Dieting is as upsetting to dogs as it can be to humans. Many owners choose to create a diet plan for their dog to lose weight, but fail due to the lack of proper information or the wrong approach. We can help with that! Food For Dog To Lose Weight will help you teach your four-legged friend how to diet properly and keep healthy while losing weight.
Food For Dogs To Lose Weight
Veterinary specialist, Dr. Donna Spector, recommends feeding your overweight dog a food that contains:
- Above-average protein
- Below-average fa
- Below-average calories
On this page… we’ll share The Dog Food Advisor’s safest and most recommended dog foods for weight loss.
Best Dog Food for Weight Loss
Here are The Dog Food Advisor’s best weight loss dog foods for May 2022.
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Healthy Weight
Life Protection Healthy Weight is one of 21 dry recipes included in our review of the Blue Buffalo Life Protection product line.
- First 5 ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, barley, pea fiber
- Type: Grain-inclusive (rice, barley, oatmeal)
- Calories: 326 kcal/cup
- Price: $
This Blue Buffalo formula acquires the lion’s share of its animal protein from both fresh chicken and chicken meal. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 22% protein, 10% fat and 60% estimated carbs… resulting in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 45%.
A budget-friendly, grain-inclusive option. Highly recommended.
Sample buyer review… “I love this food for my dog! When I adopted my boy, he was 7 years old and very overweight for being an energetic, little Sheltie. I started him on the Blue Buffalo Healthy Weight food with regular walks, and he lost several pounds and is just much healthier overall now. I also like this food because it makes his bowel movements very regular, formed and not stinky at all.”
Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com
Victor Purpose Senior Healthy Weight Dog Food
Victor Senior Healthy Weight is one of 6 dry recipes included in our review of the Victor Purpose product line.
- First 5 ingredients: Beef meal, whole grain brown rice, whole grain millet, grain sorghum, chicken fat
- Type: Grain-inclusive (rice, millet, sorghum)
- Calories: 360 kcal/cup
- Price: $
Victor Healthy Weight takes the largest portion of its meat protein protein from beef meal. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 30% protein, 13% fat and 50% estimated carbs… creating a fat-to-protein ratio of about 43%.
An affordable, protein-rich recipe. Enthusiastically recommended.
Sample buyer review… “Allie wasn’t eating her old food anymore and I’d wanted to switch to Victor so I went ahead and did it. Allie enjoys her food and eats all of her food very enthusiastically now. She’s at a perfect weight and her coat looks great. The extra glucosamine is great for her joints and even at almost eleven years of age, she can still jump on my bed and swim.”
Orijen Fit and Trim Dog Food
Orijen Fit and Trim is one of 9 dry recipes included in our review of the Orijen product line.
- First 5 ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken liver, turkey liver, cod liver, cage-free eggs
- Type: Grain-free
- Calories: 402 kcal/cup
- Price: $$$
Orijen Fit and Trim acquires the vast majority of its animal protein from fresh chicken as well as poultry and fish livers. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 48% protein, 15% fat and 30% estimated carbs… resulting in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 31%.
A quality, controlled-calorie recipe.
Amazon buyer review… “My Wheaten gained about 10 lbs after being neutered at age 5. I walked him 3 miles a day but couldn’t get his weight under control. I did a lot of research, and found Fit and Trim to have the best balance of high protein and low fat of any food that I could find. He likes it, so presumably the flavor is good. The ingredient list contains nothing that I find wasteful or troubling. His weight loss is slow but steady, as it should be. The cost is quite high, but when it comes to my boy, if it works it’s worth it, so I recommend it if you can afford it.”
Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight
Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight is one of 4 dry recipes included in our review of the Hill’s Science Diet Perfect Weight product line.
- First 5 ingredients: Chicken, cracked pearled barley, brown rice, pea fiber, corn gluten meal
- Type: Grain-inclusive (barley, rice, oats)
- Calories: 291 kcal/cup
- Price: $$
Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight takes the largest portion of its meat protein from fresh chicken. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 29% protein, 12% fat and 52% estimated carbs… creating a fat-to-protein ratio of about 42%.
A proven brand with multiple weight loss recipes. Enthusiastically recommended.
Sample buyer review… “My corgi was overweight and the food my vet wanted her on was a pricey prescription food. I stayed with the Hill Science brand but went with the Perfect Weight. She’s lost about a pound per month but the best part is that she seems satisfied, as well.”
Getting the Overweight Dog in Shape
An important aspect of being a responsible dog owner is being sure your dog is in shape. You may think your fat dog is adorable just the way he is, but the truth is he could already be at risk for health problems. Certain breeds will be affected more than others by even the slightest weight gain, so it’s important to maintain your dog’s fitness throughout his entire life. Also, you want to make sure your dog does not have any underlying health or metabolic conditions such as hypothyroidism, which might be making him or her overweight.
Different breeds have different silhouettes, and it’s important to understand what’s normal and appropriate for your specific dog. In a Labrador Retriever, for example, the underline of the dog is pretty much a straight line from the elbow all the way to the rear leg. A Rhodesian Ridgeback, by contrast, should have a little bit of a “tuck-up” (or waist ) and the ribcage should gently curve upward before it joins the body at the loin. A Ridgeback who has no discernible waistline is a fat Ridgeback.
Conversely, there are other breeds – including many of the Sighthounds, such as Salukis – that are naturally lean.
If you can’t see a hint of rib on an Azawakh, for instance, chances are it may be slightly overweight.
If you have a less-than-common breed, your veterinarian may not be familiar with its correct outline and weight. Check the AKC Website for that breed’s page and breed standard. If you are in touch with your dog’s breeder, don’t hesitate to forward some photos – ideally, taken from the side and above – to get another opinion.
Dogs gain weight the same way humans do: by eating too much and exercising too little. Dogs that eat excessive amounts of treats, table scraps, and food at mealtimes will gain weight quickly, especially if they are not very active. Before starting any new diet or exercise plan for your dog, have it approved by your veterinarian.
One simple solution to jump-start your dog’s weight loss is to feed your dog his normal food in the morning but replacing his second meal with mostly green beans (low sodium), a bit of kibble, and a doggie multi-vitamin in the evening.
Switching your dog’s treats to healthier options will help him lose weight, too. Cut back on calories by greatly reducing the number of treats given at a time. Also, try replacing biscuits, cheese, and other high-fat treats with fresh chopped carrots, apples, or green beans that are free of added flavoring. Your dog will most likely still enjoy this new, crunchy treat!
If you are training your dog and give treats as a reward, remember to subtract those calories from your dog’s food allotment.
Lastly, don’t make the common error of associating food with love. Plying your dog with food to the point of obesity will only likely shorten the amount of time you will have him in your life. And don’t put too much stock in your dog’s opinion, either: Many dogs will act ravenous even after they have met their caloric requirements for the day.
Lots of Exercise
Of course, additional exercise will help your dog lose weight. Most dogs love to go for a walk, run, swim, or hike, so be sure to get outside and enjoy some outdoor activities with him! For an obese dog, it’s best to start out slow and increase exercise over time once he starts losing weight. However, be sure you aren’t overexerting him, especially if he has a medical condition, and watch for signs of heatstroke.
Of course, additional exercise will help your dog lose weight. Most dogs love to go for a walk, run, swim, or hike, so be sure to get outside and enjoy some outdoor activities with him! For an obese dog, it’s best to get your dog checked out by your veterinarian and to discuss an appropriate exercise program for your dog. Start out slow and increase exercise over time once he starts losing weight.
Training to Run
If you opt to run with your dog, keep his age in mind. Youngsters can damage joints by running repetitively on hard surfaces such as concrete or asphalt. Many breeders, especially of large breeds, recommend avoiding jogging on hard surfaces until a dog is at least 12 months old, and ideally 18. Instead, try free play on grass or another suitably soft surface such as packed sand.
If you’d like to start running with your dog once he reaches maturity, be sure that he is in peak physical condition. Check with your vet to make sure that he doesn’t have a physical weakness – such as heart issues, orthopedic issues such as hip dysplasia, or a luxating patella (the doggie version of a “trick knee”) – that could make running painful or even dangerous. If your dog could use some strengthening in the muscle department, equipment such as exercise balls can be used to increase balance and stability.
Making Exercise Fun
Canine sports are a great way to exercise your dog while building the bond between the two of you. Agility, which is basically a timed obstacle course, requires you to be able to communicate with your dog via hand signals and body language, and all that zooming through tunnels and over jumps burns plenty of calories. If you’re a newbie, find a training class so you can introduce your dog – and yourself – to the obstacles you’ll encounter on the course. You can learn more about many of these activities through the AKC website.
Constantly be aware of how your dog looks and acts. Slow down or stop if he is panting excessively, and find a cool or shaded spot for some relief. Dogs of all breeds can overheat. Brachycephalic, or short-nosed breeds, can overheat very easily, so on hot days opt for a game of indoor fetch in the air conditioning or short walks in the early morning or late at night.
And no matter what kind of dog you have, remember that asphalt can be sizzling on hot summer days – keep those unprotected paw pads in mind! All dogs will need to get acclimated to running for extended periods on hard surfaces.
Health Problems Caused by Obesity in Dogs
Dachshunds, Basset Hounds, and other long and low-bodied breeds that become overweight add strain to their backs and joints, making it painful or difficult for them to walk or sit. Brachycephalic breeds (meaning they have short noses and flat faces) such as Pugs, Boxers, and Bulldogs have an increased risk of breathing and respiratory problems from being overweight. In addition to shortened life expectancy, overweight and obese dogs are at higher risk for diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, breathing problems, and cancer. Have your veterinarian monitor your dog’s health and weight frequently to be sure he is losing weight and improving his overall health. Even the slightest difference will improve his overall quality of life.