Selecting dog food for weight loss or control

 Some dogs gain too much weight and some people have a hard time figuring out why.  I speak from experience when my dog was gaining weight. It took some research, then some trial and error with different recipes  to get it under control. When my dog was over weight, she did not have good energy, and did not want to exercise much as she normally would. Hopefully, this article will shed some light on the issue and steer you in the right direction for dog food selection.

Before we discuss factors on related to dog food and weight control/loss, let’s talk about exercise. A good percentage of dogs out there DO NOT receive enough exercise, which is important to the number of calories (energy) they burn and to maintain their metabolic rate at a higher rate than it could be.

Ensure your dog receives enough time to run and play.

With that out of the way let’s begin. First let’s go over the basic factors we need to consider for weight control/loss. They are:

  • What net amount of fuel/energy is going into the body
  • What is being absorbed by the body and at what rate
  • How much fuel/energy can the body burn

Now we need an understanding of calories


Most dog foods disclose the calorie count. Let’s start to explain the calorie…

The calorie symbol can be:

  • cal with the lower case ‘c;
  • Cal with the upper case ‘C’

1000 cal = 1 Cal

1 Cal is the amount of energy required to raise one kilogram (2.2 lbs) of water by one degree Celsius (9/5 degree of a Fahrenheit).

Where do calories come from 

Typically in dog food you get calories from 3 main categories:

  • Fat
  • Protein
  • Carbohydrates
    • Simple carbs such as Sugars and more complex starches
    • Dietary-fiber (not absorbed by body for energy)

Reduce Calories from Carbohydrates

Between the three you typically want high amount of meat based proteins that are complete in the essential amino acids for dogs.

You want a decent amount but too much. Fat is important to various bio functions. Fat is slow to break down by the body does not spike the insulin level in the blood stream.

Both protein and fat takes longer to breakdown and absorb than carbohydrates, and they quash the feeling of hunger better than carbohydrates.

In the carb category you would prefer a higher dietary fiber level for weight loss and healthy bowel movements.

Cheaper foods typically have bolstered the dog food with carbohydrates fillers. Yes some have fiber, which is very good and not an issue, but the same time the simple sugars and starches are the problem.


The key to weight control of weight loss are listed in priority order:

  1. Reduce/minimize simples carbs
  2. Reduce/minimize complex starches except for dietary fiber
  3. Increase meat protein and/or dietary fiber
  4. Reduce overall calorie intake if needed. Do give your dog more than it needs.

Of course, ensure you dogs receive the proper nutrients, and consumes enough food to have good healthy energy levels. In other words, be careful when cutting back that you don’t cut out important sources of nutrients or over aggressively reduce their consumption in such a way that they poorly  under feed.

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