Do You Really Want to Feed your Dog a Diet Food?

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Last week, in the final post on the top things that people don’t know about dog food series, I made mention of the fact that weight control foods are not necessarily a good option for an overweight dog.  I wanted to expand on that topic a bit this week with updated data on calories and carbohydrates in dog foods.


As I mentioned previously, weight control (or diet) dog foods are formulated to be lower in calories per serving than regular dog foods.  To find out the difference in calories, I compared the calories per cup in weight control dog foods against calories per cup for regular dog foods.

Diet Dog Food

As you can see in the graph below, weight control foods are about 10% lower in calories per cup, 309 to 340, than regular dog foods.  This makes sense as the weight control dog food recipe would likely be formulated to contain less calories.


diet vs regular dog food


I also compared the carbohydrate content in the two types of food, and this is where the problem lies.  Compared to regular dog foods, the weight control dog foods contain 13% more carbohydrates, on average than a regular dog food does.  Keep in mind that normally healthy dogs should not be fed high carb diets.  Yet, the average weight control recipe is made up of more than 50% carbohydrates.  This is not desirable and not a sound strategy when it comes to weight reduction.


diet vs regular dog food carbs


If your dog is overweight, feed them a species appropriate, lower carb (higher protein and fat) food with lots of meat or fish and other natural ingredients.  Paired with regular exercise, this is all one needs for a healthy and safe weight loss program for a dog.

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  1. No diet dog food here. We would decrease treats, increase exercise, and reduce our food intake a bit. The cats, however, specifically Bert could use a diet food, but he is on a special food, so that won’t happen.
    Emma recently posted…High Protein Training Treats For Your Dog #ChewyInfluencerMy Profile

  2. Interesting, I will have to check the content of my food, yes I feed Nellie a diet food. I shouldn’t feed her at all with all the times she runs off and eats raw meat but I digress.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Photo Mutiny And BloopersMy Profile

  3. I get diet kibble from time to time and it really helped me… it contains a lot of puffed rice (probably as a tummy filler). But since they changed the igredients and replaced pomegranates with potatoes we look for a better one, it also has a weird smell since the change…
    easy rider recently posted…easyblog THUNDERSTORM TUESDAYMy Profile

  4. Wow, that seems so bizarre. Not sure why any “diet” food would have higher carbs.

  5. I feel the same way that I feel about myself as I would for a pup when I want to lose a few pounds. Whole foods and appropriate portions and exercise!!
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  6. This is why the “diet” food industry is a billion dollar industry. Eat less and move more. This is great info.
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…North Shore Animal League’s Tour for Life 2016 ~ NW LouisianaMy Profile

  7. Not surprising. When my OES was overweight (because she ate everyone’s bowls if they didn’t), we toyed with the idea of a diet food but then opted for a high grade regular food, watched her like a hawk with the other dog bowls and increased her activity and the pounds melted off. The regular food was less expensive too. 🙂

  8. Why so many carbs? I don’t get it.

    I was lucky when Laika put on a few extra pounds. We didn’t have to switch her diet, we just reduced it a little bit at a time until we found the correct amount. It ended up being 15% less, which was a lot more than I was expecting.
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  9. That really makes no sense. I just cut Buddy’s food back by about 1/4 cup a day, and that worked for him. I have also eliminated almost all of his treats. I used to be to quick to give him a treat. Now he gets a good petting instead. Thanks for the information.
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  10. Do you know why they do this? Is it just because it’s a cheap way to make the food with less calories? I don’t buy diet foods for my pets. I just feed less of their regular food if they need to lose a bit.
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