The 13 Best Dog Foods For Weight Loss

By Kevin Myers | 2020 Update

✓ Reviewed by Dr. Sara Redding Ochoa, DVM

I hope you’ll agree with me when I say:

Finding a good dog food for your dog is vital for weight loss and control.

And you probably already know that…

Overweight dogs are prone to conditions like arthritis, diabetes, and heart diseases which play a huge role in lowering the lifespan of your buddy.

To help you avoid that, our team got together to find the absolute Best Dog Foods For Weight Loss on the market to help your overweight dog lose weight. We use a 40-point inspection checklist and consider factors such as ingredient analysis, customer reviews and more…

Let’s dive in…

The Best Dog Foods For Weight Loss – My top 13 picks

1. Blue Buffalo — Life Protection Formula Healthy Weight

Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,251 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 20%, Fat (min.) 9%, Fiber (max.) 10%, Moisture (max.) 10%
  • Form: Dry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Brown Rice, 4. Barley, 5. Pea Fiber

Blue Buffalo is an absolute gem for dog parents that are weight conscious when it comes to their pooches. This dog food is free from wheat, corn, and soy and contains L-carnitine which helps in the development of the muscular system. Not only that, but the Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids in this weight control dry dog food are great for developing and maintaining a lush coat.

Buy on Chewy

2. VICTOR — Senior Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food

Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

  • Life Stage: Senior
  • Suitable for: Senior
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3385
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 27%, Fat (min.) 11.5 %, Fiber (max.) 4.5%, Moisture (max.) 9%
  • FormDry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Beef Meal, 2. Whole Grain Brown Rice, 3. Whole Grain Millet, 4. Grain Sorghum, 5. Chicken Fat

If your dog is already logging more couch time than you think he should, and you’re starting to worry about how active he will be with his golden years approaching, then this food from Victor is a great choice. It includes high-quality glucosamine and chondroitin for the development of joints. It also contains nutrients like L-carnitine which convert excess fats into healthy muscle mass.

Buy on Chewy

3. Hill’s Science Diet — Adult Perfect Weight Chicken

Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Adult
  • Caloric content (per cup): 291 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 24%, Fat (min.) 9%, Fiber (max.)  5%, Moisture (max.) 13%
  • FormDry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Cracked Pearled Barley, 3. Brown Rice, 4. Pea Fiber, 5. Corn Gluten Meal

When reading a label, nothing’s more satisfying than seeing named natural protein sources. Thankfully, Hill’s Science Diet uses real chicken as the number 1 protein source in this formula. This weight loss dog food helps dogs improve their nervous system with  Vitamins C and E. Fewer calories and high-quality ingredients are what’s needed for weight loss over time.

Buy on Chewy

4. Purina Beneful — Healthy Weight With Real Chicken

Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,186 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 25%, Fat (min.) 8%, Fiber (max.)  9%, Moisture (max.) 14%
  • FormDry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken By-Product Meal, 3. Whole Grain Corn, 4. Soybean Hulls, 5. Barley

Like the previous product, this one also uses chicken as its primary ingredient. The manufacturer prides itself on including 23 essential nutrients in this product, including vitamins and minerals. This weight loss dog food recipe is proudly prepared in the US under all state and ethical guidelines.

Buy on Chewy

5. Wellness — Core Grain-Free Reduced-Fat

Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Adult
  • Caloric content (per cup): 360 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 33%, Fat (min.) 10-12%, Fiber (max.)  12%, Moisture (max.) 10%
  • FormDry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Turkey, 2. Turkey Meal, 3. Chicken Meal, 4. Potatoes, 5. Peas
  • Gluten-Free
  • Grain-free

This is the best dog food for weight loss in the gluten and grain-free category.

But here’s the kicker:

This formula contains 25% lesser fat as compared to the regular formula by Wellness. Wellness uses no by-product or artificial ingredients in this formulation which speaks volumes for its quality.

Buy on Chewy

6. Earthborn Holistic — Weight Control Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,090 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 25%, Fat (min.) 7%, Fiber (max.)  9%, Moisture (max.) 10%
  • FormDry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken Meal, 2. Peas, 3. Tapioca, 4. Pea Fiber, 5. Tomato Pomace
  • Grain-Free
  • Gluten-Free

This gluten and grain-free formula from Earthborn contains fewer calories and fats which is ideal for weight loss in dogs. It also contains a natural blend of fibers from fruits and veggies.

But it gets better:

This formula contains high-quality L-carnitine to help convert excess fats into lean muscle mass.

Buy on Chewy

7. Dr. Tim’s — Weight Management Metabolite Formula Dry Dog Food

Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

  • Life Stage: Adult, Senior
  • Suitable for: Adult, Senior
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3027 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 30%, Fat (min.) 10%, Fiber (max.)  8%, Moisture (max.) 10%
  • FormDry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Whole Oat Groats, Dried Field Peas, Powdered Cellulose

Fun fact: One of the owners of Dr. Tim’s is a canine nutritionist while the other is a vet. So, it’s safe to say that with this weight loss formula, you’re in good hands. It contains L-carnitine which helps burn fat into useful calories. Not just that, but it also contains BC30 probiotic which improves digestion.

Buy on Chewy

8. Brothers Complete — Goat Meal & Egg Formula Advanced Allergy Care

Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3640 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 30%, Fat (min.) 15%, Fiber (max.)  4%, Moisture (max.) 10%
  • FormDry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: Goat Meal, Whole Eggs Dried, Turkey Meal, Cassava/Tapioca, Peas
  • Grain-Free
  • GMO-Free

For dogs that struggle with skin allergies, this weight loss dog food by Brothers Complete is an excellent choice. What I love about this formula is that it not only focuses on adding the right amount of protein, it also ensures that the protein sources are species-appropriate. 100% bioavailable protein sources of goat, eggs, and turkey are used. Also, it contains no processed or high-glycemic ingredients, making it easy on the tummy.

Buy on Chewy

9. Eukanuba — Fit Body Weight Control Chicken Formula

Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3473 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 26%, Fat (min.) 9%, Fiber (max.)  4%, Moisture (max.) 10%
  • FormDry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Wheat, 3. Chicken By-Product Meal, 4. Corn, 5. Barley
  • Pea-Free

With only 9% fat and 26% protein, this formula is easy on the tummy. The first ingredient in this formula is real chicken. It also includes 150% more chondroitin and glucosamine than their adult formula.

Buy on Chewy

10. Purina ONE — Smartblend Healthy Weight Adult Formula Dry Dog Food

Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3336 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 27%, Fat (min.) 8%, Fiber (max.)  12%, Moisture (max.) 5.5%
  • FormDry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Turkey, 2. Rice Flour, 3. Soybean Meal, 4. Corn Gluten Meal, 5. Chicken By-Product Meal

This weight loss formula from Purina contains 25% less fat than their Lamb and Rice formula. A number of natural sources for glucosamine have been included in this recipe which promotes joint health in overweight dogs. It contains Omega-6 fatty acid as well which is healthy for the dog’s coat.

Buy on Chewy

11. Purina Pro Plan — Savor Adult Shredded Blend Weight Management Formula

Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,492 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 25%, Fat (min.) 8%, Fiber (max.) 5.5, Moisture (max.) 12%
  • FormDry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Rice Flour, 3. Whole Grain Corn, 4. Corn Germ Meal, 5. Poultry By-Product Meal

This premium weight-control formula by Purina Pro Plan is the real deal. Not only is this a light diet, but it also contains prebiotics which aids in your dog’s digestion. Like the Smartblend Healthy Weight formula, this one also contains 25% less fat to ensure that your dog doesn’t gain unhealthy weight.

Buy on Chewy

12. Blue Buffalo — Large Breed Healthy Weight Formula

Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,276 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 22%, Fat (min.) 9%, Fiber (max.)  10%, Moisture (max.) 10%
  • FormDry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Brown Rice, 4. Barley, 5. Peas

In order to control weight in large dog breeds, you need a formula that’s low in fat and helps develop lean muscles. Blue Buffalo Life Protection has both! The addition of L carnitine helps burn fatty acids into usable energy. And with chondrotin and glucosamine in the mix, your dog’s joints stand a better chance of staying healthy.

Buy on Chewy

13. Merrick — Grain-Free Healthy Weight Recipe

Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3342 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 34%, Fat (min.) 8%, Fiber (max.)  11%, Moisture (max.) 5%
  • FormDry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Beef, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Peas, 4. Potatoes, 5. Sweet Potatoes
  • Grain-Free
  • Gluten-Free

What’s grain and gluten-free and contains real, deboned beef? It’s Merrick’s weight-control formula! With the addition of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, this formula promotes a healthy, glistening coat. Like all Merrick dog foods, this one is also created with ingredients that are locally sourced in the USA. Also, it contains a bit more protein than other weight-loss formulas which can be beneficial for some dogs.

Buy on Chewy

FAQs

We’ve already covered some of the best dog foods for weight loss in this article and have many more options at the end of this article. However, we’ve specially incorporated this section to answer some of your frequently asked questions about these special diets for overweight dogs.

Will grain-free dog food help my dog lose weight?

Not necessarily. Grains are not specifically harmful to dogs unless they have allergies (which is less than 1% of the time.) Being grain-free ensures that there is reduced carbohydrate content in the food which does not have a direct impact on weight-loss.

What is the best low-fat dry dog food?

If I had to choose a weight loss dog food specifically for low-fat content, then I’d go with Purina Beneful’s Healthy Weight Formula. With only 8% fat, this one’s a great low-fat diet.

How many calories should a dog eat to lose weight?

It’s recommended that you discuss your particular scenario with your vet. However, to give you a ballpark figure, you should calculate the current number of daily calories you’re feeding your dog and reduce it by 250 calories per day until you reach your vet’s recommended daily calorie intake for your pooch.

How many calories should a 10 lb dog eat?

Generally, smaller dogs that are more active require a greater number of calories as compared to larger breeds. For every pound of your dog’s weight, you need to feed it about 30 calories. So, a 10 lb dog would do fine with somewhere around 300-400 calories per day, depending on its activity levels.

Is it okay to feed a dog once a day?

I’d advise you against feeding your dog only once a day. Adult dogs require 2 meals a day while puppies might even need 3 or 4. Feeding your dog only once in the day would lead to malnutrition and starvation which is not at all recommended, even if you’re aiming for weight loss.

What is the best time of day to feed your dog

Ideally, the 2 feedings for your adult dog should be spaced at least 6-4 hours apart, allowing your dog’s digestive system to digest the meals properly. In that case, you can feed one meal early in the morning before you leave for work and one in the evening once you return.

Should I leave food out for my dog all day?

Certainly not! Leaving food out all day for your dog allows it to eat as much as it wants, whenever it wants. This often leads to overeating which leads to an obese dog.

What brand of dog food is most recommended by vets?

When it comes to dog diets recommended by vets, Hills Science and Royal Canin are always at the top of the list. Even though they’re more expensive than regular dog foods, they’re certainly worth the investment.

What foods should dogs avoid?

There are hundreds of foods that aren’t at all safe for dogs. Some of them include candy, chocolate, apple seeds, caffeine, garlic, milk, and dairy products.

Should I leave water out for my dog all day?

Yes, you should. Dogs need at least an ounce of water per pound of their body weight. The only exception to this rule is when you’re still housebreaking your dog. According to the American Kennel Club, you should remove your puppy’s bowl during the night to avoid having it accidentally pee.

Are dogs ever full?

This depends on the dog. However, most dogs would realize when they’re full and would stop eating. Keep an eye on your dog and notice if it keeps eating food until the bowl is removed or knows when to stop.

Can dogs eat laying down?

This is quite normal and isn’t a reason to worry. In fact, dogs in the wild catch their prey and often eat lying on their sides. Just make sure your dog isn’t sick and that its overall health is fine.

Why do dogs sleep after eating?

Resting or sleeping after a meal allows your dog to digest its food properly. If your dog is active after its meal, there’s a chance it could face problems like gastric bloat. In that case, you should provide a calm atmosphere after meals.

Is it bad to feed a dog late at night?

Feeding your dog late at night will increase the chances of it having to poop in the night. Bear in mind that every dog has a different rate of digestion. However, most dogs would digest their meal in around 4-8 hours.

How long should you leave dry dog food out?

Always ensure that you read the expiration date on your dog food’s packaging before purchase. Once you’ve opened the packaging, you can usually use the food for up to 6 months without any signs of spoiling. Ideally, if you take some kibble out in a bowl, it should be consumed within a day.

Should you hand feed your dog?

Hand-feeding your dog isn’t a compulsion, neither does it have an overwhelming positive effect. However, hand-feeding can certainly help create a stronger bond between you and your dog, especially if the latter is a bit shy.

Can new dog food make a dog sick?

Yes, it can. If you switch to a new dog food brand, it might upset your dog’s tummy, leading to diarrhea and vomiting. In that case, we’d advise slowly transitioning to your new dog food by mixing it with your old one, then slowly increasing its concentration in the mixture.

Why does my dog bury his food?

It is a dog’s natural instinct to bury his leftover food. This is what hunting dogs do in the wild to preserve their food. Also, it helps calm them during times of distress and save food for when they’re comfortable to eat again.

Why does my dog keep pushing his food away?

There could be a number of reasons for this behavior, most common of which is having an illness. If your dog pushes its food away consistently, you should see a vet as soon as possible. This behavior might also occur if you change your dog food brand or flavor.

How do I get my dog on a feeding schedule?

The best way to get your dog on a feeding schedule is to keep it at 2 meals a day. Only allow your dog to eat  during your specified time. Put the food bowl down for 5 minutes at “mealtime” and pick it up after that even if your dog hasn’t fed. Then, place the bowl down at the next feeding time and let your dog eat for 5-10 minutes. Remember that some dogs can be picky eaters. Also, if you suspect that your dog is sick, contact your veterinarian.

Should I feed my dog before or after a walk?

Walking your dog right after or before feeding is an unhealthy choice which may lead to stomach problems. It’s generally advised to walk your dog at least half an hour before mealtimes. If you wish to schedule meals before a walk, then space both activities at least an hour apart.

Health Risks for Overweight Dogs

You might look at your fluffy pooch and think how the extra pounds add to its cuteness. As a result, many keep feeding fatty food and treats to their dogs in the name of love. While understandable, this ends up being detrimental to your dog’s health.  Being overweight poses a number of health risks for dogs, many of which can prove to be fatal. By feeding dog foods designed for weight loss , you can help your dog lose weight and avoid such a misfortune.

Here’s a list of the most common diseases in overweight dogs.

1. High Blood Pressure

High Blood Pressure (or hypertension) isn’t directly caused by fatty food. However, being obese increases the chance of hypertension in dogs.

2. Diabetes

Obese dogs are at a high risk of diabetes mellitus (hyperglycemia) in which there’s an increased amount of glucose in the bloodstream. Obese dogs can get pancreatitis which destroys the cells that create insulin. Without insulin, blood glucose does not get utilized for energy in cells which leads to diabetes.

3. Heart Diseases

Obese dogs are far more prone to catching heart diseases than ideal weight dogs. The structure of the heart can potentially change leading to a change in function.

4. Arthritis

Arthritis is more common in middle-aged to old overweight dogs. In this disease, the bones rub against cartilage due to extra weight, eventually eroding it. This can lead to a painful condition where bones in the joints rub directly against each other. Fortunately, losing weight can help improve the situation.

Buying The Best Dog Foods For Weight Loss: Buyer’s Guide

Not every “weight loss formula” is worth your money. Whenever buying one, make sure you do your research and check if it qualifies to be the best dog food for fat loss. Here are some factors that you should look at:

1. Fewer Calories

The basic formula for weight loss is simple: eat fewer calories than you burn. When your dog does that, excess fat is  utilized as energy by the body. Usually, dog foods have about 400 kcal/cup. So, anything under that should work well.

2. Low-Fat Content

If you’re looking to reduce fat in your dog’s body, then you should limit its intake as well. Normally, dog foods have a fat content of about 12%. However, good weight loss foods for dogs would lie in the range of 9-10%.

3. High Protein Diet

Your dog needs something to fulfill its energy requirements, and with a cap on its fat intake, protein needs to be bumped up. Ideally, you’re looking at over 30% for dry dog foods.

4. Optimal Nutrients

Don’t get too involved in the math! Reducing weight for dogs is not just about how many calories they consume or what percentage of fat they’re getting in their diet. You should also make sure your dog is getting enough fiber, healthy fatty acids like Omega-3 and Omega-6 as well as a balanced proportion of water.

5. Quick Digestion

Like other dog foods, weight control formulas should be easy on the tummy. By adding healthy fiber, the best dog foods for weight loss ensure that the digestive tract remains clear of obstructions and helps nurture the bacterial flora in it.

6. No Artificial Flavor

Artificial flavors can be detrimental to your dog’s health. Whenever purchasing a dog food, read its ingredients list and look for artificial flavors and colors that might be added. If you find one, immediately cross the product off of your list of potential diets for your dog.

7. By-Product Meals

Poultry By-Product Meals (PBM) are often used in dog foods as meat concentrates. There’s nothing wrong with having something like “chicken meal” or “lamb meal” in the ingredients list.

My Remaining Picks for the Best Dog Foods for Weight Loss

14. Natural Balance — Fat Dogs Chicken & Salmon Formula

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3020 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 26%, Fat (min.) 7.5%, Fiber (max.)  10.5%, Moisture (max.) 10%
  • FormDry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken Meal, 2. Salmon Meal, 3. Garbanzo Beans, 4. Peas, 5. Barley

With Chicken meal, salmon meal and Garbanzo Beans, this weight loss food for dogs contain an adequate proportion of proteins. Also, it contains both Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids for healthier coats.

15. Iams — Proactive Healthy Weight Control Dry Dog Food

Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3400
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 20%, Fat (min.) 9%, Fiber (max.)  11.5%, Moisture (max.) 5%
  • FormDry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Ground Whole Grain Corn, 2. Chicken By-Product Meal, 3. Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, 4. Chicken, 5. Dried Beet Pulp

I love Iams’ proactive healthy weight formula for a bunch of reasons, with low protein and fat content being on top of the list. This formula has 16% less protein than the regular adult dry dog food formulas in Iams’ line. It’s also worth mentioning that this weight control dry dog food contains no fillers or added preservatives, making it a safe choice.

16. Nutro Ultra — Weight Management Formula

Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3348 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 23%, Fat (min.) 10%, Fiber (max.)  13%, Moisture (max.) 4%
  • FormDry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Whole Brown Rice, 4. Brewers Rice, 5. Rice Bran

If you have a large dog breed, then this formula by Nutro Ultra is the real deal. With real farm-raised chicken as the first ingredient, this proves to be one of the best dog foods for weight loss. Add to that the healthy joint development by chondroitin and glucosamine and this dog food is a clear winner!

17. Solid Gold — Fit And Fabulous Dry Dog Food

Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,075 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 26%, Fat (min.) 6%, Fiber (max.) 10%, Moisture (max.) 10%
  • FormDry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Sweet Potatoes, 4. Pea Fiber, 5. Potatoes
  • Gluten-Free
  • Grain-Free

Most dog foods reduce caloric and fat content in their weight control formulas which leave dogs feeling unsatisfied and hungry all day. Thankfully, Solid Gold has found a way around this problem. With high-fiber vegetables including green beans, sweet potatoes, and peas, this weight loss food for dogs keeps their tummies filled despite having low calories. What’s even better is that it contains no fillers, gluten, and grains.

Conclusion

Maintaining the ideal weight for your dog will have a positive impact on not just its health but its overall mood and lifestyle. If your pooch seems to be putting on those extra pounds, resort to daily exercise and look for the best dog foods for weight loss.

Further Reading:

Leave a Comment