Weight loss happens when the number of calories taken in is less than the number of calories used. Sounds simple enough, but we all know that losing weight is difficult, even for dogs. The good news is that you control what your dog eats, so to help them lose weight, all you have to do is find the best diet dog food.
There are a lot of different types of dog foods out there, so it may be a bit overwhelming trying to figure out which one is the best. If you’re looking for the best dog food for weight loss, there are a few things to consider. Generally, you should choose a recipe with high protein and reduced fat. Low calorie weight management dog food is good, too.
Here are 11 great options to try for weight management and low fat foods for dogs.
- 1. Merrick Grain-Free Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food
- 2. Nutro Ultra Weight Management Adult Dry Dog Food
- 3. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Healthy Weight Large Breed Dog Food
- 4. Instinct Raw Boost Healthy Weight Grain-Free Recipe Natural Dry Dog Food
- 5. Pedigree Weight Management Adult Dry Dog Food
- 6. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food Adult
- 7. Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free
- 8. Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Healthy Weight Dog Food
- 9. Blue Buffalo True Solutions Fit & Healthy Natural Weight Control
- 10. Health Extension Little Bites Lite Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
- 11. Eukanuba Fit Body Weight Control Large Breed Dry Dog Food
- How to Put a Dog on a Diet
- Is My Dog Overweight? Routine and Exercise Will Help
- Maintaining Weight
Something we like about this reduced fat dog food from Merrick is that it’s made with real, whole foods with the best ingredients sourced from trusted farmers.
The first ingredient in this grain-free dog food is real deboned beef. This recipe is made up of 55 percent protein and healthy fats, a good balance for weight loss and maintenance. Protein increases your dog’s natural energy and helps build muscle mass.
Other ingredients include fresh produce, like blueberries, sweet potatoes, and peas for a balance of healthy minerals and vitamins, and fiber to maintain healthy bowel habits. These natural ingredients make the food taste better, too, so dogs are more likely to enjoy what they’re eating. Plus, they keep it low calorie.
This formula also contains glucosamine and chondroitin, which maintain healthy hips and joints, and omega fatty acids to support the dogs’ healthy skin and coat. Merrick makes its products in the USA and doesn’t use any preservatives, corn, wheat, soy, or fillers, so you can be sure your dog is getting high-quality nutrition while working toward a healthy weight.
This large 22-pound bag should last quite a while, depending on how big your dog is and how much weight it has to lose.
Next up is this weight management food from Nutro. One of the things that stands out the most about this recipe is that it uses a trio of proteins – lamb, salmon, and chicken, with chicken being the number one ingredient. It’s whole chicken, too. You won’t find any chicken by-product meal here.
In addition to the high-quality protein, Nutro also uses a blend of 15 other ingredients sourced from trusted farmers and suppliers to provide balanced nutrition that all dogs will find irresistible. These include sun-ripened blueberries, leafy kale, tropical coconut, and chia seeds.
This recipe contains no GMOs, corn, soy, or wheat and they use no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. It’s balanced to support healthy skin, teeth, and bones, a radiant coat, and lean muscle development.
Something else we like about this reduced fat food for dogs is that it gives you feeding instructions for both losing and maintaining weight. This means that, once your dog has shed the pounds, you won’t have to transition them to another new food, which is easier on your pet’s stomach.
This one comes in a larger 30-pound bag so you won’t have to restock too often, depending on how big your dog is and whether or not you’re in the weight-loss or maintenance phase.
Real meat is the first ingredient in this Life Protection Healthy Weight recipe for dogs. They use real high-quality chicken to give your dog the protein it needs to build and maintain healthy, lean muscle. They also include whole grains, fruit, and garden veggies, providing the necessary vitamins and minerals to support total nutrition and proper digestion.
This weight management formula has fewer calories from fat than regular dog foods and is specially formulated for large breeds. It contains the brand’s special LifeSource Bits, a blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support joint health, mobility, life stage requirements, and a healthy immune system.
This 30-pound bag of diet dog food contains no soy, corn, wheat, or by-product chicken meal and they never use any artificial colors or preservatives. It’s a great size for big dogs but can be used as a bulk purchase for little dogs, too.
This diet grain-free weight loss dog food from Instinct uses freeze-dried cage-free raw chicken to deliver a natural dose of high-quality protein. Cage-free chicken is the number one ingredient, and it’s freeze-dried to remove the moisture and prolong the shelf life of the dog food.
If you’re interested in raw diet dry kibble, according to Instinct, this is the first raw boosted weight management dog food available for a recipe that has 25 percent less fat and 15 percent fewer calories than their original Raw Boost formula. The ingredients are never cooked and minimally processed, which keeps more of the natural nutrients intact and retains the natural flavors so your dog will love the taste.
This recipe is made in the USA using ingredients sourced from around the world. It contains L-carnitine to boost your dog’s metabolism and the right amount of fiber to help your pet feel full and stay regular. There are no artificial colors or preservatives, and Instinct doesn’t use any by-product chicken meal, grains, potatoes, corn, soy, or wheat.
In addition to weight control, this blend of ingredients also contributes to better nutrition, increased energy, and healthy skin and coat. It may even help if your dog has any food sensitivities.
Instinct has perfected their recipes over the last 15 years, crafting them in their kitchens in Lincoln, Nebraska. There are two sizes available for these grain free dog foods, four and 20 pounds, so you can order just the amount you need for your dog’s weight loss plan.
Pedigree is one of the best-known brands when it comes to dog foods, and their diet weight management formula is a great way for adult dogs to shed any necessary pounds. It features a delicious chicken and vegetable flavor that your pet will love.
This low-fat recipe uses high-quality protein to encourage lean muscle development and the low-fat formula helps your dog shed pounds. The unique, crunchy kibble is textured to help keep your dog’s teeth clean, and the special fiber blend helps your pooch feel full and maintains proper digestion.
That’s not all, this balanced diet formula also includes antioxidants to support a healthy immune system and omega fatty acids for healthy skin and a shiny coat. There are no artificial flavors, and they don’t use any high fructose corn syrup or added sugar.
Depending on the size of your dog, this 15-pound bag may not go very far, so be sure to order two of them so you don’t have to worry about restocking too often.
Hill’s Science Diet is a brand that’s often recommended by vets, and this breakthrough recipe has been clinically proven as one of the best to help dogs shed pounds. Over 70 percent of adult dogs lost weight within 10 weeks when eating this formula. In addition to supporting weight loss, this diet dog food supports muscle maintenance to encourage activity and support weight maintenance.
Hill’s used decades of research to put together this great-tasting meal for your dog that’s also effective at getting its weight where it needs to be. This dog food is made in the USA from natural ingredients that are sourced globally from suppliers who meet strict safety and quality standards. Hill’s has a team of more than 220 food scientists, vets, nutritionists, and technicians that work hard to develop their recipes, analyzing every ingredient to ensure that their dog food contains the nutrients your pet needs.
Plus, there are no artificial flavors, color, or preservatives, and they never use any by-product chicken meal. There are three sizes available so you get just the right amount for your pet. Choose from a four, 15, or 28.5-pound bag.
Another good option is this Wilderness High Protein Grain Free recipe. It’s loaded with real chicken to satisfy your dog’s primal cravings for meat and to facilitate lean muscle growth and maintenance.
This low fat dog food is blended to make your pet feel full and satisfied after eating while keeping caloric and fat intake low enough to encourage weight loss. It also contains the brand’s LifeSource Bits, a blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that support healthy joints, a strong immune system, and skin and coat health. You’ll also find calcium and phosphorus for strong teeth and bones.
There is no corn, wheat, soy, or by-product chicken meal in this recipe, and no artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors. Choose from a 4.5-pound bag if you have a smaller breed or the 24-pound bag to buy in bulk or to satisfy larger dogs.
Wellness Natural Pet Food’s Healthy Weight Dog Food uses high-quality proteins and wholesome grains to balance your dog’s diet, encouraging weight loss and increased energy. There are no GMOs, artificial preservatives, or fillers in this recipe and they use real meat, never by-product chicken meal.
In addition to deboned chicken, this dry dog food also contains antioxidant-rich foods, like spinach and blueberries, for a healthy immune system, as well as flaxseed for omega fatty acids to support skin and coat health. Wellness Natural also includes glucosamine for joint health, taurine to support a healthy heart, and probiotics to support proper digestion.
This dog food is made in the USA using the highest-quality ingredients sourced from around the world, so you can trust it’s a great choice for your dog. Choose from a five, 13, or 26-pound bag.
Here’s another appearance in our list of best dog food for weight loss from this well-known brand, with its True Solutions Fit & Healthy Natural Weight Control recipe. This formula provides moderate calories along with L-carnitine to encourage fat loss and increase energy, as well as enriched fiber to help your dog feel full and satisfied after every meal.
The natural ingredients in this recipe are preferred by vets and the addition of the brand’s LifeSource bits makes sure your dog gets all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients it needs and improves its all-around health. High-quality chicken is the first ingredient, and there are a variety of fruits and veggies included, too, like peas and potatoes. They never use chicken by-product chicken meal or artificial flavors or preservatives, and there’s no wheat, corn, or soy.
This brand’s recipes are developed by PhD animal nutritionists and vets using ingredients that support your dog’s overall health, including the digestive system, skin, coat, and joints. Choose from a four, 11, or 24-pound bag, depending on how much you need for your pup.
There are a lot of things to love about these Health Extensions brown rice diet dog foods. For starters, this recipe is the result of more than 30 years of experience in the industry, time spent gathering nutritional know-how to put together this and other delicious low calorie formulas.
This dog food contains USDA inspected deboned chicken as its number one ingredient, as well as other thoroughly selected foods, including pure coconut oil, ginger, apple cider vinegar, and turmeric, plus highly digestible brown rice and oatmeal to help your dog feel full and satisfied after a meal.
Glucosamine and chondroitin are included to support healthy joints to help your dog stay active, as well as L-carnitine to improve metabolism. That’s not all, there are also natural probiotics included, making sure your dog’s digestive health is covered, too. Plus, the small kibble size is a great choice for small breeds or older dogs that may have a difficult time chewing.
Health Extension offers a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee with this brown rice recipe, so if you or your dog don’t like it, you get your money back. This family business has been making its recipes in the USA since 1963, showing that they know how to make high-quality dog food and treat their customers right.
Finally, we recommend this weight control dog food low fat formula from Eukanuba. With 27 percent less fat than their regular recipe, this dry dog food features a unique blend of carbohydrates and lean protein that may promote weight and increase activity.
There are a lot of beneficial things about this recipe. Glucosamine and chondroitin support joint health, L-carnitine boosts metabolism, and DHA, vitamin E, and other antioxidants support brain health.
This particular recipe is meant for large breeds that weigh over 55 pounds and are older than 15 months. There’s a detailed feeding table on the packaging that tells you how much to feed your dog, taking its activity level into account so you can be sure it’s getting what it needs without feeling hungry.
If you like the sound of this formula but have a smaller breed, you’re in luck. Eukanuba also has options available for medium and small breeds, too. Each type is formulated differently, with the medium breed recipe having 39 percent less fat than the original, and the small breed having 40 percent.
How to Put a Dog on a Diet
Now that you have the right diet dog foods, there are a few other important things to know.
First, all dogs are different, so it’s impossible to say how much food you should give your overweight dog, but you should pay attention to calories per cup. Start by looking at the label and following the brand’s serving size suggestions, or talk to your vet to find out how much food your pet needs to lose weight while still meeting the appropriate nutrition requirements of calories per cup.
The next thing to keep in mind is that dogs should not drop weight too quickly. This can cause serious health problems, and a quick weight loss is often harder to maintain. Aim for your dog losing between 1 and 2 percent of their body weight every week.
Finally, remember to take your time. To lessen the risk of GI problems, it’s best to slowly transition your dog from their regular food to the new weight loss formula. Start with a mix of 75 percent of their old food and 25 percent of the new. After a week, transition to half and half and slowly shift to using only the diet recipe product. If your dog begins to experience an upset stomach, slow the transition as much as needed, paying attention to the mix of each food that you’re using per cup. Soon, your pet will be loving its new dry food and the numbers on the scale will start to go down.
Is My Dog Overweight? Routine and Exercise Will Help
A low fat food for dogs is an important part of any weight loss regimen, but there are other things you have to do to help your dog lose weight. Changing what and how much your dog eats is a great start, but to make lifelong changes, here are some things to think about.
First, make sure you stick to a regular feeding schedule. If you need help putting one together, get in touch with your vet so you know when and how much to feed your dog. Because you’re giving your pet fewer calories, it’s important for them to feel satisfied between meals without overeating. One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is to give your dog smaller, scheduled meals throughout the day instead of filling its bowl and letting it eat whenever it wants.
Don’t give your dog people food or allow it to eat anything that belongs to your other pets. This can be tricky if you have other furry friends in the house, so you may need to separate your pets during mealtimes or set aside an area where your other pets can eat freely without risk of someone stealing their food.
Watch the table scraps, too. It may be tempting to toss the food you don’t want to your dog, but this is an easy way to get off track with its weight loss by increasing the caloric intake. Limit treats and only give snacks that have been approved by your vet. Some healthy treats include carrots, cooked lean meat, green beans, and broccoli.
Exercise is essential. Remember, to lose weight, your dog has to use more calories than it takes in, and exercise is a good way to increase the number of calories your dog uses in a day. If your dog is significantly overweight or averse to physical activity, talk to your vet to make sure there aren’t any physical limitations you should worry about. If your dog is unable to do much because of the amount of weight it has to lose, start by doing short walks at a pace your dog is comfortable with. You may be able to increase the amount of time you’re exercising your dog a little every day.
Dogs lose weight in the same way that humans do, meaning that it fluctuates. Don’t get discouraged if the weight loss stalls for a week or so. It’s normal to have plateaus along your dog’s weight loss journey.
Once your dog has made its goal weight, that doesn’t mean things can go back to the way they were. The vet may monitor your dog’s weight regularly to make sure you’re keeping up with the new good habits. Some of these foods can be used to maintain a healthy weight in the long run, usually by increasing the quantity of food served with each meal.
Remember, you and your dog are on this journey together and it will only eat what you give it. Changing to a weight loss dog food is an important first step in helping your dog reach a healthy weight. Keep the good habits going and you should have your pup with you for a long time to come.
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