The 14 Best Dog Food for Weight Loss

Cute-overweight-pug-on-floor-with-weight-scale-at-home

Some dog, like humans, have a tendency to gain weight.

Unfortunately, obesity in dogs can trigger a variety of health conditions. If, then, you want to improve your dog’s quality of life while also potentially extending his lifespan, you’ll need to pay proper attention to his diet.

The good news: it’s remarkably easy to get your dog back into shape if he’s got slightly out of condition.

Your goal is straightforward: help him to burn more calories than he consumes. Do this and he will lose weight.

The best dog food for weight loss will help you to deliver the right type of nutrients to your dog. Your part is to make sure you also serve him a portion size appropriate for his age and breed.

Beyond this, make sure Rover gets plenty of exercise every day.

If you allow your dog to remain overweight, it can lead to any of the following health problems:

  • Diabetes
  • Joint problems
  • Arthritis
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Hypertension
  • Heart disease
  • Liver problems
  • Skin problems
  • Overheating
  • Increased risk of cancer
  • Reduced lifespan

What should you be looking for when you’re comparing dog weight loss foods?

  • Low in calories: You should find most weight loss dog foods will be lower in calories than regular recipes. Look for foods containing anywhere from 300 to 400 calories per cup
  • Protein-rich and high in fiber: To help your dog stay full while also promoting lean muscle growth, weight loss dog foods are typically high in both protein and fiber. Carb content tends to be moderate
  • Tasty: When you’re looking to help your dog lose weight, it’s key to feed him tasty food or he might end up becoming a picky eater
  • Containing probiotics: If you’re switching up your dog’s food, a formula containing probiotics will help his digestion while reducing the chance of any intestinal upset as you transition to new food over the course of ten days

With that simple framework in place, you should be ready to explore our reviews of the best dog food for weight loss.

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The 14 Best Dog Food for Weight Loss

1. Our #1 Pick: Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food

Hill's-Science-Diet-Dry-Dog-Food-Adult,-Perfect-Weight-for-Weight-Management

  • Type: Dry, vet-backed formula
  • Design: Adult dogs
  • First 3 ingredients: Chicken, cracked barley, brown rice
  • Best for: For all breeds and life stages
  • Price: $$$

Hill’s is an industry heavyweight specializing in vet-recommended dog food catering to all Rover’s nutritional needs. Why is this formula our overall best dog food for weight loss, then?

Well, this stuff has proven to work in clinical trials. Over 70% of adult dogs participating in the trial lost weight when fed this formula for 10 weeks. You can’t argue with that strike rate.

Fido will get protein from a premium source, the real chicken listed as the first ingredient here.

The food is composed of all-natural ingredients and it’s made in the USA.

Rather than restricting your dog’s caloric intake, this food gives your furball all the protein he needs to pack on plenty of lean muscle instead of fat.

This formula also promotes sustainable weight loss, so you can ease your pup gently back to a healthy weight.

Of all vet-recommended canine diets, Hill’s remains a favorite of millions dog owners worldwide. If you feed your pooch the right amount of this food as well as giving him sufficient exercise, you should control any weight management issues.


2. Also Great: Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula

Blue-Buffalo-Life-Protection-Formula-Natural-Adult-Dry-Dog-Food

  • Type: Dry formula with LifeSource Bits
  • Design: Adult dogs
  • First 3 ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, brown rice
  • Best for: For all breeds
  • Price: $$

Blue Buffalo is a highly reputable name with a hard-won reputation for producing dog food that delivers whole-body health.

If you need to manage your dog’s weight, you should provide him with enough protein in his diet for lean muscle growth. This enables him to stay strong and healthy without becoming overweight.  With this formula, you give your pooch protein from real chicken, listed as the primary ingredient here.

This dry food comes studded with proprietary LifeSource Bits. These vet-backed pieces contain a blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to help strengthen your furball’s immune system.

As well as delivering your dog all the nutrients he needs, you won’t be forcing any cheap fillers on him. There is no corn, no wheat, and no soy. You won’t get any artificial flavors of preservatives either.

This formula is rich in healthy whole grains. It’s also specially formulated to contain fewer calories from fat, ensuring you can help your dog stay within a healthy weight range.

For dog owners looking to regulate their dog’s weight, Blue Buffalo’s Life Protection formula is a must, even if it’s not exactly cheap.


3. Nutro Natural Choice Dry Dog Food

NUTRO-NATURAL-CHOICE-Adult-Healthy-Weight-Dry-Dog-Food

  • Type: Dry formula with chicken and brown rice
  • Design: Adult dogs
  • First 3 ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, rice bran
  • Best for: For all dogs aged 1+
  • Price: $$

Nutro makes a broad range of organic dog food made from all-natural ingredients. How does this Healthy Weight formula stack up, then?

Firstly, you get premium protein as the first ingredient. The chicken will help promote lean muscle growth without too many calories or too much fat.

The non-GMO ingredients allow you to buy with a clean conscience, aware you’re giving Rover nothing but the best.

As a dry kibble, you’ll be giving your dog the most nutritious type of dog food. You may think wet dog food looks like the tastier option, but it has up to 80% moisture content. With this dry food, you’ll keep your dog fuller for longer.

This formula is fiber-rich, promoting healthy digestion. It’s loaded with antioxidants, too. These support immune system health in your furball.

Made in premises in the United States from prime, globally-sourced ingredients, this tried-and-true formula for canine weight loss is well worth popping on your shortlist.


4. Wellness Complete Health Dry Dog Food

Wellness-Complete-Health-Natural-Healthy-Weight-Dry-Dog-Food

  • Type: Dry grain-free formula
  • Design: Adult dogs
  • First 3 ingredients: Deboned beef, lamb meal, salmon meal
  • Best for: For adult dogs
  • Price: $$

Wellness has a deep bench of dog food with this formula ideal if you need to keep your pup’s weigh in check. Suitable for all breeds of adult dog, what do you get for your money?

When you’re looking to moderate your dog’s weight, it’s vital not to give him too many calories each day. Weight management involves a simple equation of calories in vs energy expended. Wellness makes this easy for you by delivering everything Fido needs and nothing more.

Protein comes from deboned beef as the first ingredient. This formula also contains lamb meal and salmon meal so your dog’s lean muscle growth is fully supported.

The fatty acids promote skin and coat health, while the antioxidants in this stuff help bolster Rover’s immune system. Probiotics help smoothen digestion while the taurine in this formula is great for heart health in your furball.

Suitable for all adult dogs, especially those with weight issues, this formula is another home run from Wellness.


5. Purina PRO Plan Focus Wet Dog Food

Purina-Pro-Plan-Weight-Management-Adult-Dry-Dog-Food-&-Wet-Dog-Food

  • Type: Wet food in gravy
  • Design: Adult dogs
  • First 3 ingredients: Turkey, liver, wheat gluten
  • Best for: For all adult dogs with weight issues
  • Price: $

Next up and strong contender for the best dog food for weight loss, the inimitable Purina offers the PRO Plan.

As with all the most effective weight loss foods for dogs, this formula is rich in protein. This enables your dog to maintain his lean muscle mass while shedding unwanted fat. Protein comes from turkey as the first ingredient.

You get 12 cans of wet food. Either feed this to your dog in portions appropriate for his breed, or mix it with some dry kibble.

The formula also contains rice, so avoid this stuff it you’re a fan of grain-free diets for dogs.

If your pup is not a turkey fan, this formula is also available in a classic chicken flavor.

This food is designed to contain 25% less fat than the standard Purina PRO line, so you’ll be doing everything within your power to keep your dog’s weight under control and to stave off the health conditions triggered by canine obesity.


6. Nutro Ultra Weight Management Program

Nutro-Ultra-Weight-Management-Adult-Dry-Dog-Food

  • Type: Dry formula with superfoods
  • Design: Adult dogs
  • First 3 ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, whole brown rice
  • Best for: For all breeds with weight issues
  • Price: $$

Next up we have another entry from Nutro with their Ultra Weight Management Program food. How does this formula differentiate itself in a crowded field, then?

Firstly, the protein comes from three sources: chicken, salmon, and lamb. This triple-headed onslaught of protein helps your dog’s lean muscle to develop so he stays strong and healthy without putting on fat.

15 superfoods are blended into this stuff. From chia seeds and kale to blueberries and coconut, you’ll be introducing your furball to a taste sensation. If you need to control your dog’s weight, it’s vital that he enjoys his food and doesn’t feel deprived. Nutro hits that head-on with this delicious dog food.

The all-natural formula contains no cheap fillers, no artificial flavors or preservatives. You won’t get any corn, wheat, or soy either.

As long as you feed your pooch the right amount of this food combined with plenty of exercise, you should have no problems keeping his weight in line.


7. Wellness Natural Complete Health Dry Dog Food

Wellness-Natural-Pet-Food-Complete-Health-Natural-Dry-Dog-Food

  • Type: Dry grain-free formula
  • Design: Adult dogs
  • First 3 ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, oatmeal
  • Best for: For adult dogs
  • Price: $$

Wellness enters the fray again with this dry dog food that can help as part of a canine weight management plan.

This chicken formula should appeal to most dogs, and the chicken is listed first on the ingredients. This is an excellent source of protein and will help promote lean muscle growth without leading to weight gain.

This is the value-packed 30-pound bag. If you’ve never tried your dog with this food before, you can experiment with a smaller 5-pound bag.

High in antioxidants, this formula encourages immune system health. The fatty acids ensure Rover’s coat and skin are at their very best.

The ingredients are all-natural and non-GMO, assembled in a facility in the United States and sourced worldwide.

As with all the best dog food for weight loss, be sure not to give your dog too much of this stuff. You’ll also need to pay attention to his exercise routine, and you should then have his weight back within a healthy range in no time.


8. Orijen Fit and Trim Biologically-Appropriate Dog Food

ORIJEN-Fit-and-Trim-Dog-Food,-Healthy-Weight-Recipe,-Grain-Free

  • Type: Dry biologically-appropriate formula
  • Design: Adult dogs
  • First 3 ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken liver, turkey liver
  • Best for: For all breeds with weight issues
  • Price: $$$

Orijen Fit and Trim formula aims to give your dog a tasty and balanced diet that won’t have him piling on the pounds. All you need to do is feed him the right amount of this food in combination with a breed and age-appropriate exercise regime.

The fresh and raw animal ingredients ensure Rover gets a taste of the wild. Protein is derived mainly from real deboned chicken, the primary ingredient. This helps your dog’s lean muscle development without causing him to put on any fat.

85% of all the ingredients here come from real animals.

One of the key selling points used by the manufacturer is the fact they have raw ingredients delivered to their kitchens. This formula is then made from these all-natural powerhouses to deliver a balanced and nutrient-dense food that won’t have your dog putting on weight.


9. Eagle Pack Natural Dry Dog Food

Eagle-Pack-Natural-Dry-Dog-Food-Pork,-Chicken-&-Fish-Reduced-Fat

  • Type: Dry low-fat formula
  • Design: Adult dogs
  • First 3 ingredients: Pork meal, dehulled barley, peas
  • Best for: For all breeds
  • Price: $

Eagle Pack’s natural dog food comes in large 15-pound or 30-pound packs giving you great overall value and making this one of the most cost-effective dog foods for weight loss.

Protein and carbs are balanced in the right proportions to promote lean muscle growth without any attendant fat gains.

As well as keeping Fido’s weight in check, this formula is also rich in antioxidants, so you’ll be helping to strengthen his immune system, too. Packed with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, you’ll also ensure his coat and skin health are fully supported.

There’s no corn, wheat, or soy in this stuff. You get no cheap bulking agents or fillers either. With no artificial flavors or preservatives, you’ll be doing everything you can to support your pup’s whole body health while also keeping his weight within healthy limits.

You’re buying into a brand with decades of experience helping dog owners just like you manage their furball’s weight without depriving them.


10. Victor Senior Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food

Victor-Senior-Healthy-Weight-Dry-Dog-Food

  • Type: Dry grain-free formula
  • Design: Senior dogs
  • First 3 ingredients: Beef, whole grain brown rice, whole grain millet
  • Best for: For all senior breeds
  • Price: $$

If you have an elderly dog and he’s putting on some weight, you should whip him into shape to avoid the health conditions like diabetes that obesity can trigger. As your dog enters his golden years and his activity levels drop, it’s common to notice weight gain creeping in. Take control by switching his food – gradually and over the course of ten days – to this senior formula from Victor.

Beef, pork, chicken, and fish meals give your dog protein from a range of decent sources. This will help ensure his lean muscle doesn’t waste away as he ages.

The proteins derived from beef work well if your dog has allergies to other common meat proteins.

The chondroitin and glucosamine in this stuff promote joint health in your aging dog.

If you need to keep an elderly dog’s weight in check while also helping his ailing joints and bones, switch to this nutrient-dense formula and it might be the smartest investment you make this year.


11. Natural Balance Low-Fat Dry Dog Food

Natural-Balance-Fat-Dogs-Low-Calorie-Dry-Dog-Food-for-Overweight-Adult-Dogs

  • Type: Dry grain-free formula
  • Design: Adult dogs
  • First 3 ingredients: Chicken meal, salmon meal, garbanzo beans
  • Best for: For overweight adult dogs
  • Price: $$

Natural Balance take no prisoners with the naming of this Fat Dogs formula, and the ingredients are designed expressly for overweight dogs.

The dry food is completely grain-free, so you have no concerns if your dog has allergies. If you can’t persuade your pooch to eat dry kibble on its own, try mixing in some treats or wet food to liven things up.

The L-carnitine in this stuff is scientifically proven to help with weight management. Make sure you don’t overfeed Fido, and make sure you give him plenty of exercise, too. Combine this with some Fat Dogs food in his bowl and you should kiss those weight management issues goodbye.

Packed with protein derived from chicken meal and low in calories, your dog should feel full after wolfing down this food, but that won’t come at the expense of an excess of calories.

This food is also high in fiber, so your dog’s digestion is supported, and he’ll also stay fuller for longer.

With vitamins C, E, and zinc completing a nutrient-dense formula, this is one of the best dog foods for weight loss out there.


12. Solid Gold Fit and Fabulous Dog Food

Solid-Gold-Fit-&-Fabulous-Grain-Free-Natural-Chicken

  • Type: Dry low-calorie formula
  • Design: Adult dogs
  • First 3 ingredients: Pollack, pollack meal, pea fiber
  • Best for: For all overweight dogs
  • Price: $$

As we edge to the end of our dog food for weight loss reviews, we have a pocket-friendly option from Solid Gold that’s well worth popping on your shortlist.

Protein comes from the Alaskan pollack that features as the first ingredient here. Not only does this help with your dog’s lean muscle mass development, the pollack is also laced with omega-3s and omega-6s. These essential fatty acids help your dog’s coat and skin stay healthy.

The prebiotics in this formula stay alive until your dog consumes the food and then they help smooth the digestive process.

The remainder of the ingredients are a blend of 20 superfoods giving your dog a dose of all the nutrients he needs while keeping his caloric intake down. What’s not to love?


13. Fromm Gold Dog Food Weight Management

Fromm-Gold-Dog-Food-Weight-Management-(5-Lb)

  • Type: Dry grain-free formula
  • Design: Adult dogs
  • First 3 ingredients: Turkey liver, chicken meal, pearled barley
  • Best for: For all breeds with weight issues
  • Price: $$

The Fromm family has been making natural dog foods since 1904, so benefit from over a century of deep expertise. Is this weight management formula any good, though?

Absolutely! With a carefully-calculated 341 calories per cup, you’ll maintain your dog’s weight within healthy limits if you feed him this food combined with the right exercise regime.

The formula is loaded with goodness, enabling your dog to get all the nutrients he needs without too much fat or too many calories. Turkey liver, lamb, duck, eggs, and cheese are blended into food your dog should wolf down without carrying the consequences on his waistline.

The dry food is grain-free and doesn’t contain any cheap bulking agents. You’ll ensure your pup stays fuller for longer without achieving this through cheap ingredients.

For a nutritional powerhouse of a recipe with exactly the right caloric requirements for canine weight management, this is one of the best dog foods for weight loss.


14. Dr Tim’s Weight Management Dog Food with Grains

Dr.-Tim's-Weight-Management-Metabolite-with-Grains-Premium-Dog-Food

  • Type: Dry formula with grains
  • Design: Adult dogs
  • First 3 ingredients: Chicken meal, brown rice, whole oat groats
  • Best for: For all breeds with weight issues
  • Price: $

Dr Tim’s Weight Management formula delivers as promised, and this food is suitable for all breeds and life stages.

The food is high in protein derived from chicken meal. While this protein source could be improved, it will provide Fido with energy while also promoting lean muscle mass.

Fat content is moderate, and your dog won’t miss out on the healthy fatty acids he needs for his skin and coat health.

The fiber content is also optimized so your dog will stay full all day long without the need for snacks or table scraps.

The L-carnitine loaded into this formula promotes proper fat metabolism and helps your dog burn calories more efficiently, ideal for weight management purposes.

Keep your dog’s weight in check the easy way with this first class dog weight loss food.


FAQs

1) How many calories per day does my dog need to eat to lose weight?

You’ll need to discuss this with your vet to get a precise answer. Take what you’re currently feeding your dog and subtract 250 calories. This is a reasonable starting point if you’re looking to initiate sustainable weight loss. If this doesn’t produce noticeable results, scale back further until you hit his goal weight. Remember, dogs operate within a fairly narrow healthy weight band, so you shouldn’t have too much work to do

2) Is it wise idea to allow my dog to free feed if I’m using a weight loss food?

No! Most dogs will eat pretty much whatever is laid down in front of him, so if you want to help lose weight, free feeding is certainly not the optimum strategy to use.

3) I was told it might be a good idea to feed my obese dog once a day. Is this true?

This is unwise. Healthy adult dogs require 2 meals daily, while puppies need 3 or sometimes even 4 meals a day. If you feed your dog once a day in an attempt to help him lose weight, you could end up causing him to become malnourished instead.

4) What are the most common health conditions caused by canine obesity?

Hypertension (high blood pressure) occurs more frequently in obese dogs. Obese dogs are also at heightened risk of diabetes and pancreatitis. Overweight dogs are much more prone to heart disease, and the structure of the heart undergoes changes in obese dogs that can lead to impaired function. Middle-aged and senior overweight dogs are also more likely to get arthritis. Losing weight can improve this.

5) Are dogs ever actually full?

It might seem like your dog would eat forever, but he will stop eating when he feels genuinely full. That said, you’ll need to limit his food intake if he’s struggling with weight problems.

6) Can I feed my dog late at night?

Doing this is not ideal and increases his chances of pooping in the night. Allow 4 to 8 hours for Rover to properly digest his food.

7) What is considered a safe rate of weight loss for my dog?

This is a good question. If you cause your dog to lose weight too quickly, this can be just as damaging as allowing him to remain overweight. Safe weight loss should remain in a range of 1% to 2% of your dog’s total bodyweight. If you have an obese 100-pound pit bull, for instance, that equates to one or two pounds of weight loss a week. Start causing Rover to drop more weight than this at your peril.

8) How should I transition my dog to a new weight loss food?

Slow and steady is the key. Change his food gradually over the course of 10 days. For days 1 to 3, mix in 25% new food with 75% old food. Switch this to a 50/50 mix for a few days, increase the ratio to 75% new food with 25% old food, and then start with all-new food after 10 days. If you stick to this simple framework, you’ll minimize the chance of your dog suffering from any stomach upsets.

9) How can I find a high-quality dog food for weight loss?

You need to avoid formulas that contain too little meat and rely on potatoes and cereal grains. There are plenty of foods out there – we review them above – containing plenty of protein and fiber, moderate carbs, and a low fat content. As with any pet product, you’ll often find you need to dig deeper for the best so be prepared to invest in your furball’s health.

10) Do I need to stop feeding my dog table scraps completely if he is overweight?

You should certainly cut right back. As with any dietary changes, in animals or humans, it helps to avoid any sense of deprivation. It will be much easier to keep your dog motivated and happy in his weight loss if he doesn’t ever feel totally deprived. Throw in the occasional treat, but go out of your way to provide him with the healthiest treats possible rather than reflexively throwing your leftovers into his bowl.

11) What are light diet dog foods?

These should generally be avoided. They might be low in calories, but these formulas often rely on cheap fillers like cellulose, so you’ll be doing your dog a disservice.

12) Which is best for weight loss, dry food or wet food?

There is no meaningful difference, so it comes down to personal preference.


Conclusion

Well, if you arrived here at BarkVA today wondering how you could manage your dog’s weight, you should now be clear on how to achieve this.

The diet industry, both human and canine, tends to complicate a very simple concept. Weight management is as simple as controlling calories in vs energy expended. Get this equation balanced and your dog won’t put on weight.

Choosing one of the best dog foods for weight loss is the first thing for you to do, and you should now have no shortage of viable options. Beyond that, pay attention to the instructions and feed your dog the right portion sizes. Throw in plenty of vigorous exercise and there’s no need to tolerate an obese dog. You’ll be doing him a favor by getting him back into shape.

Bookmark our blog before you head off and be sure to pop back soon.

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