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The 11 Best Weight-Loss Dog Foods

Managing your dog's weight, whether via food or exercise, can extend their healthy life and improve their quality of life. Most pets are overweight or obese, which makes them more likely to get diseases like arthritis, liver disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

Lindsey Bullen, DVM, DACVIM (Nutrition), a board-certified veterinary nutritionist at Friendship Hospital for Animals in Washington, D.C., told The Spruce Pets, "Every additional ounce or pound might reduce their lifespans and lead to major health concerns in the future." "Losing weight can lengthen a dog's life span."

But weight loss involves more than just reducing your dog's caloric intake or starting them on a "weight loss" pet food, which is more accurately called a "weight management" pet food. This should be looked into with your dog's vet.

If your dog's doctor tells you to change their diet to help them lose weight, you should choose a meal that is right for their age, gives them all the nutrients they need, and has parts or tastes that your dog likes.

Purina Pro Plan Adult Weight Management Dog Food, which contains fiber to help your dog feel full and probiotics to aid digestion, is our top pick. We also provide suggestions for the finest wet food and the best solutions for dogs of all sizes and breeds.

BestForPets (bestforpets.org) talked to Dr. Bullen and looked at the standards set by the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American College of Veterinary Nutrition, the Association of American Feed Control Officials, and the Pet Food Institute to figure out which brands of dog food help overweight pets stay at a healthy weight the best.

Here are the best weight-loss dog foods to aid in your dog's weight loss while satisfying their nutritional requirements.


Purina Pro Plan Adult Weight Management Dog Food, Shredded Blend Chicken & Rice Formula is the Best Dry Dog Food Overall



Life Stage: Adult | Available Flavors: Chicken & Rice | Sizes: 6, 18, 34-pound packages | Primary Ingredients: Chicken, rice, whole grain corn, poultry byproduct meal, corn germ meal, soybean meal, whole grain wheat, corn gluten meal, beef fat, fish meal, and soybeans

Purina Pro Plan Adult Weight Management Formula is 15% lower in fat than the brand’s other comparable adult formulations. As your pet loses weight, the protein-to-fat ratio helps to preserve muscle mass, while fiber helps your dog feel fuller.

The comprehensive nutrition contains omega-6 fatty acids and vitamin A, which are beneficial for the coat of your dog. Additionally, the mix contains probiotics, which assist with digestion.

There are no artificial colors or tastes in the Purina Pro Plan weight control recipe, which has chicken as its first component. Although there is a type with uniform kibble, we recommend the “Shredded Blend” which has both crispy kibble and delicate, chewy chicken bits for diversity.

In addition to rice, whole grain maize, and fish meal, other components include a comprehensive range of vitamin supplements.

The whole list of ingredients is available online. There are also straightforward feeding instructions, with portion size decided by your dog’s weight, as well as distinct recommendations for weight maintenance or calorie reduction of 25%.

The weight control formula from Purina Pro Plan is suited for all life stages and is also available in small breed and big breed varieties. There are 6, 18, and 34-pound packages available.


  • Reasonably-priced
  • Size of kibble suitable for all breed sizes
  • Often recommended by vets


  • Popular recipe so occasionally sold out


Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Hearty Vegetable & Chicken Stew Canned Dog Food is the best overall wet dog food



Life Stage: Adult | Available Flavors: Hearty veggies & chicken stew, liver | Can Sizes: 12.5 ounces | Main Ingredients: Pork liver, Chicken broth, Rice Starch, Spinach, Wheat Gluten, Dried Tomato Pomace, Flaxseed, and Chicken Liver Flavor

Wet food is sometimes a suitable option for picky dogs or those with dental difficulties, such as missing teeth.

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Vegetable & Chicken Stew provides comprehensive and balanced nourishment in an appetizing tinned form. Additionally, it is free of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.

The Hill’s Science Diet Perfect Weight formula features feeding instructions designed to maintain a balanced diet for mature dogs who have become less active, as well as lowered serving amounts for weight loss that are designed to provide results within 10 weeks.

Dietary recommendations frequently result in portions that are fractions of a can, highlighting one of the disadvantages of liquid foods. How, for example, can 7/8 of a can be precisely served without additional measurement effort?

With a combination of broth and chunks, though, your dog is sure to like Hill’s Science Diet wet food. The essential components are chicken broth, hog liver, carrots, and green peas.


  • Vets frequently suggest this product
  • Attractive mixture of textures


  • Strong odor
  • Large cans for little dogs
  • Obtaining the proper serving size might be challenging


Purina Pro Plan Adult Large Breed Weight Management Chicken & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food is the best option for large breeds



Life Stage: Adult, large-breed dogs | Available Flavors: chicken & rice | Sizes: 34-pound bags | Principal Ingredients: chicken, rice, whole grain wheat, poultry byproduct meal, maize gluten meal, oat meal, barley, pea fiber, fish meal

Large dogs, traditionally defined as those weighing more than 50 pounds at maturity, have different dietary requirements than smaller dogs.

For example, they may be more prone to orthopedic difficulties than small dogs, so this meal contains glucosamine to promote joint health.

15 percent less fat than the brand’s other comparable adult maintenance products. Besides, Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Weight Management Dog Food has a protein-fat ratio that helps maintain lean muscle mass while your pet loses weight.


  • Reasonably-priced
  • Supports joint health, a prevalent concern in big or obese dogs


  • Large nuggets are problematic for canines with dental problems
  • Just one taste is available


Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Small & Mini Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food is ideal for small breeds



Life Stage: Adult, tiny, and miniature breeds | Available Flavors: Chicken | Sizes: 4 or 15-pound bag | Primary Ingredients: Chicken, cracked pearl barley, brown rice, pea fiber, corn gluten meal, chicken meal, dried tomato pomace, oat fiber, chicken liver taste, flaxseed

Small dogs require more calories per pound for maintenance, and this recipe is formulated specifically for their metabolisms to aid in weight loss. If you adhere to the dietary recommendations for weight reduction, you should notice results within 10 weeks.

Smaller kibbles make it easier for toy and tiny breeds to gnaw on their food. This is particularly crucial if they have dental problems, which are frequent in petite breeds.

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Small & Mini Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food is available in either 4-pound or 15-pound bag sizes, allowing you to select a bag size that will not get stale before your toy or small dog finishes it.


  • Tiny-sized kibble for toy and small breeds
  • Also available in bigger kibble size for larger dogs


  • Pricier than some competing brands


Best Grain-Free Chicken Recipe for Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain-Free Dog Food



Life Stage: Adult | Available Flavors: Chicken | Sizes: 4 or 24 pound bags | Principal Ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, peas, potatoes, pea starch, tapioca starch, pea fiber, potato starch, natural flavor, dried tomato pomace, flaxseed, chicken fat, pea protein, powdered cellulose.

Food allergies in dogs are uncommon, and most dogs do not require a grain-free diet. If your dog has been identified with food allergies by a veterinarian and also wants to lose weight, Blue Freedom Grain-Free Healthy Weight Chicken Recipe may be the best solution.

Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Recipe for Dog is free of maize, wheat, and soy, as well as synthetic flavors and preservatives. It is suited for all breed sizes, although a small breeds recipe with smaller nuggets is also available.


  • Reasonably-priced
  • Suitable for both food allergy sufferers and dieters


  • Bag size is too huge for little breeds to consume before food spoils
  • Kibble size is large for little dogs


Blue Buffalo Healthy Weight Wilderness Dog Food



Blue Buffalo isn’t always our favorite brand, but their Wilderness line is great, and this food is no different.

It has 30% protein, and most of that comes from the first two ingredients, chicken and chicken meal. There is also a lot of pea protein, which isn’t the best thing.

Many dogs can’t stay away from this food because it has so much protein. If you’ve had trouble getting your dog to eat low-calorie food, you should give this a try.

Aside from the pea protein, there isn’t much on the list of ingredients to dislike. It has omega fatty acids from fish meal and flaxseed, fiber from chicory root, and a number of probiotics to help with digestion.

It does have potatoes in it, and some dogs can get gas from potatoes. That’s not a big deal, but since they don’t provide much in the way of nutrition, we’d rather they hadn’t been included.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness is one of the highest-ranked foods on this list because it has more protein than most other foods.


  • So full of protein
  • Most dogs like taste
  • There’s a lot of fiber and probiotics to help your digestive system
  • There are many omega fatty acids


  • Lots of plant protein is used
  • Potatoes may induce gas


Wellness Food for a Dog’s Whole Health



The first three ingredients in Wellness Complete Health are all proteins of some kind. These are turkey meal, chicken meal, and salmon meal. Overall, the protein levels are higher than average, so your dog should get plenty of nutrients that help build muscle.

It should also be easy on your dog’s stomach because its main sources of carbs are oats and rice. We also like that salmon oil and flaxseed were added, since they should both add important omega fatty acids.

This food is made for smaller puppies (well, for smaller puppies who are starting to get big, but we’re getting off topic). Because of this, the kibble is small and easy for small dogs to chew.

But the salmon oil in this food gives it a strong smell, so hold your nose while you give your dog his breakfast. The bag could also use a zipper, since food can go bad quickly if it isn’t sealed well.

Wellness Complete Health is one of the best small-breed weight-loss foods out there, but it’s hard to put it in the top four because it’s not very broad.


  • Having a lot of omega fatty acids
  • Small dogs should eat small kibble
  • All three of the first ingredients are protein
  • Gentle on tummies


  • Smells very bad
  • Bag can’t be closed
  • If not properly sealed, it can go bad quickly


Dry dog food made by Natural Balance



When you bring the bag of Natural Balance into the house, don’t let your dog see it because it says “Fat Dogs” in big letters on the front.

But if he can get over how hurt he feels, he should enjoy what’s in this kibble. It has a mix of chicken meal and salmon meal to give your dog the protein he needs and a lot of omega fatty acids that are very important. It also has salmon oil, which helps with omegas.

It doesn’t have corn or wheat, either. Instead, it’s made with garbanzo beans, peas, and barley. We also like that it has a lot of fiber. This is because it has pea fiber and dried beet pulp.

This has very little fat, which sounds like a good thing. However, your dog may not feel full between meals because of this. That could make your dog beg more, which could lead to more snacks if the owner has a weak will.

It also uses a lot of plant protein, which doesn’t have the same vitamins and minerals as animal protein. That’s a shame, especially since this food is on the more expensive side of things.

Natural Balance is a good food overall, but it doesn’t stand out in any one way. Because of this, it doesn’t deserve to be ranked higher than the middle of this list.


  • Omega fatty acids in abundance
  • Fiber in a good amount
  • There’s no corn or wheat inside


  • Not much fat
  • Depends a lot on proteins from plants
  • Costs too much for what you get

How to Choose the Best Diet Food for Your Dog

The AAFCO Nutritional Adequacy Statement

AAFCO, or the Association of American Feed Control Officials, evaluates pet food components for safety and makes recommendations for nutrient profiles based on the most recent scientific findings.

They do not, however, vet, endorse, or certify pet food or control its sale. Instead, it provides a uniform model for feed legislation at the national level.

Nonetheless, AAFCO’s minimal requirements must be met for meals to be labeled as “complete and balanced.” The claim relies on either satisfying the AAFCO’s minimal criteria or performing animal feeding experiments in accordance with the AAFCO’s protocols.

Despite the lack of a formal standard for the term “weight loss” on food labels, the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Food Industries (AAFCO) has established requirements for labeling indicating that a food is “light,” “low calorie,” or “low fat.”

Integrated and well-rounded

Select a nutritionally balanced dog food that is particularly developed for weight control, rather than merely lowering your dog’s portion sizes.

Weight management meals compensate for the fat-to-protein balance seen in regular dog feeds, increasing not only protein, but vitamin and mineral proportions.

Progress Through a Phase of Life

There is no AAFCO official standard for “weight loss” meals, thus the label on weight management foods will indicate “for maintenance of adult dogs.”

Dog food is produced for certain periods of your dog’s life, including Growth and Reproduction (for pups and pregnant dogs), Adult Maintenance (for adults), and All Life Stages.


Purina Pro Plan Adult Weight Management Formula Dry Dog Food, a chicken and rice flakes mix, is our top recommendation since it is suitable for all breed sizes and is fairly priced. physical.

If your dog prefers moist food or is on a diet, Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Vegetable & Chicken Stew blends broth and tiny bits to provide an appetizing texture in a food for weight management.

BestForPets (bestforpets.org) would like to thank visitors for visiting our website to learn about and research the best weight-loss dog foods. We hope that you have selected the proper dog food for weight loss.


How can I determine whether my dog is obese?

It can be difficult, especially with dogs who have thick or fluffy coats, therefore you should evaluate your dog’s body condition score visually and manually (BCS).

Your dog should have an hourglass or tapering waistline when viewed from above, not a protruding abdomen. A side view should reveal an abdominal tuck or curve beginning at the end of the ribs.

Additionally, run your hands down the dog’s ribcage. Dr. Bullen says you should be able to feel the ribs with gentle pressure, similar to what you would do to determine whether a peach or avocado is ripe.

To accomplish weight loss in pets that are somewhat overweight (score 6/9 on the BCS), you may be able to make simple dietary adjustments, such as eliminating treats or trying an over-the-counter light or low-fat dog food.

However, if your dog needs to drop a large amount of weight, you and your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist should collaborate on a weight-loss plan that may involve prescription food and treats, as well as increased physical exercise.

If your veterinarian is unfamiliar with weight reduction, he or she may recommend you to a veterinary nutritionist. If none of these professionals are situated near you, several of them provide online consultations.

But be patient! “We must have reasonable expectations. “Since your pet didn’t acquire weight overnight, it will take nearly twice as long to reduce it,” explains Dr. Bullen.

Keeping your furry friend healthy and delaying or reducing the risk of conditions exacerbated by excess weight, such as diabetes, kidney disease, and arthritis, can take years for some pets.

However, the effort is well worth it to keep your pet fit and healthy and to delay or reduce the risk of such conditions.

Is grain-free dog food beneficial for weight reduction?

No. Grain-free diets are not intended for weight loss in the normal dog, but rather for canines with dietary allergies diagnosed by a veterinarian.

While proponents of grain-free diets assert that they are healthier, there is no credible data or nutritional research to support the use of grain-free foods in dogs that have not been diagnosed with food allergies.

In addition, it is not suggested to feed your dog a grain-free diet because it has been linked to an increase in possibly deadly dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs.

However, if your dog has been diagnosed with food allergies and needs to reduce weight, your veterinarian may suggest a grain-free weight management kibble.

How much food should I give my dog to help him lose weight?

The response is not straightforward. Because he or she is hungry, your dog may develop behavioral difficulties, such as being destructive, if you abruptly reduce the amount of food he or she consumes.

Also, calorie demands vary dependent on factors such as age and amount of physical activity.

Lastly, because dogs require certain nutrients, just lowering the amount of food you give him or her affects the amount of critical proteins, lipids, vitamins, and minerals your dog receives, which might result in nutrient deficiencies.

“Every single pet is a unique individual with a unique weight loss path. “You must devise a plan with your veterinarian or veterinary nutritionist to ensure that your dog receives the proper mix of nutrients while shedding weight at a healthy rate,” advises Dr. Bullen.

Consult with your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist to develop a diet that includes exact estimates for the amount of food your dog requires depending on age, breed size, activity level, and other factors.

Your dog may also benefit from a weight reduction diet prescribed by a veterinarian, depending on how much weight he or she needs to drop, particularly if he or she has underlying health concerns such as renal disease.

Is high-protein dog kibble beneficial for weight reduction?

Maybe. Some dog diets formulated for weight control contain more protein than other brands, as protein conversion requires more energy and promotes lean muscle development, which boosts the metabolism.

Due to the fact that every dog is an individual, however, there is no certainty that a particular diet will result in weight reduction.

Dr. Bullen advises that you and your veterinarian must also collaborate on other elements of weight loss, such as lowering or eliminating the quantity of treats and boosting physical activity.

Author Image

Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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