Our Top Picks for Weight Loss in Dogs

Written by Opal
Updated: January 10, 2023
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Key Points

  • The #1 Best Overall dog food for weight loss is Merrick Grain-Free Healthy Weight Recipe Dry Dog Food.
  • Maintaining the proper weight is vital to keeping your pet healthy.
  • High-quality protein is important for weight loss.
  • Good choices for weight control food utilize high quality protein and fiber to help your dog feel full with fewer calories.

As pet owners, we adore feeding our dogs treats whether they’ve “done something good” or not. Before you know it, you’re looking at your pet and realizing that they’ve gained weight. If your pup has a thick coat, it can hide their true body condition so it is a good idea to know your dog’s ideal weight and check it regularly. It might be difficult for dog owners to tell if their dog is overweight, but nearly all veterinary offices will allow you to check your pooch’s weight for free. It is never a bad idea to stop in at your vet’s office just for a few treats (in moderation) and a weigh in. Easy trips like this can help ease anxiety about other trips to the vet as well.  

Veterinarians will inform you that your pooch should eat less, have fewer treats, or take longer walks. It doesn’t matter how your dog became overweight; what’s important is that he attains and maintains a healthy weight. If your pup struggles with keeping the pounds off, there is food available to assist him to lose weight. These foods are well balanced to provide good nutrition without adding extra calories. Good weight-loss food will use high-quality proteins, fats, and fiber to achieve this.

To support your dog in losing weight, you don’t need to be an expert in canine nutrition. We’ve discovered the finest kibble for weight reduction and weight control so you can begin your dog’s weigh-loss journey today.

  1. Merrick Grain-Free Healthy Weight Recipe Dry Dog Food
  2. Merrick Grain-Free Healthy Weight Recipe Dry Dog Food
    • No additives, fillers or animal by-products
    • All-natural ingredient list
    • High-protein ingredients help dogs burn fat and stay satisfied
    • Extra glucosamine soothes joints that ache from extra weight
    • Probiotic ingredients aid in digestion
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  3. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Healthy Weight Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
  4. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Healthy Weight Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
    • Ideal for older dogs who need to control their weight
    • Nutrients include omega fatty acids from flaxseed and fish meal, which are beneficial to dogs' hair, skin, joints and eyesight.
    • Chicory root is high in fiber to keep dogs satisfied longer
    • High in protein
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  5. Blue Buffalo Freedom Adult Healthy Weight Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
  6. Blue Buffalo Freedom Adult Healthy Weight Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
    • Contains lean protein
    • Helps your dog convert bad HDL cholesterol to healthy LDL
    • Helps dogs maintain their optimal weight
    • Includes fruits and veggies, which are rich in vitamins and minerals necessary for overall body processes
    • Fortified with antioxidants and omega-fatty acids
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  7. Nutro Natural Choice Healthy Weight
  8. Nutro Natural Choice Healthy Weight
    • Great value for weight control dog food
    • Wholesome ingredients include lentils, chicken and sweet potatoes
    • Lamb and chicken provide amino acids and glucosamine, ideal for joints and digestion
    Check Chewy Check Amazon

#1. Best Overall: Merrick Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food

Merrick Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food is at the top of the list when it comes to the best dog food that will help your pooch lose weight. One of the primary reasons we picked this grain-free formula is that it contains no additives or animal by-products that are either poor quality or unnecessary. 

Merrick is noted for including all-natural ingredients to aid in canine weight management. Foods high in fillers are high in empty calories, which can rapidly mount up on the scale. Merrick’s has a lot of protein, which can help your dog burn fat and stay satisfied for longer.

Deboned beef, turkey meal, chicken meal, and chicken fat are the primary ingredients. Your dog will benefit from the extra glucosamine because it is extremely beneficial to their joints. Excess weight can rapidly lead to joint discomfort, which glucosamine can help to reduce. 

This kibble also contains enough probiotics to keep your dog’s digestive tract working properly. Overall, we can’t think of better dog food to take the top slot from Merrick Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food.

Several reviewers said that their dogs wouldn’t eat this food.

Pros and Cons of Merrick Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food

ProsCons
This grain-free recipe is free from additives and animal by-products.Some pet parents said that their dog wouldn’t eat this food.
This formula includes deboned beef, turkey meal, chicken meal, and chicken fat as its primary ingredients.
Glucosamine may help reduce joint discomfort.
Probiotics help keep your dog’s digestive tract working properly.
Best Overall
Merrick Grain-Free Healthy Weight Recipe Dry Dog Food
  • No additives, fillers or animal by-products
  • All-natural ingredient list
  • High-protein ingredients help dogs burn fat and stay satisfied
  • Extra glucosamine soothes joints that ache from extra weight
  • Probiotic ingredients aid in digestion
Check Chewy Check Amazon

2. Best Dog for Senior Dogs: Blue Buffalo Wilderness Healthy Weight Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Healthy Weight Dog Food is a great choice to help older dogs control or lose weight. As dog’s age, their diet needs to be adjusted slightly as they often become less active.

Omega fatty acids included in flaxseed and fish meal are beneficial to a dog’s hair, skin, joints, and eyesight. Blue Buffalo also includes chicory root, which is high in fiber and helps to keep your dog’s digestive tract healthy.

Many pet parents agree that the Blue Buffalo Wilderness line is quite outstanding. It’s high in protein thanks to the chicken meal and chicken.

It’s important to note that this recipe also includes peas, which have been linked to dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), a serious and often fatal heart condition in dogs.

Pros and Cons of Blue Buffalo Wilderness Healthy Weight Dog Food

ProsCons
This weight loss recipe includes omega fatty acids from flaxseed and fish meal to support dogs’ hair, skin, joint, and eyesight health.This recipe includes pea protein, which has been linked to dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), a serious and often fatal heart condition in dogs.
It also includes chicory root, which is high in fiber, to keep dogs’ digestive tracts healthy.
It’s high in protein thanks to chicken meal and chicken.
Best for Older Dogs
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Healthy Weight Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
  • Ideal for older dogs who need to control their weight
  • Nutrients include omega fatty acids from flaxseed and fish meal, which are beneficial to dogs' hair, skin, joints and eyesight.
  • Chicory root is high in fiber to keep dogs satisfied longer
  • High in protein
Check Chewy Check Amazon

3. Best Grain Free: Blue Buffalo Freedom Adult Healthy Weight Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

If your dog is overweight and requires a grain-free diet, look no further than Blue Buffalo Freedom Adult Healthy Weight Grain-Free Dry Dog Food. This recipe starts with real chicken as the first ingredient. It has a careful balance of calories and fat to help your dog attain and maintain a healthy body weight.

This grain-free, gluten-free formula includes Blue Buffalo’s proprietary LifeSource Bits, a precise blend of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that support your dog’s immune system health and a healthy oxidative balance.

What it doesn’t include is just as important as what it does. This weight loss recipe contains no chicken (or poultry) by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors or preservatives.

It’s important to note that, like our #2 choice (above), this dog food includes peas, which have been linked to dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs. This heart condition is serious and can be fatal.

Pros and Cons of Blue Buffalo Freedom Adult Healthy Weight Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

ProsCons
The first ingredient in this grain-free, gluten-free dog food is chicken.This weight loss recipe includes peas, which have been linked to dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs. This serious heart condition can be fatal.
The recipe features a careful balance of calories and fat to help your dog attain and maintain a healthy body weight.
It includes LifeSource Bits, a precise blend of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that support your dog’s immune system health and a healthy oxidative balance.
It’s free from chicken (or poultry) by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors or preservatives.
Best Grain-Free for All Breeds
Blue Buffalo Freedom Adult Healthy Weight Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
  • Contains lean protein
  • Helps your dog convert bad HDL cholesterol to healthy LDL
  • Helps dogs maintain their optimal weight
  • Includes fruits and veggies, which are rich in vitamins and minerals necessary for overall body processes
  • Fortified with antioxidants and omega-fatty acids
Check Chewy Check Amazon

4. Best for Adult Dogs: NUTRO Wholesome Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food

NUTRO Wholesome Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food is an excellent weight control dog food for adult dogs of all breeds.

The nutrients in this dog chow are fantastic. Lentils, chicken, and sweet potatoes are included, giving your adult dog a delightful supper that won’t add to his weight gain. There are also lamb and chicken meals that are high in amino acids and glucosamine, which are good for your dog’s joints and digestion.

NUTRO employs satisfying complex carbohydrates like rice, which won’t irritate your dog’s stomach. And you’ll be glad to know that it’s made in the US from globally sourced ingredients.

One thing to keep in mind about this choice is that it contains a lot of salt. If your dog has hypertension, you might want to try a different option from our selection. Also, several reviewers reported that their dogs had digestive issues after eating this food.

Pros and Cons of NUTRO Wholesome Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food

ProsCons
This adult weight loss formula is appropriate for dogs of all breeds.This dog food contains a lot of salt. If your dog has hypertension, please choose a different option from our selection.
The recipe includes lentils, chicken, and sweet potato, ingredients that won’t contribute to weight gain.Several reviewers said that their dogs experienced digestive issues after eating this food.
Lamb and chicken meals are high in amino acids and glucosamine, which support dogs’ joint and digestive health.
This dry dog food includes complex carbohydrates like rice, which won’t irritate dogs’ stomachs.
It’s made in the US from globally sourced ingredients.
Best for Adults
Nutro Natural Choice Healthy Weight
  • Great value for weight control dog food
  • Wholesome ingredients include lentils, chicken and sweet potatoes
  • Lamb and chicken provide amino acids and glucosamine, ideal for joints and digestion
Check Chewy Check Amazon

Choosing the Best: What to Look For

Healthy Fats and Probiotics for Gut Health

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help your dog’s digestive tract work properly. If you pick meals that contain probiotics, your dog may be less likely to have stomach pain while switching diets, and his stomach will be better suited to digest his food. 

Search for food that has omega-3 or omega-6 fatty acids, which are good for your dog’s health. Healthy fats provide several advantages, including healthier joints, enhanced vision, and a lustrous coat.

Your pup’s food has to include the vitamins, minerals, and appropriate levels of important macros such as proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and fatty acids that he needed to keep healthy. Look for the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) seal of approval to make sure the food meets all the well-established dietary guidelines.

Lower Calorie Count 

The bulk of weight-loss foods is lower in calories than typical dog food. In principle, such meals should have the same amount so that your pup gets full after eating. This is normally accomplished by increasing the amount of fiber in their diet. 

Fiber has very few calories, but it fills up a lot of space in your dog’s stomach. In addition, many weight-loss meals are richer in protein and lower in fat. 

Because fat provides more calories per weight than proteins or carbs, this decreases the caloric value of the meal. Your dog will get the nutrition it needs thanks to the additional protein.

Overall Taste 

Your dog will stop eating if the weight-loss food does not appeal to their taste buds. As a result, to discourage your dog from embarking (pun intended) on a hunger strike, look for foods that contain appetizing proteins and fats.

The Different Types of Dog Food for Weight Loss and Weight Control: Pros and Cons Compared

Let’s talk a little bit about the advantages and disadvantages of the most common types of dog food that are designed to help your pooch lose weight. ​​

Dry Dog Food

ProsCons
Available in larger quantitiesGoes bad quicker than other options
Usually more affordable Can be hard for some dogs to chew
Several flavor options available
Helps with dental health by removing plaque and tartar when dogs chew

Soft Canned Food

ProsCons
Easier for dogs to eatDoesn’t remove of tartar or plaque
Can be used to hide medicationIs more expensive than dry dog food
Tends to be tastier than dry food

Our Criteria: How We Choose the Best Options

  • Quality ingredients: Overweight dogs need a good quality food that meets all of the nutritional needs without adding any extra calories. We look for high quality proteins, low levels of health fats, and complex carbs that provide heathy fiber without any unhealthy fillers. The products that we have recommended contain healthy amounts of protein such as chicken, beef, fish, or pork along with natural ingredients like pumpkin, and vitamins and minerals which help keep you pup full and happy.
  • Flavor: In our research, we’ve found that dogs prefer foods that have some sort of meat component in the ingredients. Most of our recommendations contain lean meats and healthy fats that provide omega-3s.
  • Freshness: We’ve included several types of dog treats on our list so you can have an option that works best for you. Our overall best is a freeze-dried option, which seals in meat flavors very well. We also included a chewable treat and a cookie treat. All treats fit our criteria for freshness.
  • Value for Money: While these foods are not the cheapest out there, they are made from very high quality ingredients to ensure your best friend can shed some pounds in the safest, healthiest way possible.

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About the Author

When she's not busy playing with her several guinea pigs or her cat Finlay Kirstin is writing articles to help other pet owners. She's also a REALTOR® in the Twin Cities and is passionate about social justice. There's nothing that beats a rainy day with a warm cup of tea and Frank Sinatra on vinyl for this millennial.

Our Top Picks for Weight Loss in Dogs FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How much should I feed my dog if he needs to lose weight?

How many pounds per week can my dog lose?

An accurate pet scale will help you monitor your dog’s weight loss and ensure that they’re not losing weight too rapidly.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.