This content was reviewed by veterinarian Dr. Elizabeth Racine, DVM.
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Is your pup packing on the pounds? Overweight dogs can suffer from many of the same health problems that heavy humans do. If you’re concerned about your dog’s extra pounds, it’s time to make some changes to his diet and lifestyle. But where do you start? Getting your dog in shape takes some planning, but we’re here to help. We have some quick tips and our picks for the best dog food for weight loss.
At A Glance: Our Top Picks
|Fresh Food||Dry Food||Grain-Free||Wet Food|
|The Farmer’s Dog||Hills Science Diet||Wellness Core||Purina Pro Plan|
Before considering the best weight management dog food, you should determine if your dog needs to go on a diet. Every breed and dog size has a narrow ideal weight range, and your veterinarian can help you determine if your dog is at a healthy weight. But there are a few quick signs that you can look for at home.
- Can you easily feel your dog’s ribs without having to press down? If not, he very likely needs to lose weight.
- Look at your dog from above; if your dog looks oval-shaped, your dog is likely overweight. If your pup has an hourglass shape, he’s probably at a healthy weight.
- Have a dog with a defined waist and a straight body down the sides (i.e., no love handles)? Then his current weight is probably okay.
Always consult your veterinarian before putting your dog on a weight loss diet. Your dog’s weight gain could be due to an underlying condition, so it’s important to rule out any potential problems. Your vet can also help you make sure any diet food you’re considering will give your pup all the nutrients he needs. With that said, here are our top picks for weight loss dog food options.
The Farmer’s Dog offers fresh, human-grade meals using all-natural ingredients. All recipes are pre-portioned and personalized to your dog’s specific dietary needs. You fill out a brief survey, which includes your dog’s age, breed, current weight, and whether he’s at a healthy size. You can have them customize the food for a weight-loss goal.
They offer turkey, pork, or beef recipes, developed by board-certified American College of Veterinary Nutrition (ACVN) nutritionists and flash frozen. And you can have all of your dog’s meals regularly shipped right to your door.
- Crude Protein: 38%
- Crude Fat: 26%
- Crude Fiber: 2%
- Calories: 282 kcal per 1/2 lb
- All ingredients: USDA turkey, chickpeas, carrot, broccoli, parsnip, spinach, fish oil, TFD nutrient blend
Price: starts at $2/day and includes free shipping
Our First-Hand Experience
We switched our dog, Lexie, from kibble to The Farmer’s Dog shortly after rescuing her. Because King Charles Cavalier Spaniels are prone to heart conditions (which are onset by obesity), we wanted to make sure she maintained a healthy weight. She not only shed a few extra pounds, but we also noticed an improvement in her coat’s shine and her energy level. She’s been a fan ever since and gobbles it down! I mix it with a little rice (or kibble) to stretch the packs out and add grains to her diet, and she didn’t gain back the weight. Journal– Sadie C., Canine Journal
Ollie is another fresh, human-grade dog food delivery service that customizes your pup’s food (similar to The Farmer’s Dog). However, Ollie gives you more subscription options. You can order fresh meals (full or half portions) or choose a mix of their fresh and gently baked dry food, which includes the same high-quality, human-grade, and whole-food ingredients.
Ollie works with specialized veterinarians to formulate their fresh recipes (beef, turkey, chicken, and lamb) and dry food (beef and chicken). All recipes include high-quality proteins, fresh produce, healthy oils, vitamins, and minerals and are made in USDA-certified and inspected kitchens. They offer both grain-free and grain-inclusive formulas.
Price: Full Fresh plans start at $3.14/day
Our readers can get 50% off their first box. Use this link to take advantage of this offer (no discount code needed).
Our First-Hand Experience
“I switched from feeding Tiny 100% dry kibble to mixing the kibble 50/50 with Ollie. Tiny gobbled up his new mixture immediately and was begging for more. This was a big change from him typically turning his snout up when I feed him only kibble. After a few weeks on the new diet, Tiny continues to love his new food. I’ve also noticed that he doesn’t having nearly as much gas, and his every-other-day vomiting has calmed down a lot as well. The only challenge is making room in my freezer for his food packets and remembering to keep enough thawed in the fridge for his next few meals.”– Sally J., Canine Journal
Hill’s Science Diet Perfect Weight dry dog food is recommended by many veterinarians for a healthy weight loss diet. In clinical studies, more than 70% of dogs lost weight within 10 weeks on this diet. The first ingredient is lean protein, and it also includes other natural ingredients (plus vitamins, minerals, and amino acids) with no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
This food is a bit on the pricey side compared to many other commercial diet dog foods, but many customers say their dogs love the taste and lose weight.
- Protein: 28.7%
- Fat: 11.2%
- Crude Fiber: 10.4%
- Carbohydrate/NFE: 43.2%
- Calories: 299 kcal/cup
- First eight ingredients: chicken, cracked pearled barley, brown rice, pea fiber, corn gluten meal, chicken meal, dried tomato pomace, oat fiber
Price starting at (4-lb bag):
This grain-free weight control dog food is an excellent option for dogs who are grain and gluten intolerant (although it’s rare for dogs to be intolerant to either). It has a high protein content to help your dog feel full for longer. And it also contains some super healthy ingredients for overall dog health: omega fatty acids, antioxidants, glucosamine, probiotics, and taurine for a healthy heart. It’s free of artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors.
The major downside to this product is its price. It’s expensive for dry dog food. Some owners said their dogs didn’t care for the taste, but many others expressed that their dogs wolfed it down.
- Protein: 33%
- Fat: 10%
- Crude Fiber: 8.5%
- First eight ingredients: deboned turkey, turkey meal, chicken meal, lentils, peas, dried ground potatoes, pea fiber, ground flaxseed
Price starting at (4-lb bag):
If you and your dog prefer canned food, this Purina Pro Plan weight management wet food is effective for many pet parents’ dogs as their primary food or as a topper for dry diet dog food. It’s low in fat and calories and contains 23 essential vitamins and minerals and no preservatives. You can also find Purina’s Pro Plan in dry formulas.
- Protein: 9%
- Fat: 4.5%
- Crude Fiber: 1.5%
- Moisture: 82%
- Calories: 299 kcal/can
- First eight ingredients: water, turkey, liver, wheat gluten, rice, chicken, meat by-products, potassium chloride
Price (12 13-oz cans):
There are a lot of delicious dog foods for weight management on the market. Although these didn’t make our top picks, you may want to consider these popular and healthy options as well.
This low-calorie dog food is a great budget-friendly option. It contains LifeSource Bits, small kibbles full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to support immune system health and a healthy oxidative balance. It has no corn, soy, wheat, artificial flavors, or preservatives.
- Protein: 20%
- Fat: 9%
- Crude Fiber: 10%
- First eight ingredients: deboned chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, barley, pea fiber, pea starch, oatmeal, peas
Price starting at (5-lb bag):
This grain-free weight management dog food is chock full of healthy lean proteins, vegetables, vitamins, minerals, and probiotics to support your dog’s overall well-being. It also contains antioxidants and omega-6 and 3 fatty acids to support a healthy immune system, skin, and coat.
- Protein: 28%
- Fat: 9%
- Crude Fiber: 5%
- Moisture: 10%
- Calories: 409 kcal/cup
- First eight ingredients: chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, sweet potatoes, peas, garbanzo beans, potatoes, sun-cured alfalfa
Price starting at (12-lb bag):
Natural Balance’s Fat Dogs dry dog food (you have to love the name!) is another popular healthy choice for many dog owners. This low-calorie formula is high in lean proteins and fiber to satisfy your dog’s hunger pangs. They also conduct nine safety tests on each batch of food to make sure there are no contaminants.
- Protein: 26%
- Fat: 7.5%
- Crude Fiber: 10.5%
- Moisture: 10%
- First eight ingredients: chicken meal, salmon meal, garbanzo beans, peas, barley, oat groats, dried beet pulp, pea fiber
Price starting at (5-lb bag):
Nom Nom Fresh Dog Food
Nom Nom is another fresh dog food delivery service like The Farmer’s Dog that can tailor your pup’s food for a weight-loss goal and some other health conditions. They offer four all-natural recipes (beef, chicken, pork, and turkey) created by board-certified veterinary nutritionists.
The food comes in single-meal packaging that has easy tear-off tops. And packages are vacuum-sealed, so they don’t take up quite as much room in your freezer or fridge. Nom Nom even offers a full money-back guarantee if you don’t see a difference in your pup after 30 days.
- Crude Protein: 10% min
- Crude Fat: 5% min
- Crude Fiber: 1% max
- Moisture: 72% max
- Calories: 201 kcal/cup ME
- First eight ingredients: ground turkey, brown rice, eggs, carrots, spinach, dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, and citric acid.
Price: Plans start at $3/day with free shipping. For $15, you can get a sample pack to try out their food before subscribing.
Our readers have access to save 50% off your first order of Nom Nom; no promo code needed. Use this link to get started!
Nutro Ultra Weight Management Adult Dry Dog Food
This all-natural Nutro dry dog food is specially formulated for overweight adult dogs to help with healthy weight management. It contains chicken as the primary ingredient, with lamb and salmon as other protein sources. This formula includes superfoods, like coconut, chia, kale, blueberries, and other quality ingredients. And it’s made with no chicken by-product meal, corn, soy, or wheat, as well as no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
- Crude Protein: 26%
- Crude Fat: 12%
- Crude Fiber: 4%
- Calories: 325 kcal/cup
- First eight ingredients: chicken, chicken meal (source of glucosamine and chondroitin), whole grain brown rice, whole grain sorghum, whole grain barley, whole grain oats, brewers rice, pea protein
Price starting at (15-lb bag):
Extra weight can reduce your dog’s quality of life, cause significant health problems, and shorten his life. For dogs, this can happen with as little as a few extra pounds. Some of the common health conditions that develop from excess weight include:
- Diabetes mellitus
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Increased risk of joint injuries
- Increased cancer risk – especially intra-abdominal cancers, mammary tumors, and bladder cancer
- Liver problems
- Difficulty breathing
- Fatigue and lethargy
Check out this Rachel Ray video for some quick tips on ways you and your family can help your dog lose weight. One of these tips includes getting a fitness tracker to make sure your dog is getting enough exercise. See our reviews of the best dog activity monitors to learn more. And be sure to read more tips on how to help your dog lose weight.
If you’re switching your dog to a weight loss diet, you’ll need to know how to transition him from his current food. Dogs’ tummies are extremely sensitive to sudden food changes and can develop digestive issues. So be sure to read our article on how to change your dog’s food safely before starting a new food.Tagged With: Comparison, Food Delivery, Obesity, Reviewed By Dr. Racine, DVM