Dogs are not so much different than us. Sometimes they enjoy being lazy and eating. And they pay the same price we do – they become overweight. While being chunky makes them even more cute and adorable, it will reduce their quality of life and possibly lead to health problems related to dog obesity.
To promote weight loss, you will need to help your dog exercise and make appropriate changes to its diet. In other words, you will need to put it on an easy-digestible and less calorie-dense diet. To help you out with making a decision, I’ve personally reviewed the products from the most renowned brands in the dog food industry. Here are the 5 best dog food for weight loss.
The Danger of Obesity in Dogs
Obesity in dogs can cause a variety of problems. This is why it is important to address canine obesity as soon as possible. The list of problems includes:
- Problems in mobility due to weight-induced osteoarthritis
- Increased risk of diabetes due to constantly increased levels of carbs in dogs blood
- Cardiovascular problems due to the fatty plaques in blood vessels
- Difficulty breathing due to fatty pads in the dog’s chest
- Fatty liver disease
- Heat intolerance
- Reduced functioning of the immune system
- Risk of cancer
- Skin creases, oily skin, and skin infections
Description: Tasty Turkey Meal as The First Ingredient Enriched With Antioxidants Healthy Weight is low-calorie dry dog food coming from Purina. Every meal delivers the right amount of protein, fat, and fiber to promote healthy weight loss while taking care of the dog’s nutritional needs. All ingredients are natural and carefully selected. If you are looking for low-calorie canned dog food meals, you should know that Purina has a canned version of the Healthy Weight food line.
- Type: Dry Food
- Flavor: Deboned Turkey
- Protein: 27%
- Fat: 8%
- Calories per cup: 320 kcal
Key Benefits: Purina One Smart Blend Healthy Weight formula is packed with an easily digestible turkey protein meal suitable for any breed. Whole grain wheat is also included to support digestion and consistently provide the dog with the required nutrients.
Every meal contains an antioxidant blend to improve your dog’s immune system health. This food also features natural glucosamine, which is known for its beneficial effects on joint health.
Health Weight food is carefully developed by Purina’s experts to promote health loss. It contains 15% fewer calories than regular dog food.
Pros: Purina is one of the few dog food brands that successfully deliver nutritive dog weight-loss food. Although it features fewer calories than regular foods, it still contains all the necessary minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants for good dog health. This food also comes in different packaging sizes, including 8, 16.5, 31.5, and 40 lb bags.
Cons: While most of the customers are more than happy with Purina One Smart Blend Healthy Weight food, you will probably need to let some air in after feeding your dog due to the intensive smell.
Description: Blue Buffalo Deboned Chicken and Brown Rice for Fully Satisfying Taste is also one of the brands with high-quality diet dog food. The Life Protection Healthy Weight formula is developed to nurture your dog while allowing it to lose weight and be energetic. To make the meal completely satisfying, Blue Buffalo added LifeSource Bits and wholesome whole grains, fruit, and veggies.
- Type: Dry Food
- Flavor: Chicken & Brown Rice
- Protein: 20%
- Fat: 9%
- Calories per cup: 326 kcal
Key Benefits: Every meal coming out from the Life Protection Healthy Weight packaging will help you promote weight-loss in your dog. The chicken protein, as the first ingredient, helps your dog get all necessary proteins and amino acids to build lean muscle mass. The reduced fat content will help your dog burn fat reserves under its skin.
Healthy Weight contains other ingredients vital for your pet’s wellbeing, including carrots, barley, blueberries, cranberries, and L-carnitine. Every food coming out of Blue Buffalo factory contains exclusive LifeSource Bits. These “bits” are, in fact, minerals, fatty acids, vitamins, and antioxidants that support life stage requirements, immunity, and good oxidative balance.
Pros: With low-fat, one might think that dogs don’t find this meal delicious. It is quite the contrary. All the natural ingredients and high-quality chicken are not only superbly nutritive but mouth-watering as well. On top of that, this food was developed by veterinarians and dog nutritionists.
Cons: Some dogs might be allergic to fruits in this meal. Pay extra attention before feeding it to your dog.
Description: Delicious Blend of Turkey, Lamb, Fish, and Chicken for Picky Fur Balls, CANIDAE’s Less Active formula is designed for less active and senior dogs. Thanks to low fat, you can feed this food to your dog to promote caloric deficit and fat burn. Additional nutrients are added to support a healthy life and a strong immune system.
- Type: Dry Food
- Flavor: Turkey, Lamb, Fish, and Chicken
- Protein: 22.50%
- Fat: 8.50%
- Calories per cup: 342 kcal
Key Benefits: Less Active Formula is a low-calorie dry dog food that features meat from 4 different sources (turkey, lamb, fish, and chicken) to accomplish that irresistible despite that low fat. The optimum protein will help your dog build muscle while burning fat.
The low fat doesn’t make this formula any less nutrient-dense. Every bite contains the optimal amount of probiotics, antioxidants, omega 6, and 3 fatty acids to support good health in your dog.
The food is easily digestible due to whole grains that come only from the trusted sources vetted by CANIDAE to ensure only the best ingredients end up in kibble.
Pros: Diverse sources of protein and low fat are carefully balanced to help your dog burn more fat while still being able to build muscle despite its breed. Less Active formula is a great option for dogs with sensitive stomachs because it doesn’t contain any soy, corn, or wheat. The probiotics are there to ensure easy digestion, which is confirmed in many dog owners’ reviews.
Cons: While dog lovers don’t have anything bad to say about this food, I have to point out that it has slightly more calories than other foods in this category.
Description: Nutro Ultra Weight Management (Superfood Mix Based on Chicken, Lamb, and Salmon) diet dog food kibble is custom-tailored to meet the nutritional requirements of a dog on a restrictive dietary regimen. Natural, high-quality protein from three different sources and low fat will give just enough energy to burn fat and gain muscle. A delicious meal powered by superfoods.
- Type: Dry Food
- Flavor: Chicken, Lamb, and Salmon
- Protein: 23%
- Fat: 10%
- Calories per cup: 335 kcal
Key Benefits: Weight Management food by Nutro is a great food product for dogs that have to go on a diet. This high concentration of proteins and amino acids will help your dog build strong muscles and a lean body. Fatty acids, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants are there to promote good health. The abundance of superfood for your dog’s unique breed needs.
Pros: Weight Management food features only the best and natural ingredients. There are no GMO ingredients. Nutro only works with trusted suppliers and farmers to source the ingredients. There are very few brands on the market that provide as many healthy items as Nutro does.
Cons: While there is nothing bad I can say about this Nutro recipe, I have to point out that food with three protein sources is not the best choice if you own a dog with food allergies.
Description: Wellness Complete Health Healthy Weight is part of the premium line of products by Wellness. You can rest assured that you will be feeding your pet a healthy meal that contains no chicken by-product or artificial additives. The low percentage of fat guarantees fat loss and better weight control. The kibble size makes it a good diet dog food for small dogs.
- Type: Dry Food
- Flavor: Chicken & Peas
- Protein: 24%
- Fat: 10%
- Calories per cup: 405
Key Benefits: Mouth-watering Deboned Chicken and Peas Backed Up By Super Nutrients. Besides the obvious benefit of low-fat concentration, this food product offers everything a dog owner can dream about. Every Healthy Weight meal contains guaranteed levels of micro and macronutrients. The recipe even contains 3 strains of probiotics to support digestive health. There are also essential minerals, vitamins, and fatty acids for skin, coat, eyes, teeth, and gum health.
Pros: Reviews tell us that many owners who tied this formula successfully helped their dogs lose weight, and build lean muscle. Since this is a Wellness product, it doesn’t contain any artificial flavors, meat by-products, colors, and preservatives.
Cons: When compared to other weight-loss dog foods on the market, one can’t notice that this food packs more calories per cup than any other.
So, what is the best dog food for weight loss?
Purina One Smart Blend Healthy Weight is recommended by 80% of actual buyers on Amazon.com and makes it a top pick for dogs with weight problems.
How do You Put a Dog On a Diet?
Whether it is a small, medium, or a large dog breed, putting your pet on a diet requires some work. The most important step is to choose the right dog food for weight loss. You will also have to create a feeding routine, exercise your dog, and calculate your dog’s calorie intake and target weight. Remember, it takes time to get your dog back to the ideal weight.
Choose The Right Dog Food for Weight Loss
Dog foods for weight loss are sometimes as calorie-dense as regular dog kibble. But it features different kinds of calories and significantly fewer fat ingredients.
When choosing the right dog food for weight loss, it’s not enough to read reviews only. Make sure to pay attention to the following:
- Nutrient density – best measured via calories per cup
- Low fat / high fiber – fibers will compensate for the absence of fat and fuel your dog energy. Plus, according to Royal Canin and University of Liverpool study, this ratio helps preserve lean body mass during weight loss.
- L-carnitine – because it is known for its beneficial fat burning effects
- Antioxidants – to support healthy oxidative balance in your dog
Create a Feeding Routine
If you are inexperienced in creating a feeding schedule for a dog, consult your veterinarian. The following rules will help you create an efficient feeding routine:
- Eliminate free-choice feeding. Instead, feed smaller meals during the day
- Make sure that each meal contains the exact amount of food as suggested on the food label or by your veterinarian
- Don’t feed your pet anything else or make sudden switches to other foods
- Use only vet-approved treats such as cooked lean meat, carrot slices, green beans, and broccoli
Keep Your Dog Fit Through Exercises
Feeding your dog meals based on a weight-loss recipe is not enough. You have to incorporate regular physical activity for your dog to promote weight loss. Again, let the veterinarian assess your dog’s needs and capabilities to make the most efficient exercise routine that easily fits in your time schedule.
Calculate Your Dog’s Calorie Intake and Target Weight
In the best-case scenario, your dog will lose 2% of his initial body weight per week. Fortunately, a perfect weight is known for every breed. For rescue dogs, the ideal weight is calculated by factoring in their size.
With the help of your veterinarian, you will be able to calculate:
- your dog’s target weight,
- the most optimal time to reach it, and
- Take your pet’s daily calorie needs and divide it by the number of meals
How much should I feed my overweight dog?
Make sure to feed your overweight dog at least two meals per day at approximately the same time. Frequent meals will bust its metabolism rate and help it burn more calories. You will be able to see the first results in two weeks. The diet is successful if your dog loses 0.5 to 2 percent of his starting body per week or 2 to 8 percent per month.
How do I know if my dog is overweight?
Humans have a BMI to check whether they are overweight. Dogs have BMI of their own, and it is called body condition score. Thanks to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, you can also check ideal dog weight ranges.
There are some signs that can help you know your dog is overweight. If it sleeps longer than usual, moves slower, or breathes heavier when walking, the chances are that it packed a few extra pounds.
What Causes Dogs to Gain Weight?
While there are many reasons why dogs become overweight, the most common ones include:
- Eating too much food – eating too many nutrient-dense meals a day disrupts the balance between energy intake and output. The unused calories get processed and stored as fats.
- Not enough exercise – regular exercise maintains the same energy output. In other words, it burns calories. If your dog doesn’t burn calories, they will end up as fat under its skin.
- Your dog suffers from a chronic condition – there are some chronic conditions that cause dogs to gain weight, such as Cushing’s disease and hypothyroidism. If you notice sudden weight gains make sure to visit your veterinarian to eliminate the possibility of these diseases
- Your dog is genetically-predestined to gain weight – some breeds are more prone to gaining weight than others, including Cavalier King Charles and American cocker spaniels, Cairn terriers, Shetland sheepdogs, Labrador retrievers, beagles, basset hounds, dachshunds, and rough collies.