Last updated: August 11, 2021

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Welcome to our big diet food for dogs test 2021. Here we present all the diet foods for dogs that we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best diet food for dogs for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should be aware of when buying diet food for dogs.




Summary

  • Pet obesity is on the rise more and more. An overweight dog can develop health problems similar to those of obese humans, ranging from joint problems to diabetes.
  • Diet food ensures that the animals consume less energy while still being supplied with all the necessary vitamins and minerals.
  • The choice of diet food is wide and does not exclude special food for dogs with health problems such as digestive problems or joint wear.

The best Diet Food For Dogs: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask before buying a diet food for your dog

What exactly is diet food for dogs?

This special food has been developed for overweight dogs. It is a complete food, reduced in fat and energy, but enriched with an increased amount of fibre.

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If your dog does not get enough exercise and also eats too much, he will quickly become overweight. Then it becomes necessary to switch to diet food. (Image source: pixaby.com / LaBruixa)

The dog consumes fewer calories, loses fat instead of muscle mass and loses weight healthily, without deficiency symptoms or yo-yo effect. By the way, a diet food for dogs is also suitable for older and generally less active animals, which have a rather low energy requirement.

Do I really need diet food for my dog?

Look at your dog. Does he seem fit and agile or does he seem chubby and sluggish? With fat pets, the ribs cannot be felt or can only be felt with difficulty. An overweight dog will lose desire to go for a walk more quickly and will romp and play less.

If you are unsure whether your dog is overweight, take a look at this overview:

Size of animal Normal weight Slightly overweight Significantly overweight Severely overweight
small dog 7 kg 8 kg 9 kg 10 kg
medium dog 15 kg 16 kg 18 kg 19 kg
large dog 40 kg 45 kg 50 kg 55 kg

By the way, dogs usually reach their ideal body weight when they are fully grown. To give you a better overview, we have created a weight table for some very common breeds.

Dog breed shoulder height in cm ideal weight in kg
Airedale Terrier 56-61 20-25
American Staffordshire 43-48 15-17
Beagle 33-40 15-20
Bernese Mountain Dog 64-66 40-47
Briard 56-68 30-40
Bobtail 56-61 25-30
Boxer 53-63 25-30
Chihuahua 16-20 0.5-3
Cocker Spaniel 38-41 12.5-14.5
Collie 51-61 18-30
Golden Retriever 51-61 27-36
Labrador Retriever 54-57 25-30
Leonberger 65-80 60-80
Newfoundland 66-71 54-68
Rhodesian Ridgeback 61-63 32-36.5
Shih Tzu up to 27 4.5-8
Siberian Husky 50-60 15.5-28
West Highland White Terrier up to 28 7-10
Weimaraner 57-70 25-40
Whippet 44-51 10

What is the difference between diet food and light food for dogs?

In addition to diet food, you will often notice the term "light food". But what exactly are the differences between the two product names?

Diet food

  • Diet food is not a simple product name, but a legally protected term.
  • Manufacturers are not allowed to simply declare a diet food as such without having the product tested under feed law.

Light food

  • Light feed is merely a product designation.
  • The manufacturers can use the term independently.
  • It is then usually the feed in their own product range that contains the fewest calories.

A diet food for the dog must demonstrably meet this special nutritional purpose. This is subject to guidelines issued by the EU. Manufacturers are obliged to list all information in detail on the packaging.

Light food is not diet food. It is merely low in calories, at least from the manufacturer's point of view. So, theoretically, the light food from supplier A could have the same number of calories as perfectly normal dog food from manufacturer B.

What is the composition of a good diet food for dogs?

There are a few things you should pay special attention to when it comes to buying a high-quality diet food for dogs.

One of them is:

  • Calorie content
  • Additives
  • Protein content
  • Fibre content

Calories

Diet food has fewer calories than conventional dog food. However, the information on this varies. When buying, make sure that the calorie content is about 20 percent lower than that of the usual dog food.

Additives

Even though diet food has fewer calories, the opposite is true for added vitamins, minerals and trace elements. For a dog to lose weight healthily, it is important that less energy is consumed, but at the same time no deficiency symptoms occur.

Protein content

High-quality diet foods for dogs have a high protein content. Not only does a lot of protein ensure that your dog actually tastes good, but it also prevents deficiencies in essential amino acids. Protein promotes fat loss while maintaining muscle mass.

Dietary fibre

To ensure that even a dog on a diet is full, diet food contains dietary fibre. Dietary fibres swell up in the stomach and thus ensure a longer lasting feeling of fullness.

How do I successfully use diet food on my dog?

We can give you some helpful tips for this:

  1. Get a scale and measure the food doses accurately.
  2. Divide the daily ration into several smaller meals.
  3. Treats are taboo. Give some of the daily ration of diet food as a reward.
  4. Food is no substitute for cuddles and playtime.
  5. Diet alone will not do much good if the dog does not exercise much.

During a diet, it is advisable to take your dog to the vet several times. The vet can weigh your dog accurately, assess the success of the diet and, if necessary, evaluate the diet food for the dog.

Decision: What types of diet food are there for dogs and which is the right one for you?

Basically, you can distinguish between four types of diet food for dogs.

  • Diet wet food
  • semi-moist diet food
  • Diet dry food
  • Diet snacks

In the following, we will explain the different types and their advantages and disadvantages. In this way, we want to help you find the most suitable diet food for dogs.

What is diet wet dog food and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

Diet wet food has a balanced composition. The proportion of fresh meat is high. This diet food for dogs is well accepted and fills the dog up for a long time. The liquid content is comparatively high at around 70 percent. The range is very diverse and you can choose from numerous flavours.

Advantages
  • Provides moisture
  • Good satiety
  • Large variety of products
Disadvantages
  • Must be used up quickly after opening
  • Relatively expensive
  • High weight

What is semi-moist diet food for dogs and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

The water content of these soft chunks is lower than that of wet diet food. About 25 percent is the rule here. The meat chunks are very similar in consistency to fresh meat and are therefore well accepted by the animals. Preservatives are included to make the products more durable.

Advantages
  • Consistency reminiscent of fresh meat
  • Well accepted
  • Variety of flavours
Disadvantages
  • Poorly storable
  • Spoils easily Rather expensive

What is diet dry dog food and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

Dry food consists of crunchy, bite-sized chunks. The water content is very low at less than ten percent and there should always be plenty of fresh drinking water available. Diet dry dog food is a practical and inexpensive alternative.

Advantages
  • Easy to bite
  • Easy to store
  • Inexpensive
Disadvantages
  • Very low moisture content
  • Energy content often higher than in wet food
  • Often poorly accepted

What are diet snacks for dogs and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

Diet snacks should replace reward treats and should only be given in small doses. Snacks are not a full meal. Even if the energy content is reduced in a diet product, snacks are not actually necessary for healthy weight loss.

Advantages
  • Tasty
  • Suitable as a reward
  • Low in fat
Disadvantages
  • Not a full meal
  • Not necessary for a diet

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate diet food for dogs

In the following, we will show you which criteria you can use to compare and evaluate diet food for dogs. This will make it easier for you to get an overview and decide on a suitable and effective product.

In summary, these are the following criteria:

  • Need
  • Calorie amount
  • Value
  • Tolerance
  • Shelf life

In the following, you can read about the respective criteria and find out why it makes sense for you to purchase a product based on the criteria or not.

Necessity

First of all, the question always arises: Is my dog really too fat and does it therefore need diet food? Diet food for dogs is different from conventional pet food and is not suitable for feeding young agile and normal-weight animals.

Use the information already given in the guide. If you are unsure, consult a veterinarian.

Calorie amount

Before you buy a diet food for your dog, look at the packaging. There should be information about the calorie content of the product. The calorie content should not exceed 25 per cent, but it should also not be less than 15 per cent.

In addition to the calorie content, the packaging also contains information on how to dose the diet food for the dog. This is easiest to understand if information is given on the dog's weight and the daily dose appropriate for the animal.

Value

In order for your dog to lose weight healthily, it is important that the ingredients are well-balanced and wholesome. Even though the fat content should be as low as possible, a high proportion of fatty acids is by no means a contradiction. Your dog needs Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids in particular.

High-quality diet food for dogs contains:

  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Taurine

Fibre is important for intestinal health and a long-lasting feeling of fullness. The latest diet food developments also have a high protein content. The amino acids contained in the food ensure that fat is broken down in a targeted manner.

Compatibility

An important point is, of course, that the diet food selected for the dog also tastes good. It should also be ensured that no intolerance reactions occur after consumption.

You should always choose a different diet food if the dog suffers from flatulence, constipation or diarrhoea after feeding.

Did you know that some foods are poisonous for dogs?

Even if you would like to spoil your darling, you should definitely keep your hands off certain leftovers or treats.

Chocolate, various sauces, foods with onions and garlic, nuts and dried fruit are particularly harmful

Shelf life

If you are looking for a long-lasting diet food for your dog, dry food is certainly the first choice. Dry food usually lasts for months or even years without any problems. However, experience shows that dogs prefer wet food. However, the shelf life is limited to one to two days after opening the cans.

Your dog will probably have the last word on this question. Try both types of food and you will find out whether your dog will accept diet dry food. By the way, dry food is better accepted if you soak it in water beforehand.

Facts worth knowing about diet food for dogs

Why is my dog too fat?

If you realise that your dog needs diet food, the question naturally arises as to how it came about that your four-legged friend is overweight and now needs to lose weight.

There are various explanations for this:

  • The dog is generally overfed.
  • The dog has been given too many high-energy snacks.
  • The dog has often been allowed to eat leftovers from the family table.
  • The dog has been neutered or spayed and therefore needs less food.
  • The dog is getting on in years and therefore needs less food.
  • The dog does not get enough exercise.

Health problems can also cause animals to gain weight. For example, thyroid disorders or diseases of the musculoskeletal system.

Did you know that obesity in dogs weakens the immune system?

Overweight dogs are much more susceptible to illnesses such as colds than their fit and agile counterparts.

The life expectancy of slim dogs is 2 years longer than that of overweight dogs.

Why is diet food better for your dog than simply giving half the food?

You would rather give your dog a "FdH" diet instead of changing the diet to diet food? The explanation certainly sounds plausible at first, but on closer inspection it is not a good choice.

If you simply give less of the tried and tested food, deficiencies can quickly develop. If you reduce the amount of food, the animal will also get fewer important vitamins and minerals.

Studies have shown that this form of "diet" causes the dog to lose mainly muscle mass. However, this is not the goal of an effective diet. The aim is to lose the fat. The muscle mass, on the other hand, should be preserved.

What is the best way to weigh my dog?

Before and during the administration of diet food for dogs, the weight should be checked. However, weighing a dog correctly is often a real effort. The easiest way to do this is at the vet's office. Special animal scales are used there.

At home, on a small personal scale, the procedure becomes more difficult. We have a tip for small to medium-sized dogs. First go to the scales without your dog and note or record your body weight.

Then take the dog in your arms and stand on the scale again. Calculate the difference between the total weight displayed and your dog's weight and you will know how much Bello weighs.

How long should the dog be given diet food?

How long a dog should be given diet food depends on various factors. Younger dogs should only be given the food for a limited period of time.

Check your dog's weight at least once a week and record the weight trend. It can take up to six months before weight loss is visible.

If your dog is old and does little exercise, the diet food can also be given permanently.

If younger dogs have regained their ideal weight, the switch to regular food can be initiated. Make sure that the changeover is gradual and that the dog slowly gets used to the regular food.

Continued weight control is always a good idea, because the pounds can quickly return if the dog eats too much, continues to be pampered with treats or simply does not exercise enough.

Picture source: pixabay.com / AlainAudet

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