Is your dog overweight? If so, you’ll be pleased to find out there are formulated dog foods out there designed to help you in your efforts to get them back to a healthy weight. The best dog foods for weight loss often require a change in portion sizes too, but choosing the right food is the first step.
It’s often difficult to figure out which weight loss food is going to be best for your dog though. That’s why we’ve put together this complete in-depth guide to assist you. You’re about to find out everything there is to know about the best weight loss dog food to help achieve your goals. They’ll thank you for it when they feel lighter!
Jump to (dry):
Jump to (canned):
- 1 The Best Dry Dog Foods For Weight Loss
- 2 Feeding Guide for Dry Weight Loss Dog Food
- 3 Best Canned Dog Food For Weight Loss
- 4 Feeding Guide for Canned Weight Loss Food
- 5 Guide to Choosing the Best Weight Loss Dog Foods
- 6 Our Conclusion
The Best Dry Dog Foods For Weight Loss
Dry weight loss dog food often comes in bags of various sizes, giving you total control over how much you want to buy each time. You typically see two types of food to choose from – those that require authorization from a vet before you can buy them and those that do not.
Don’t be put off by the authorized ones though – they should reassure you that the composition is approved for use by vets. We’ve highlighted the best options when you want to buy dry dog food for better weight management in your pooch. Here are the best dry dog foods for weight loss that can help your pooch shift a few pounds healthily.
Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Dry Food
Royal Canin is a trusted brand and this low-fat food is available in three bag sizes. The smallest 6.6lb bag is perfect when you’re trying your dog on the food for the first time. Once they give you the ‘paws up’, you can switch to the bigger 17.6lb or 28.6lb bags. Many weight reduction foods are low in fat, but this one has been formulated for dogs that have trouble digesting it, hence the gastrointestinal part of the name. It also contains a mix of prebiotics to help settle your dog’s stomach. If your dog is sensitive to fat or other elements in their diet, this could be the perfect dry food for them. Feeding instructions are given for all small, medium, and large breeds too. Just follow the information given on the packet. Also provided are feeding amounts to maintain a healthy weight once they reach that stage.
Hill’s Prescription Diet Metabolic Weight Management Dry Dog Food
Here’s another option that requires vet authorization, so again you’re getting a high-quality food for your dog. The dry food comes in three bag sizes – 7.7lbs, 17.6lbs, and 27.5lbs. Created in a tasty chicken flavor, the metabolic formula has been developed to ensure your dog loses his excess weight and can easily prevent it from returning. Chicken meal is the first ingredient here, followed by wholegrain wheat and wholegrain corn. As such, it’s not ideal for dogs with grain intolerances. The formula is good for making sure your dog feels full and doesn’t pester for treats in between meals. Vitamins, supplements, and minerals have been added to the dry kibble to ensure your pet gets the best balance of elements in each meal. The formula includes calcium among other things, helping to make sure your pet’s bones are well taken care of to support them both now and in future.
Natural Balance Fat Dogs Low Calorie Dry Dog Food
If you want to try a dry kibble offering a complete meal to help your dog drop some weight, you can purchase the small 5lb bag of this Natural Balance food to start with. You’ve then got the 15lb and 28lb bags to switch to in future to help save money. Perfect for all sizes and breeds of adult dog, the Fat Dogs low calorie food is packed with fiber. This helps promote better digestion and keeps your pooch feeling full between meals. The second major component in this kibble is protein, sourced from chicken meal and salmon meal. They’ll also enjoy peas, carrots, and spinach among other ingredients. The pack includes an eye-catching and easy to read panel featuring the daily feeding guidelines. There are two sections here, one for weight loss and one for weight maintenance. The guidelines use a standard 8oz measuring cup for convenience.
Nutro Wholesome Essentials Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food
Keep things simple when buying your healthy weight dog food in dry form, with this generous 30lb bag of kibble from the Nutro range. This protein-packed recipe includes pasture-fed lamb as its first ingredient. This gives you the reassurance of knowing your dog will be receiving a good and filling source of protein. The blend also includes natural sources of fiber, such as whole brown rice and rice bran, to make sure your dog feels full. Meanwhile, the Nutro Wholesome Essentials range product confirms there are no artificial colors or flavors included. the guaranteed analysis lists a minimum of 23% crude protein and 7% minimum crude fat. There are also guaranteed minimum amounts of selenium, vitamin E, zinc, and other vitamins to help boost your pet’s health. Daily feeding amounts are included as well, to help your pooch lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
Feeding Guide for Dry Weight Loss Dog Food
Dry dog food is available in weight loss formulas designed to help your pooch lose their excess pounds. The good thing about these is they are normally complete. This means they don’t need to eat anything else to get everything they need for good health.
Most bags of dry food will be clearly marked if they do provide a complete meal for your pup. It does make weight management easier for your dog, because you know exactly how much to give them each day. You can split this between two meals if your dog usually eats twice a day. All you need to do is measure out the correct amount each time. Remember that treats should be withdrawn; if your dog still has some, reduce their food to account for this.
Don’t fall into the trap of switching to dry weight loss dog food and still giving your dog treats. This is incredibly easy to do. The amount of food they should get each day is accurate and should not be complemented by any other food source. Tasty morsels from the dinner table can harm their health and are one of the quickest ways for any dog to gain weight.
Which dry food should you choose?
There are plenty of dry foods designed to help encourage good weight management for your dog. Some brands are well known for developing tried and trusted formulas for these foods, such as:
- Royal Canin
- Natural Balance
- Hill’s Prescription Diet
When considering the options, think about what your dog likes and dislikes. Our dog reacts badly to beef, so we’ve opted for a chicken-based recipe she loves. You might find it useful to make a note of things to avoid if your dog does have sensitivities. You can then compare this to the food you’re considering.
Always read the list of ingredients on the food before purchase. The healthy weight food tends to have several elements in it:
- Reduced fat
- Reduced calories
- Good source of protein (should appear first in the list of ingredients)
- Vitamins and minerals chosen to help support good health
Watch out for anything that might disagree with your dog. The available formulas for dry weight management dog food tend to be diverse. They all offer fewer calories, but some have grains in them while some do not. Since grains can be a problem for some dogs, be aware of this if you think it might affect your pooch. Fortunately, most grain-free recipes display this prominently on the package.
Start with a small bag of food
You can never tell if your dog will love their new weight reduction dog food until they try it. Don’t switch from their regular food to the new one in one fell swoop though. Adjust gradually while making sure you’re not overfeeding them. They’re more likely to make the change without experiencing any ill effects or tummy upsets if you do this.
Once you are sure your dog likes the new food, you can purchase larger bags for better value. Most brands give you two or three options on size when purchasing their products.
Can you add water to their food?
Some dogs love dry food as is. Others prefer it if a little water is added. Read the instructions on the packet to see if adding water is a good idea. If your dog prefers it dry, make sure you give them plenty of fresh water to drink. Check it throughout the day too; dogs on dry food tend to drink more than those eating canned food, whether it’s food designed for weight loss or not.
Best Canned Dog Food For Weight Loss
If you’d rather stay with canned weight because your dog already loves it, don’t worry. You can get numerous weight loss dog foods that come in cans. Some require veterinary authorization but not all do. Chances are you will find the best wet food for your dog that will help them drop those pounds with ease in no time.
There are several tasty options out there. You can save money by purchasing the canned foods in cases of 12 (and sometimes even a case of 24). While water is going to be the main ingredient in wet foods, you’ll see there are lots of other great ingredients included too aimed at helping with weight loss. Here are our picks for the best canned dog foods for weight loss, chosen based on effectiveness and value for money.
Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Canned Food
Does your pooch have trouble with fatty foods? If they tend to cause stomach upsets for your dog, this gastrointestinal low-fat wet food could be the ideal option. The crude fat percentage is a low 1%-2.5% at most – much lower than many other weight management dog foods available. Crude protein sits at 6% minimum, offering protein sourced from pork by-products. The tasty formula also includes rice flour, corn grits, and corn meal to provide your dog with a good amount of fiber each day. This encourages a healthy digestive system. The canned food also has sources of vitamins, supplements, and essential minerals to promote better health. Royal Canin recommends you change over from their existing food to the new one over the course of a week. Furthermore, guidelines are provided for both weight loss aims and management of a healthy weight. The formula is perfect for all breeds of adult dog.
Hill’s Prescription Diet i/d Digestive Care Low Fat Canned Dog Food
You will need authorization from your vet to opt for this Hill’s Prescription Diet food. Provided in a convenient case of 12 cans, the tasty canned dog food comes in original pate flavor and is low in fat. This food is clearly designed to help optimize your dog’s digestive health. If they have trouble with other fattier dog foods, this one offers prebiotic fibers, ginger, and Omega 3 fatty acids to ensure their stomach is settled. The main ingredient (after water) is rice, followed by tasty pork liver and turkey liver. Flax seed also helps promote a calmer digestive system. The fat content never climbs above 3.5% and could be as low as 1.7%. Meanwhile, you are guaranteed 5% minimum protein in each can. Unusually, no feeding instructions appear to be given on the can. However, since this is only available with your vet’s permission, they can guide you.
Purina Pro Plan Overweight Management Canned Dog Food
This canine formula is part of the Purina Pro Plan range of dog foods intended for pups that are overweight. It is guaranteed to be low in both fat and calories. Meanwhile, it offers a high ratio of protein to calories. This means your dog can retain their lean body mass while ditching the fat that could harm their health. The three main ingredients in this canned weight reduction dog food are chicken, liver, and rice. Rice is the main source of crude fiber in this food, which gives a maximum of 6.5% in the recipe. Fiber means your dog will stay full – ideal when you are reducing their food intake to achieve weight loss. Feeding instructions are given for dogs weighing anywhere between just 5lbs and 100lbs, so this is suitable for all breeds. As is the case with most foods of this type, you’ll get weight loss and maintenance guidelines to follow.
Hill’s Prescription Diet r/d Weight Reduction Canned Dog Food
Another one that requires the go-ahead from your vet, this Hill’s Prescription Diet canned food comes in original flavor. The ingredient list confirms pork liver and pork by-products are the main protein sources here. Rice and pea protein are also included. Your fortunate pooch also gets a lovely chicken liver flavor to savor. This one provides a low-fat option offering a minimum of 0.8% fat content. Fiber levels are high to achieve fullness, offering up to 7% crude fiber. The can does not include charts for feeding guidelines, so ask your vet which amount you should feed your dog each day. This is likely to change as they lose weight and reach their ideal size. They also recommend adjusting the food gradually, swapping in this one and reducing the current food over time to ensure they don’t get an upset stomach.
Feeding Guide for Canned Weight Loss Food
Is your dog a stickler for good canned dog food? If so, there is no need to deny them their wet food when you move them onto a calorie-controlled diet plan. Many major brands produce canned food designed to help them manage their weight.
How big are the cans?
Most cans of dog food intended for proper weight reduction weigh between 350g and 385g. Depending on the breed and weight of your dog, you may need to feed more or less than one can per day.
If you feed them less, you should remove the remaining food from the can and store it in a sealed container in the fridge. It should be fine to last until the next day.
What flavors can you get?
Some cans are labelled as ‘original flavor’, so it is important to check the list of ingredients to see what’s in there. Others list the main protein ingredient, i.e. chicken, beef, and so on.
Regardless of what the front of the can says, always check the back of the can to read through the full list of ingredients. You’re looking for a complete formula you can trust that has no dodgy ingredients in it. Most foods of this kind have added vitamins and minerals to improve your dog’s health.
How much should you feed your dog?
Check the instructions on the can to find out the answer to this. You’ll see the instructions are different from standard dog food. Standard options usually only give you a minimum and maximum for each weight. Canned weight loss dog food typically gives you two options:
- Daily feeding guide when you’re looking to help your dog lose weight
- Daily feeding guide when your dog has reached their ideal weight
The second option is also called a maintenance feeding guide. Once your dog has lost their excess weight, you can switch to this. This means they still get all the goodness of a balanced diet, but they can stay with the same formula they love. There may not be much difference between the two weight recommendations for small dogs. However, for larger dogs there will be a greater difference between the two. If your dog is halfway between two weights, adjust the portion to suit.
Is wet food better than dry food when controlling their weight?
No – both are equal. One thing you’ll notice with canned weight loss dog food is that the first ingredient is water. This is followed by the main components of the meal, such as the protein source(s) and any grains or vegetables in the mix. Dry food will always list the protein and/or grains as the first ingredients.
It’s good to check for the crude protein, crude fat, and crude fiber percentages too. These should be indicated on the can. You can use this to compare different options with each other. Compare calories present in different foods too. Not all of the best weight loss dog foods have the same level of calories in them. Some are surprisingly heavier on calories than others, even though they are likely below the levels seen in regular dog food.
Another element that changes from one can to another is the amount of protein included. Protein helps your dog feel and stay full for longer – ideal when you’re reducing their food intake. However, just as some foods are lower in calories than others, it’s also true to say some are higher in protein than others. Some canned food provides a standard level of protein, so compare figures if increased protein is important to you when selecting your chosen food.
Guide to Choosing the Best Weight Loss Dog Foods
If your dog is overweight, there are two ways you can ensure they drop enough pounds to reach a healthy weight:
- Make sure they exercise more frequently
- Reduce their food intake
Combining these two simple steps seems easy. It’s common sense – the same steps we should take as humans if we want to lose weight. Yet many pet owners are unaware their dogs are overweight. Sometimes it’s obvious, but many dogs are several pounds overweight and their owners don’t see it.
The best way to see if your dog does need to go on a diet is to get him weighed at your vet’s surgery. They’ll be able to get an accurate weight and tell you how much your dog needs to lose to be a healthy weight. If he does need to lose some, it’s time to take a long hard look at his diet.
They can also check his health to ensure he doesn’t have any problems that could be causing him to gain weight. Once you know he’s fine, you can press on with considering the best dog food for him to change to.
Do you need to buy weight loss dog food?
You might think it would suffice to reduce the amount of regular dog food your pooch is eating. However, regular dog food usually isn’t balanced with weight loss in mind. It is typically designed to provide your dog with a balanced diet that assumes they are of a regular weight.
Reducing their regular food might also cause them to feel hungry. If you’ve ever been on a diet, you’ll know how true this is. Swapping to a formula designed to help your pooch drop some weight helps them feel full and still lose what they need to.
One thing you’ll soon notice when you start shopping around for the best weight loss dog food is that the composition of these foods is totally different. This applies to both wet and dry dog weight loss foods. It’s common to spot recipes that are reduced in fat and calories yet offer plenty of protein, for example. Check the labels of individual products to determine their composition; some offer standard levels of protein rather than increased levels.
Other recipes have glucosamine included, as this is thought to help strengthen joints. Most people know that being overweight puts additional strain on the joints. This applies just as much to dogs as it does to humans. Chondroitin is also often included for similar reasons, so it’s worth looking out for these in the ingredient list.
You can see these dog food recipes are formulated with weight loss in mind. They also make it easier for your dog to enjoy better health as quickly as possible. This in turn encourages them to get more exercise, as they will likely feel much better in themselves. With the support of the best weight loss food for dogs, you’ll find it easier to help your dog lose weight and get out and about more often.
Watch out for prebiotics, probiotics, grain-free options, and vegetables too. All these have a role to play in helping your pooch drop some weight.
Comparing weight reduction dog foods to your current dog food
It can be difficult to know which new food to introduce your dog to. Chances are they love what they currently have, so how can you try and pick a new food that will help them lose their excess weight?
Here is a list of features to look for to make it easier for you to select the right food:
- A low number of calories per cup or measure
- Look for any ingredients your dog might be allergic or sensitive to, so you can avoid that food
- Natural ingredients
- Formulated to help improve overall health
- Favorite ingredients your dog loves, i.e. chicken, turkey, beef, and so on
- Nothing artificial
- Nothing you cannot decipher or find out more about (meat meal, for example, could mean anything)
- No fillers
- Some are often labeled as “limited ingredient dog food” to reduce digestive upset
Many owners prefer a complete food that means they don’t need to worry about supplementing it with anything else. Remember that chews and treats add to the amount your dog consumes each day. Avoid these if you can.
That said, it could be your dog loves a dental chew each day and it helps keep their teeth clean. In this case, you may want to carry on with them. If so, and your dog benefits from it in terms of their dental health, reduce the amount of weight management dog food they’re getting to compensate.
Swapping from their regular dog food to weight loss food
As with any change of food, you should gradually move from their existing dog food to the new formula. This is ideal if you still have some of the old stuff left, as you won’t want to waste it. You can reduce the amount of food they’re having each day, and gradually move from the old one to the new one over the course of a week or more.
If they have a sensitive stomach, you might want to extend the changeover period. This should reduce the chances of them reacting to the switch. Chances are if you do it right, they won’t even notice their food has changed. They might even prefer it.
How much should you feed your dog?
Be aware of the feeding guide for the new formula, as it could be very different from what they’re currently having. Most dog food is measured in cups or grams. You should also see different amounts given as a guide for different sizes or weights of dog.
It might be that you find you are giving your dog much smaller meals than they had before. Don’t worry – if you are feeding them according to the guide on the packet or can, you’re doing it correctly. The food is likely to be filling and nutritious, helping your dog gradually lose weight and become healthier and happier at the same time.
While some weight management dog formulas require a vet’s authorization before you can order them, you do know you are getting a reliable and trustworthy food for your dog. However, other options don’t require authorization and still offer a good diet with everything your dog needs to thrive.
Losing weight doesn’t need to be difficult. Once your dog is down to their ideal weight, you can enjoy each other’s company for many more years thanks to their good health. Smart weight loss with the right food source and exercise makes good sense, even if it does require some changes.
Did you find this article helpful?