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There are a variety of reasons your dog might benefit from a low-fat diet, from digestive problems to weight issues to a slowdown in activity as they age.
While modifications to your dog’s diet are sometimes in their best interest, the good news is there are lots of low-fat dog treat options on the market, so there’s no reason you can’t continue to reward your dog with a tasty treat, no matter what their dietary restrictions might be.
However, not all low-fat dog treats are created equal, and if you want your dog to be their healthiest, you need to choose the specific low-fat dog treats that are right for them.
So, what’s the deal with low-fat dog treats? Are they the right (and healthy) choice for your dog?
Let’s take a deeper look at these specialty treats, including our picks for the best low-fat dog treats of 2020.
Are Low-Fat Dog Treats a Healthy Option for Dogs?
Low-fat treats can be a healthy option for dogs. But it all depends on what’s actually in the treats.
“When removing fat from a product, you do need to watch what else was put in the product to make it palatable,” says Dr. Jim D. Carlson, a holistic veterinarian and owner of Riverside Animal Clinic & Holistic Center.
This means if a treat is low in fat but high in added sugar or unnatural ingredients (such as additives and preservatives), it’s not going to be good for your dog. If, on the other hand, it’s full of real, natural ingredients—whole fruits, veggies, and protein, such as chicken—it can be a healthy choice to incorporate into your dog’s diet.
The American Kennel Club makes the excellent point that when it comes to treats, “some dogs will be just as happy with fruits or vegetables, like bananas, carrots, green beans, and apple slices,” so in addition to store-bought treats, you can try offering these whole food items to your pet, too., to help manage their diet. (Ed. note: My beloved dog Marley loved carrots and watermelon!)
Are Low-Fat Treats Right For My Dog?
So, low-fat treats can be a healthy choice for dogs. But are they the right fit for your dog?
If your dog is older, inactive, or is carrying a few extra pounds, the answer is likely yes.
“Dogs should use up their energy between meals but overweight and inactive dogs don’t always metabolize their food before the next meal,” says Carlson. “Dogs who don’t use much energy through the day such as older, inactive, or overweight dogs who aren’t exercising often benefit the most from low-fat treats.”
Low-fat treats are also a must-have if your vet has recommended a low-fat diet for your pet.
What Should I Look for When Shopping for Low-Fat Dog Treats?
Looking at ingredients and labels is always important—but again, it’s especially important when shopping for low-fat dog treats. “Low-fat treat labels bear watching more than freeze dried or limited ingredient treats,” says Carlson, because removing fat from a treat recipe can make them less desirable to dogs.
Some manufacturers will pump their treats full of unhealthy ingredients and additives to better the taste. So, when shopping for low-fat dog treats, make sure to always read the labels; optimally, the ingredient list will be made up of a few minimal, healthy items, and contain no fillers.
Best Low-Fat Dog Treats for 2020
Ready to add some low-fat deliciousness to your pet’s diet? Let’s take a look at a few of our picks for the best low-fat dog treats available to buy in 2020.
These Chicken Nibble treats have some of the lowest fat content you’ll see on any label (between 1% and 2.8%). Plus, they’re made from a single, high-quality ingredient—chicken breast—making for a treat that’s low in fat but high in protein and nutritional value.
Does your dog get bored easily? Then you’re definitely going to want to check out these natural treats from Blue Dog Bakery. Not only are these treats low in fat, but with four flavors in every bag (including grilled chicken and peanut butter and molasses), there’s enough flavor variation to keep your dog satisfied.
These treats from Baltimore Dog Bakery are low in fat, made from minimal, real ingredients, and pack a flavorful punch you don’t often see in dog treats: apple cinnamon (apples have long been noted for their health benefits to dogs; cinnamon is OK for dogs in small amounts, and can help freshen their breath). Be aware that these treats are manufactured in a facility to processes peanut, so if your dog has a peanut allergy, take note.
When it comes to dogs, low-fat dietary needs and weight management issues often go hand-in-hand. These treats pack a one-two punch thanks to their low fat and low calorie content. Plus, the savory flavors (like chicken and cheddar) are sure to be a hit with your pet!
Does your pet have more of a sweet tooth? Not to worry! These pumpkin and banana-flavored baked treats are a low-fat snack on the sweeter side.
Reward your pet for a job well done with these low in fat, bite-sized snacks that allow you to treat your pet and keep their weight under control.
Low in fat, low in calories, and high in fiber, these soft treats are specifically formulated for weight management. Plus, the added L-Carnitine may help boost your pet’s metabolism, making it easier to maintain a healthy weight.
While these treats might not be as low in fat as some of the others on this list, this reduced-fat formula is fortified with a variety of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to support your dog’s overall health.
Always Talk to Your Vet Before Making Changes to Your Dog’s Diet
It’s important to consult your vet before introducing your dog to new foods or treats, or removing familiar or favorite foods from their diet. Your family veterinarian can give you deeper insights into what’s best for the needs of your specific pet, and you can make sure that any treat you give them is going to be the best for their health, weight, and overall well-being.