Best Diet Dog Foods For Weight Loss

Dog Food Nutrition October 1, 2021
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Best Diet Dog Foods For Weight Loss

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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.

Compare Best Diet Dog Foods For Weight Loss

OVERALL BEST
Nutro Natural Choice Healthy Weight Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

1. Nutro Natural Choice Healthy Weight Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

BEST AFFORDABLE
Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Healthy Weight Recipe Dry Dog Food

2. Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Healthy Weight Recipe Dry Dog Food

BEST GRAIN-FREE
Merrick Grain-Free Healthy Weight Recipe Dry Dog Food

3. Merrick Grain-Free Healthy Weight Recipe Dry Dog Food

BEST FOR SMALL BREED
Wellness Small Breed Complete Health Adult Healthy Weight Turkey & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

4. Wellness Small Breed Complete Health Adult Healthy Weight Turkey & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

BEST FOR LARGE BREED
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed Healthy Weight Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

5. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed Healthy Weight Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

Protein
24% Min
Protein
24% Min
Protein
32% Min
Protein
28.0% Min
Protein
22% Min
Fat
10% Min
Fat
8% Min
Fat
10% Min
Fat
10% Min
Fat
9% Min
Fiber
11% Max
Fiber
6.0% Min
Fiber
5% Max
Fiber
5.0% Min
Fiber
10.0% Min
Calories
231 kcal/cup
Calories
348 kcal/cup
Calories
360 calories per cup
Calories
3,413 kcal/kg
Calories
323 kcal/cup

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.

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

OVERALL BEST
1.

Nutro Natural Choice Healthy Weight Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

Product Info

  • Protein: 24% Min
  • Fat: 10% Min
  • Fiber: 11% Max
  • Calories: 231 kcal/cup
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
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.
BEST AFFORDABLE
2.

Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Healthy Weight Recipe Dry Dog Food

Product Info

  • Protein: 24% Min
  • Fat: 8% Min
  • Fiber: 6.0% Min
  • Calories: 348 kcal/cup
Pros
  • Affordably priced
  • Naturally grain-free and easy to digest
  • Made with lean animal protein
Cons
  • Some dogs are sensitive to chicken ingredients
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.
BEST GRAIN-FREE
3.

Merrick Grain-Free Healthy Weight Recipe Dry Dog Food

Product Info

  • Protein: 32% Min
  • Fat: 10% Min
  • Fiber: 5% Max
  • Calories: 360 calories per cup
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)
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.
BEST FOR SMALL BREED
4.

Wellness Small Breed Complete Health Adult Healthy Weight Turkey & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

Product Info

  • Protein: 28.0% Min
  • Fat: 10% Min
  • Fiber: 5.0% Min
  • Calories: 3,413 kcal/kg
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
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.
BEST FOR LARGE BREED
5.

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed Healthy Weight Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

Product Info

  • Protein: 22% Min
  • Fat: 9% Min
  • Fiber: 10.0% Min
  • Calories: 323 kcal/cup
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
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.

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.

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.

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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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