pills for them, liver and pancreas for Dash, Milk Thistle supplements to support Dash’s liver while he heals, etc etc etc. One visit to the vet put a hole in my wallet to the tune of almost $3000. (His liver enzymes were so alarming to my vet that she hospitalized him on the spot, set him up with an IV and flushed the inflammation from his pancreas with antibiotics and other beneficial drugs. He has been noticeable perkier, and with the allergy, pancreas and liver pills he is taking, he seems to have gotten a certain “something” back in his life. It’s not a big change but it is a noticeable change for me, so I am happy and relieved that his condition was revealed early on. If I hadn’t had them both checked, I don’t believe Dash would have survived more than a few months to a year before he became seriously ill. My point with this long story, is that FOOD was the cause of this problem. High protein is NOT always a good thing, neither are garbage carbs. Raw is not a good idea in my book either, since you have to be cautious and not be gullible about commercial raw dog foods. They might SAY that “this, that and the other thing” is all natural, good for them, etc etc – but it ain’t necessarily so. Home-cooked meals might be ok for some, but again, you can’t just cook any old thing and serve it to your dogs. Cooking destroys required enzymes that your dog needs, so then you’re buying digestive enzymes (not all are all they’re cracked up to be, either). It’s a real nightmare!! So, for now the game plan is weight loss first, then we’ll take a look at better food options for them. I do not like commercial dry kibble of any kind, and am leaning to home-cooked, low fat meals with selected carbs, ie green veggies, digestive enzymes, pro-biotics for yeast inflammations, etc. I’m damn near 70 years old, have had dogs all of my life, and have never had the problems with feeding dogs that is happening now. Guess what? I would bet my last dollar that most commercial dog foods are processed using inferior GMO products, all enzymes are destroyed when the heat and irradiate dog food to kill disease pathogens, bacteria, etc. These processes didn’t exist in the past, overweight dogs were few and far between. It’s my belief that commercial dog foods are killing our dogs.

  • Barb Ingram

    we just rescued a female rat-terrier/jack russel whose age was approximated to be 2 yrs old. it is obvious she has had a litter. I ah having a problem finding a dog food she really likes – she starts liking one and after the first feeding ignores it. she really likes wet dog food but is the kind of dog who will eat until she gets sick. i have tried about 6 different foods, from rachel ray’s Nutrish , Iams adult dry, kibbles and bits moist packets . . . will a dog eventually eat if she’s truly hungry?
    i feel bad when she turns away and won’t eat all day.i think she weighs 15″. her activity level besides getting up and down from my bed is a 30 minute walk every morning and will increase now that the weather is nicer. we just adopted her the end of February.

  • Dacholiday Dach

    Fat Dog by Natural Balance has low calories and fat content. 250 cal per cup. I came here looking for a lower calorie food, it doesn’t exist I guess.

  • Beckysboy

    I better get my thyroid checked πŸ™‚

  • Babslynne


  • Susan

    I give red apple peeled & seeded. Patch gets 1/4 of a apple cut up for morning tea snack…Summer he has Water melon Rock Melon, cut up..

  • Susan

    I think he looks perfect weight wise, Staffys have a lot of muscle, so you have to remember muscle weights more then fat…. My Patch is lean & all muscle he’s an English Staffy a shorty….

  • Susan

    Hi Dani, just be careful with reduced weight kibbles, some are very high in fiber over 5%, higher fiber means more plant matter potatoes, peas, etc, so more carbs…. stick with a kibble that’s around 4% in fiber or less….. exercise is the best, daily walks, take a ball to park & throw the ball a few times then walk home….I have the opposite with Patch he losses weight real easy but we are very active he goes on 2 walks a day + chases his ball up & down the hall way….. Since feeding “Taste Of The Wild” Pacific Stream Salmon-360Kcal per cup & Sierra Mountain Lamb-338Kcal per cup, Patch hasn’t lost weight or gained any weight, he only eats 2 cups of kibble a day & cooked Kangaroo or Chicken when, I replace 1 cup of kibble with a fresh cooked meal, some lean chicken breast, sweet potato & broccoli…. I freeze in freezer bags, 1 cup cooked chicken breast pieces, 1/3 cup boiled Sweet potatoes pieces & 1/4 cup boiled broccoli, I take out the night before for breakfast & feed 1 cup TOTW Lamb kibble for dinner…. the Wellness Core Reduced Fat is very high in fiber 8.5% & its 360Kcals per cup..

  • Beckysboy

    Hi Storm’s mom,

    I’m curious, what underlying medical conditions would prevent a dog from losing weight if you cut back their food?

  • Bobsk8

    It’s also 350 calories a cup. That is the same as most good dog foods that are not for weight loss.

  • Crazy4dogs

    I’m sorry, but this seems to be a gimmicky food. The calories are very low and the fiber is very high with moderate protein. It is also on the pricey side. I would pick InkedMarie’s choices over this every day of the week.

  • Storm’s Mom

    Provided there is not an underlying medical issue that is preventing weight loss, I agree with you. The other option, of course, is to increase the amount of exercise….duration and/or intensity. This is oftentimes what I think is the missing link for people and their dogs, as people grossly overestimate how much exercise their dog is actually getting.

  • David Green

    Why not just feed less of a regular high meat/protein food. If you feed based on the ideal weight of the dog, or maybe 10% lower, that is usually enough to allow weight loss. No need for special low fat or low calorie foods, its all about portion size

  • InkedMarie

    it has 26% protein; that is not high. Annamaet Lean & Wellness Core reduced fat are both higher in protein and much better food. They are grain free as well.

  • Bobsk8

    You passed the best one Fat Dog by Natural Balance. Has the fewest calories and high protein.

  • Peggy Woolfork

    Same here for me. My dog does not digest carrots though and I did get a reduced can food from Natural Balance but it is not LID and has big carrots in it. I have reduced her portions but she still is always hungry now. Winter time she does not get the walks she does in the summer. Maybe she should have a thyroid test to see if it is up to par. She has not lost any weight that I can see. She is a Pug Boston mix, and I do think Pugs have a tendency to gain weight. It seems to me more Pugs have problems with weight gain.

  • Dani

    I have completely cut out treats. I do give him baby carrots.

  • Crazy4cats

    Hi Dani-
    I agree with c4d. I also feed less than the calculator suggests. I have golden labs and they love to eat and get fat! I try to feed kibble that is a little lower in fat and calories and add a topper so I can still feed a decent amount of food. I never knew different brands and flavors could be so different either before coming to this site. I think you’re on the right track. And yeah, I spend more time reading dog food labels now than the labels for my human family too. Did you decide on a food?

  • Crazy4dogs

    One thing I forgot, if you’re having an weight gain problem, don’t forget to count the calories of any and all treats you are giving him. A lot of people don’t even take the treats into account and you would be amazed how all those extra calories add up. Unfortunately, it’s the same as as it is with people.

  • Dani

    No I didn’t. I was going by what it said on the bag of dog food.

  • Crazy4dogs

    Hi Dani,

    I’m not Crazy4cats, but there are often other considerations that have to be taken into consideration like metabolism and activity levels. I tend to feed my dogs less than the calculator recommends, depending on the time of year. When they get less exercise, I feed them a lower calorie food or less of the higher calorie food. I generally list my dogs’ activity as typical in the calculator since they take active walks, but are not in agility or super active daily activities. Did you list your dog as overweight on the calculator for the activity?

  • Dani

    This was my boy the day I neutered him. July 10, 2015

  • Dani

    So I looked at the bag and it is 360 a cup. I should be feeding him about 3 1/2 cups a day. So that would be about 1080 calories a day. His ideal weight says he should be getting about 1250 calories a day.

  • Dani

    So I looked at the bag and it is 360 a cup. I should be feeding him about 3 1/2 cups a day. So that would be about 1080 calories a day

  • Dani

    I will look at it when I get home and get back to you. I really want to understand all of this stuff correctly

  • Crazy4cats

    Sorry, I meant how many calories per cup does the food that you are currently feeding have? It most likely states it on the bag.

  • Dani

    Idk. I’m not sure how to get the total calories. How do you calculate the calories. He is 80+ lbs now but ideal would be 75 lbs

  • Crazy4cats

    Hi Dani-
    Nice lookin’ dog! I’m also a fan of Merrick. Although, I feed their WEF value brand. Anyway, looks like the weight mgmt food is between 8% to 11% fat and it has 360 calories per cup. Is that less calories than you are already feeding?

  • Dani

    Is looking at that one but it seemed to have alot of fat. That is what I’m scared of. Merrick only has 8% fat and it is weight management. If I don’t see a difference I will try the core.

  • InkedMarie

    Beautiful dog! I’ve never used the food you mentioned, I’ve never used Merrick, come to think of it. I used Wellness Core rediced fat with success but if I needed a weight loss food now, I’d try Annamaet Lean.

  • Dani

    I’ve never looked at protein, fat, calories ect… for myself and here I am doing it for my BFF (my dog) πŸ™‚
    What is your opinion on
    Merrick Weight Recipe dry dog food. He has to have the grain free and this one is. It is 36% protein and 8% fat. I forgot to mention he is 6yrs old and a bit overweight. I NEED him to loose the extra lbs.

  • Sans Commentairetv

    I would like to mention that if properly soaked, assuming you don’t need to avoid gluten, grains like kamut and farro lose those phytates and become both digestible and nutritious. They are quite high in protein. In my experience these are quite well tolerated and worth eating.

    Best app for low carb recipes android app:

  • aimee

    Hi el doctor,

    I’ve read that piece in the past. Here are a few more on the topic.

  • Hi aimee

    This is off-topic, but I found this article very interesting and I don’t know if you are already familiar with it:

    “Geometric analysis of macronutrient selection in breeds of the domestic dog, Canis lupus familiaris”

  • aimee

    Hi pegleggreg,

    If you want to think of a “serving” of dog food as 100 grams then the %’s listed are equivalent to grams fed.

    For example a food with min 22 % protein and Min 15% fat will have a min of 22 grams protein and 15 grams fat in every 100 gram “serving”

    P.S. Dogs are not quite like people. In dogs when more calories are fed as fat, in has been shown that the dog tends to accumulates more fat. In the attached picture the dog’s diet was changed while keeping calories consistent. 9% fewer calories were fed as protein and carbohydrate and instead feed as fat. You can see visually that the amount of internal fat increased when feeding more calories as fat and fewer calories as carbohydrate and protein.

  • theBCnut

    They don’t list grams because everyone feeds a different amount. They give a percentage because it doesn’t change when the amount fed changes.

  • pegleggreg

    if you can. cook him home made chicken and rice. add green beans and carrots. chicken leg quarters are cheap. 29c/lb. frozen breast fillets more expensive but easy and fast to cook

  • pegleggreg

    dog food should list grams of protein, fat and carbs. like people food . Of course pet owners would be shocked with this information. Don’t worry about fat. Worry about carbs. High protein and high fat are fine. get rid of the empty corn calories. just like people

  • Linda Johnson
  • Linda Johnson

    My vet wanted me to put my overweight girl on the same thing, I told her of all the bad reviews , she said I haven’t heard about them, in fact I have my dog on it. I’ve since changed vets.

  • Naman Sharma, its related to weight loss products free trials

  • InkedMarie

    try Annamaet Lean or Wellness Core reduced fat.
    Good luck!

  • aimee

    How any calories were you feeding before as compared to now? Maybe you can go back and ask your vet if he can have more calories.

    This food is low in calories /cup compared to most foods, so checking calories fed would seem prudent. I’m afraid if you both are miserable than you won’t succeed.

    There are two ways to determine a starting calorie amount 1. calculation and 2. Feeding about 80% of what he was getting: “Feed an amount to provide 80% of the current caloric intake”

    If say he was getting 2 cups of a food with 380 calories/cup for 760 calories a day and you feed at 80% that would be about 600 calories. Metabolic has 260 cal/cup which would come out to 21/3 cups a day so you would be feeding more volume but less calories. Since you are feeding less volume the calorie decrease may be over 80% and not working for him.

    If your vet used the calculation method maybe the 80% rule would work better. Call and ask! This is a nutrient dense but calorie light food which is what you want for weight loss. Just recently someone posted that there lab lost 30 lbs on this food!

  • Mekka Fossey

    My puggle is approximately 10-15 pounds over weight. We had an appointment with the vet last week and she put him on a stricked diet using the Science metabolic dry food. Although he is only getting half a cup less than before he won’t stop whining and begging for more food.

    He hasn’t been his fun, loving and playful self and I’m worried that I am starving him… Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

  • Laurie

    After two torn ACLs I had to get the weight off my lab. We put her on Science Diet Metabolic and she lost 30 pounds. It is pretty expensive so after the weight loss I put her back on her lamb and rice. She has slowly put almost all her weight back on despite restricted feedings. We will be going back to Science Diet. Might be worth a a try.

  • Crazy4cats

    Which foods and how much of it are you feeding now?

  • InkedMarie

    Try Annamaet Lean or Wellness Core reduced fat. Feed the amount of food for his desired weight.

  • Shan

    I have two beagles, a boy and a girl. My boy is about 10 lbs overweight. We walk four miles a day and I feed them dry and wet food mixed together. For beagles they actually don’t eat their food in the morning at all and sometimes won’t tough it until late afternoon, so most of the time they only eat once a day. I’ve tried Royal Canin, Fromm and Blue Buffalo, but the weight isn’t coming off. Jaxson was very sick when he was 3 months old and spent a week in the emergency animal hospital. He had developed fluid around his joints and spinal column and was unable to hold his head up at all. I’m trying to find a way for him to lose weight. Any thoughts?

  • theBCnut

    Many lamb based foods have a higher ash content and that may not be good for kidneys.

  • Stacey Perdue Moss

    Have you tried the lamb grain free foods? I had a Dalmatian years ago with kidney problems and the vet put him on a lamb diet because it has less protein that other meats.

  • Brenda

    Hello, I have a Golden doodle that is the sweetest dog ever. Lol. No Really…. She is allergic to everything, she takes predisone daily πŸ™ I have to put her on grain free dog food which helps alot with allergies but most of the grain free dog foods are high in protein, this causes her to get sever bladder infections. Do you have any opinions as to what I can do for my poor pup. Thank you for any help you can give me. Brenda

  • Kat Leon

    Hi, I have a senior 12 year old Chihuahua who is overweight, he is 9 pounds. I was giving him Royal Canin Light Mini Breed Adult Dog Food which was really working for him, but I was reading and this food is for mature small breed dogs for ages to 9 years. Which food do you recommend for my pup, can I keep giving him that one? He also has a heart condition which doesn’t allow him to exercise much.

  • aimee

    You asked “Don’t you find it the least bit odd that there are no studies linking “dietary fat” to pancreatitis?”

    You’ve already posted one such study in dogs which linked high fat/ low protein diet to pancreatitis Lindsay 1948

    I consider dietary fat is .a risk factor, not a direct cause which I would think would make a prospective study quite difficult.

    There are retrospective studies in people here is a review of multiple studies and the authors conclusion

    “In conclusion, evidence from literature does not appear to support the
    role of diet as a single bolus meal as a cause for AP. Prolonged
    consumption of diets rich in proteins and fats may work synergistically
    with gallstones / alcohol to trigger an attack of AP indicating a
    possible role of diet as a cofactor in the causation of AP possibly by
    lowering the threshold needed by these other agents to lead to the
    attack of AP.”

  • Shawna

    Don’t you find it the least bit odd that there are no studies linking “dietary fat” to pancreatitis?

    When I see that from a reliable peer reviewed source I will concede, but not until.

    Fat has been demonized in the human diet for years and look at what is happening now. I imagine it is only a matter of time before it trickles down to animal nutrition.

  • aimee

    There may be a higher incidence of pancreatitis in higher fat fed dogs… but without .a strong prospective study the data just isn’t there.

    Certainly anecdotally some vets are saying that. Recall just recently a poster who said their vet wasn’t anti raw said he/she was seeing a higher incidence of pancreatitis in raw fed dogs.

    But raw fed doesn’t have to be high fat and I don’t see why the “anti raw” group would “be all over that” as the focus there is on safety.

  • aimee

    Hi Shawna,

    In the first paper an association was made between elevated postprandial tryglcerides and elevated cPL

    I don’t see that you can conclude that there isn’t any correlation between dietary fat and pancreatitis based on this study. cPLI levels over 200 are reported as consistent with pancreatitis and these dogs had cPLI’s over 400. But cPLI isn’t specific for pancreatitis and a diagnosis of pancreatitis can’t be made from a high cPLI. The dogs didn’t have/develop clinical pancreatitis .but pancreatitis can be subclinical and as the authors reported, high cPLI in the absence of clinical signs could reflect subclinical pancreatitis in some of these dogs.

    It is unfortunate the authors didn’t do ultrasound on the dogs in the study.

    A similar study was done with schnauzers, the poster child breed for pancreatitis, and also found a correlation between high triglycerides and elevated cPLI

    And schnauzers with a history of pancreatitis have higher triglycerides levels than those without such a history

    Putting this together with your other citation, that obesity delays triglyceride clearance leading to a postprandial hypertriglyeridemia of a magnitude great enough to be of clinical importance, it is easy to see the role high fat diets play in the pathogenesis of pancreatitis.

    I’ll post your quote and the sentence following the end of your quote “This may result in a more severe or prolonged postprandial
    hyperlipidemia and may predispose obese dogs to the clinical
    consequences of hypertriglyceridemia. There also exists an association between acute pancreatitis and canine

    Further in the article is written:”Dogs with fasting serum
    triglyceride concentration greater than 500 mg/dl are considered at risk
    for development of pancreatitis and immediate lipid-lowering management
    should be instituted…..The primary approach to the
    dietary management of hypertriglyceridemia is the reduction of fat intake.”

    Taking this together I see this as you now acknowledging that some dogs have decreased clearance of dietary fats which can lead to postprandial triglyceride levels high enough to put those dogs at risk of clinical problems and the way to resolve this is simply to lower the fat level in the diet.

    In regards to this “Okay, yes I did see the Low-density lipoproteins comment in the first sentence BUT..”, there is no mention of low density lipoproteins in that sentence. It reads “A fasting hypertriglyceridemia may result from impaired clearance of
    chylomicrons and very low-density lipoproteins from the circulation…” Very low density lipoproteins and low density lipoproteins are two different things. .VLDL is triglyceride rich and LDL is cholesterol rich.


  • Shawna

    I had a chance to look at this a little more this evening. Here’s one paper I found. Obesity is a predisposing factor to pancreatitis but still the below research did not find a strong correlation between dietary fat and pancreatitis.
    “Association of Postprandial Serum Triglyceride Concentration and Serum Canine Pancreatic Lipase Immunoreactivity in Overweight and Obese Dogs

    Overweight and obese dogs with peak serum postprandial triglyceride concentrations β‰₯442 mg/dL after a standard meal are more likely to have serum cPLI concentrations β‰₯400 ΞΌg/L, but did not develop clinically important pancreatic disease.”

    “A fasting hypertriglyceridemia may result from impaired clearance of chylomicrons and very low-density lipoproteins from the circulation or from overproduction of very low-density lipoproteins. Canine hypertriglyceridemia is most commonly associated with diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism, hyperadrenocorticism and protein-losing nephropathy. Obesity has not been associated with overt fasting hyperlipidemia, but it appears that a relationship between adiposity and impaired serum triglyceride clearance does exist. This may result in a more severe or prolonged postprandial hyperlipidemia and may predispose obese dogs to the clinical consequences of hypertriglyceridemia.

    Okay, yes I did see the Low-density lipoproteins comment in the first sentence BUT – mercola (and others) state this “According to Dr. Masterjohn, when the total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol ratio increases, it may indicate poor LDL turnover and poor metabolism of the cholesterol, meaning your body is not using the available cholesterol appropriately. When your cells are not metabolizing cholesterol properly, the LDL carrier particles will stick around in your circulatory system longer, placing them at greater risk for oxidation and damage. And that’s when the LDL particles become harmful.

    “When those particles are damaged, then they become toxic to the
    cells in that line of blood vessels. The immune system comes along and cleans up those damaged particles by creating a plaque,” he explains.

    Now, as just mentioned, thyroid hormone is a communication molecule that helps govern LDL receptor activity. So when your thyroid hormone is not working properly, your LDL receptor activity will also be affected. Thyroid hormone, in turn, is governed in part by insulin. Insulin may even have a direct impact on promoting LDL receptor activity, according to Dr. Masterjohn.

    “Insulin helps us make more thyroid hormone, and it helps
    activate T4 into T3. This helps increase LDL receptor activity and turn over these LDL particles. The problem is that a huge portion of our population is insulin-resistant. The insulin is there (maybe even more insulin than usual is there), but it’s not carrying out its function properly. I think correcting insulin resistance is probably a
    major factor in normalizing thyroid function, which in turn could
    normalize cholesterol metabolism,” he says.” This brings it right back around to carbs.

  • Shawna

    “Lipid disorders common in dogs” – If it’s common then why aren’t we seeing an increase in pancreatitis in dogs eating “species appropriate” raw which is higher protein, higher fat. The anti-raw group would be all over this but I just don’t see it.

    Surely the vets who recommend and feed these diets would see an increase in pancreatitis in their clients as well. But apparently they are not.

    I know an awful lot of dog owners that feed higher (not necessarily high – as in the low carb high fat diet of humans) fat diets though. NRC found no correlation either.

    For the record, I’m not, nor have I ever, advocated for more fat in the diet than protein for a dog (or a “high” fat diet for that matter). Not because of pancreatitis though.

  • aimee

    Bingo you got it! You wrote “Yes, it would make perfect sense that after a high fat meal there would be more chylomicrons” and “fats do indeed increase triglycerides-but only if triglycerides are measured after eating (i.e., in the postprandial period)” Recall in the Burmese oral fat study post prandial triglycerides were as high as over 2000mg/dl YIkes!!!!

    I’m not fighting anything to the end. I’m only asking that you see and recognize the role that dietary fat plays in hypertriglyeridemia.

    After ingesting a high fat meal the blood triglycerides increase after which they should be cleared. But consider what happens when they aren’t always cleared as they should be…. Lipid disorders are reported as common in dogs.

    With delayed clearance when the next moderate/high fat meal is ingested and the level increases again and now the baseline is higher.

    This is why in dogs with hyperlipidemia high enough to cause clinical disease the treatment is to lower fat in the diet. The diet may well be “high” in carbohydrate but that “higher” triglyceride level of a high carb diet is not relevant in the dog and it pales in comparison to the clinically relevant high trigyceride levels seen when a higher fat diet is fed to a dog with a lipid disorder.

  • Shawna

    It has been incorrectly assumed, apparently due to bogus
    research, for some time now that high fat diets cause high triglycerides and obesity but that is all changing. You can fight it to the end but it doesn’t change the fact that new data is emerging (and has been for years).

    In the first paper you link they are not testing fat and triglycerides but are simply reporting the myth. Same with the last two papers. They are not researching fats but stating a myth — just like has been going on with kidney disease for years and years.

    AAFCO DOES NOT state a maximum fat percent period. Stating the minimum protein has little relevance as a diet can be high in carbs (which would keep fat lower) or have zero carbs which would, in most cases, increase both protein and fat.

    You quoted “Chylomicrons are the product of dietary fat absorption.”

    Yes, it would make perfect sense that after a high fat meal there would be more hylomicrons — “a class of lipoproteins that transport exogenous (dietary) cholesterol and triglycerides after meals from the small intestine to tissues for degradation to chylomicron remnants.”

    Taking that a step further
    “One of the most common triglyceride myths is that eating fats increases triglyceride. But that’s only a half-truth, since fats do indeed increase triglycerides-but only if triglycerides are measured after eating (i.e., in the postprandial period). The real story is that fats in the diet decrease triglycerides-at all other times except after a meal. The higher the fat content of your diet, the lower your triglycerides will be in a fasting blood draw. This has been well-established in numerous diet trials comparing low-fat
    with low-carbohydrate diets. – See more at:

    One of the most common triglyceride myths is that eating fats increases triglyceride. But that’s only a half-truth, since fats do indeed increase triglycerides-but only if triglycerides are measured after eating (i.e., in the postprandial period). The real story is that fats in the diet decrease triglycerides-at all other times except after a meal. The higher the fat content of your diet, the lower your
    triglycerides will be in a fasting blood draw. This has been
    well-established in numerous diet trials comparing low-fat with
    low-carbohydrate diets. – See more at:

    “One of the most common triglyceride myths is that eating fats increases triglyceride. But that’s only a half-truth, since fats do indeed increase triglycerides-but only if triglycerides are measured after eating (i.e., in the postprandial period). The real story is that fats in the diet decrease triglycerides-at all other times except after a meal. The higher the fat content of your diet, the lower your
    triglycerides will be in a fasting blood draw. This has been
    well-established in numerous diet trials comparing low-fat with
    low-carbohydrate diets. – See more at:

    On a side note — I finally broke down and started a high fat / modified paleo diet about three weeks ago. I’ve lost 10 pounds to date and have WAY more energy. I’ve been wanting to do it for years but one excuse or another (usually not enough time to cook, a VERY picky hubby and eating out way too much) prevented me from making the move. I’m amazed at how much more energy I have!!!

  • Crazy4dogs

    Good luck with it & don’t forget to add the calories of any treats into the daily total. πŸ™‚

  • Denise Givens

    Yepper, that’s what I thought, too. Just working now on getting the calorie balance right. According to the chart on NB website, each of my dogs should have been eating about 1.75 cups of food (3.5 per day for both) to lose about 2 lbs a month. My boy lost 2 lbs in 3 months, and my girl gained, eating a total for both dogs of 2.25 cups per day. I need to carefully monitor both dogs to make sure they don’t gain or lose too fast now. I bought a great bath scale that will make weighing them easier and it is super accurate. So we are armed with our defenses and ready to fight! LOL.

  • Crazy4dogs

    Just a thought, canned is better, but expensive. You could try a mix of dry, canned & warm water for all. Mine love it. Feeding time is over in minutes.

  • Denise Givens

    Thank you for your email. I have always had multiple poodles, and have always free-fed them with no problems. But this girl has proven to be a challenge. I am adopting the practice you recommend, which is why I am going now with canned food. (I am trying Natural Balance Low Calorie.) I have tried feeding them the dry food at specified times in separate rooms, but they won’t eat that way. With the wet food, I think they will. Because they are used to having the dry food throughout the day, they will cry and whine behind the doors and never touch the food. The wet food will seem like more of a treat and I expect they will gobble it up when they get it. Here’s hoping, anyhow. If she still doesn’t lose weight this way, then the doctor will need to look further to determine why. Thanks again for your thoughtful reply.

  • Crazy4dogs

    Free feeding doesn’t work well, especially with multiple dogs that have access to each other’s food.
    I have multiple dogs and foster. Each dog is fed in a separate area @ the same time. They eat their MEASURED portion and bowls come up till the evening feeding. Some of my fosters are very thin, requiring more calories, others need less food to control weight. Feeding 2 times daily tends to work best for dogs.

    If you carefully measure & determine the correct number of calories to feed, your dog will lose weight. Dogs will eat out of boredom. Go for a walk or play fetch. They will be happy, healthy and be the correct weight. πŸ™‚

  • Denise Givens

    I bought Natural Balance Fat Dog, a dry formula, for my overweight female poodle. I also have a male who was slightly overweight My problem is that I have always free-fed my dogs without a problem, but my girl seems to be an emotional eater, and I can’t break through her shell to give her the emotional support she needs.
    Bottom line: After about three months, my boy lost two pounds and is in the best shape of his life. My girl is 10 oz. heavier. I recommend this food if you have only one dog you are feeding. Even though it is “free choice,” I still measure the amount they should have each day and double it for the two dogs. Neither dog goes hungry, as the amount I feed lasts for roughly 24 hours. But I have to go to canned food and start feeding them separately.

  • aimee

    I don’t disagree that in people pancreatitis from alcoholism and gallstones are seen more frequently than pancreatitis from hyperlipidemia.

    However, in the dog, the top two conditions in people are not seen. Dogs aren’t drinking alcohol on a chronic basis and gallstones are not a factor in pancreatitis in dogs as the anatomy is different. After you remove the top two causes of pancreatitis in people, the number 3 factor hypertriglyceridemia now takes the number 1 spot.

    You wrote “Nowhere in there does it mention dietary fats, even in excess.”

    I agree it isn’t in that list. However, that doesn’t equate with it not being recognized or reported anywhere! High fat diets were reported here:
    “…. whereas poorly controlled diabetes, obesity, and high-fat diets can contribute to elevated triglyceride levels substantial enough to provoke pancreatitis (secondary hypertriglyceridemia).”

    It seems you readily believe the one source that reports high carb diet but not the one that reports high fat diet. Why is that?

    In regards to AAFCO, AAFCO does require a min protein which then in turn defines a max fat level.

    Not sure if you saw this from the source you referenced in which a mechanism by which dietary fat can cause pancreatitis is explained.

    “Chylomicrons are triglyceride-rich lipoprotein particles.
    They are present in the circulation when triglycerides are > 10 mmol /
    l (900 mg / dl). These are large enough to occlude the pancreatic
    capillaries, leading to ischemia and subsequent acinar structural
    alteration, as also a release of pancreatic lipase. Enhanced lipolysis leads to an increased concentration of free fatty acids, which results in the release of inflammatory mediators and free radicals culminating in inflammation, edema, and necrosis.[11]….
    Chylomicrons are the product of dietary fat absorption.”

    Since you have referenced an article that explains a mechanism for dietary fats as a cause pancreatitis, and accept that a high fat meal caused pancreatitis in my dog I hope you now see that given the right set of circumstances dietary fat, heathy or not, can cause pancreatitis. The pancreas needn’t be inflamed from some other cause first for this to happen. Experimentally you can take a normal pancreas, infuse it with high triglycerides and get pancreatitis.

    Here is another reference for you:

    ” Hyperlipidemia is common in dogs, and can be either primary or
    secondary to other diseases. Secondary hyperlipidemia is the most common form and can be a result of endocrine disorders, pancreatitis, cholestasis, protein-losing nephropathy, obesity, and high fat diets…..
    Possible complications of canine hyperlipidemia include pancreatitis,
    liver disease, atherosclerosis, ocular disease, and seizures.”

    Here is another: “Hyperlipidemia can result from dietary intake of lipids (postprandial), …. In people and animals, sustained
    hyperlipidemia is a principal risk factor for developing pancreatitis”

  • Crazy4dogs

    That’s wonderful that you got your dog down to a healthy weight!

    The problem is Hill’s is only 260 calories per cup, so you need to feed the dog a diet that has similar calories to what you were feeding to keep the weight off. It’s like weight watchers, etc for people. They often lose the weight and when they go back to their regular diet, they gain it all back. You don’t want to ping pong like that as it’s not healthy for anyone, including dogs. You need to read the bags carefully and keep him at the same caloric intake (or slightly more so he doesn’t keep losing) to keep the weight off.

    My dogs are very fit and active (they walk 2 miles/day including my almost 11 year old lab) and yet they eat less than the recommended guideline on almost any dog food. We just were in for annual checkups and blood/urine panels and everything was great. My 80 lb dog only gets the equivalent of about 2.5-2.75 cups of food a day as the foods I feed are higher in calories by almost twice what Hill’s kcal/cup is. I feed a combination of grain free kibble/cannned and raw/fresh daily.

    Just watch those calories (including treats) and you should have success! Good Luck with it!

  • Liz

    Well, you know one now! My dog went from 125 lbs to 87 lbs in less than a year on Hill’s prescription diet metabolic formula!! We only fed him the recommended amount of food and the corresponding treats. Might have increased his exercise a little, but not too much and now he is much healthier and happier. Looking now for a more economical food to help him maintain his weight.

  • Shawna

    From the same link as in the above post – article titled “Hypertriglyceridemia-induced recurrent acute pancreatitis: A case-based review”

    The association between acute pancreatitis and hyperlipidemia is well known, both as a precipitant and as an epiphenomenon.[8] The coexistent medical conditions such as diabetes should prompt further workup.[9] Hypertriglyceridemia can be primary in less than 5% of the cases, due to genetic causes and more often secondary to other causes like diabetes, obesity, pregnancy, excess carbohydrate intake, hypothyroidism, alcohol, hepatitis, sepsis, renal failure, and drugs like estrogen, glucocorticoids, Ξ² blocker, bile acid binding resins, thiazide, tamoxifen cyclosporine protease inhibitors, and isotretinoin.[10]”

    Nowhere in there does it mention dietary fats, even in excess.

    If there is a major risk factor with high fat diets then why do you suppose the AAFCO (the one pet food manufacturers adhere to) has NO maximum limit on dietary fats (at least per the AAFCO chart listed on Drs Foster & Smith website?

    Let’s not forget that there is NO dietary requirement for carbohydrates at all.

    Yes, I would imagine that folks beginning a high fat diet could have an increase in the expression of pancreatitis but again was fat the CAUSE or was the pancreas already inflamed by other factors (such as obesity, medications etc)?

    Is there a genetic susceptibility where fat may be problematic for a few animals — yeah, probably so. I’m sorry for your girl. But if we are going to damn a macronutrient for the few that may have an issue, then why wouldn’t we do the same with gluten, casein, nightshades etc which are individual foods not a necessary nutrient and are capable of causing autoimmunity, behind the scenes?

    Lastly, yes I would agree that dogs are different than humans but what makes you think that dogs, and especially cats, are better equipped at handling higher carbohydrate diets then higher fat diets? They can’t live without fats, they can live without carbohydrates. It’s just that simple.

  • aimee


    You wrote “You have apparently not found even one peer reviewed, published research
    paper linking “dietary fats” as an initial cause of pancreatitis (in
    otherwise healthy individuals)?” yet you yourself reported that pancreatitis resulted from the feeding of a high fat low protein diet. Did it not link dietary fat with cause of pancreatitis?

    If there was no risk with high fat diet than why do you suppose the NRC set a safe upper limit?

    If you accept that hypertriglyceridemia and hyperlipidemia cause pancreatitis then I can’t see how you can deny that dietary fat can trigger pancreatitis! Hyperlipidemia is a normal physiologic event following fat ingestion.

    As I said “in regards to pancreatitis, I wouldn’t say fat causes pancreatitis so
    much as it is a risk factor for pancreatitis. I think how the individual
    handles fat is a key factor here.”

    Is it that you consider any dog/cat that has delayed fat clearance from blood relative to others as being “unhealthy” ? If so then I may agree with you that dietary fat won’t cause pancreatitis in an otherwise “healthy” individual. But i don’t see these individuals as “unhealthy” just different!

    I previously posted the source for “high-fat diets can contribute to elevated triglyceride levels
    substantial enough to provoke [ a synonym for cause] pancreatitis”

    And while a higher carb diet may increase triglycerides a bit I don’t see the high levels that experimentally cause pancreatitis will be achieved by a high carb diet. Levels that high come from feeding high fat in a susceptible individual.

    I found this interesting; proceedings which compared pancreatitis risk factors in people vs dogs

    In it is says that most heavy drinkers do not get pancreatitis; genetic risk factors are at play and that the equivalent in dogs may be dietary fat ie genetic susceptibility.

    Here is a paper discussing this issue in Burmese cats. None of the cats had high fasting triglycerides but after oral fat the triglyceride level in some cats was extremely high. “This study demonstrates that a proportion of Burmese cats in Australia
    have delayed TG clearance compared to other cats. The potential
    repercussions of this observation with reference to lipid aqueous, pancreatitis and diabetes mellitus in Burmese cats are discussed.”

    One of the other thoughts I had was people usually don’t do things like eat a lb of butter at one sitting.. dogs… well yeah they will do that: )

    But what did come to mind was was happens to people when they start a high fat ketogenic diet. and I did find pancreatitis reported as a complication.

    I remember my heart dog.. she was a active vibrant dog with a genetic quirk… she didn’t clear post postprandial fat quickly from her blood. Maybe in your mind that means she was “unhealthy ” One day she ate the cat’s food. It was a recently opened bag and fat sources were fish and pork. She nearly died. You may never be open to accept that dietary fat led to profoundly lipemic blood which then caused her to have necrotizing pancreatitis.. but there is no doubt in my mind what that chain of events was.

  • Shawna

    A change is a comin in the human field and my guess is it won’t be long before it trickles down into the dog world.

    You’ve quoted Dr. Weil before so I’m guessing he is a suitable person to quote? (I’ve already posted research stating high amounts of carbs increase triglycerides) “High triglyceride levels can be genetic, and may be related to obesity or untreated diabetes, but dietary influences are strong. Carbohydrates in the diet are the main factor affecting their levels in the blood, especially quick-digesting (high glycemic load) carbs.”

    “Gastroenterology Nursing” – is this a peer reviewed paper? Would you accept that source from me if I posted it? (bolded and italicized emphasis mine)

    I thought this was appropriate (in humans)
    “Hypertriglyceridemia is a rare, but well-known cause of acute pancreatitis.”

    To treat pancreatitis and prevent a recurrence “The mainstay of therapy includes dietary restriction of fatty meal and fibric acid derivatives.”

    No mention of fat in the etiology (aka cause) though. “Acute pancreatitis is a common condition with various possible etiologies, gall stones and alcohol being the most common.[1] Metabolic, structural, and iatrogenic causes account for 20 – 25% of the cases.[2] Hyperlipidemia in the form of hypertriglyceridemia or chylomicronemia, although less frequent, is one of the well-accepted underlying causes of acute pancreatitis in 7% of the cases β€” the most common after gall stones and alcohol.[3] Typically hypertriglyceridemia-induced pancreatitis occurs in a patient with a pre-existing lipid abnormality, along with the presence of a secondary precipitating factor (e.g., poorly controlled diabetes, alcohol or medication). The triglyceride levels of more than 1000 to 2000 mg / dl in patients with type I, III, IV, and V hyperlipoproteinemia (Friedrickson’s classification) is the identifiable risk factor.”

    No mention of high fat diets, however a mention of “poorly controlled diabetes” (which is sugar not fat), alcohol (again sugar (specifically fructose / fatty liver disease) per Dr. David Ludwig) or medication.

    You have apparently not found even one peer reviewed, published research paper linking “dietary fats” as an initial cause of pancreatitis (in otherwise healthy individuals)?

  • aimee

    I understand what you are saying. However, when I look at the various ways that pancreatitis can be experimentally induced, I don’t understand what your basis is for saying it.

    Experimentally, stimulation with high levels of CCK, perfusion with triglycerides and hypoxia all lead to pancreatitits. All of these mechanisms are independent of the fat being “healthy” or not.

    In reading the literature from those vets recognized in the field of GI I consistently find statements like “In many cases nutrition is a
    common factor causing pancreatitis. The ingestion of high fat diets especially in the obese patient is a well-accepted etiology.”

    The same is found in the human literature.

    “The most common causes of acute pancreatitis ….. In addition,
    significantly elevated serum triglyceride levels can precipitate
    episodes of AP. Genetic defects are associated with severe elevations in
    serum triglyceride levels, whereas poorly controlled diabetes, obesity,
    and high-fat diets can contribute to elevated triglyceride levels
    substantial enough to provoke pancreatitis (secondary

    Certainly I do recognize factors other than dietary that lead to pancreatitis but high fat intake is a well accepted risk factor. The type of fat is immaterial. So much so that it wasn’t too hard to find a “holiistic”vet who cautioned against coconut oil as a risk factor for pancreatitis.

    “A little bit goes a long way and if you feed too much, it can predispose your pup to pancreatitis”

  • aimee

    Will have to see how it all plays out!

  • Pitlove

    Oh ok interesting. While I was working at Petco we discounted a few large bags of the Vibrant Maturity for 8$ so I thought maybe Purina was getting rid of it to make way for Bright Mind. Must have just not been selling well at Petco. ProPlan was a huge seller though.

  • Shawna

    Healthy fats, in proper rations do not cause inflammation. Coconut oil, and omega 3 fats, as an example, are quite anti-inflammatory.

    Okay, let’s try this one more time. YES, I understand fat needs to be monitored if/when the pancreas is already inflamed and there is a potential for a pancreatic issue. But healthy fats do not CAUSE the INITIAL inflammation that becomes pancreatitis. An infection may cause that initial inflammation, lectins possibly, rancid fats apparently and more I’m sure I don’t know about. BUT healthy fats do not cause the initial onset of inflammation no more so than protein causes the inflammation that damages the kidneys and leads to kidney disease. Yet, just like proteins and kidney disease, there will be a point when fats need to be lowered to compensate for the symptoms associated with the disease. Difference of cause and effect.

  • aimee

    Hi Shawna,

    I was only reporting that a proposed mechanism for satiety in a low carb diet for people may not be functioning in the dog.

    In regards to pancreatitis, I wouldn’t say fat causes pancreatitis so much as it is a risk factor for pancreatitis. I think how the individual handles fat is a key factor here.

    In regards to the NRC information, which I have previously read, I see it as if you have a dog without inherent risk factors that it takes both a very high proportion of calories from fat along with lower proportion from protein to trigger pancreatitis.

    However, NRC doesn’t address clinical conditions and in a different context, that same macronutrient profile isn’t necessary for pancreatitis to be induced.

    . So for a dog like my previous one, who had a congenital liver abnormality which caused her to metabolize fats differently than other dogs, a one time exposure to a diet with a high fat content nearly led to her death from profound narcotizing pancreatitis. A similar exposure in a dog of different genetic makeup likely would have been just fine.

    I don’t understand what you mean by this “lowering fat is the recommendation (due to symptoms however not cause)” as the symptoms are directly related to recurrent inflammation. Fat is lowered to prevent recurrent pancreatic inflammation ie pancreatitis.

    When you wrote ” the part about high fat and weight gain over high carb did not go
    unnoticed. πŸ˜‰ I would be interested to know what carbs were fed though
    as we know that can make all the difference.

    What type of carb did you have in mind?

  • aimee
  • Pitlove

    Does Vibrant Maturity still exist or did that get reformulated into their Bright Mind line for ProPlan?

  • aimee

    Hi el doctor,

    You’ve truly touched my heart with your kind words.

  • el doctor

    Hi aimee

    I have learned a few things from you, and I thank you for that.

    But the thing I value the most is that you have shown me not with words, but by example, how to exist in an environment where your beliefs elicit rudeness, and hostility πŸ™‚

  • aimee

    Hi Crazy4Dogs,

    Are you familiar with Y. Pan’s research? I had the privilege to sit next to him at a behavior meeting at which he presented the research some years back. As I remember he was introduced as being double boarded in neurology both as a MD and as a DVM. A scary smart dude who was very personable as well.

    Anyway I’d bet that is the basis for “Brightmind” No doubt there is a heavy dose of marketing going into it as well but I found the original research very interesting when it was presented.

    That research is finding its way into publications on dietary support for the aging brain.

    Another strategy is a diet containing medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are converted to ketone bodies by the liver. Since a decline in cerebral glucose metabolism and reduced energy metabolism are associated with cognitive decline,
    MCT-induced ketone bodies provide an alternate energy source that can be used by
    the brain. When compared to control, the diet (Purina One Vibrant Maturity 7

    Formula; NestlΓ© Purina PetCare, St Louis, MO, USA) significantly improved perfor-
    mance on several cognitive tasks.
    Supplementation with MCTs also improves
    mitochondrial function, increases polyunsaturated fatty acids in the brain, and
    decreases amyloid precursor protein in the parietal cortex of aged dogs.
    Supplementation with MCTs is also approved as a medical dietary supplement for AD
    patients. Cognitive diets for cats have not yet been developed.

    I find this to be “fairy dust” with a basis in empirical research.

  • Shawna

    Purina not Science Diet – I stand corrected. πŸ™‚

    The Atkins diet (from their website) “appears” to be more about what you should avoid than advocating “high protein”.
    “What you’ll eat

    High fiber vegetables, protein (fish/seafood, poultry, beef, pork, eggs, plant-based), healthy fats (olive oil, avocados, nuts, butter), dairy (cheese, Greek yogurt) and low-glycemic fruits (berries, cherries, melon).

    If carbohydrate tolerance allows: legumes, higher starch vegetables and whole grains.

    Avoid: sugar, refined flour, trans fat.”

    And they say this about fats
    “Why Not Low-Fat Atkins?

    Fat is the mechanism that makes controlled-carbohydrate weight loss work.”

    On the Ketogenic Diet Resource website they suggest Atkins is a high fat, moderate protein diet “There are many low carbohydrate, ketogenic diet plans from which to choose. (The Atkins diet is just the most famous). They all involve following a higher fat, moderate protein, low carb food plan.”

    Misconceptions about what a specific diet is and is not may be part of the problem.

    I apologize if my words implied anything more than was my actual intent – higher protein leads to healthy weight loss in dogs.

    I’m guessing you’ve read this but I just stumbled across it and thought it quite interesting. Dietary fat is not an issue in pancreatitis UNLESS dietary protein is restricted.

    “Maximal fat contents of diets for dogs may be reasonably high without adverse effect, although there are some exceptions. Several canned veterinary specialized products in which dietary protein is modestly reduced by fat substitution are among the diets whose amount of energy from fat ranges from 50 to 60 percent ME. Diets with 10 to 24 percent fat have been fed for 2 years without identified adverse effects (Morgan, 1935, 1940), and other studies have reported tolerance for 40 percent fat (Ivy, 1936; Axelrod et al., 1951). Also, diets containing 81 g total fat per 1,000 kcal (calculated from data provided) have been fed to sled dogs without evident problems (Adkins and Kronfeld, 1975; Downey et al., 1980). However, when dogs were fed a low-protein, high-fat diet containing 7g of lean meat and 10g of lard per kilogram of body weight along with 50 g sucrose plus vitamin and mineral supplements, pancreatitis was induced (Lindsay et al., 1948). This diet contained only 6 percent ME protein and 78 percent ME fat (calculated from Lindsay et al., 1948) and facilitates defining a SUL for dietary fat. By comparison, Meyer et al. (1979) fed 3- to 5-month-old puppies diets containing from 8 to 14 g fat-kg BW-1 for 3 months without any negative effect on pancreatic activity. One other precaution is that sedentary adult dogs have a greater tendency to become obese when fed high-fat diets ad libitum compared to high-carbohydrate diets (Romsos et al., 1078), although a slight restriction in food intake will prevent the development of obesity when high-fat diets are fed. Finally, hypercholesterolemia in dogs occurs when animals are maintained on high-fat diets (ca. 60 percent ME) (Kronfeld et al., 1979; McAlister et al., 1996). However, it is unlikely that this particular alteration is associated with any serious metabolic consequence because the excess cholesterol is primarily in the esterified form and associated with high-density lipoprotein fractions (McAlister et al., 1996). Because high-density lipoproteins are considered beneficial relative to coronary artery disease risk, the likelihood of atherogenesis in dogs is minimal at the plasma cholesterol concentration observed. This phenomenon may, in part, explain this species’ generalized resistance to developing coronary artery disease and stroke (Bauer, 1996; Wagner et al., 1999).”

    Nutrient Requirements of Cats and Dogs, National Research Council (copyright 2006).

    PS – we ALL know that if pancreatitis is “associated” or even suspected that lowering fat is the recommendation (due to symptoms however not cause).

    PSS – the part about high fat and weight gain over high carb did not go unnoticed. πŸ˜‰ I would be interested to know what carbs were fed though as we know that can make all the difference.

  • Crazy4dogs

    Are you talking about Purina “Bright Mind” with their “propietary blend?” LOL!
    Aimee, it looks like Purina is jumping on the “fairy dust” bandwagon in all kinds of aspects.

  • aimee

    Apparently I did completely miss your point. What I thought you were saying was that you don’t need to restrict/monitor calories to achieve weight loss (“It is true that decreasing amount fed will achieve weight loss but it doesn’t have to be that way” ) because if you simply change what you feed (“unless financial issues prevent the use of more species appropriate foods”) your dog would be satiated on “species appropriate foods” and voluntarily decrease their caloric intake (“Studies have shown weight loss with fewer calories consumed (due to
    satiety) in low carb diets for humans. The same has been shown for dogs.” )

    I do not disagree that dogs can lose weight on high protein diets if that was your main point. They can gain weight on high protein diets too!

    For weight loss I’ve concluded that the more calories from protein the better, lower fat foods allow a greater volume to be fed during caloric restriction and possible may result in greater fat loss, and let the carbs fall where they may.

    As I’ve repeatedly said I am carb neutral. I have no agenda except to provide information based on data.

    In regard to triglycerides, in this study, where all the subjects were on low fat diets, the triglyceride levels were well below levels associated with clinical disease in all groups. While there was a small triglyceride increase in the dogs on the higher carbohydrate diet I do not see it as clinically relevant.

    When there is potentially clinically relevant hypertriglyceridemia, levels associated with pancreatitis for example, the treatment is to lower the fat level in the diet, not the carbohydrate level. In fact the carbohydrate may in fact be increased over the previously fed level.

    If I’ve somehow missed published studies in which it was shown that hypertriglycerideima in dogs was corrected by decreasing dietary carbohydrate level please link me to them.

    I realize ketones come from fat breakdown. When I hear high protein/ low carb diet approach in people I think of Atkins which apparently can result in ketosis.. at least initially.

    P.S. It is Purina that is now adding coconut il into its senior dog foods.

  • Crazy4dogs

    Ouch! I know a few people who went through months of trying to cure it. I was lucky it was only 1 and it worked. Supposedly, that’s why DE works because it’s a mechanical action that the parasites can’t build a tolerance to, but who knows!

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