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.
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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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.