You know your dog is overweight, and you want to transition them onto a weight loss diet?
Like humans, dogs can develop obesity and a pup that is packing on the pounds can suffer from numerous health issues.
However, choosing the best dog food for weight loss can be a challenge. That is why we’re here to help with our top picks of the best weight loss dog food:
Top 5 Picks for Best Dog Food for Losing Weight in 2021
|Dog Food Recipes||Our Rating|
|Best Overall Dog Food for Weight Loss (All Life stages)||Orijen Fit and Trim Dog Food
|Best Budget Dog Food for Weight Loss||Blue Buffalo Life Protection Healthy Weight (Chicken & Brown Rice)
|Best Puppy Food for Weight Loss||Brothers Advanced Allergy Healthy Weight Control (Goat Meal & Egg)
|Best Dog Food for Adult dogs with Weight Loss||Orijen Fit and Trim Dog Food
|Best Senior Dog Food with Weight Loss||Victor Purpose Senior Healthy Weight Dog Food
Best Dog Food Brands for Weight Loss by Life Stage
For your pup to lose weight, they need to burn more calories than they take in. A weight-loss-specific food will have lower calories and be designed to optimize your dog’s energy levels.
Best Puppy Food for Weight Loss
Set your puppy up for a long and healthy life right from the get-go by providing them with a weight control diet.
While most puppy breeds won’t need this level of control at such a young age, certain small breeds can be especially susceptible to weight gain.
1. Brothers Advanced Allergy Healthy Weight Control (Goat Meal & Egg)
Top Ingredients: Goat Meal, Whole Eggs Dried, Turkey Meal
High-protein dog food made for the development of strong muscles in growing dogs.
This dog food formula also supports a healthy digestive system with encapsulated probiotics, prebiotics, and natural digestive enzymes.
This fiber-rich food also contains no high-glycemic grains, preventing food and skin allergies.
- Enhanced with added vitamins, minerals, and essential nutrients
- The main ingredients are 100% bioavailable animal-sourced proteins from goat, turkey, and eggs
- A pricey option that some pet owners said was not worth the extra expense
2. Fromm Gold Weight Management
Top Ingredients: Turkey Liver, Chicken Meal, Pearled Barley
Ultra-premium dog food made with real turkey and chicken liver and hearty, whole grains, and other yummy ingredients like duck, chicken meal, menhaden fish meal, and lamb.
This food is designed to taste great while still helping your pup lose weight. This food features healthy fats like salmon oil, chicken fat, cheese, and flaxseed.
- Free of any artificial colors, flavors, and dyes
- Healthy fruits and vegetables like carrots, lettuce, and celery provide vitamins, minerals, fiber content
- Quite an expensive option compared to other weight loss dog foods
Best Adult Dog Food for Weight Loss
A diet dog food should not only contain high-quality, nutritious ingredients but also be made to a specific formula to aid weight loss in your pet.
This includes having a high protein content, less fat, and fewer calories.
1. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Healthy Weight (Chicken & Brown Rice)
Top Ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, brown rice
A grain-inclusive dry dog food recipe that offers 326 kcal per cup and features real chicken and chicken meals as the primary protein sources.
This budget-friendly food features only 10% fat content for dogs who need to maintain a healthy weight.
This food also includes Blue Buffalo’s LifeSource Bits, a Super seven package of antioxidant-rich, nutrient-full ingredients.
- Includes L-Carnitine for lean muscle development, as well as calcium, phosphorus, and essential vitamins for healthy bones and teeth
- Glucosamine and chondroitin are included for joint health, while Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids help build healthy skin and coat
- Some picky dogs would not touch this food
2. Nutro Ultra Small Breed Weight Management
Top Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, whole brown rice
Grain-inclusive dry dog food offering overweight pooches 288 kcal per cup and 11% fat content.
This food derives its 27% protein from farm-raised fresh chicken and chicken meal with pasture-fed lamb and salmon, helping to promote lean muscles with complementary amino acids.
The reduced-fat formula is specially designed to cater to small breed dogs.
- Premium natural diet with no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
- Some dogs became very gassy on this diet
- Some pups simply refused to eat this food
3. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight (Chicken)
Top Ingredients: Chicken, cracked pearled barley, brown rice
The science-specific formula for adult dogs that need to maintain a healthy weight. This food offers 291 kcal per cup, 12% fat, and 29% protein, with most of the protein, derived from fresh chicken.
This food comes from a proven brand with multiple weight loss recipes developed by vets and scientists, backed by decades of research.
- Made with natural ingredients, plus vitamins, minerals, and amino acids
- Some pet owners complained the pea-size kibble was too small
- As this food is only available in bigger bags, it can go stale before you use it all if you have a small breed pup
4. Purina Pro Plan Weight Management Adult Dog (Turkey & Rice)
Top Ingredients: Water Sufficient for Processing, Turkey, Liver
Gravy wet dog food that tastes great but also features super-lean protein from Turkey and 25% less fat than similar chicken-based foods.
This food provides a complete and balanced diet rich in antioxidants for building a healthy immune system in overweight dogs. Features a highly digestible formula with prebiotic fiber for digestive health.
- Made without any added artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
- Packed with Omega-6 fatty acids for a beautiful shiny coat
- Some dog owners complained this food had a disgusting smell
5. Wellness Complete Health Healthy Weight Dog Food (Chicken & Peas)
Top Ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, oatmeal
Healthy weight formula for adult dogs with 27% protein, 11% fat, and 405 kcal per cup.
This natural dry dog food is made in the USA and features premium proteins and wholesome grains to build a healthy immune system and optimize energy levels.
- Supported by omega fatty acids, antioxidants, glucosamine, probiotics, and taurine
- Developed without any GMOs, meat by-products, fillers, or artificial preservatives
- Some dogs got sick on this food while others had loose stools
6. Orijen Fit and Trim Dog Food
Top Ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken liver, turkey liver
Rich animal protein-based diet featuring fresh chicken and chicken, turkey and fish liver, mimicking ancestral feeding habits.
This high protein food contains 48% protein, 15% fat 402 kcal per cup with a quality-controlled calorie recipe. The recipe is designed to support lean muscle while keeping your dog at its peak physical performance.
- Kibble is coated in freeze-dried liver to up the flavor factor for your dog
- One pet owner said this food made his dog sick
7. Merrick Grain-Free Healthy Weight
Top Ingredients: Deboned beef, chicken meal, peas
Fresh beef and chicken meal-based recipe with 38% protein, 9% fat, and 350 kcal per cup.
This food is designed to build healthy muscle tissue and sustain energy levels while providing your dog with plenty of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Grain and gluten-free recipe packed with omega fatty acids for healthy skin and a shiny coat.
- Contains glucosamine and chondroitin for hip and joint function
- Made from high-quality whole foods and no corn, wheat, soy, or artificial preservatives
- One dog became very itchy and would not stop scratching on this diet
8. Wellness Core Reduced Fat Dog Food (Turkey & Chicken)
Top Ingredients: Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal
Superior weight loss formula with 37% protein, 11% fat, and 360 kcal per cup.
Nutrient-rich grain-free dog food with carefully chosen ingredients such as chicken, turkey, salmon oil, wholesome grains, and plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Fortified with omega fatty acids, antioxidants, glucosamine, probiotics, taurine, vitamins, and minerals
- Developed without any meat by-products, fillers, corn, soy, wheat-gluten or artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors
- Some pet owners complained their dog did not lose any weight on this diet
9. Solid Gold Fit and Fabulous Dog Food
Top Ingredients: Pollock, pollock meal, pea fiber
Grain-inclusive dry kibble formula with 29% protein and low-fat levels of just 7% with 330 kcal per cup.
With fresh-caught, omega-rich Alaskan pollock as the main ingredient, this food is designed to keep the extra pounds off your pup.
Solid Gold’s food features a unique blend of probiotics and superfoods for gut health and overall immune support.
- Free of potato, corn, wheat, soy, and artificial preservatives
- Brown rice and pearled barley provide a rich source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals
- This food made some dogs sick
10. Eagle Pack Reduced Fat Dog Food (Pork, Chicken & Fish)
Top Ingredients: Pork meal, dehulled barley, peas
Reduced-fat kibble with 343 kcal per cup, 27% protein, and 7% fat. This food is a budget-friendly weight loss dog food that doesn’t compromise quality when it comes to delivering an affordable option.
This nutrient-dense food features a good balance of proteins, carbohydrates, and fewer calories to support weight loss in less active adult dogs.
- Features glucosamine, omega fatty acids, and antioxidants for joint and skin health and building a healthy immune system
- Made without corn, wheat, meat by-products, and no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
- One pet owner found bugs in this food
11. Instinct Raw Boost Healthy Weight Dog Food (Chicken & Freeze-Dried Raw Pieces)
Top Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, peas
High-end, protein-rich dry dog food featuring cage-free fresh chicken and chicken meal as the primary protein source.
This food contains 35% protein, 12% fat, and 368 kcal per cup with boosted nutrition from freeze-dried raw meat bites.
This food is made in the USA using only the finest ingredients and is free of grain, potato, corn, wheat, soy, and meat by-products.
- Contains l-carnitine and fiber for burning fat and building a healthy metabolism, and keeping your dog fuller for longer
- This food made some dogs itch
- One pet owner complained their dog shed a lot when on this diet
12. Simply Nourish Healthy Weight Large Breed (Turkey & Brown Rice)
Top Ingredients: Deboned turkey, turkey meal, brown rice
Grain-inclusive dry dog food offering a budget-friendly, weight loss formula with 29% protein and 350 kcal per cup.
This brand has been specifically formulated for larger breed dogs with high-quality, lean protein from real deboned turkey for maintaining optimal body weight.
This balanced blend contains several superfoods such as carrots, spinach, sweet potato, pumpkin, and blueberries.
- Contains L-carnitine for building strong, lean muscles
- Glucosamine and chondroitin help support the joints of bigger dogs
- Some pet owners complained the food was very crushed upon delivery
13. Canidae Pure Healthy Weight Dog Food (Chicken & Pea)
Top Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal
Grain-free kibble with 31% protein, 10% fat, and 409 kcal per cup. Ideally formulated for dogs with sensitive stomachs, this food is made from just nine simple ingredients with real chicken as its first ingredient.
Wholesome veggies, probiotics, antioxidants, fatty acids, and vitamins and minerals all help support your dog’s immune system and promote full-body health.
- Contains no corn, wheat, soy, grain, or artificial ingredients
- Fortified with Canidae’s HealthPLUS blend of probiotics, antioxidants, and omega-3 and 6 fatty acids
- Made one dog sick and another constipated
14. Health Extension Lite Dog Food (Chicken & Brown Rice)
Top Ingredients: Organic deboned chicken, chicken meal, ground brown rice
Grain-inclusive dry kibble with low calories offering an affordable option for pet owners. Features 27% protein from free-range chicken and chicken meal, 10% fat, and 365 kcal per cup.
This holistically nutritious food features several whole foods like brown rice, oatmeal, and lamb and superfoods like flaxseeds, milk thistle, cranberry extract, primrose oil, kelp, green tea, and blue-green algae.
- Includes probiotics for a healthy digestive system, CoQ10 for heart health, and omega-3 and 6 fatty acids for a shiny coat
- Hypoallergenic, anti-hypoglycemic formula with no added sugar, gluten, corn, wheat, soy, by-products, artificial preservatives, or colors
- Unfortunately, some dogs just didn’t like the taste of this food
15. Annamaet Lean Formula Dog Food
Top Ingredients: Chicken meal, field peas, lentils
Grain-free dry dog food offers an excellent weight management formula with 33% protein and only 8% fat while providing pets with 350 kcal per cup.
This USA food is made for dogs of all life stages with prebiotics to aid digestion. Packed full of proteinate minerals to build a robust immune system.
- Features L-Carnitine for maintaining lean muscle mass and DHA for brain development
- Some pet owners complained the size of the kibble was not consistent between bags
- Some dogs simply did not like this food
Best Senior Dog Food for Weight Loss
Individual dogs are prone to weight gain in their senior years.
This is especially the case in small breeds or those that can become lazy house dogs as they get older; think your graying labrador or aging golden retriever.
Senior weight loss foods cater to senior dogs’ metabolic needs while providing the necessary supplements to care for any health conditions older dogs can develop, such as joint and hip issues.
1. Victor Purpose Senior Healthy Weight Dog Food
Top Ingredients: Beef Meal, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Whole Grain Millet
Multi-protein, nutrient-dense weight loss formula, specifically developed for dogs with joint issues that need to lose weight.
Crafted from gluten-free grains, this healthy-weight dry dog food is made from premium beef, chicken, and fish meals.
This food has been fortified with vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, protein, and amino acids.
- Includes glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health and L-carnitine for lean muscle development
- Offers a unique VPRO blend for digestibility and immune system health
- Some buyers complained this food was moldy on delivery
2. Dr. Tim’s Metabolite Weight Management Dog Food
Top Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Whole Oat Groats
Premium weight management formula with several fiber sources and chicken as the primary protein with salmon meal and chicken liver meal also included.
This food is designed to speed the metabolism of older or inactive canines while providing a reduced-calorie diet to your dog.
It contains a unique blend of delicious and nutritious quality ingredients such as brown rice, whole oats, dried field peas, parsley, spinach, celery, watercress, beet pulp, chicory root, and ground flaxseed meal.
- Features plenty of Omega-3 fatty acids for a healthy coat
- Contains notable prebiotics and fibrous plant materials for digestive health
- This food does not contain any whole proteins
What causes dogs to gain weight?
Like humans, dogs gain weight when they don’t metabolize all the calories they take in and burn off through exercise. These extra calories are then stored as fat.
As each dog and dog breed is different, it can be challenging to calculate exactly how many calories your dog burns each day.
Some dogs are more predisposed to weight gain. For example, older dogs are more prone to obesity as their metabolism slows with age.
Also, inactive dogs who don’t expend their energy by playing or running can put on weight more quickly, as can dog recovering from injury or illness.
Certain medical conditions can also affect your dog’s metabolic rate.
For example, these include hypothyroidism, which is a condition in which the thyroid gland fails to produce the hormone necessary to control weight.
Certain medications, such as corticosteroids, can also lead to weight gain.
Also, dogs that have been neutered or spayed tend to have a lower metabolic rate than unaltered dogs. Dogs who are allowed to free feed also tend to gain weight quicker than others.
Health Risks for Overweight Dogs: Why should your dog need to lose weight?
Dogs that can maintain their ideal body weight can live up to 1.8 years longer than other canines.
Any extra weight can lead to your dog experiencing reduced immune system function and developing several health issues. These can include:
- An increased risk of diabetes mellitus
- Cardiovascular problems such as heart disease and high blood pressure or hypertension
- An increased risk of joint injuries
- Development of cancers, especially intra-abdominal cancers, mammary tumors, and bladder cancer
- Liver problems, such as fatty liver disease
- Heat intolerance and a predisposition to overheating
- Difficulty breathing
- Fatigue and lethargy
- Skin and coat issues
- Reproductive failure
How do you know if your dog is overweight?
Each breed of dog will have an ideal weight, and your vet can help determine precisely what that is for your particular pup.
If you are unsure, there are a few simple ways you can check to see if your dog may be overweight.
The first is to hold your hands around your dog and press down; if you can feel your dog’s ribs without applying too much pressure, they are at a healthy weight.
Healthy dogs also have a more hourglass shape to their bodies with a defined waist; an oval or round-shaped dog could be overweight.
You can also compare your dog’s weight against their AKC breed standard. A dog that is considered obese will weigh 10-15% above its healthy body weight.
Learn how to tell if your dog is overweight in this video:
How can you help your dog lose weight?
While switching to a good weight loss diet will help your dog lose weight, you can do a few other things to help the process.
This includes increasing the amount of exercise your pup gets. To prevent injuries, gradually introduce an exercise regime to your dog.
Don’t try to do too much too quickly but instead start with regular, short walks or short bursts of playtime in the yard.
You should also avoid giving your dog excess treats. Treats are a particular problem with smaller dogs as they can represent a significant portion of their daily caloric intake.
People food and table scraps should also be avoided, although healthy treats like green beans or bananas can make good alternatives to treats.
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the right food for overweight dogs
Not all weight loss foods are created the same, and there are a few things to look out for when choosing the best weight-less food for your pup.
Dog Nutrition 101: What kind of food does your dog need for weight loss?
Dog food for overweight pups should contain above-average protein levels, below-average fat levels, and below-average calories.
Regular dog food has quite a bit of fat, and carbohydrates like potatoes and cereal grains can cause your dog to put on weight. Also, these foods contain too little lean meat.
Weight loss formulas, on the other hand, will be low-fat recipes and significant amounts of meat-based proteins.
Things to look for when selecting dog food for weight loss
While weigh-less foods have fewer calories than other dog food, they still contain high levels of carbs and fiber so that your dog feels fuller for longer.
The increased protein levels of these foods also help to decrease the calorie content.
When it comes to looking for the best dog food for weight loss, it is best to go for food that has less than 400 calories per cup.
Less than 300 calories per cup are ideal, although most foods tend to sit between 300 and 400 calories per cup.
You also want to select a food that your dog will enjoy eating. The last thing you want is for your dog to stop eating altogether.
Besides being super tasty, your dog’s food should also contain the necessary vitamins and minerals your pup needs to stay healthy.
Good weight loss food is also fortified with probiotics which help with proper gut functioning, ensuring your dog digests their food correctly.
In addition to choosing a food that matches all of the above criteria, you should also look for food that has been manufactured in a country with high safety standards.
This includes the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and most Western European countries.
Good dog foods should also contain whole protein as the primary ingredient, such as deboned chicken or beef.
Any unidentified meat by-products or meals should be avoided, as should any artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives, as these can all trigger food allergies.
To grain or not to grain: Do dogs need grain-free food?
Grain-free pet food will not necessarily help your dog to lose weight.
While grain-free diets typically have fewer carbs, the fat content of your dog’s food is the main thing to consider when it comes to losing weight.
Grain-free diets can, however, help to limit some skin and food allergies with your pet.
However, due to the potential link between grain-free diets and heart issues, many vets prefer to recommend a limited ingredient diet to dogs prone to allergies.
These diets do not contain a blend of carbs but instead focus on one whole grain.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How much should you feed your dog to lose weight?
As each dog breed is different, it is impossible to determine how much you need to feed your specific dog for him to lose weight.
Also, every brand of dog food will have different feeding recommendations.
Thus, it’s best to consult the bag to determine how many cups of food you need to be providing your dog based on his size and weight.
The best way to calculate your dog’s caloric intake is to determine his resting energy requirements (RER). This is how much energy your dog burns when they are simply sitting, breathing, and just being.
To determine the RER, you need to take your dog’s weight in kilograms and raise it to ¾ power. According to this formula, a 10 kg (22 pounds) dog would burn 400 calories.
These calorie numbers need to be multiplied by either 2 or 3 for puppies, by 1.8 for unneutered adult dogs, or 1,6 for spayed or neutered adult dogs.
The number need not be multiplied at all for dogs that are already overweight. Most vets recommend cutting the caloric intake of overweight dogs by 25%.
You can also use a weight chart, like those published by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association, to determine your dog’s specific calorie needs.
When and how often should you feed your dog?
You might think that feeding your dog once a day will help them lose weight; however, this is not the case. Feeding your dog once a day can lead to malnutrition and starvation.
It is best to provide your adult dog twice a day while puppies should be fed three and four times a day. Your dog’s daily caloric allowance should be split between these meals.
Your dog’s daily feedings should be spaced between four and six hours apart, leaving enough time between meals and before bed for your dog to digest its meals properly.
Feeding your dog late at night will also increase the chance that your dog needs to go to the loo during the night.
Free feeding, where you leave food out for your dog throughout the day, is not recommended, particularly with dogs prone to weight gain.
Can you give homemade food for your dog?
Giving an overweight dog homemade food may not be the best choice as you won’t necessarily know what ingredients to include for the right calorie, fat, and protein intake for your puppy’s weight, size, and health.
While it can be challenging to get the formula right for an overweight dog, companies out there specialize in creating fresh, human-grade meals using all-natural ingredients.
These companies will portion their homemade meals accordingly so you know exactly how much to feed your dog each day and you can even customize diets to meet specific weight loss goals.
What’s the best way to switch your dog to weight-loss food?
Whenever you change your dog’s diet, it is best to gradually change if you don’t want to end up with a pup with an upset stomach.
Dog’s have very sensitive stomachs, and the slightest change in diet could lead to several digestive issues.
Start by mixing in around 25% of your new weight loss food with your dog’s old food, gradually increasing that amount each day over a week until you have made a full transition.
What’s the safest rate of weight loss for an overweight dog?
Try not to force your dog to lose weight too quickly. Rapid weight loss can lead to some severe health problems. The safest weight loss rate should be about 1-2% of your dog’s total body mass per week.
Are dogs ever full?
Most dogs will realize when they are full and will stop eating. That said, some breeds will not know when to stop and will even search out free food left lying around.
Should you leave water out for your dog all day?
Dogs need to drink an ounce of water per pound of their body weight all day. As a result, water should be readily available to them all day.
The only time you would not leave out water for your dog all day is when you are housebreaking or potty training.
In this instance, your water bowl can be removed at night, so your puppy doesn’t suddenly need to go potty when you are asleep.
Can dogs eat lying down?
Some dogs will eat lying down, and while this can seem alarming at first, it is quite normal practice. Dogs in the wild also often eat their prey while lying down.
If your dog suddenly switches from eating standing up to laying down, be sure to check their overall health and take them to a vet to ensure they are not sick.
Why do dogs sleep after eating?
You may find your dog is more hungry after a good nap. This is because resting allows your dog time to digest their food properly.
That said, try and stop your dog from performing activities immediately after a meal, as this could lead to bloat issues.
If Your Dog is Overweight, Talk to Your Vet Before Choosing a Dog Food
Finding the best dog food for your pup is an essential part of their weight loss journey. However, before changing over your dog’s diet, it’s best to consult your veterinarian in this regard.
Your vet will be able to provide accurate advice based on your dog’s weight, size, breed, and overall health. Your vet may also decide to give your dog a prescription diet if their condition is terrible.
Are you currently feeding your dog a weight loss diet? Let us know in the comments below.