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Best dog food for weight loss

Use whole foods and reducing calories to help your dog lose weight

Profile picture of Jessica Render
by Jessica Render ConsumerAffairs Research Team
man taking bulldog on walk

Being overweight puts your dog at risk for developing a serious health complication, like diabetes, arthritis or heart disease. Along with exercise, a diet consisting of higher protein and lower fat can help a dog lose weight. Most dogs need about 25–30 calories per pound per day to maintain their weight. For example, a 30-pound dog needs around 800 calories a day. You can subtract from this figure to help your dog lose weight.

What is the best dog food for weight loss?

There are a variety of dog foods on the market advertised to promote healthy weight in dogs. We’ve selected five of our top picks to highlight below. Each of these recipes includes a low-fat diet, with little-to-no artificial, synthetic or filler ingredients for a healthy, balanced meal. Consider adopting a grain-free diet for your dog if are concerned about them filling up with fillers instead of real ingredients.

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Our top pick Visit website
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Runner-UpRead Reviews
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Best for customizable diets
NomNomNow

NomNomNow offers fresh, never frozen pre-prepared food using whole, restaurant-quality ingredients. All meals are made-to-order and customized to your pet’s needs. Customers fill out a survey about their pet including their current and goal weight and NomNomNow delivers custom pre-prepared fresh food straight to your door on a weekly basis.

Company nameContact
NomNomNow meal option
LogoSummary
4 PROTEIN OPTIONS
  • Price: $$$
  • Type: Fresh
  • Protein: Based on customization
  • Fat: Based on customization
  • Calories per serving: Based on customization

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Best for grain-free diets
Canidae

Canidae is a brand with several special diet options, including grain-free, limited ingredient, ancestral diets, small-breed diets. For weight loss, we recommend their PURE diet, which is a limited ingredient diet designed for easy digestion for dogs with sensitive stomachs.

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Canidae pure resolve
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CANIDAE GRAIN-FREE PURE RESOLVE
  • Price: $$
  • Type: Dry
  • Protein: 28%
  • Fat: 9%
  • Calories per serving: 468 kcals/cup

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Best for moist or wet diets
FreshPet

If you have a dog that can’t chew kibble, or simply prefers wet food, FreshPet is our favorite wet food option. Their website has a formula recommendation tool where you can enter your dogs preferences and needs, including weight loss, to be matched with the right formula for your dog. The Vital formulas are grain-free with no artificial colors, flavors, preservatives and no animal by-products.

Company nameContact
FreshPet vital
LogoSummary
FRESHPET VITAL GRAIN-FREE RECIPE
  • Price: $$
  • Type: Wet: rolls or pouches
  • Protein: 13%
  • Fat: 11%
  • Calories per serving: 409 kcals/cup

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Best for calorie reduction diets
Blue Buffalo

Blue Buffalo’s Healthy Weight recipe contains the lowest calories of all the formulas on our list, making it easier to feed your dog a calorie-reduction diet without them feeling like they’re missing out. The diets are corn-free, wheat-free and have no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives and no chicken by-product meals.

Company nameContact
Blue Buffalo healthy weight recipe
LogoSummary
BLUE BUFFALO HEALTHY WEIGHT RECIPE
  • Price: $
  • Type: Dry
  • Protein: 20%
  • Fat: 9%
  • Calories per serving: 322 kcals/cup

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How to tell if your dog is overweight

If you’re not sure your dog is overweight, consider using a body condition score for dogs, which is similar to a BMI for people. Ideally, your dog will land in the middle of the score. Check to see if you can feel your dog’s ribs. You should also be able to distinguish between your dog’s chest and stomach. Overweight dogs also might breathe heavier when walking, move slower or sleep more often.  

How much should my dog weigh?

Not all dogs are the same. Your dog's ideal weight depends on several factors, including breed, gender and height. Here's a look at healthy weights for the country's top 10 dog breeds.

Top 10 dog breedsHealthy male weightHealthy female weight
Labrador Retriever64–79 lbs.55–71 lbs.
German Shepherd66–88 lbs.49–71 lbs.
Golden Retriever65–70 lbs.55–65 lbs.
French BulldogUnder 28 lbs.Under 28 lbs.
Bulldog50 lbs.40 lbs.
Beagle20–30 lbs.20–30 lbs.
Standard Poodle60–70 lbs.40–50 lbs.
Rottweiler95–135 lbs.80–100 lbs.
Yorkshire Terrier (Yorkie)7 lbs.7 lbs.
German Shorthaired Pointer (GSP)55–70 lbs.45–60 lbs.
dog standing outside

How to help a dog lose weight

More than half of dogs in the United States are overweight, according to research from Banfield Pet Hospital. Since 2007, the number of overweight canine pets has increased a staggering 158 percent. When dogs are heavier than they should be, they are more prone to suffer from conditions such as heart disease, arthritis and diabetes, as well as a lower life expectancy. Luckily, there are ways to help your dog return to a healthy weight:

  1. Increase your dog’s daily exercise
    Almost every dog stands to benefit from 30 minutes to two hours of physical activity every day. Often, a casual walk around the neighborhood will suffice.
  2. Decrease your dog’s food portion size
    Instead of feeding once or twice a day, feed your dog smaller portions multiple times a day to keep blood sugar levels steady. Keep water available to your dog all day, but don’t leave food out after more than 15 minutes since dogs can’t self-regulate.
  3. Feed your dog weight management dog food
    Buying the best diet dog food for your pet’s nutritional needs is another important way to keep your dog’s weight under control. Look for a formula that offers more protein and less fat with a reduced calorie count.

By making a few simple changes, you can help your dog lose weight and live a healthier, happier life.

Ready to help your dog lose weight?

Take our two minute quiz to find the right dog food for your dog.

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Profile picture of Jessica Render
by Jessica Render ConsumerAffairs Research Team

As a member of the ConsumerAffairs research team, Jessica Render is dedicated to providing well-researched, valuable content designed to help consumers make informed purchase decisions they can feel confident making. She holds a degree in journalism from Oral Roberts University.