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6 Best Dog Foods for Weight Loss: Manage Weight Healthily!

Weight gain in dogs is just as common as it is with humans. Sadly, obesity in dogs increases their risk of health complications in the future. If you’re looking to optimize your dog’s quality of life and extend his lifespan, focus on proper nutrition and diet. 

If your dog is out of shape, it’s fairly simple to get him back on track. Your mission is simple: encourage him to burn more calories than what he’s consuming. Combining daily activity with a balanced diet is key to losing weight.

There are some great dog foods that are formulated to help dogs lose weight and maintain a healthy weight. It can be hard to find the right food for your dog, especially one that it will enjoy eating. We tested 20 weight-loss dog foods and these 6 are our favorites.

If you’re a new dog owner, be sure to check out our article on How to Keep Your Dog Happy and Healthy!

Our Top Picks

  Product Details    
01 Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food Best Overall: Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food 1 vet-recommended dry dog food for weight loss formula. A delicious formula designed for adult dogs and best for all breeds and stages of life. Check Price
02 Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Runner-Up: Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Dry weight loss dog food formula that boosts supplement intake with LifeSource Bits. Ideal for adult dogs and great for all breeds. Check Price
03 Nutro Natural Choice Dry Dog Food Best Healthy Weight Formula: Nutro Natural Choice Dry Dog Food Dry dog food featuring a non-GMO chicken and brown rice weight loss formula. Designed for adult dogs; great for ages 1 year and older. Made in the USA. Check Price
04 Wellness Complete Health Dry Dog Food Best Nutritionally Balanced Formula: Wellness Complete Health Dry Dog Food Dry dog food featuring oatmeal, chicken, blueberry, flaxseed, and spinach weight loss formula. No meat by-products or harmful fillers, but there are many added vitamins and minerals for full-spectrum joint, immune, and energy support. Check Price
05 Purina PRO Plan Focus Wet Dog Food  Best Wet Dog Food Formula: Purina PRO Plan Focus Wet Dog Food Wet dog food with turkey and rice in gravy weight loss formula. Low-fat recipe balanced with vitamins and minerals. Designed for adult dogs and best for all dog breeds with weight management issues. Check Price
06 Nutro Ultra Weight Management Program  Best Natural Ingredient Formula: Nutro Ultra Weight Management Program Dry dog food featuring nutritionally-dense superfood weight loss formula. High-quality protein is designed for adult dogs struggling with weight management and health conditions. Great for all breeds. Check Price

Why You Should Choose Dog Food for Weight Loss 

Pug laying next to scale
Managing your dog’s weight is important for their health and wellbeing.

Regular dog food formulas contain high calories to support an active or growing dog. For some breeds, this becomes caloric overload as their energy levels slow and they become less able to burn off the caloric density of regular dog food.

The best dog foods for weight loss will provide key ingredients to support healthy longevity and support skin, bones, organs, and fur. Of course, it’s your job to make sure the portion sizes are appropriate for his age and breed. Adding daily exercise is the second half to this weight loss equation. 

Without remedy, an overweight dog can develop any one of the following health complications:

  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis and Joint Issues
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Hypertension
  • Heart Disease
  • Liver Problems
  • Skin Conditions
  • Overheating
  • Increased Cancer Risk
  • Reduced Lifespan

If you want to avoid these health issues and help your dog lose weight, there are plenty of weight loss dog foods available. Formulas that offer a rich source of protein and fiber, with moderate levels of carbs and low-fat content are ideal.

Read our related article on the Best High Fiber Dog Foods. Discover the top dog foods for healthy digestion!

How We Chose the Best Dog Foods for Weight Loss 

To provide you with the best dog foods for weight loss, we examined many of the major dog food manufacturers and their best-selling weight loss and weight management formulations. 

We whittled our choices down to a few reliable manufacturers that consistently deliver both quality and value. Our list includes brands like Hill’s Science Diet, Blue Buffalo, Purina, Nutro, and Wellness Complete, which have received excellent product reviews and ratings on pet-friendly purchasing sites.

When compiling our list of the best dog foods for weight loss, we took a variety of factors into account. Ingredient quality, balanced formulas, calorie level, health conditions, age, and breed criteria were all taken into consideration.

Not only did we consider existing customer feedback, but we also put these weight loss dog foods to the test with our dogs. 6 of them were clear winners and made our top picks. Another 7 were worthy of our honorable mentions list. Read on to find out why.

READ MORE: The Best Slow Feeder Bowls. Overweight dogs tend to eat more than they should. Slow your dog down with these slow feeder bowls that are proven to work!

6 Best Dog Foods for Weight Loss

1. Best Overall: Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food

Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food

Product Ratings

Overall Rating5/5
Ingredient Quality5/5
Freshness5/5
Flavor5/5
Value for Money5/5

Type: Dry, vet-backed formula | Brand: Hill’s Science Diet | Design: Adult dogs | First three ingredients: Chicken, cracked barley, brown rice | Best for: All breeds and life stages | Price: $$$ 

What We Liked

  • No.1 vet-recommended brand for dog foods
  • Science-backed formula designed for weight loss
  • Natural ingredients

What We Didn’t Like

  • Pricey
  • Not organic or gluten-free

Hill’s Science Diet is a well-known brand that specializes in vet-recommended dog food that meets the nutritional needs of your dog’s health. So, why is this formula our #1 pick for weight loss dog foods?

In clinical testing, this formula has proven to be effective. When fed this diet for ten weeks, more than 70% of adult dogs in the study lost weight. Those numbers don’t lie. 

As real chicken is listed as the first ingredient, you know you’re feeding your pup with a high-quality protein source. Plus, Hill’s manufactures their dry dog food in the United States with all-natural ingredients. 

Rather than forcing your dog to live on a calorie-restricted diet, this food provides all the protein he’ll need to develop lean muscle instead of fat. This recipe also encourages sustainable weight loss, allowing you to gradually return your dog to a healthy weight. 

We gave our dog the correct serving size and daily exercise, and he was back in shape with very little effort on our part. With this vet-recommended formula, you’ll have the ability to effectively address your furry friend’s weight management difficulties.

Bottom Line: Hill’s Science Diet continues to be a front-runner for weight loss dog foods among dog owners across the globe with their science-backed formulas.

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2. Runner-up: Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula

Product Ratings

Overall Rating5/5
Ingredient Quality4/5
Freshness4/5
Flavor4/5
Value for Money4/5

Type: Dry formula with LifeSource Bits | Brand: Blue Buffalo | Design: Adult dogs | First three ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, brown rice | Best for: All breeds | Price: $$

What We Liked

  • LifeSource Bits and whole grains
  • Natural dog food with real ingredients and low-calorie
  • Great for all dog breeds

What We Didn’t Like

  • The ratio of LifeSource bits to other ingredients could be better
  • Not all of our dogs will eat the LifeSource bits

Blue Buffalo is a well-known brand with a hard-won reputation for creating dog food that promotes overall wellness. 

If you need to control your dog’s weight, make sure he gets enough protein in his food to help him build lean muscle. The end result is him staying strong and healthy without gaining weight. This mix provides protein to your dog from real chicken, which is listed as the first component. 

This dry meal is loaded with LifeSource Bits, which are a patented LifeSource product. These vet-approved treats include a balance of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to support your pet’s immune system.

With this formula, there are no cheap, unnecessary fillers to diminish the food’s quality; you’ll be supplying all the nutrition your dog needs at each meal. There is no corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, or preservatives. 

This recipe is a rich source of whole grains and specially formulated to have fewer calories from fat, making it possible for your dog to reach and maintain a healthy weight. Our dogs love the flavor of Blue Buffalo foods, and this is no exception. 

Bottom Line: Blue Buffalo’s Life Protection formula is a must-have for dog owners wanting to control their dog’s weight, even if it is a little more expensive.

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3. Best Healthy Weight Formula: Nutro Natural Choice Dry Dog Food

Nutro Natural Choice Dry Dog Food

Product Ratings

Overall Rating5/5
Ingredient Quality4.5/5
Freshness4.5/5
Flavor4.5/5
Value for Money4/5

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

What We Liked

  • Non-GMO ingredients sourced from natural whole foods
  • Real chicken as the first ingredient
  • Great for adult dogs

What We Didn’t Like

  • Pricier than some other foods we tested
  • Large kibble size may not be best for small breeds

Nutro produces a variety of organic dog foods made entirely of natural ingredients. So, how does this Healthy Weight formula measure up? 

To begin, the first ingredient listed is a premium-grade protein source. The chicken in this formula will help your dog build lean muscle mass without adding too many calories or fat to their diet. 

The non-GMO nutrients allow you to purchase with confidence, knowing that you’re giving your dog only the best. 

With dry dog food, you’ll be providing your dog with the most nutritious kind of dog food. Wet dog food may appear to be the more appealing alternative, but it contains up to 80% moisture. 

You’ll keep your dog satisfied for longer with Nutro’s dry food. This recipe is high in fiber, which improves digestion. It’s also high in antioxidants, which support a healthy functioning immune system

Bottom Line: Nutro’s tried-and-true solution for weight loss dog food is definitely worth adding to your shortlist. It’s made in the United States using premium, internationally sourced ingredients.

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4. Best Nutritionally Balanced Formula: Wellness Complete Health Dry Dog Food

Wellness Complete Health Dry Dog Food

Product Ratings

Overall Rating5/5
Ingredient Quality4/5
Freshness4.5/5
Flavor4/5
Value for Money4/5

Type: Dry nutritionally-balanced formula | Brand: Wellness Complete | Design: Adult dogs | First three ingredients: Deboned beef, lamb meal, salmon meal | Best for: Adult dogs | Price: $$

What We Liked

  • Made in the USA
  • Joint, bone, skin, and coat health support
  • Whole grain oatmeal and supernutrients

What We Didn’t Like

  • Not for puppies

Wellness offers a large selection of dog food for all health conditions. Their weight loss formula is a great option for those who want to keep their dog’s weight in line. What do you get in exchange for investing in their dog food?

This formula is suitable for all adult dogs and breeds. Dog owners who want to manage their dog’s weight should know how critical it is to make sure they aren’t overfeeding calories. 

A simple calculation of calories consumed vs. energy spent is used to manage weight. Wellness makes it easy for you by providing your pup with only what he requires. 

The first ingredient listed is a quality protein source of deboned beef. Their formula also includes lamb meal and salmon meal to help your dog develop and maintain lean muscle.

Fatty acids in this product enhance the health and vibrance of your dog’s skin and coat, while the antioxidants support a healthy functioning immune system. Probiotics promote healthy digestion and taurine boosts heart health. 

Bottom Line: Wellness hits a home run with their high-quality dog food formula for weight loss. It’s suitable for all adult dogs struggling to keep their weight in line. 

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5. Best Wet Dog Food Formula: Purina PRO Plan Focus Wet Dog Food 

Purina PRO Plan Focus Wet Dog Food 

Product Ratings

Overall Rating5/5
Ingredient Quality5/5
Freshness4.5/5
Flavor4.5/5
Value for Money4/5

Type: Wet food formula | Brand: Purina | Design: Adult dogs | First three ingredients: Turkey, liver, wheat gluten | Best for: Adult dogs weight management | Price: $

What We Liked

  • First two ingredients are natural and whole foods; turkey and liver
  • Specialized weight management formula
  • 25% less fat than other options

What We Didn’t Like

  • Contains gluten
  • High moisture content so you may need to add dry dog food

The incomparable Purina provides the PRO Plan, a prime fit for the best dog food for weight loss. 

As with all of the most successful weight reduction foods for dogs, protein should come first. Listed as the first ingredient, the turkey in this formula offers a rich source of quality protein. This allows your dog to keep his lean muscle mass while losing excess fat. 

With Purina’s wet dog food for weight loss, you receive 12 cans with each purchase. With canned dog food, you have two feeding options. You can either give your dog only wet dog food, abiding by the appropriate portion sizes for his age and breed, or mix it with dry kibble. 

If you’re looking for grain-free dog food, this is not an option for you because the formula contains rice. Also, if turkey isn’t your dog’s favorite flavor, Purina also offers a classic chicken formula.

Compared to other options in Purina’s extensive line of dog food products, their PRO Plan Focus wet dog food is formulated to have 25% less fat. 

Bottom Line: With Purina PRO’s weight loss dog food, you can be confident that you’re doing everything you can to keep your dog’s weight under control and avoid obesity-related health problems

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6. Best Natural Ingredient Formula: Nutro Ultra Weight Management Program 

Nutro Ultra Weight Management P

Product Ratings

Overall Rating5/5
Ingredient Quality4/5
Freshness4/5
Flavor4/5
Value for Money4/5

Type: Dry formula with superfoods | Brand: Nutro | Design: Adult dogs | First three ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, whole brown rice | Best for: All breeds with weight management issues | Price: $$

What We Like: 

  • Protein trio from chicken, lamb, and salmon
  • Added superfood ingredients
  • Quality ingredients from trusted sources

What We Don’t Like: 

  • A little pricey
  • Larger kibble sizes are not suitable for small dogs

Nutro makes another debut with their Ultra Weight Management Program product. So, how can this formula stand out in such a competitive field? 

To begin with, the protein is derived from three different sources: chicken, fish, and lamb. This triple-pronged protein barrage assists in the development of lean muscle in your dog, ensuring that he remains strong and healthy without gaining weight. 

This product contains 15 superfoods. You’ll be introducing your pet to a variety of flavors, from chia seeds and kale to blueberries and coconut. If you want to keep your dog from gaining weight, make sure he loves his food and never feels deprived. 

With this tasty dog chow, Nutro strikes the nail on the head. Their all-natural recipe is free of cheap fillers, artificial flavors, preservatives, corn, wheat, and soy. Our dogs love the flavor, and we love the formula.

Bottom Line: With Nutro’s weight loss dog food, you’ll have no trouble keeping your dog’s weight in check as long as you feed him the correct portion accompanied by daily exercise. 

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Comparison Chart

ProductBest OverallRunner-UpBest Healthy Weight FormulaBest Nutritionally BalanceBest Wet Dog FoodBest Natural Ingredient
Overall Rating5/55/55/55/55/55/5
Ingredient Quality5/54/54.5/54/55/54/5
Freshness5/54/54.5/54.5/54.5/54/5
Flavor5/54/54.5/54/54.5/54/5
Value for Money5/54/54/54/54/54/5

The Winner

Overall, Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food is the clear winner in our choice of best dog foods for weight loss. Their clinically-proven adult dry dog food for weight loss and management is safe and effective, applauded by customers all over the globe. 

You can’t go wrong with Hill’s Science Diet dog foods, especially our winner in this list of the best dog foods for weight loss. It’s full of quality protein and all-natural, USA-sourced ingredients. Vets love it, our dogs love it, and we think you will too. 

READ MORE: Best Dog Water Fountains. Keep your dog hydrated with these best dog water fountains for small and big dogs!

How to Choose the Best Dog Foods for Weight Loss 

Wondering what are the top things to look for when comparing the best dog foods for weight loss? We’ve established the fundamental components to look for in weight loss dog food to help you pick the best dog food for weight loss.

Low Calories

You’ll find that the most weight loss dog foods will be lower in calories than traditional recipes. Aim for one that’s between 300 and 400 calories per serving. 

We like to use foods with a low-enough caloric intake that we can feed our dogs regularly so they feel satisfied, but they don’t get more calories than they can burn.

High Protein and Fiber Content 

Protein boosts lean muscle development, while fiber helps him feel fuller for longer. The best dog foods for weight loss will offer a rich source of both fiber and protein, keeping carbohydrate content on the lower end.

Flavor

If you want your dog to lose weight, you’ll find the best way to encourage him is with weight loss food that he finds delicious. If it’s not appealing to him, he could refuse to eat it, and then you’re back to square one.

Think about the flavors in the food that he currently enjoys and try to find a weight loss dog food that will be the most similar to encourage him to try the new food. 

Probiotics

If you’re replacing your dog’s food with a weight loss formula, choose a recipe with added probiotics. This will aid his digestion while minimizing the risk of intestinal distress during the 10 to 15-day transition period between foods.

If your dog is a picky eater, check out this article for more information: Best Dog Food for Picky Eaters.

Honorable Mentions

If any of the above options didn’t work for your dog’s needs, check out our Honorable Mention section for dog foods for weight loss that didn’t make our top picks, but we felt were worthy of inclusion for your consideration.

1. Orijen Fit And Trim Biologically-Appropriate Dog Food – Considered for Biologically-Appropriate Formula

Orijen’s Fit and Trim formula offers your dog tasty, nutritionally balanced food to support healthy weight management. This formula is made of 85% raw, fresh ingredients that take your pup back to his wild roots. 

With deboned chicken, this lean protein source helps him build lean muscle and effectively lose weight at a healthy rate. The main drawback for this formula is the price, which we feel is out of reach for most dog owners so we chose the Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula for our recommendation.

2. Eagle Pack Natural Dry Dog Food – Considered for Low-Fat Formula

Eagle Pack’s natural dog food is one of the most cost-effective dog foods for weight loss. Nutritionally balanced with healthy protein and carbs, the right portion size will promote lean muscle development while limiting fat gain. 

This nutrient-dense formula is packed with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and antioxidants to promote a healthy immune system, skin, and coat. This was a serious contender, but our dogs preferred the flavor of Wellness Complete Health Dry Dog Food, so it won a top spot instead.

3. Victor Senior Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food – Considered for Elderly Dog Option

If your elderly dog needs to shed a few pounds, Victor’s Senior Health Weight dry dog food is an excellent option. Their elderly-age-friendly formula is packed with the right nutrients he needs to minimize the risk of developing obesity-related health conditions. 

Victor’s senior formula contains protein that comes from a variety of sources, including beef, pig, chicken, and fish meal. This will help him maintain his lean muscle mass as he gets older. We liked this food for our senior dogs, but they preferred Purina PRO Plan Focus Wet Dog Food because it is wet and easier to eat.

4. Natural Balance Low-Fat Dry Dog Food – Considered for Targeted Nutrition

Natural Balance doesn’t hold back when it comes to the name of their Fat Dogs recipe, and the ingredients are specifically designed for overweight dogs. Because this dry food is grain-free, you don’t have to worry if your dog has allergies. 

Your dog will benefit from this low-calorie, high fiber, and protein formula. We had better results with Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food for our dogs, but we think this one is worth a try.

5. Solid Gold Fit And Fabulous Dog Food – Considered for Low-Calorie Formula

Solid Gold is a budget-friendly option well worth your shortlist. With protein from Alaskan pollock, this food is packed with quality protein and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Their nutrient-dense formula aids in lean muscle development while promoting healthy skin, coats, and joints.

Fit and Fabulous dog food contains prebiotics and 20 superfoods that provide your dog with the nutrition he needs without restricting calories. We really liked this food but preferred Wellness Complete Health Dry Dog Food. If your dog doesn’t like our pick, this one is well worth a try.

6. Fromm Gold Dog Food Weight Management – Considered for All Breeds

With only 340 calories per serving, you’ll be able to keep your dog’s weight within healthy bounds, when combined with daily activity of course. The formula is loaded with nutrients from ingredients like turkey liver, lamb, duck, eggs, and cheese, ensuring your dog gets everything he needs to maintain a healthy weight. 

This dry food is grain-free, low-fat, and is free of cheap bulking agents so owners can buy guilt-free knowing their dog will feel fully satisfied without poor ingredients. This is a fantastic kibble and it was a toss-up for us, but our dogs like the flavor Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food, and it’s a little more affordable.

7. Dr. Tim’s Weight Management Dog Food With Grains – Considered for Dry Formula with Grains

Dr. Tim’s Weight Management formula lives up to its name, and it’s excellent for dogs of all breeds and ages. While the protein source could be better, the chicken meal provides a lot of protein to help build lean muscle and the grains provide energy. 

The fatty acids in this formula will benefit your dog’s skin and coat, while fiber helps him to stay fuller for longer. This formula’s L-carnitine stimulates healthy fat metabolism and helps your dog burn calories more effectively, making it great for weight loss. 

This food does help keep dogs trim and fit, but they prefer the flavor of Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food, so it took our top pick instead.

Conclusion 

If you came to BarkVA today wondering how to control your dog’s weight, you should now have a good idea of how to do so now. Yes, the health and diet industry for both humans and canines has a tendency to overcomplicate what should be a straightforward premise. 

Finding a balance between the number of calories consumed vs the amount of energy spent is the simplest way to manage weight. If you get this calculation right, your dog should maintain a healthy weight. 

The first thing to do is choose one of the best dog foods for weight loss, then follow the feeding instructions and add in a quality exercise regimen to get your best friend back to a healthy weight.

5/5 - (2 votes)

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