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Best Dog Foods for Weight Loss

Mike Sagman

By Mike Sagman

Updated: March 19, 2024

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What’s the best dog food for weight loss?

Veterinary specialist, Dr. Donna Spector, recommends feeding your overweight dog a food that contains:

  • Above-average protein1
  • Below-average fat2
  • Below-average calories3

On this page… we’ll share The Dog Food Advisor’s safest and most recommended dog foods for weight loss.

And we’ll answer the 5 most frequently asked questions about how to use a weight loss food to help your dog return to a healthy weight.

The Dog Food Advisor - Editor's choice

Best Dog Foods for Weight Loss April 2024

Here are The Dog Food Advisor's best dog food brands for weight loss for April 2024.

  • 1. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Healthy Weight

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    Life Protection Healthy Weight is one of 21 dry recipes included in our review of the Blue Buffalo Life Protection product line.

    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.

    Read our review of the full Blue Buffalo Basics Dog Food (Dry) range here

    Main Ingredients Deboned chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, barley, pea fiber
    Texture Dry
    Type Grain-inclusive
    Protein Percentage 22%

    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
  • 2. Victor Purpose Senior Healthy Weight Dog Food

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    Victor Senior Healthy Weight is one of 6 dry recipes included in our review of the Victor Purpose product line.

    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.

    Read our review of the full Victor Purpose Dog Food (Dry) range here

    Main Ingredients Beef meal, whole grain brown rice, whole grain millet, grain sorghum, chicken fat
    Texture Dry
    Type Grain-inclusive
    Protein Percentage 30%

    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."

    Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com
  • 3. Orijen Fit and Trim Dog Food

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    Orijen Fit and Trim is one of 9 dry recipes included in our review of the Orijen product line.

    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.

    Read our review of the full Orijen Dog Food (Dry) range here

    Main Ingredients Deboned chicken, chicken liver, turkey liver, cod liver, cage-free eggs
    Texture Dry
    Type Grain-free
    Protein Percentage 48%

    Sample 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."

    Read more buyer reviews
  • 4. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight

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    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.

    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. Highly recommended.

    Read our review of the full Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Dog Food (Dry) range here

    Main Ingredients Chicken, cracked pearled barley, brown rice, pea fiber, corn gluten meal
    Texture Dry
    Type Grain-inclusive
    Protein Percentage 29%

    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."

    Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com
  • 5. Merrick Grain Free Healthy Weight

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    Merrick Healthy Weight is one of 12 dry recipes included in our review of the Merrick Grain-Free product line.

    This Merrick recipe gets the lion’s share of its animal protein from fresh beef as well as chicken meal. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 36% protein, 11% fat and 45% estimated carbs… which results in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 31%.

    A protein-rich, low-fat formula. Highly recommended.

    Read our review of the full Merrick Grain Free Dog Food (Dry) range here

    Main Ingredients Deboned beef, chicken meal, sweet potatoes, potatoes, turkey meal
    Texture Dry
    Type Grain-free
    Protein Percentage 36%

    Sample buyer review...

    "My Bernese strained his hock recently and that warranted a vet visit. The vet wants to see him lose a little weight in hopes that this helps with future strains. He was already eating Merrick brand kibble and raw so this was a no brainer for me to try first. He loves the food and we already saw some weight loss in the 2 weeks he’s been on it. I highly recommend Merrick brand foods!"

    Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com
  • 6. Wellness Core Reduced Fat Dog Food

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    Wellness Core Reduced Fat is one of 12 dry recipes included in our review of the Wellness Core product line.

    Wellness Reduced Fat takes the bulk of its meat protein from deboned turkey, as well as turkey and chicken meals. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 36% protein, 11% fat and 45% estimated carbs… which yields a fat-to-protein ratio of about 30%.

    A superior, weight loss formula. Highly recommended.

    Read our review of the full Wellness Core Reduced Fat Dog Food (Dry) range here

    Main Ingredients Deboned turkey, turkey meal, chicken meal, lentils, peas
    Texture Dry
    Type Grain-free
    Protein Percentage 36%

    Sample buyer review...

    "Our shih tzu has pancreatitis and we struggled with finding a food that will help her. As soon as we made the switch we noticed immediate improvement in her energy level. Wellness has now become our favorite brand and the dogs love it!"

    Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com
  • 7. Natural Balance Fat Dogs

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    Natural Balance Fat Dogs is the only dry kibble included in our review of the Natural Balance Targeted Nutrition product line.

    Natural Balance Fat Dogs derives the largest portion of its animal protein from chicken meal and salmon meal. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 29% protein, 8% fat and 55% estimated carbs… creating a fat-to-protein ratio of about 29%.

    Also contains l-carnitine, an amino acid supplement believed to assist in fat metabolism. A fully balanced, nutritionally complete weight management formula. Highly recommended.

    Read our review of the full Natural Balance Fat Dogs (Dry) range here

    Main Ingredients Chicken meal, salmon meal, chickpeas, dried peas, oat groats
    Texture Dry
    Type Grain-inclusive
    Protein Percentage 29%

    Sample buyer review...

    "My dogs love this food and it’s done wonders, my one dogs weight was 90lbs after 3 months she is 56 pounds now, more active and healthy.."

    Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com
  • 8. Purina Pro Plan Weight Management

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    Weight Management is one of 19 dry recipes included in our review of the Purina Pro Plan product line.

    This classic weight loss recipe gets the greatest portion of its meat protein from fresh chicken and poultry by-product meal. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 31% protein, 10% fat and 51% estimated carbs… producing a fat-to-protein ratio of about 33%.

    Pro Plan Weight Management offers a highly digestible formula with no artificial flavors or coloring agents. A nutrient rich, balanced recipe that’s loaded with antioxidants for a healthy immune system.

    Highly recommended.

    Read our review of the full Purina Pro Plan Dog Food range here

    Main Ingredients Chicken, rice, whole grain corn, poultry by-product meal, corn germ meal
    Texture Dry
    Type Grain-inclusive
    Protein Percentage 31%

    Sample buyer review...

    "My AKC-registered Zeus's Thunder and Lightning, like all beagles, wants to eat constantly and was about four pounds overweight. He has always had Purina Pro Plan - since we picked him up at the breeders - and his vet said that was a very good choice. So when it was time to put him on a diet plan at age four, I asked the vet and this was recommended. Zeus is down to an optimal weight for a 13-inch beagle and the vet says he is doing great. He loves this brand! So do we - all of our pets have been on Purina brands."

    Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com
  • 9. Eagle Pack Reduced Fat Dog Food

    Unrated

    Eagle Pack Reduced Fat is one of 7 dry recipes included in our review of the Eagle Pack product line.

    Eagle Pack Reduced Fat derives the largest share of its meat protein from pork meal. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 27% protein, 7% fat and 59% estimated carbs… producing a fat-to-protein ratio of about 25%.

    A lower-priced, weight loss dog food that doesn’t compromise quality. Highly recommended.

    Read our review of the full Eagle Pack Reduced Fat Formula (Dry) range here

    Main Ingredients Pork meal, de-hulled barley, peas, ground brown rice, oatmeal
    Texture Dry
    Type Grain-inclusive
    Protein Percentage 27%

    Sample buyer review...

    "Gypsy was diagnosed with pancreatitis two years ago, we tried trials and trials of low fat foods, rx food that was expensive and she did not care for. Since switching to eagle pack she has not had a flare (about 5 mo) she loves the food.. I even have my other dog on it and she has lost some weight. HIGHLY recommend."

    Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com
  • 10. Nutro Ultra Small Breed Weight Management

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    Nutro Ultra Small Breed Weight Management is one of 9 dry recipes included in our review of the Nutro Ultra product line.

    Nutro Ultra Small Breed Weight Management gets the majority of its animal protein from fresh chicken and chicken meal. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 29% protein, 13% fat and 50% estimated carbs… which yields a fat-to-protein ratio of about 43%.

    An exceptional, reduced fat formula designed for smaller dogs. Highly recommended.

    Read our review of the full Nutro Ultra Dog Food (Dry) range here

    Main Ingredients Chicken, chicken meal, whole grain barley, whole grain brown rice, whole grain oats
    Texture Dry
    Type Grain-inclusive
    Protein Percentage 29%

    Sample buyer review...

    "I've tried EVERYTHING to help my chipom to lose weight over the past year... raw diet, homemade food diet, less regular food, etc. To no avail. Finally, had the bright idea to try out some diet food. Unsure if he'd even eat it. Well, he LOVES this food! All other dry foods, I've had to add a little bit of canned food for him to eat it. Not this! He scarfs it down and has already lost a bit over half a pound in a week! Love the ingredients in this food, as well, and feel really good about feeding it to my dog."

    Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com
  • 11. Instinct Raw Boost Healthy Weight Dog Food

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    Instinct Raw Boost Healthy Weight is one of 12 dry recipes included in our review of the Instinct Raw Boost product line.

    Raw Boost Healthy Weight derives the greatest portion of its animal protein from both fresh chicken and chicken meal. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 35% protein, 12% fat and 45% estimated carbs… which results in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 34%.

    A higher-end, protein-rich weight loss product that’s free of cereal grain. Highly recommended.

    Read our review of the full Instinct Raw Boost Dog Food (Dry) range here

    Main Ingredients Chicken, chicken meal, peas, tapioca, menhaden fish meal
    Texture Dry
    Type Grain-free
    Protein Percentage 35%

    Sample buyer review...

    "Switch to this from purina healthy weight due to my dog having a lot of allergies and shedding issues from moving to a different state. She loves it and always looks forward to it. It could be a combo of dietary changes but she has lost weight and her coat is shinier as well as less shedding. Her bowel movements also look healthier when I compare it to all the possible fillers purina had! Definitely will continue to buy it!"

    Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com
  • 12. Canidae Pure Healthy Weight Dog Food

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    Canidae Pure Healthy Weight is one of 10 dry recipes included in our review of the Canidae Pure product line.

    This Canidae Healthy Weight product gets most of its animal protein from chicken, chicken meal and turkey meal. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 31% protein, 10% fat and 51% estimated carbs… resulting in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 32%.

    Enthusiastically recommended.

    Read our review of the full Canidae Dog Food range here

    Main Ingredients Chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, sweet potatoes, peas
    Texture Dry
    Type Grain-free
    Protein Percentage 31%

    Sample buyer review...

    "I am pleased to say, that this dry dog food has been excellent for my 120 pound Great Pyr. She'd been having stomach problems for the past month, and this food has been a blessing. She does get 3 small meals a day to help her sensitivity. And, as her Vet wishes her to be only 100 pounds, this weight management dog food is perfect."

    Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com
  • 13. Health Extension Lite Dog Food

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    Health Extension Lite is one of 6 dry recipes included in our review of the Health Extension product line.

    Health Extension Lite derives the bulk of its meat protein from chicken and chicken meal. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 27% protein, 10% fat and 55% estimated carbs… producing a fat-to-protein ratio of about 38%.

    A more affordable, low calorie, grain-inclusive option. Highly recommended.

    Read our review of the full Health Extension Dog Food (Dry) range here

    Main Ingredients Organic deboned chicken, chicken meal, ground brown rice, oatmeal, chicken fat
    Texture Dry
    Type Grain-inclusive
    Protein Percentage 27%

    Sample buyer review...

    "Our Lab Mix has always been quick to “chunk up” if not kept active (Don’t we all). Summer months are so hot it’s hard to stay active so she packs on a few pounds. She’s always eaten grain free weight management food but since the recent concern over heart problems caused by grain free diets I wanted to switch. We went through a couple foods before we found the right match. Worried she would be itchy switching foods but surprisingly she’s less itchy than she was, go figure! She has kept her weight down and her stools are great on this food, and she really likes it, win win all the way. Couldn’t be happier."

    Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com
  • 14. Wellness Core Weight Management Wet Food

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    Grain-Free Weight Management is one of 6 wet recipes included in our review of the Wellness Core product line.

    Wellness Core Weight Management canned dog food acquires the majority of its animal protein from fresh chicken as well as pork liver and whitefish. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 50% protein, 16% fat and 26% estimated carbs… resulting in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 32%.

    It’s also worth noting this formula contains zinc proteinate and 4 other chelated minerals for superior absorption and nutrition. Chelated minerals like these are typically found in top quality brands. Highly recommended.

    Read our review of the full Wellness Core Dog Food (Dry) range here

    Main Ingredients Chicken, chicken broth, turkey broth, pork liver, whitefish
    Texture Dry
    Type Grain-free
    Protein Percentage 50%

    Sample buyer review...

    "This is a great food for your doggy if she has excess weight! Very high protein to satisfy them, but very low fat. Works great for my senior girl, who requires more protein. The best weight reduction food I have found!"

  • 15. Wellness Complete Health Healthy Weight Dog Food

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    Wellness Complete Health Healthy Weight is one of 13 dry recipes included in our review of the Wellness Complete Health product line.

    This Wellness Healthy Weight formula derives the majority of its meat protein from chicken and chicken meal. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 27% protein, 11% fat and 54% estimated carbs… which results in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 42%.

    A quality, low-fat diet for adult dogs. Easily recommended.

    Read our review of the full Wellness Complete Health Dog Food (Dry) range here

    Main Ingredients Deboned chicken, chicken meal, oatmeal, ground brown rice, ground barley
    Texture Dry
    Type Grain-inclusive
    Protein Percentage 27%

    Sample buyer review...

    "On my last visit to the vet I found out my lab was 90(!) pounds. Her ideal weight is around 70 so the vet asked me to get a gram scale and we calculated out how much food for her ideal body weight. My favorite part was the vet didn't push me to buy an expensive prescription diet but let me try my own food choice. I tried 2-3 different brands without success until I switched to wellness healthy weight. After 5 weeks my lab has finally lost 6 pounds through meticulous portion and treat control along with increased exercise."

    Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com
  • 16. Dr. Tim’s Metabolite Weight Management Dog Food

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    Dr. Tim’s Metabolite is one of 8 dry recipes included in our review of the Dr. Tim’s product line.

    Dr. Tim’s Metabolite derives most of its animal protein from chicken meal. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 33% protein, 11% fat and 48% estimated carbs… which results in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 33%.

    An exceptional, low-fat, grain-inclusive recipe. Highly recommended.

    Read our review of the full Dr. Tim’s Dog Food (Dry) range here

    Main Ingredients Chicken meal, brown rice, whole oat groats, dried field peas, powdered cellulose
    Texture Dry
    Type Grain-inclusive
    Protein Percentage 33%

    Sample buyer review...

    "We finally tried this food after giving so many other weight loss/management foods a try. This stuff works! Our chiweenie had gotten pretty lazy in her old age and after losing her sister to diabetes so she packed the weight on. We gave this food a try after no success on other brands and she has dropped 2 pounds already! One more pound to go and then she will be on maintenance. I really contribute the success of her weight loss to this food. Not to mention, she enjoys it. She actually gets excited about meal time and is usually pretty vocal to let me know its time."

    Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com
  • 17. Annamaet Lean Formula Dog Food

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    Annamaet Lean is one of 7 dry recipes included in our review of the Annamaet Grain-Free product line.

    Annamaet Lean takes the majority of its animal protein from chicken meal. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 33% protein, 8% fat and 51% estimated carbs… which creates a fat-to-protein ratio of about 23%.

    An excellent weight loss formula. Highly recommended.

    Read our review of the full Annamaet Dog Food (Dry) range here

    Main Ingredients Chicken meal, field peas, lentils, potato, tapioca
    Texture Dry
    Type Grain-free
    Protein Percentage 33%

    Sample buyer review...

    "I have struggled with my Annabelle's diabetes (she's 13 years old) for the past 6 months--tried the Hill's Science dry WD and wet food, also the Royal Canine Glyco-balance (both foods she hated but ate a little(despite everything, her numbers were way off)I read the reviews for Annamaet and added this to her daily dry food two weeks ago--she loved it so much that I increased the amount daily so that it was nearly all of the Annamaet--today, went to the vet, he called and was SO pleased that her numbers after a day of testing was WELL below the accepted level--what did I do differently he asked? Told him that I added this food, he asked for the name and where I purchased it, will now recommend this to his diabetic patients! Win-Win!!!!!!"

    Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

More Top Picks

To view more top dog foods that can help with weight loss… click the link below that best meets your feeding needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much weight loss food should I feed my dog?

Since it’s impossible to predict the exact serving size that’s “perfect” for each overweight dog… or for each brand.

So, start with the feeding instructions printed on the package… or the amount suggested by our dog food calculator.

Then, over time…

Adjust that serving size up or down… to reach and maintain your dog’s ideal weight.

How can I determine my dog's ideal weight?

A 2002 landmark study4 found that…

Dogs fed an amount of food to maintain their ideal body condition lived 1.8 years longer… than other dogs.

That’s nearly 2 extra years of life.

The video below explains how to use the concept of “body condition” to determine and maintain your dog’s ideal weight.

What's the safest rate of weight loss for an overweight dog?

A dog that loses weight too quickly can develop serious health problems.

Which is why…

It’s important to keep the rate of weight loss to about 1-2% of your dog’s total body weight per week.5

For example…

If you’re feeding an overweight, 100-pound German Shepherd, your pet should be able to safely lose about 1 to 2 pounds per week.

What's the best way to switch my dog to a weight loss food?

To minimize the risk of digestive upset…

It’s best to transition from regular dog food to a weight loss food gradually.

Take your time. Don’t rush.

Start by mixing about 25% of the “new” weight loss food… with 75% of the regular food. Then, slowly increase that amount to a full 100%… over the next 5 to 7 days.

What are the best low fat dog foods?

Finding a quality, low fat dog food can be difficult.

That’s because most tend to contain too little meat… with more potatoes and cereal grains.

However, in contrast…

Better low fat recipes contain not only lower fat… but also a significant amount of meat-based protein.

With that goal in mind…

Our research team has created a list of dog foods that meets these specific guidelines.

You can get access to a list of The Dog Food Advisor’s most recommended low fat dog foods here.

Sources

1: Average protein: 27% (dry) and 38% (canned)

2: Average fat: 16% (kibble) and 23% (canned)

3: Modified by The Dog Food Advisor: no more than 400 calories per cup of dry dog food or 350 calories per 13 ounce can of wet dog food


5: Linder DE, “How Fast Is Too Fast For My Pet To Lose Weight?“, Petfoodology (October 9, 2018), Clinical Nutrition Service, Cummings Veterinary Medical Center at Tufts University

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