If your pooch was slightly over its recommended weight last time you visited the vet, you may find yourself faced with the plethora of weight loss pet food options. However, even though a food is labeled as a weight loss formula, it doesn’t mean it is the best option for your dog. Weight loss formulas should have certain ingredients and should be free of others. Here’s what you need to know.
Understanding diet foods
Sometimes, your dog may have become overweight because you are overfeeding it. In this case, your vet may recommend sticking with the food your pup is already eating, but reducing the quantities. In other cases, you might want to look for foods that are specifically designed to help a dog lose weight.
Weight loss foods generally have fewer calories per serving. Look for food that has about 250 to 350 calories per 8-ounce cup, is high in protein, low in carbohydrates and about 10 percent fat.
Pack in the protein
A high-protein diet is important for weight loss for a number of reasons. Protein tends to fill up a dog’s stomach better and keeps it full longer, which reduces the amount of begging. The less a dog begs, the less tempted owners will be to feed it snacks and human food.
Since muscle loss can occur in all types of weight loss, packing in the protein can help here as well. The dog’s body burns muscle and fat for energy, and even though we are trying to burn the fat, it can end up reducing muscle mass, too. A food with at least 30 percent protein will combat muscle loss during dieting.
Avoid artificial ingredients
Many dog food manufacturers will decrease the amount of calories the kibble has by loading it with artificial ingredients and fillers. Your dog’s food should not have any artificial additives like colors, dyes, flavors, digests or preservatives. Look on the ingredients label to determine how high quality your pet’s food really is.
For instance, Now Fresh Grain Free Senior Recipe Dry Dog Food lists de-boned turkey as its first ingredient, followed by potato flour and apples, then several other fruits and vegetables. This is an ideal formula for weight loss, since it does not contain any rendered meats or added ingredients that do not directly benefit the dog’s overall health.