BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details

Best Dog Food for Weight Management

Updated July 2023
Bottom line
Best of the Best
Hill's Science Diet Perfect Weight Adult Dog Food
Hill's Science Diet
Perfect Weight Adult Dog Food
Check Price
Trusted Brand
Bottom Line

A recipe that has earned praise from many owners for the results it provides in their pets' diets.


Known to produce poundage loss when fed according to directions. Most canines are attracted to the flavor. Contains antioxidants, whole grains, and chicken as the first ingredient. Doesn't have preservatives or artificial ingredients.


Contains some animal by-products and fillers. Some reports of loose stools until pets get used to eating it.

Best Bang for the Buck
Purina Pro Plan Weight Management Dog Food
Pro Plan Weight Management Dog Food
Check Price
Bargain Pick
Bottom Line

This dog food for weight control contains healthy probiotics and is available in 2 tasty flavors.


This dog food is ideal for promoting weight loss in canines. The plan consists of 5 6-pound bags, but can also be purchased in 18- and 24-pound sizes. There's enough protein to maintain muscle during weight loss, and probiotics promote healthy digestion and boost immune systems.


Some dogs don't like it as much as other weight-control dog foods.

IAMS ProActive Health Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food, Chicken
ProActive Health Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food, Chicken
Check Price
Improves Digestion
Bottom Line

This quality option comes with several desirable features.


Contains quality chicken protein for optimal flavor. Fiber and prebiotics aid digestion, which benefits pets with sensitive digestive systems. Many owners were pleased with how easily their pets ate it and the pounds lost that resulted.


Corn is the top ingredient, and has by-products. Some owners voiced concern about formula changes.

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula
Blue Buffalo
Life Protection Formula
Check Price
Betters Overall Health
Bottom Line

A tasty option that helps improve more than just a pet's size.


Helps improve overall health in general. Owners noticed that this formula improved their pet's digestion, helped shed pounds, and caused coats to become shinier. Good for picky eaters or pets with allergies.


More expensive than other brands.

Hill’s Science Diet Perfect Weight Specialty Wet Food, Hearty Vegetable and Chicken
Hill’s Science Diet
Perfect Weight Specialty Wet Food, Hearty Vegetable and Chicken
Check Price
Natural Option
Bottom Line

Get 12 cans of high-quality chicken and vegetables.


This quality food is sourced from natural ingredients that are proven to promote weight loss. It’s made for long-lasting results, too. Buyers note good reviews from their dogs, too.


Several buyers note inconsistency in product quality between the cans.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.About BestReviews 

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

Category cover

Buying guide for Best dog foods for weight management

The keys to a happy, healthy dog include a loving home, plenty of stimulation, and a balanced diet. Whether due to genetics, a lack of exercise, or other issues, some dogs end up weighing more than is healthy for their size and build. One way to control a dog’s weight is through diet, and there is dog food specially formulated to help maintain a dog’s ideal weight.

Dog food that limits calories while boosting energy and metabolism can help dogs shed the extra pounds and be more healthy. Choosing the best food for your pet can be complicated in the best of circumstances, but it’s more difficult when it comes to dealing with health concerns. There are many options available, with different ingredients and flavors, and you want to choose the one that will help your dog as well as be one that your pet likes to eat.

Always provide your dog with fresh, clean, cool water that is replaced frequently. Both the water bowl and food bowl should be washed daily.

Key considerations

Ideal weight

Your dog should maintain an ideal body weight in order to live its happiest, healthiest life. The ideal weight range varies based on your dog’s age and breed. Your veterinarian is the best source of this information, and the American Kennel Club is a trusted source that can also provide information about the ideal weight for most breeds.

Health issues

Overweight dogs face an increased chance of serious health issues that can shorten their life in a variety of ways. Some of these health issues include the following:

  • Joint issues, including arthritis
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Tumors
  • Metabolic problems
  • Pulmonary problems
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Immune system problems

Excessive body fat not only makes simple movements more difficult for the dog, but it can also make it harder for the vet and owner to identify any potential ailments or issues. 

Causes of excess weight

Knowing the cause is useful when assessing any solution to the problem.

Lifestyle: If it’s a lifestyle issue, better-quality food and increased exercise should address the issue.

Genetic: If the cause is genetic or due to an issue with the thyroid, the best course is likely a multifaceted approach as advised by your vet that includes changes to the diet and environment along with medication.

Regardless of the cause, losing weight isn’t a quick process. Changing your dog’s diet is useful, but it can take weeks and even months to shed excess pounds. And once your dog reaches its ideal weight, it’s important to take measures to maintain it.


Most popular dog food companies offer a special formula specifically designed for weight loss. These are typically labeled as “weight management,” “healthy weight,” or “perfect weight.” Finding these options is a useful first step in narrowing your choice.

If your dog already has a preferred food brand, you should look to see if it has a weight management formula. However, be objective about the food that your dog is currently eating. If you feel it could be contributing to your dog’s weight problems, it might be time to switch to a new brand.


It’s important to check the ingredients in your dog’s food, especially so when you’re focusing on weight management. Typically, you want to look for increased protein and fewer fats and calories. Vitamins and minerals are important for maintaining healthy skin, hair, immune function, and joint and muscle performance.

For dogs with food sensitivities, there are plenty of options that forgo any combination of common allergens such as corn, soy, gluten, eggs, and artificial flavors and preservatives. Excessive shedding, drooling, panting, itching, or irregular movements may be a result of a sensitivity or allergy to an ingredient.


Weight management dry dog food is offered in a range of sizes. Small bags weigh around 5 to 10 pounds, medium bags are usually 15 to 25 pounds, and you'll find large bags that are 30 to over 40 pounds. For small dogs, as well as dogs that are new to the formula, it would be better to start with a small or medium bag. This prevents waste in case your dog doesn’t like the food or has an allergic reaction to it. Smaller bags are also easier to store and keep fresh. For large dogs and those already familiar with the food, a larger bag may offer a better price per pound.

Did You Know?
A 2015 study conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention found that 53% of the nation’s dogs were overweight, with about a third of those designated as obese.


Dry vs. wet

Most weight management formulas for dogs are of the dry food variety, though there are a few wet food options available.

Dry food is the most popular type of dog food. Kibble is easy to store, stays fresh for a relatively long time, and helps to keep the dog’s teeth clean. It also costs less than wet food.

Wet food tends to be best for smaller or older pups. It’s easier on teeth and gums, provides extra water for dogs that may not drink enough, and it boasts an aroma that can entice picky eaters. However, wet food costs more than kibble.

Prescription food

Some dog food formulas require a prescription from your veterinarian, usually in the case of a genetic or thyroid issue and not in the case of a lifestyle issue. While these cost more, they should yield better results.

Protein source

In most cases, you won’t have the option to choose the main protein source in weight management dog food because most brands only offer one choice. Still, while most of the options involve chicken, there are other recipes that may appeal more to your dog, including salmon, turkey, and lamb formulas.

Some dog owners don’t like to admit their pup is overweight, but it’s important to be honest with yourself. Vets talk about the “fat pet gap”: a few extra pounds on a dog are seen as normal, not overweight, by the owner.


Dog food for weight management prices

Inexpensive: For under $20, you can find small bags of quality weight management formulas. You’ll also find packs of wet food cans in this range as well.

Mid-range: Most medium bags of weight control dry dog food cost between $20 and $40.

Expensive: For the largest bags of weight management food and prescription formulas, expect to pay over $40 and in some cases over $60.

Did You Know?
While measuring cups provide a convenient way to serve dry dog food, they can be imprecise, which is a problem for weight management. Use a kitchen scale to serve the right amount of kibble and track the amount daily.


  • Weigh your dog regularly. When working to manage your dog’s weight, it’s useful to track its weight weekly. Smaller dogs can be held on a bathroom scale, though you might have to take larger dogs to a shelter, humane society, or vet office to weigh.
  • Set a feeding schedule. Dogs do well with a routine, including regular feeding, walking, and bedtimes.
  • Transition slowly to a new food. While you might be eager to switch food formulas, it’s important to do this slowly over the course of about ten days. Incorporating a little more of the new formula into the regular food each day helps your dog’s stomach adjust.
  • Monitor your dog closely. When switching to a new formula, watch your dog’s behavior for the first few weeks. Look for any noteworthy shedding, itching, panting, or irregularity that may suggest an adverse reaction to the food.
Dogs beg for food even if they aren’t hungry. Resist the temptation to give in to your dog, especially with treats high in fat. Opt for healthy treats like celery, carrots, or kale.


Q. How do I know if my dog needs to lose weight?

A. Assessing your dog’s weight can be tricky. You can get a sense of your dog’s weight by looking at it. If you can see a defined waist when looking down and a tucked-in belly from the side, it’s likely around its ideal weight. You should also be able to feel your dog's ribs without pressing too hard. Lethargy and inactivity can indicate your dog is overweight.

Still, it’s worth reiterating that every breed has a healthy weight, and some breeds are leaner or stouter than others. Understanding the characteristics of your dog’s breed is important to address its health issues.

Q. How else can I help my dog lose weight?

A. An improved diet is just one part of helping your dog achieve its ideal body weight. A diet should be employed in conjunction with frequent exercise. However, don’t overexert your dog, especially if it’s overweight or has other health concerns. Take it on easy walks, and over the course of weeks gradually increase the duration and frequency of the walks. You should avoid giving your dog snacks and treats between meals as well.

Q. When can I expect to see results?

A. While many recipes boast results within 10, 20, or 30 days, it’s important to be patient. A new diet is likely just one part of the weight-management approach. Depending on how much weight your dog needs to lose, reaching the ideal weight can take months. Still, a few pounds should start to come off within a few weeks, though it might be hard to notice on some dogs. Your vet is the best judge of an appropriate timeline for weight loss.