Dog Food Nutrition

Best Diet Dog Food for Weight Loss

January 5, 2019

Best Diet Dog Food for Weight Loss

When you see a pudgy Pug waddling down the sidewalk, you can’t help but think it’s cute. A roly-poly dog is adorable in many ways, but many dog owners fail to realize the seriousness of obesity in dogs.

For many breeds, gaining an extra pound or two can be significant and obesity can reduce your dog’s lifespan and contribute to a whole host of other health problems.

As a dog owner, it is your responsibility to do what is best for your dog, and that means choosing a high-quality dog food brand to support your dog’s healthy body weight.

Keep reading to learn more about the dangers of obesity for dogs and how to choose the best dog food for weight loss. You’ll also receive our top 5 picks for the best dog food for weight loss.

Quick Look at Our Top Picks:

ImageProductFeatures

Editor's Choice

Nutro Healthy Weight Adult Dog Food Recipe
  • Made with lean protein (farm-raised chicken)
  • Digestible carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, lentils, and brown rice
  • Plenty of natural fiber for digestion and satiety
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Best Affordable Dog Food for Weight Loss

Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Healthy Weight Formula
  • Affordably priced
  • Naturally grain-free and easy to digest
  • Made with lean animal protein
CHECK PRICE

Best Grain-Free Dog Food for Weight Loss

Merrick Grain-Free Healthy Weight Recipe
  • Made with premium animal proteins (32% crude protein)
  • Digestible grain-free carbohydrates
  • Low in fat for calorie control (8% crude fat)
CHECK PRICE

Best Small Breed Dog Food for Weight Loss

Wellness Complete Health Small Breed Healthy Weight
  • Made with lean animal proteins like deboned turkey
  • Digestible carbohydrates for energy and nutrients
  • Plenty of protein for lean muscle mass with controlled fat
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Best Large Breed Dog Food for Weight Loss

Blue Buffalo Large Breed Healthy Weight Recipe
  • Rich in lean protein (22% protein) from deboned chicken
  • Digestible whole grain carbohydrates
  • Low fat content (9%) for controlled calorie content
CHECK PRICE

What Are the Dangers of Obesity for Dogs?

Obesity is a problem of epidemic proportions, sweeping across the country for both pets and people.

When it comes to dogs, obesity is not just a cosmetic problem – it is a threat to your dog’s health and wellness.

In fact, recent studies show that being overweight can shave two years off a dog’s life. That’s significant when your dog is only likely to live 10 to 15 years anyway.

Helping your dog loose weight isn’t just about feeding it less.

You still need to meet your dog’s basic nutritional requirements while reducing it caloric intake and increasing its daily activity.

This is the best way to help an overweight dog lose weight.

Here are some things to look for in a dog food for weight loss:

  • Caloric Density. Most regular dog foods contain 400 to 500 calories per cup, so to help your dog lose weight look for something in the 250 to 350 calorie range.
  • Quality Proteins. Protein helps your dog sustain lean muscle mass, so high-protein diets can be helpful for weight loss as long as the protein comes from quality animal sources. Look for a dog food with around 30% protein.
  • Limited Fat. Fat is the most concentrated source of energy (calories) for dogs so, if you can control the fat content of its food, you can control the calorie content. Vets recommend 10% fat for weight loss and it should come from high-quality sources.
  • Dietary Fiber. In addition to supporting healthy digestion, the fiber in your dog’s diet can help it to feel satiated on fewer calories which is beneficial for weight loss. Look for about 5% fiber.

Also Read: The 5 Best High Fiber Dog Foods for Anal Gland Problems

Keeping all of these things in mind, you’re now ready to learn how to choose the best dog food for weight loss. Here’s what you need to know:

How to Choose the Best Dog Food for Weight Loss

Some dog breeds are simply larger or stockier than others, so how do you know if your dog is overweight?

The first sign is that its body weight is higher than the average for the breed – anything over 15% above the breed’s expected weight is considered obese.

It’s also a sign that your dog is overweight or obese if you can’t feel its ribs or see a defined tuck at its waist.

how to tell if dog is overweight
Image Credit: wikihow.com

When shopping for a dog food for weight loss, the best place to start is with your dog’s basic nutritional needs. All dogs require a minimum of 5% fat and 18% protein in their diets, so make sure these needs are being met.

From there, look for a recipe that is made with high-quality, digestible ingredients and that is moderate in terms of calorie content.

There are plenty of low-calorie and healthy weight formulas out there, but you still need to make sure they are nutritionally balanced.

The best dog food for weight loss will be higher in protein than the average dog food but lower in fat and calories.

It may also contain additional fiber for digestion and satiety, with beneficial supplements for nutritional balance. Keep reading to see our top 5 choices for the best dog food for weight loss.

The Top 5 Best Dog Foods for Weight Loss

The best dog food for weight loss will meet your dog’s minimum needs for protein and fat without going overboard on calories. Lean proteins should be a priority with limited fat to control calorie intake.

Here are our top 5 picks for the best dog food for weight loss that you should consider:

Best Dog Food for Weight Loss Overall: Nutro Healthy Weight Adult Dog Food Recipe

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 23% Min
  • Fat – 7% Min
  • Fiber – 11.5% Max
  • Moisture– 10% Max

Caloric Content: 228 kcal/cup

If you’re looking for a healthy and high-quality dog food to help your dog lose weight, this Nutro Healthy Weight Adult Dog Food Recipe is a good choice. It features protein-rich chicken as the main ingredient, a lean source of protein, with digestible carbohydrates like lentils and sweet potatoes. It is also supplemented with plenty of natural fiber for healthy digestion and weight maintenance without going overboard on calories.

Click here to see full list of Ingredients
Chicken, Lentils, Rice Bran, Chicken Meal, Powdered Cellulose, Whole Brown Rice, Barley, Lamb Meal, Split Peas, Dried Sweet Potato, Natural Flavor, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Pea Protein, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, DL-Methionine, Salt, Dried Apples, Dried Blueberries, Dried Carrots, Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid (preservatives), Zinc Sulfate, Niacin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Selenium Yeast, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract.

Pros:

  • Made with lean protein (farm-raised chicken)
  • Digestible carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, lentils, and brown rice
  • Plenty of natural fiber for digestion and satiety

Cons:

  • Above Avg. cost compared to other brands

Best Affordable Dog Food for Weight Loss: Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Healthy Weight Formula

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 24% Min
  • Fat – 8% Min
  • Fiber –6.0% Min
  • Moisture– 11.0% Max

Caloric Content: 348 kcal/cup

A high-quality dog food doesn’t always have to be expensive – this Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Healthy Weight Formula is proof of that. Not only is it highly affordable, but it is grain-free and rich in protein to help your dog lose weight without sacrificing lean muscle mass. This recipe features lean protein-rich chicken, sweet potatoes, and salmon oil as well as beneficial supplements to ensure complete and balanced nutrition.

Click here to see full list of Ingredients
Chicken Meal, Dried Potatoes, Peas, Dried Sweet Potatoes, Pea Fiber, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Chicken, Natural Flavor, Chicken Liver, Organic Dried Alfalfa Meal, Dried Yeast Culture, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Minerals (Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Zinc Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Potassium Iodide, Cobalt Amino Acid Complex), Salmon Oil, Choline Chloride, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin A Acetate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Niacin, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate), Mixed Tocopherols (a Preservative), Yucca Schidigera Extract, Cinnamon, Dried Blueberries, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Dried Lactobacillus Plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product.

Pros:

  • Affordably priced
  • Naturally grain-free and easy to digest
  • Made with lean animal protein

Cons:

  • Some dogs are sensitive to chicken ingredients

Best Grain-Free Dog Food for Weight Loss: Merrick Grain-Free Healthy Weight Recipe

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 32.0% Min
  • Fat – 8.0% Min
  • Fiber – 5.0% Min
  • Moisture– 11.0% Max

Caloric Content: 360 kcal/cup

If your dog has food allergies or sensitivities, a grain-free formula like this Merrick Grain-Free Healthy Weight Recipe might be a good choice. This recipe features premium animal proteins like deboned beef and chicken meal with digestible grain-free carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and peas. It contains 32% crude protein to support lean muscle mass with just 8% fat for calorie control.

Click here to see full list of Ingredients
Deboned Beef, Chicken Meal, Potatoes, Peas, Sweet Potatoes, Natural Flavor, Potato Protein, Turkey Meal, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Apples, Blueberries, Yeast Culture, Organic Alfalfa, Flaxseed Oil, Potassium Chloride, Salmon Oil, Salt, Minerals (Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Zinc Sulfate, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Potassium Iodide, Cobalt Amino Acid Complex, Sodium Selenite), Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Niacin, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Thiamine Mononitrate), Choline Chloride, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Lactobacillus Plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product.

Pros:

  • Made with premium animal proteins (32% crude protein)
  • Digestible grain-free carbohydrates
  • Low in fat for calorie control (8% crude fat)

Cons:

  • Some dogs are sensitive to chicken and beef ingredients
  • Contains some plant protein (potato protein)

Best Small Breed Dog Food for Weight Loss: Wellness Complete Health Small Breed Healthy Weight

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 28.0% Min
  • Fat – 9.0% Min
  • Fiber – 6.0% Min
  • Moisture– 11.0% Max

Caloric Content: 405 kcal/cup

Small breed dogs need more calories to fuel their faster metabolisms, but too much fat can lead to weight gain. If your small breed dog needs to lose weight, this Wellness Complete Healthy Small Breed Healthy Weight recipe is a good choice. Made with lean proteins like deboned turkey and digestible carbohydrates like brown rice, this is a low-calorie, nutrient-rich recipe your dog is sure to love.

Click here to see full list of Ingredients
Deboned Turkey, Chicken Meal, Salmon Meal, Ground Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Ground Barley, Tomato Pomace, Pea Fiber, Menhaden Fish Meal, Natural Chicken Flavor, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Tomatoes, Salmon Oil, Ground Flaxseed, Carrots, Spinach, Potassium Chloride, Sweet Potatoes, Apples, Blueberries, Vitamin E Supplement, Choline Chloride, Mixed Tocopherols added to preserve freshness, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Taurine, L-Carnitine, Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Calcium Carbonate, Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Betta-Carotene, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Chondroitin Sulfate, Chicory Root Extract, Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Calcium Iodate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Dried Lactobacillus Plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faceium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophillus Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract, Green Tea Extract, Spearmint Extract.

Pros:

  • Made with lean animal proteins like deboned turkey
  • Digestible carbohydrates for energy and nutrients
  • Plenty of protein for lean muscle mass with controlled fat

Cons:

  • Some dogs are sensitive to chicken ingredients (chicken meal)
  • Not a grain-free formula

Best Large Breed Dog Food for Weight Loss: Blue Buffalo Large Breed Healthy Weight Recipe

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 22% Min
  • Fat – 9% Min
  • Fiber – 10.0% Min
  • Moisture– 10.0% Max

Caloric Content: 323 kcal/cup

If your large-breed dog needs to lose weight, this Blue Buffalo Large Breed Healthy Weight Recipe might be a good choice. Formulated with 22% protein and just 9% fat, this recipe will help your dog maintain lean muscle mass without going overboard on calories. It features lean proteins like deboned chicken with digestible carbohydrates like whole grain barley, oatmeal, and brown rice. Plus, it is supplemented with probiotics for healthy digestion.

Click here to see full list of Ingredients
Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Barley, Peas, Pea Starch, Pea Fiber, Oatmeal, Natural Flavor, Pea Protein, Flaxseed (Source of Omega 6 Fatty Acids), Powdered Cellulose, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Dried Tomato Pomace, Calcium Carbonate, Potatoes, Dried Chicory Root, Dicalcium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Alfalfa Nutrient Concentrate, Choline Chloride, Salt, Dl-Methionine, Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Garlic, L-Carnitine, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Sulfate, Vegetable Juice For Color, Ferrous Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Blueberries, Cranberries, Barley Grass, Parsley, Turmeric, Dried Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Source of Vitamin C), L-Lysine, Copper Sulfate, Biotin (Vitamin B7), Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Sulfate, Taurine, Chondroitin Sulfate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Calcium Iodate, Dried Yeast, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Aspergillus Niger Fermentation Extract, Dried Trichoderma Longibrachiatum Fermentation Extract, Dried Bacillus Subtilis Fermentation Extract, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Sodium Selenite, Oil of Rosemary.

Pros:

  • Rich in lean protein (22% protein) from deboned chicken
  • Digestible whole grain carbohydrates
  • Low fat content (9%) for controlled calorie content

Cons:

  • Not a grain-free recipe

How Much Should You Feed Your Dog for Weight Loss?

The amount you feed your dog depends on numerous factors including its breed, size, and age.

Small breed dogs need three small meals a day to maintain their faster metabolisms while large breed dogs can get by with two.

The volume of food you give your dog depends on the calorie content of the recipe and your dog’s calorie needs, so refer to the feeding recommendations on the package.

When it comes to weight loss for dogs, portion control and calorie control are important.

You want to meet your dog’s minimum nutritional needs as well as its minimum needs for energy (to sustain its metabolism) without excess calories.

Switching to a low-calorie dog food and controlling your dog’s portion sizes should help.

You can also choose to keep feeding your dog its regular diet but reduce its daily portion by 15% to 20% for 6 to 8 weeks.

What About Food Allergies and Sensitivities?

If your dog suffers from food allergies or sensitivities, finding the best dog food for weight loss could be a little trickier.

You want to stick with lean proteins like poultry and fish, as long as your dog isn’t sensitive to those ingredients.

Whole grains are digestible for most dogs and a great source of dietary fiber but, if your dog is sensitive or allergic, a grain-free dog food might be a better option.

Your best bet is to find a hypoallergenic or limited ingredient diet made with high-quality, digestible proteins and grains that also has a moderate calorie content.

Also Read: Best Dog Food for Skin Allergies

Final Remarks

Not only can obesity greatly reduce your dog’s lifespan, but it can also increase its risk for health problems like arthritis, breathing conditions, skin disease, and even cancer.

Reducing your dog’s body weight means feeding him a low-calorie but still high-quality dog food.

If you need help getting started, try one of the best dog foods for weight loss we’ve reviewed above.

Related Articles:

Best Dog Food for Diabetic Dogs

The 5 Best Healthy Senior Dog Foods

The Best 5 Dog Foods for Yeast Infections

Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and is the published author of several self-help books and nutrition guides. Also an avid dog lover and adoring owner of three cats, Kate’s love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care and nutrition. Kate holds a certificate in fitness nutrition and enjoys writing about health and wellness trends — she also enjoys crafting original recipes. In addition to her work as a ghostwriter and author, Kate is also a blogger for a number of organic and natural food companies as well as a columnist for several pet magazines.
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