The Best Diet Dog Foods in 2023
If your dog is overweight, it can cause a lot of potential health issues from the additional strain the excess weight puts on their joints and back. Putting your dog on a diet can be very difficult, and this is especially true when your dog whines and begs for food between mealtimes.
However, we want you to feel confident when you pick out your dog’s new food to help them lose weight, and this is why we picked out six great options and reviewed them for you. We also put together a buyer’s guide that will outline what you should keep in mind when you shop. We invite you to take a look at both sections and choose the food that works best for your dog.
Our Top 6 List
Last update on 2023-08-29 at 17:32 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
1. Blue Buffalo – Healthy Weight Dog Food
The first ingredient in this food is real meat from chicken, and this helps your dog form and maintain healthy muscles. This food comes in three different sizes, and it comes packed with fruits and vegetables with brown rice for the carbohydrates. Blue’s LifeSouce Bits give you dog a boost of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals in every serving. Finally, the food uses natural ingredients for a healthier recipe.
- Carbohydrate Source – Brown Rice
- Flavor – Chicken
- Sizes – Three
- Has LifeSource Bits for added nutrients
- No corn, wheat, soy, or by-product meals
- Comes formulated with natural ingredients
- Satisfies your dog without extra calories
- Kibble is slightly large for smaller breeds
2. Wellness Core Natural Dog Food With Reduced Fat
This food is 100% grain-free, and this is excellent for dogs that have sensitivities or allergies to traditional food. Your dog will get a higher amount of protein in every serving with a reduced fat formula that can help them lose weight to a healthy size. Made only in the United States using trusted ingredients, this food has no meat by-products, corn, wheat, soy, artificial colors, artificial flavors, or artificial preservatives.
- Carbohydrate Source – Brown Rice, Sweet Potato
- Flavor – Turkey
- Sizes – Three
- Supports healthy joints
- Flaxseed and fish oil for a healthy coat
- Has a lot of vegetables
- Available in three sizes
- Kibble has a crumbly texture
- May get hard if you don’t seal it properly
3. Diamond Naturals Light Real Meat
Your dog will get a high-quality protein from pasture raised lamb when they eat this food, and this helps control weight gain. It has a mix of highly digestible carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, fruits, and vegetables with healthy fats to support your dog inside and out. It comes in two sizes, and there are no wheat, soy, or corn for a healthier option.
- Carbohydrate Source – Brown Rice
- Flavor – Lamb
- Sizes – Two
- Has lamb as the protein source
- Packed with fruits and vegetables
- Probiotics regulate the digestive system
- Has smaller kibble
- May leave a greasy residue
- Can cause mild digestive upset in sensitive dogs
4. Natural Balance Low Calorie Dry Food
Your dog will get a higher fiber content when they eat this food, and this helps them feel full longer with fewer calories per meal. Chicken and salmon make up the two main protein sources in this food, and these are lean meats packed with healthy oils for a shiny coat and nourished skin. Finally, the food has peas, beans, and oats to round out the blend.
- Carbohydrate Source – Oats and peas
- Flavor – Chicken and Salmon
- Sizes – Two
- Packed with pea, tomato, parsley, spinach, carrots, and more
- Has healthy fatty acids for skin and coat health
- Higher fiber content helps your dog feel fuller for longer
- Supports healthy digestion
- May have a strong smell
- Not suited for smaller dogs due to the larger kibble size
5. Fromm Gold Dog Food for Weight Management
When your dog eats this food they’ll get a healthy blend of lamb, chicken, duck, lean turkey liver, cheese, and whole eggs to add flavor while creating a nutrient-packed formula. The food supplements a good amount of L-Carnitine, and this can help to boost your dog’s energy levels while improving their skin and coat. Rice and potatoes make up the bulk of the carbohydrates for a healthy alternative.
- Carbohydrate Source – Potatoes and rice
- Flavor – Mix of several proteins
- Sizes – One
- Has L-Carnitine as a supplement
- Made with real ingredients like whole eggs and turkey liver
- Comes with fewer ingredients in the formula
- Probiotics promote digestive health
- Only available in one flavor and size
- Expensive for the amount of food you get
6. Wellness Natural Dry Healthy Weight Food
Deboned chicken and peas help to reduce cravings and help your dog feel full while simultaneously adding fewer calories at mealtimes. This food contains only all-natural ingredients with no wheat, soy, corn, or artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors. The manufacturer produces this food in the United States to very strict quality control standards to ensure quality.
- Carbohydrate Source – Brown rice and oatmeal
- Flavor – Chicken
- Sizes – Three
- Comes backed by the Wellness guarantee for satisfaction
- Made in the United States with locally-sourced ingredients
- Contains only natural ingredients of the highest quality
- Has flaxseed, spinach, and blueberries
- May be too bland for pickier dogs
- Ha 8% fat, and this may be too much for some dogs to handle
Verdict & Review
Our pick for the best diet dog food out of all the ones we reviewed is the Blue Buffalo formula because our dogs loved it the most and we got great results wit it. The first ingredient on the label is the protein source. It has a high amount of fruits and vegetables in the formula, and the brown rice rounds out the recipe for a healthier option.
Along with the kibble, the food has small LifeSource Bits that have a unique blend of fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. There is no corn, wheat, or soy in the formula, and the company has a long history of producing great food for dogs of all life stages.
Further reading: Here is our review of the best Blue Buffalo foods.
What Makes It Different?
Diet dog food is different from traditional food because it comes with a formula that is lower in calories and usually higher in fiber to keep your dog full on smaller portions. It usually has a lot of fruits and vegetables with alternative carbohydrates like brown rice or sweet potatoes to make it healthier for your dog to eat every day. The protein sources come from lean meat like chicken, turkey, duck, fish, or lamb to support healthy muscle growth.
This is a step away from many traditional dog food styles that come packed with unhealthy carbohydrates and fillers. These things do very little for your dog from a nutritional standpoint, but they work to fill in the formula to make it look fuller to buyers.
Of course, all dogs need treats to be rewarded for good behavior. When your pal is on a diet, make sure you choose treats with few calories and try to keep up with how much you are giving your pal, so you are not overfeeding on treats. One good way to combine rewards and benefits is to use dental treats.
Since dog food can have dozens of ingredients and comes in wet and dry varieties, it’s a good idea to have set criteria in mind when you shop. This way, you can compare different brands with the same standards to ensure you’re going to buy the best one.
Healthier foods come with sweet potato or brown rice for their carbohydrate source over white rice or corn, and these two ingredients are more nutritionally sound than traditional ingredients. Sweet potatoes and brown rice are lower in calories per serving, and they bring a lot of additional nutrients to your dog’s diet when they eat their food.
Protein should be the first or one of the first ingredients on the label because this ensures the dog food has more protein from high-quality sources. Look for whole meat sources as well such as chicken, duck, turkey, or lamb without meat meals. The food shouldn’t have a lot of meat by-products either because these things aren’t as nutritious as whole meat sources.
Antioxidants can give you dog a boost of energy that encourages them to play and be active, and they also work to repair cell damage. Antioxidants come from a huge variety of food sources like blueberries, spinach, dark green leafy vegetables, fish, and more. Some brands have an antioxidant blend added right into to formula. They’re especially helpful for older dogs.
Food By Life Stages
You want to feed your dog food that is appropriate for their different life stages because they have different nutrient needs. In general, there are five formula categories you want to consider, and weight management is one of them. The five categories include:
- Puppy – Puppy food is great for dogs under a year old, and it has fat and protein ratios that keep your puppy growing at a steady pace. This food promotes joint and bone development.
- Adult – Adult food is great for age one to age six or seven, and it usually contains a good mix of fat and protein that promotes average activity levels without excess weight gain.
- Senior – Senior food has lower fat and protein content with higher fiber levels to help regulate digestion and maintain a proper weight at lower activity levels. Glucosamine is an important ingredient as well to support joint and bone health and flexibility.
- Active or Performance – Active or working dogs need food that has higher protein, antioxidants, and fat levels. These higher levels will help your dog maintain proper body conditioning and weight while giving them the energy they need to perform.
- Weight Management – If your dog starts to gain excess weight, weight management food can help them safely slim down. This food has lower fat and protein levels with higher fiber to help your dog feel full.
We are the Pet Dog Pals, a group of avid pet owners, bloggers, product testers, and writers for all your canine needs! We own a collective 16 dogs and 21 cats to help us test and review pet products. Our top lists and tips come from experience to help you be the best dog owner you can be!