The Best Dog Food For Weight Loss (Updated List) in 2021
Author: Alina Andreeva
Alina A. is a professional writer, editor, and pet-lover. She has published over 50 articles on how to care for pets properly. Alina has been writing articles for 3 years, so she has considerable experience in this niche. Her natural curiosity helps her to expand her knowledge and learn new pet care life hacks, which will make your life much easier.View all 67 articles Learn about our editorial process and veterinary review board.
Vet reviewed by:Dr. Chyrle Bonk
by Dr. Chyrle Bonk
Dr. Chyrle Bonk is an associate veterinarian since 2010 and was a volunteer for Clearwater County Youth 4H. Dr. Bonk contributed to various animal and veterinary related websites and magazines as a way to help keep animals across the globe safe and healthy. When Chyrle not working she spends her time with her own furry crew of dogs, cats, and horses.View all 10 articles Learn about our veterinary review board
Updated on: 02/18/2021
Whether you just realized that your pup has lost their hourglass figure or if those pup love handles have been a long time coming, it’s never too late to get their weight back on the right track with a dog food meant for weight loss.
The best weight loss dog foods are going to be lower in calories and fat and higher in protein to help support weight loss and encourage lean muscle growth. The combination of low fat and calories and high protein will also help keep your pet satiated for longer, so you won’t have to worry about giving in to those puppy eyes. If you’re still feeling lost in your dog’s weight loss journey, check out this list of some best products for weight loss.
The Best Dog Food for Weight Loss Reviews
The best choices has it all: all-natural ingredients, lower calories and fat, loaded with protein. Your puppy will back to a healthy weight with no struggles!
Our Top Pick
1. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Healthy Weight
If you’ve been looking for a brand that you can trust, look no further than Blue Buffalo. They offer some of the ingredients, including chicken mixed with a variety of fruits and vegetables that will boost your pets’ nutrition without making them overweight.
This is the perfect for pet owners who have struggled to get their pet’s weight under control. And since every ingredient has been sourced naturally, you can have confidence every time you pour a bowl.
- Includes real, deboned chicken as the very first ingredient, ensuring your pet get the quality protein they need.
- Reduced calories from fat, so your pet will maintain a healthy weight without going hungry.
- Formulated with a well-balanced combination of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants — all sourced naturally.
- Not found.
The Best Dry Picks
1. Wellness Complete Health Healthy Weight
With this formula, Wellness Complete has offered you the ability to ensure your pets stay healthy and energetic for years into the future. And since it includes a perfectly balanced mix of top-quality protein and whole grains, you can be confident that every one of nutritional needs will be met.
Includes a host of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, antioxidants, and more to keep your pet in top shape. It’s a great option that you shouldn’t pass up.
- Made with the optimal mix of quality protein, heart-healthy antioxidants, and healthy fats — to keep your pet healthy and feeling good.
- Available in varieties that span entire lifetime — from puppy to senior.
- Built to boost your pet’s energy levels, immune system, coat, and heart.
- Some have complained about stomach issues after putting their pet on this product.
2. Orijen Fit & Trim Dog Food
Orijen prides itself on developing a product that’s wholly designed for the biology of your dog, including 85% meat, 15% vegetables and other plants, and 0% grains. This is the kind of diet your pet would eat if he lived in the wild. And because of this formula, Orijen Fit & Trim is able to keep your pet looking and feeling his absolute the best. And what’s more, all the ingredients that go into this pet food are sourced regionally via sustainable practices.
This is one of the highest quality option on the market — and the price shows. But if price isn’t an option, then Orijen Fit & Trim may be just what you’ve been looking for.
- Includes a wide variety of freshly sourced meats and fish, including free-range chicken and turkey, wild-caught fish, and more.
- Made up of 85% animal products, allowing it to meet your pet’s natural, biological needs.
- Completely grain-free, offering a diet that mimics what your pet would have eaten in the wild.
- Some have complained about a strong odor that accompanies the food — and follows any dog that eats it.
3. Hill’s Science Diet Perfect Weight
Hill’s Science Diet is one of the best known and most recommended brands on the market. And for good reason. This is a company that has diversified and refined its product offerings so that no matter what your pet needs, they likely have a solution. They’ve designed this Perfect Weight formula to help overweight dogs lose weight in a fast and healthy way. In fact, research has shown that 70% of the dogs that begin a regimen of it will lose weight in the first 10 weeks. And even better, it tastes delicious and is made without any artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
Uses real, quality chicken, lamb, and salmon to ensure your dog gets the protein he needs without the additional unhealthy fat.
- Designed and tested to help your pet lose excess pounds and maintain a healthy weight.
- Available in varieties for every size, from mini to large breeds.
- Some pet owners complained about a lack of weight loss after using this food.
- This product isn’t appropriate for the smallest of dogs because of kibble size.
4. Wellness CORE Reduced Fat Grain-Free
Many dog foods are made up primarily of grain with a little meat and vegetables thrown in to even things out. Unfortunately, your pet didn’t evolve to eat grain. In his natural habitat, his diet would’ve largely consisted of meats, vegetables, and fruits. And that’s exactly what makes up Wellness CORE’s Reduced Fat Grain Free dog food.
It’s been formulated to boost your pet’s heart health, digestive health, skin, coat, and more. And it’s completely GMO-free. In other words, it’s a great option if you’ve been searching for a way to get your dog’s weight down safely and effectively.
- Made from a mix of turkey, chicken, salmon, fruit, and vegetables, ensuring your dog gets a diet that’s designed for his needs.
- Includes 25% less fat than the Wellness CORE original recipe so your dog won’t gain excess weight.
- Rich in vitamins, minerals, probiotics, antioxidants, and more that will support your pet’s immune system, heart health, and coat.
- Some pet owners who have small breeds have complained that it isn’t appropriate for smaller pets.
- A handful of people have complained about the food being too hard and having poor texture.
5. Merrick Grain Free Healthy Weight
Like men, dogs love beef. And yet, so much dog food out there is made up of fillers, meat byproducts, and artificial garbage. But that’s not the case with this formula. Deboned beef is the number one ingredient in this product, and it’s made up of 55% protein and 45% vegetables, fiber, minerals, and vitamins. And if that wasn’t enough, it’s also got the ingredients you need to keep your dog’s hips working.
It’s a well-balanced, delicious meal for your dog that will give him the energy he needs without contributing to excess weight gain.
- Built on a foundation of all-natural, deboned meat, fish, and chicken, so your pet will love the way it tastes.
- Includes plenty of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids to ensure that and coat look as beautiful as possible.
- Made with whole meats, vegetables, and fruits, with zero preservatives, fillers, or grains.
- Your pet will never go hungry — but won’t pack on the extra pounds associated with overloading on carbs.
- Some customers have complained that the weight control formula isn’t different enough from their regular formula.
- It definitely isn’t the cheapest option on the market.
6. Victor Senior Healthy Weight
As your dog gets older and becomes less active, there’s a very real possibility that he’ll begin packing on the pounds. After all, if he spends most of his time lying around and eating, he won’t burn off all that additional weight. As a result, you need to be extra careful about the way you feed him. That’s why Victor’s Senior Healthy Weight is such a great option — especially for dogs who are getting up there in years.
Its blend of high-quality beef, chicken, pork, and fish allow it to give your family friend the protein he needs without fattening him up with unhealthy fats or artificial fillers.
- Developed with Victor’s four core ingredients — selenium yeast, mineral complexes, prebiotics, and probiotics — to ensure comprehensive, long-term health.
- Available in grain and grain-free varieties, making it perfect for your pet no matter what his tolerances or preferences.
- Includes a healthy helping of glucosamine and chondroitin to promote joint health.
- A number of customers have had issues with getting their pets to eat this formula — especially those that are picky eaters.
- A handful of pets has had stomach issues after having this product introduced to their diet.
The Best Canned Foods
1. Pro Plan Focus Adult Weight Management Canned Dog Food
If you’ve struggled to get your pet’s weight under control, part of the problem may be an imbalance in the amount of protein he’s getting when compared with fats and carbohydrates. It is often especially bad about putting weight on your puppy. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Pro Plan’s Weight Management Canned Dog Food is designed to offer your pet a well-balanced meal that won’t add unnecessary pounds. And your pet will absolutely love it since it’s filled with delicious turkey and other top-quality ingredients.
Optimized with the perfect blend of protein to fat so your dog only loses excess weight, not muscle.
- Includes real turkey alongside other, high-quality ingredients that are designed to keep your pet healthy inside and out.
- Available in specialized formulas that meet the needs of every breed and stage of life.
- Some customers have complained about a lack of weight loss in their pets after starting to use this food.
2. Wellness CORE Grain Free Weight Management Canned Dog Food
It is filled to the brim with high-quality meat that your dog will devour. In fact, it has 80% more meat than traditional dog food that tends to be packed with grains and other fillers. But this product isn’t just meat. It also includes the antioxidants, omega fatty acids, and probiotics. If you’re searching for a premium option that will give your dog everything he needs to stay healthy and energetic, look no further than this formula.
- Completely grain-free — but still has the antioxidants, probiotics, and omega fatty acids that your dog needs to thrive.
- Optimized to meet every need of your pet’s digestive system, skin and coat, immune system, and more.
- Includes 80% more meat than traditional, including chicken, pork liver, whitefish, and turkey.
- Some pet owners have found that their dogs were not big fans of the flavors offered.
- Depending on where you order this from, beware of dented cans, etc.
3. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Canned Dog Food
It is synonymous with quality. It’s the number one, most recommended brand by veterinarians nationwide. And that’s because it’s been designed to be the optimal blend of high-quality protein and delicious flavor that your pet won’t be able to resist. If you’re looking for a canned option that’s delicious for your pet, will help him maintain a healthy weight, and will support your pet’s overall health, you could do a lot worse than this product.
- Research has shown that over 70% of dogs lost excess weight after beginning a diet that includes this option.
- Available in a wide variety of flavors and formulas designed for almost every size and life stage.
- Includes a mix of chicken, pork, vegetables, and more that work together to create a meal your pet will enjoy and benefit from.
- Some customers have complained about cans that include little more than broth.
The Best Natural Products
1. Nutro Natural Healthy Weight Dog Food
Nutro makes a wide variety of natural pet food that’s designed to support your pet’s overall health with sustainable, all-natural ingredients and processes. This is part of what makes it one of the premier natural brands on the market. And it’s also why this formula is at the top of the list. And since it includes plenty of top-quality protein from beef, chicken, and lamb, it doesn’t skimp on taste while keeping your pet’s weight under control.
It’s made the 100% non-GMO ingredients that have been sourced by trusted farmers and suppliers, and cooked in a US-based facility.
- Uses the highest-quality protein sources, including beef, chicken, lamb, salmon, and venison.
- All ingredients are all-natural and non-GMO — and that means no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
- Available in several flavors and mixes that are geared toward dogs of all sizes and stages of life.
- Some pet owners have complained about this product leaving coat flat and dry.
2. Nutro Ultra Weight Management Dog Food
It is especially designed to give your pet the nutrition possible. That includes a healthy dose of high-quality proteins like chicken, lamb, and salmon as well as a mix of fifteen superfoods, including coconut, kale, chia, blueberries, and more. And it has absolutely no corn, soy, wheat, or artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. In other words, it’s the best nature has to offer for your pet. And the icing on the cake? It’s completely non-GMO.
- Benefits from a mix of 15 superfoods, including coconut, chia, kale, blueberries, and much more.
- Includes healthy, low-fat proteins from a mix of chicken, lamb, and salmon.
- This non-GMO, all natural option is available for every size and age.
- The kibble in this product is too small for some dogs, especially if they eat too quickly.
- Some have complained about it not removing unwanted pounds as quickly as they would’ve liked.
3. Nulo Adult Weight Management Cod and Lentils Recipe
Nulo has created a series of grain-free weight management dog foods, and this one is one of the best. It’s a combination of cod, lentils, and other vegetables that limits the amount of unhealthy fat your dog will get, helping him maintain a healthy weight. And since it includes L-Carnitine, your pet will have the ability to better metabolize the fats he does eat. If you’re looking for a high-quality foundation for future health, Nulo Adult Weight Management Cod and Lentils Recipe is a great place to start.
- Includes 74%+ animal-sourced proteins, including deboned cod, turkey, salmon, and chicken.
- Completely grain-free, instead, offering a variety of lentils and other vegetables to meet the varied nutritional needs of your pet.
- Contains numerous vitamins and minerals that are designed to build your dog’s digestive system, immune system, bones, and more.
- If you have a particularly picky eater, he may not like the taste.
- If your pet has a fish allergy, this will not be the right choice for you.
4. Blue Wilderness Healthy Weight Dog Food
If you’ve been searching for an all-natural option that will help your pet maintain a healthy weight, and that includes all the proteins, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that your pet needs without any of the filler or artificial preservatives, then look no further than this formula.
This is a grain-free option that’s been specially formulated to meet the specific needs of your dog while boosting his overall health.
- Built on a foundation of real chicken, so your pet will love every bite.
- Contains the vitamins and minerals without any of the filler, preservatives, or other artificial garbage.
- Specially designed to bring out the best in your dog’s muscles, bones, teeth, and more.
- Some owners have complained that pets don’t like the taste as much as other pet food.
- Certain dogs may have stomach issues after eating this so be sure to check what size/breed the particular bag of food is for.
5. Natural Balance Fat Dog
Helping your pet walk the line between rail thin and overweight is a challenge. But it doesn’t have to be an impossibility. With this product, you can help your pet reach his optimal weight without forcing him to eat food he hates. Fat Dog has been designed to offer the perfect blend of all-natural protein and fiber so that he’s always satisfied and doesn’t put on extra pounds.
This low calorie option is one of the best for any pet owner who’s looking for a natural way to keep a dog at a healthy weight.
- Designed for adult dogs that have a hard time maintaining healthy body weight.
- Is high in protein and fiber so your pet will get full without the filler and other artificial ingredients.
- Every batch is fully vetted — including 9 safety tests — to ensure you have complete confidence when you pour your pet a bowl.
- Some pet owners have complained that this formula doesn’t take the pounds off quite as quickly as expected.
- Some pets have been known to have gas after eating this food.
*Ratings are formed by the author of the article based on own research and combined with customer reviews.
We’re here to help you pick the perfect food to help your canine companion achieve their weight loss goals. We’ll go through what makes a good weight loss or management food as well as how you can help your family friend achieve that loss.
READ MORE: Can Dogs live on a Vegan Diet?
How Can You Tell if Your Dog is Overweight?
Let’s first get a handle on your dog’s current weight and weight gain. Since most of us don’t have a scale or don’t weigh our dogs regularly, their weight might not mean anything to you. First and foremost, know an ideal body condition score . This number, more than the number on the scale, will better help you determine what a healthy weight is for your canine companion. It takes into account different body types and muscle masses and will help you reassess your dog’s weight as they continue on their weight loss journey. As a general rule, when looking at your pet from above, they should have a waist. It shouldn’t be a straight line from their shoulders to their hips. Their stomach should also tuck up when viewed from the side, not sag down to the level of the deepest part of their chest (or beyond!) You should also be able to feel ribs without pressing too firmly on their chest.
Next, talk with your veterinarian. They can give you an idea of what your dog should weigh, how much they need to lose, weight-loss strategies, and walk you through body condition scoring.
After you’ve determined that your family friend is overweight, it’s important to realize how they got there. Too much human food snuck under the table? Not even walks around the neighborhood? Or a dog food that’s too high in calories? Narrowing down where that extra weight came from will help you to break those bad habits that has your pup on the plump side and get them slimmed down more quickly.
Health Concerns Associated with Obesity in Dogs
Next, we need to look at problems that excess weight can cause in your favorite couch potato. It’s also important to remember that a healthy weight range for a dog is much narrower than it is for a human, especially smaller breed dogs. A few extra pounds can literally be the difference between a healthy pup and one of these detrimental conditions.
- Heart Disease: While it might not be artery clogging complications experienced by humans, excess weight puts extra strain on heart and cardiovascular system. Constant stress can lead to congestive heart failure and decreased circulation.
- Diabetes: Extra fat stores can increase the chances of insulin resistance in a body. That means that they are producing adequate amount of insulin but that their body isn’t responding to it in the correct way. This increases their blood sugar, is left untreated can lead to permanent nerve and organ damage or even death.
- Joint Problems: The more weight your dog is packing around, the more wear and tear their joints, tendons, and ligaments experience. Issues like arthritis and injuries can occur more easily and prior issues like hip dysplasia can be exacerbated by extra weight.
- Breathing Troubles: Carrying excess weight puts more pressure on your dog’s chest and diaphragm making it more difficult for them to breath, especially when lying down. You may notice that your heavy dog pants excessively, even when not exercising, and that they tire out more quickly.
- Overheating: The more layering a dog has, the more quickly they get hot. This is especially dangerous in dogs due to their fairly inefficient cooling system. Again, heavy dogs tend to pant excessively in order to try to cool their body.
- Cancer: Obesity can increase the risk of certain cancers. It can also plug up their liver with extra fat stores causing it to filter less effectively.
So, what does all of this mean? For most overweight dogs it means a shorter lifespan. The extra work that this weight puts on a body can cause them to die younger.
Which Dogs are More Predisposed to Weight Gain?
Just like people, some dogs are going to gain weight more easily than others. This can be due to genetics, activity, and, of course, food. Some breeds that may pack on the pounds more easily include:
- Сocker spaniels
- Labrador retrievers
- Basset hounds
- Cavalier King Charles spaniels
These dogs have a genetic composition that makes weight gain an issue.
That’s not to say that other breeds can’t get heavy just as easily. Especially dogs that are inactive or overfed. Other causes are:
- Old age: Dogs tend to become less active as they age and their metabolism slows down, meaning they burn fewer calories than they once did.
- Health conditions: Anything that can disrupt a body’s normal function can contribute to weight gain. Conditions like hypothyroidism, for example, can cause weight gain.
Also, dogs that have been spayed or neutered can gain weight more easily. Not only are the reproductive hormones that are removed during altering used for reproduction, they also have an effect on a metabolism. Removing them tends to slow metabolism.
- Medications: If your family friend has ever taken corticosteroids for a skin condition, you’ve probably seen the effects some medications can have on weight. Some medications that we give our dogs can increase their appetite or slow their metabolism.
- Inactivity: If you don’t move as much, you don’t burn as much. Dogs that are inactive due to injury or unwillingness to exercise are going to gain weight, especially if they’re still eating the number of calories that an active dog would need.
- Overeating: This one is often on us. We tend to ‘love’ our pups with food and indulge and treat them with calories that they just don’t need.
How to Help Your Dog Lose Weight
1. You need to first access their caloric intake
Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as saying your dog needs X amount of calories per day. Rather, you need to look at their activity level, age, and whether they’ve been spayed or neutered to calculate their caloric needs . Once you know how many calories they need per day, feed them that many. All brands should list the number of calories per cup so you can easily figure out how much food to give.
2. Another option is to look at labels
They will have a recommended feeding guideline for dogs of different weights. These guidelines will be given in a range in order to take different activity levels into account. See where the amount that you’re feeding your dog stacks up to what you should be feeding. Most of us don’t realize that we’re giving our pups more than the recommended amount. You should always measure food and divide it between meals per day rather than free feeding them.
3. Your next option is to feed your dog less of their food
To promote weight loss, you should feed your dog for the weight that they should be at, not the weight they currently are. For example, if your pet weighs 40 pounds (18.14 kg) and needs to weigh 30, feed them the amount that a 30-pound should get, not a 40-pound.
4. Diet is only half of the journey, exercise needs to be included as well
Exercise will promote weight loss more quickly and encourage lean muscle growth. Just like in people, start your dog’s exercise program out slowly and gradually build up to more and more time each day. Look for low impact activities, such as walking or swimming, to help protect those joints.
5. Choose the best options
The real benefit behind these foods is that they will provide complete nutrition with fewer calories so that you don’t have to skimp on meal sizes-something that some dogs just won’t tolerate!
How to Choose the Best Dog Food for Weight Loss
What makes food good for weight loss? Again, weight loss dog foods should be higher than average in protein and lower than average in fat and calories. That way they can still provide the nutrition and energy that dogs need without creating excess fat stores. They are usually higher in fiber as well that acts as a filler to keep a tummy full for longer.
Lower than average calories means you should look for food that’s 400 or fewer calories per cup. Some weight loss foods are actually under 300 calories per cup. Protein levels should be in the high 20s, or better yet, 30 percentages. Fat should be in the single digits percentage-wise.
Besides these nutrition levels, you need to make sure the food you choose is complete and balanced. Look for the AAFCO stamp that ensures that food meets the nutritional requirements for healthy dogs . This will make sure that all needed vitamin and mineral are covered.
An added benefit that you can look for in a weight loss dog food is enrichment with omega fatty acids and glucosamine to aid in joint health and probiotics to help promote healthy digestion. This will just ensure that your dog will maintain overall health while they are traveling down the weight loss road.
Finally, you need to make sure your dog’s weight loss food tastes good. We’re all well aware that human diet foods don’t always taste as great as the alternatives. Diet is the same. Fiber tends to not be tasty, so the higher the fiber the less the taste. Make sure that the brand of weight loss food that you choose is appealing to your pet, or they’re not going to eat it and you’re going to have more troubles on your hands.
Also, make sure that you can afford it. Dog foods for weight loss may be pricier than their regular versions, and your family friend may be on this food for a long time, depending on how much weight they need to loss. Choose a variety that is affordable and easy to get your hands on.
READ MORE: Signs that your Dog is getting old
It’s all too common that our the best friend gets a little too heavy without us really realizing it. And there’s no doubt that maintaining a healthy weight is better for all aspects of health and longevity. If you need a little help getting your dog to reach their weight loss goals, look into the corresponding options. These foods will provide all the nutrition that your canine companion craves without all the extra fat and calories. The proper diet mixed with a little boost in exercise will have your pup back on the healthy track in no time.
- “Body and Muscle Condition Score.” American Animal Hospital Association, aaha.org/aaha-guidelines/life-stage-canine-2019/nutritional-assessment/body-and-muscle-condition-score/
- “Basic Calorie Calculator.” Veterinary Medical Center, vet.osu.edu/vmc/companion/our-services/nutrition-support-service/basic-calorie-calculator
- “The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) Is a Voluntary Membership Association of Local, State and Federal Agencies Charged by Law to Regulate the Sale and Distribution of Animal Feeds and Animal Drug Remedies.” The Association of American Feed Control Officials, 2 Nov. 2020, aafco.org/
ThePets is an informational website that features articles written by qualified veterinarians and professional writers. You can learn more about our editorial process. When selecting food for your pet, use Pet Food Finder, and search for the clinic to treat your pet using Vet Clinics Locator.
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