Need to switch your overweight dog to food that helps keep his weight in check? We’re sharing a few tips on what to look for in dog food that promotes weight loss, plus our top 3 weight loss kibble choices for your pooch!
Like many humans, a large percentage of dogs in modern society are carrying extra weight. While we certainly don’t love our dogs any less should they be a little chunky, too much excess weight can lead to skeletal, muscular, cardiovascular, and respiratory problems later in life. Since we want our dogs to be with us as long as possible – and to enjoy a high quality of life throughout, it’s best to try to get them to a healthy weight if we can.
There are a number of ways to help your dog get to their ideal weight – active play being one of them. Exercise is vital to your dog’s health – mental and physical – and is an excellent bonding experience for you and your dog. However, there’s an expression that says “you can’t outrun a bad diet” – it refers, of course, to humans – but the sentiment applies to dogs as well. So what should you look for in a weight loss kibble? Read on to find out!
What to look for in weight loss kibble
The reason why raw food is so good for a dog’s weight loss and maintenance is because it is low in calories and high in protein. Raw diets have few added ingredients (some do add fruits or vegetables, but not heavy starches or grains). There are many other benefits to feeding raw foods, but this doesn’t mean that if you can’t afford raw, you won’t be able to feed your dog a healthy diet or help them to lose or maintain their weight. That being said, ask around. Talk to your local independent pet food supplier, veterinarian, pet care companies, etc. – you may be surprised at how inexpensive raw food can be.
If raw isn’t an option, the first thing you want to look for in a kibble is simplicity. The food should be largely meat – with maybe a few vegetables – and not loaded with fillers such as wheat, corn, soy, etc. Don’t fall for claims such as “light”, “low fat”, “diet”, “weight management”, or even “low calorie” without first reading over the nutritional information. If it’s reduced-calorie but loaded with carbohydrates, that won’t likely help your dog to lose weight. Also, you want to make sure that they haven’t traded fat, carbohydrates, or calories for chemicals – a common practice in making “diet-friendly” human foods.
In addition, many foods that claim to be low calorie aren’t – they might be slightly lower calorie than that company’s regular food, or they might not be. That doesn’t mean that foods marked as being designed for weight loss are necessarily bad or ineffective, just that you can’t believe marketing alone. As always, check with your vet before making drastic changes to food – especially if your dog has special health requirements. High protein food is often a good bet for your pet, but only if your vet gives the go-ahead – too much protein can be dangerous in some situations – especially with senior dogs.
Below are a few highly-rated low-carb, high-protein dry food varieties to try.
Top Rated Weight Loss Kibble Choices
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1-+ Halo Freeze-Dried Kiblets
Available in beef, chicken, and salmon and turkey, Halo’s Freeze-dried Kiblets consist of 46% protein, 45% fat, and 9% carbohydrate. They are mainly meat, but have flax seed for fiber and added protein.
2- Orijen Dog Food
Available in a number of formulas – including a weight loss formula – Orijen’s standard recipe has 36% of its calories from protein, 41% from fats, and 23% from carbohydrates.
3- Wellness Core Reduced Fat
A little higher in carbohydrates, but still low-calorie, Wellness Core’s Reduced Fat formula is 33% protein, 38% carbohydrates, and 29% fat.
There are dozens more wonderful dog foods out there, but unfortunately dog food can be a tough one to recommend as different chains, regions, and countries carry different brands and formulas.
Freeze-dried foods tend to be higher protein and lower carb than kibble, but are also more expensive as a rule. I personally look for grain-free formulas with freeze-dried raw pieces added (such as Nutrience Sub-Zero – only available in Canada), and my dogs have done well with it. It’s somewhat of a compromise between the higher-carb grain-free kibbles and the lower-carb, higher cost freeze-dried foods.
The other thing to look into is homemade dog food – it’s entirely possible that it may be cheaper to make your own, and then you can choose which ingredients are right for your local area, your budget, and your pet. You can batch-cook and freeze the extras to use over a period of time, and there is no shortage of healthy pet-food recipes online. Just make sure you consult with your vet to make sure your homemade food has all of your dog’s necessary requirements.
If your dog has a history of food sensitivities, transition his food food gradually. In some dogs, sudden changes can lead to major digestive upset. Start by swapping out a small portion of their old food, and gradually increase the percentage of the new food. If you’ve already been following a rotation diet, you can change his food a bit faster.
Always keep in mind that a higher-quality food may be more expensive in the short run, but will likely be less expensive later in terms of vet bills and other expenses. Do your research, and buy the best quality food you can afford. Your dog deserves a long, healthy, happy life with you – and after all, that’s what you want too.