Pet obesity is a growing problem in both dogs and cats (1). Studies found that it's related to poor food management on the dog owner's part, and may be cured when taking into account interrelationships between social factors, proper diet and exercise (2).

Helping a dog lose weight improves their quality of life, prevents health issues and even increases a dog's lifespan by 2-3 years (3, 4, 5). A 25% reduction in food for fat dogs results in an increased median life span and decreases a chance of multiple chronic diseases in dogs (6).

For overweight dogs, seeking veterinary or canine nutritionist help is recommended. Have them come up with a well-tailed dietary plan and exercise regime used alongside best weight loss dog food for fat dogs. Some low calorie dog food formulas are formulated specifically for weight loss, keeping pets full, providing all the essential nutrition but not going over a certain caloric limit (based on breed). Those will often be higher in protein content and lower in fat than average. Some of the best brands are below.

Is My Dog Overweight?

Dog Body Condition Score Chart (BCS)To determine whether or not your dog is overweight, do some tests using a dog body condition score chart.

Feel the dog’s ribs with your hands. The ribs should be noticeable to the touch. There should be fat on them, and their shape shouldn’t be visible through the skin and fur, but they should be noticeable to the touch. If you can’t easily and distinctly feel your dog’s ribs, the dog's overweight.

Check the area at the end of the dog’s back, just before the tail. There should be a slight but distinct flatness there. The bones shouldn’t protrude. If they do, the pet is too thin, but if you can’t feel any bones whatsoever, then the dog is overweight.

Check other prominent bones on the dog’s body. Feel your pet's neck, shoulders, spine and hips. Again, if you can’t feel them well enough, your dog’s overweight.

Take a look at your dog from above. Your pooch should have a definite waistline behind the ribs (see the chart above). If it’s too prominent, your dog’s too thin, but if there’s no waist at all, they're too fat.

Look at your dog from the side. The belly should be smaller than the ribs. It shouldn’t be too small, because that means the dog is too thin. If the belly is as big as the ribs or bigger, your dog is overweight.

What to Do If My Dog Is Overweight?

As the above studies have indicated, for best results you should combine four actions as part of your dog's weight loss game plan, in that order:

  1. Consultation with a vet/nutritionist
  2. Weight loss dog food
  3. Exercise
  4. Social factors

A consultation with a professional should be the first step. While your dog's extra weight can be due to lack of exercise or excess calories in their food, it can also be the result of a disease. Weight gain may be a sign of metabolic issues, hormonal problems, or because of spraying/neutering.

While exercising your dog is relatively simple, switching them onto one of the best weight loss dog food brands which they haven't tried before may be more complex. It's easy to wade into the territory of a malnourished dog, so your pet's diet still needs to be above average in protein, vitamin and minerals.

A good weight loss dog food must contain higher fiber content and, ideally, added probiotics. Studies show that both of these factors can help with staying fuller, improved digestion and help with weight loss.

What Constitutes the Best Weight Loss Dog Food Brand?

Not all veterinarians are well-versed in canine nutrition. If you need to do some of your own research, it's still highly recommended that you reach out to canine nutritionist.

To summarize the three golden rules of a the best weight loss dog food:

It should have above average protein. The average protein in regular dry dog foods is 29% and in canned dog food it's 40%.

It should have below average fat. The average fat in regular dry dog food brands is 16% and in canned dog food it's 23%.

It should have below average calories, meaning no more than 400 calories per cup of dry dog food or canned dog food.

Below we've ranked several of the best weight loss dog food brands based on the above factors. Note that these aren't your only choices, and you can find other good dog food for weight loss out there, or even make your own homemade meals (as long as they've been vet recommended and approved).

The Best Weight Loss Dog Food Brands

1 Victor Dog Food Senior Healthy Weight Management Diet

Victor Dog Food Senor Healthy Weight Management Diet earns the first spot on our list of best weight loss dog food brands for their quality of included ingredients, nutrient-dense formula, added supplements to make up for less calories, and company's reputation. Free of any soy, corn or wheat, just like all the other Victor Dog Food recipes, it also doesn't contain any artificial flavors, preservatives or colors.

VICTOR Super Premium Dog Food – Purpose - Senior...
  • HIP & JOINT HEALTH: This...
  • MADE IN THE USA: We proudly...

The recipe is rich in several essential vitamins and minerals important for dogs on a diet. It also includes L-carnitine, shown in studies to speed up weight loss, and it's lower than average in fat and calories. This is a premium dog food from a company that carefully designs their recipes. Victor is one of the most popular dog food brands in Europe.


2 Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Reduced Fat Dog Food

Wellness CORE have earned their reputation among pet owners many years ago, and they have different formulas for specific cases. Their weight loss dog food recipe is free of corn, soy, wheat, or other grains. This is a more expensive brand with high-quality meat as its main ingredient, working in conjunction with a blend of vegetables and nutritional supplements.

Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food,...
  • WHOLE BODY HEALTH: Supported...

While originally manufactured for dogs with specific health conditions requiring less fat in their diet, due to that and lower calories, this easily ends up also being one of the best weight loss dog food recipes out there. It contains no artificial preservatives, colors or flavors. It's richer in protein and has added L-carnitine for better weight control, and a stable, healthy weight loss.


3 Annamaet Grain Free Lean Dry Dog Food

Another viable grain free option, this Annamaet formula is a mix of chicken, duck and herring. It is a “holistic food” and like with most similar quality brands, it doesn't contain any soy, corn, wheat or other grains, and also has no any artificial preservatives, colors or flavors. Instead, it includes a larger amount of high quality meat as the first ingredient, with added supplements to make up for low caloric content.

Being lower in fat and above average in protein, and added omega-3 fatty acids and chelated minerals makes it another one of the best dog foods for weight loss for you to choose from. The presence of L-carnitine is here as well to speed up weight loss for overweight dogs or larger breed puppies.


4 Halo Spot's Stew Healthy Weight Recipe for Dogs

Formally called Spot's Stew recipe has now been repackaged in this Halo Spot’s Stew Healthy Weight Grain Free Turkey and Duck formula. Focusing more on improving digestion and including bio-available nutrients, this recipe is different to other best weight loss dog food brands mentioned above.

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  • 14-lb bag of Halo Holistic...
  • High-quality ingredients: This...
  • Healthy skin and coat for...
  • Responsibly sourced: Halo...
  • Grain free dog food recipe...

The turkey and duck combination is also rather rare, so if your pooch has a taste for it, this may be a good alternative option to try, particularly if the dog refused to eat other formulas with more “common” protein sources. It has no GMOs, no meat meals, no preservatives or artificial colors and flavors. This weight loss dog food has reduced calories and fat, and added L-carnitine to speed up the dog’s metabolism and increase calorie burn.


5 Fromm Gold Coast Grain Free Weight Management

The first entry from Fromm company (with their wet dog food mentioned below), this Coast Grain free weight management dog food is a good alternative if none of the previous best weight loss dog food entries seemed to fit your requirements, or if your pooch doesn't take to their taste.

Made from a special blend of whitefish and salmon, this is particularly great for dogs with a taste for fish. Low in calories and fat, without sacrificing any of the other valuable nutrients, Fromm Gold Coast Grain Free Weight Management is higher than average in protein, with added L-carnitine.


6 Taste of the Wild Southwest Canyon Canned Dog Food

Taste of the Wild is one of the most popular brands among pet owners and a long-time best seller on Amazon. While their dry foods didn't make our list of best weight loss dog foods, this canned formula has. This could be a good addition (to mix) to an existing dry kibble or used by itself because it's a highly digestible formula made from real roasted wild boar.

Taste of the Wild Southwest Canyon Grain-Free...
  • Taste of the Wild Southwest...
  • Nutrient-rich and provides the...
  • FAMILY-OWNED and MADE in the...

The added flavor of sweet potatoes and peas, as well as other fruits and vegetables, only compliment this recipe and add to its nutrient variety and improved digestibility. This one has a higher source for natural antioxidants compared to some of the other best weight loss dog food brands mentioned above.


7 Fromm Four-Star Canned Dog Food (Shredded Chicken)

This Shredded Chicken Entrée canned dog food by Fromm is a good alternative to Taste of the Wild wet dog food, either of which can work well for a dog's weight loss plan. Rated as one of the best weight loss dog food canned varieties on several dog food rankings websites, the Fromm Four-Star is more expensive than average but generally well-accepted among picky dogs due to improved taste and smell.

Fromm Four-Star Canned Dog Food - Shredded Chicken...
51 Reviews
Fromm Four-Star Canned Dog Food - Shredded Chicken...
  • Case of 12, 12oz cans
  • Fromm Four Star dog food
  • Shredded Chicken Entree

Rich in protein but low in fat and calories, it's the recipe that many pet owners discover much later in their dog's weight loss journey. It's not a very popular or commonly found recipe, nor is it affordable for many dog owners, but if none of the other formulas seemed to work, this may be the one you should try next.


8 EUKANUBA Weight Control Adult Dry Dog Food

A classical entry is EUKANUBA's Weight Control Adult Dry Dog Food. Specifically designed for overweight dogs or even less active smaller breeds, this recipe has a special high fiber mixture made from natural beet pulp and prebiotics, ensuring a comfortable weight loss, improving digestion, while also giving your pet a feeling of satisfaction between meals.

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  • Contains One (1) 5-Lb. Bag Of...
  • Our Weight Control Dog Food,...
  • This Premium Adult Small Breed...
  • Eukanuba Adult Dog Food...
  • This High-Performance Dog Food...

It is low in fat and calories, higher than average in protein with added L-carnitine. The recipe is hard to find, however, because the company doesn't release too many bags, therefore, you'll often see it unavailable in stores. Note, also, that this is mostly designed for smaller breeds and the company hasn't released any options for large breeds.


9 Tim's Premium Metabolite Weight Management Formula

A great mixture of salmon, chicken and eggs, this Dr. Tim’s recipe is rich on protein, but low in calories and fat. It's just what your dog needs for losing weight, provided you can find where to purchase, as similar to Eukanuba, it's one of the best weight loss dog food brands that's difficult to find.

Tim's Premium All Natural Pet Food Metabolite Weight Management Dog Formula has added L-carnitine, omega-3 fatty acids and 77% of the protein in this formula is animal derived. The complex fiber blend of this dog food recipe is also designed to keep dogs on a dietary plan fuller between meals.


10 Premium Edge Healthy Weight Weight Reduction Formula

The final mention among the best weight loss dog foods is a lesser known company Premium Edge, and their recipe included for its nutritional content and well-reduced caloric amount. Their Healthy Weight formula for adult dogs in particular is well regarded.

Premium Edge Healthy Weight I Weight Reduction...
  • Formulated To Maintain Ideal...
  • Moderate Protein And Low Fat...
  • Contains L-Carnitine For...

Unlike other recipes, this is a recipe with slgihtly more calories and designed for maintenance after a weight loss. It contains L-carnitine, which helps with a dog's metabolism and weight control, and you can still use it for an overweight dog; however, you might need to switch to a different brand once your pet hits weight loss plateau.

The Best Homemade Weight Loss Dog Food Recipes

Best Homemade Weight Loss Dog Food Recipes

The above list of best weight loss dog food brands are all store-bought recipes. However, you can also try homemade dog food for weight loss recipes if you have the time to do. Below are some potential recipes to try, but it's highly recommended that you discuss them with your veterinarian or canine nutritionist. For tips on making most of these weight loss dog food recipes, see Samantha's guide/video right here.

1. Chicken Dog Food Recipe
1000 kcal and 22 grams of fat per 1000 kcal

  • 14 ounces of chicken thighs (remove the skin and the fat)
  • 1 pound of sweet potato, baked with the skin
  • Half a pound of broccoli stalks
  • 2 ounces of chicken liver
  • 1 ounce of chicken hearts (or use 3 ounces of liver but no heart)
  • 1 level teaspoon of eggshell powder
  • A quarter teaspoon of iodized salt
  • 40 to 120 IUs (2 to 6 drops) of vitamin E

2. Beef Dog Food Recipe
1000 kcal and 24 grams of fat per 1000 kcal

  • 12 ounces of ground beef, at least 90 – 95% lean
  • 12 ounces of cooked brown or white rice
  • 6 ounces of red leaf lettuce
  • 1 ounce of beef liver
  • 1 ounce of beef heart
  • One and a half teaspoons of bone meal
  • Three quarters teaspoon of hemp oil (or walnut oil or twice as much canola oil)
  • A quarter teaspoon of cod liver oil
  • A quarter teaspoon of kelp
  • 20 to 100 IUs (l to 5 drops) vitamin E

3. Mixed Protein Dog Food Recipe
4200 kcal and 24 grams of fat per 1000 kcal

  • 3 pounds of cooked whole wheat macaroni
  • 2 pounds of chicken thighs (remove the skin and fat)
  • 1 pound of ground beef, at least 90-95% lean
  • 1 pound of broccoli stalks
  • 1 pound of red leaf lettuce
  • Half a pound of chicken liver
  • Half a pound of beef heart
  • 1 can (3.5 ounces) of sardines
  • 1 egg white from 1 large egg
  • 4 teaspoons of eggshell powder (or 6,000 mg calcium from other sources)
  • 1 teaspoon of kelp meal
  • 200+ lUs (10+ drops) vitamin E

4. Raw Chicken with Bones Recipe
1000 kcal and 24 grams of fat per 1000 kcal

  • 6 ounces of chicken necks (remove the skin and fat)
  • Half a pound of chicken thighs (remove the skin and fat)
  • 1 pound of sweet potato. baked with its skin
  • Half a pound of broccoli stalks
  • 3 ounces of chicken liver
  • A quarter teaspoon of iodized salt
  • 40 to 100 IUs (2 to 5 drops) vitamin E

The preparation of all of these weight loss dog food recipes is similar. The boneless meat can be either cooked or raw, but the boned meat should always be cooked. The vegetables should either be only slightly cooked or pureed in a food processor or blender. The more starchy carbs should always be well cooked. After that, simply mix the ingredients and serve.

The size of the portions depends on the size of the dog:

  • 1700 kcal for a 100-pound dog
  • 1000 kcal for a 50-pound dog
  • 600 kcal for a 25-pound dog
  • 175 kcal for a 5-pound dog

Obviously, these are all approximate recommendations. They depend on your dog’s breed, activity and metabolism, and how overweight a dog current is. Talk with your vet or a canine nutritionist about this. And whichever option you choose – commercial or homemade dog food – higher quality ingredients will keep your dog fuller and healthier when they're on a caloric restriction plan and they're active.

READ NEXT: How to Help An Overweight Dog Lose Weight

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What Is Best Weight Loss Dog Food