High Fat Diet Health Concerns For Dogs

Story takeaways: 

  • There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding dogs eating Keto high-fat foods. Mainly, some think feeding their dog fat, the dog will get fat. 

  • Dogs become fat and unhealthy due to chronic inflammation + metabolic stress brought on by improper high-carb AND high-fat diets, usually without exercise 

  • There is little evidence to support the idea that dogs eating Ketogenic food have an increased risk of developing Pancreatitis

  • Fat is a premium ingredient that we consider to be a super food!

  • Bones & Co Keto friendly foods are high in healthy fats & protein, with low carb content

Article challenge: how do you feel about fat right now? Does this feeling change at all after reading this article?  

In day-to-day life, it’s easy to forget that dogs are scientifically complex organisms just like humans...probably because to us, we just see them as family!

Everything that a dog eats, interacts with, or experiences shape them in some way, whether good or bad.  

We're not interested in "cure-all fads" or the dog equivalent of “get rich quick” schemes: 

We don’t pretend that Ketogenic raw dog food will automatically cure all ailments that a dog has. Health & wellness is achieved through the combination of multiple factors (nutrition being a primary one).

In our research, we have learned the powerful benefits of a Keto lifestyle, especially when compared to a high carb kibble diet.

Today, we’re going to debunk some health concerns that people have about feeding a high-fat diet to their dog. We’re also going to address health issues like Pancreatitis that people associate with high-fat diets. 

Let’s jump in! 



Our short answer: NO. 

When a dog (or human) eats a regulated diet of 1:1 healthy fats: adequate protein + nutrients with very few carbs/sugars, they can go into a state of Ketosis (fat burning).  

When eating Keto raw food, a dog uses fat for fuel instead of using glucose (aka sugar) for fuel. [What is Keto?] 

OF COURSE, if a dog is eating unbalanced food (NOT Keto formulated), loaded in sugar/carbs (kibble), a dog won’t go into Ketosis + will store excess fat. The obesity epidemic in dogs (mostly eating kibble) speaks to how carbs make dogs fat, not fat. 

The point: an unhealthy, unexercised dog eating a diet high in carbs/sugars is far more likely to become overweight than those eating an optimally balanced Keto food.  



In dogs, Pancreatitis is the: 

“...inflammation of the pancreas, [that] is commonly seen in dogs and cats and presents a spectrum of disease severities from acute to chronic and mild to severe.” (source)

Pancreatitis is a serious, often life-threatening issue, that can present itself in the presence of high fat. When people hear this, they often think “fat causes pancreatitis.”  

The real problem with Pancreatitis is inflammation (not fat), which is caused by many factors. Sure, if a dog is eating a high-carb, high-fat diet, the pancreas will be taxed. 

However, if a dog is eating a high-fat, low-carb diet where fat is the fuel, the pancreas will be in a much less inflamed state, lowering the chance of getting Pancreatitis.  

Dr. Becker explains how the pancreas works and what really causes Pancreatitis: 

“We know that a dogs’ pancreas can up and down regulate the amounts of enzymes needed to some extent, based on the diet they consume, but takes the pancreas a while to adapt to dietary changes. Hence when a dog eating a high carb diet gets into the grease trap from a BBQ grill, pancreatitis is a common result...

The reason everyone is asking about pancreatitis in a ketogenic diet is that Veterinarians know raw meats and vegetables contain the naturally occurring enzymes to supplement what the pancreas will produce on its own... So in theory, a dog that suddenly eats a higher fat diet could be at risk for pancreatitis, if carbohydrates are not controlled, or non-meat based fats are being used." (source)

Based on this, the real risk for developing chronic Pancreatitis comes from a biologically inappropriate high-carb diet that results in elevated metabolic stress + inflammation.

To put dogs in the best possible position to avoid developing Pancreatitis and other inflammation-based disorders, feeding dogs metabolically optimal diets (like Keto) and making sure dogs get regular exercise is key. 

To reiterate: we failed at finding any research indicating that high fat alone causes Pancreatitis. Period. In fact, with our noses in the books, we continued to learn the power of using fat for fuel! On the other side, dogs consuming a high fat diet, paired with no exercise and high carbs, it's likely their system will be inflamed which can lead to diseases, such as Pancreatitis. 


KETOGENIC FOOD IS no cause for concern

Ketogenic food is not a fad, but an old science, utilizing the body’s natural ability to use fat for fuel. 

We’ve known about the ability to use fat for fuel in the absence of glucose since it was discovered in the 1920’s at John Hopkins University.  

What it comes down to: 

  • If a dog is generally unhealthy by eating a biologically inappropriate diet, ie. a high-carb processed food with little to no exercise, they can be at a higher risk of developing disorders like Pancreatitis & obesity.  

  • If a dog is generally healthy by eating a metabolically appropriate (ie. Keto) fresh raw food diet, paired with healthy exercise, we believe they will be in a better position to avoid inflammation. 



The Bones & Co. is more than a company selling dog food.  

We are a group of devoted pet parents on a MISSION to spread the truth about dog nutrition by selling food with metabolic integrity. Debunking the myths surrounding FAT is a huge part of that mission. No only do we want to remove your fat fears, but we want you to fall in love with fat the way we have. After years of research, we've learned fat is a premium ingredient that many consider a super nutrient!

Want to know more about a Ketogenic lifestyle for dogs?  

CONNECT WITH US and our community of Dog Food Rebels going against the grain, for the love of dog.   

No compromises. No excuses. Just the best possible food for the best possible dogs. 

Bark On, 

Your B&C Tribe  

Have specific questions about your dog’s health? While B&C cannot give medical advice, we recommend seeking advice from a Holistic Veterinarian for your best furry friend (BFF). B&C is here to be a resource for you while you learn more about raw food, Keto, and dog nutrition!

Bones & Co.