7 best dog foods for weight gain

If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the most popular high calorie dog food is, then we recommend Bully Max High Performance Super Premium Dog Food as the best dog food for weight gain.

It’s essential that your dog can maintain an ideal weight. This means that you must strike a delicate balance between making sure your dog eats enough but not too much. This can be a tricky process if your dog has trouble keeping weight on or gaining it. Dogs tend to gain too much weight, which is why you always want to monitor their dog food and adjust it accordingly. But there also situations that your dog doesn’t put on enough weight. That’s where high calorie dog food products come in.

In this article, we’re going to review the following high calorie dog foods:

Picking out the best high calorie dog food can be challenging if you’re not sure what to consider when you compare products. We picked out the top seven dog foods with higher calorie content so you can compare them side by side. We’ll also outline what the driving factors are behind giving your dog this type of food below.

Purina Pro Plan Sport Formula

Purina Pro Plan sport Formula

The Purina Pro Plan Sport dog food is designed for all ages and life stages, you can choose from six flavors and eight sizes to customize your order. Real chicken or a protein source is the first ingredient on the label. Each formula has 30% protein and 20% fat to help promote dog weight gain and maintenance in sporting breeds. However, make sure you portion this food properly because some of the lower quality ingredients could lead to too much weight gain.

The higher amino acid content in Purina Pro Plan Sport helps nourish your dog’s skin while improving their coat health. It also gives their muscles a nutrient boost to help them recover from exercise quicker while giving them energy. The glucosamine and EPA content help ensure your dog’s joints age well and remain flexible throughout their life. The kibble is a great size for medium or large breeds to eat without it being too large.

Calories Per Cup

  • 393 calories

Pros

  • It has real protein is the first ingredient
  • It’s available in six formulas
  • It has a 30% protein and 20% fat ratio
  • It has glucosamine that supports joint health and flexibility
  • It’s good for all life stages

Cons

  • It has by-products and fillers as major ingredients.
  • The kibble has a crumbly texture
  • It can leave a greasy residue
  • It has a strong smell

>> Check price on amazon <<


Rachel Ray Nutrish PEAK Natural Dry Dog Food

Rachel Ray Nutrish PEAK Natural Dry Dog Food

This dog food has the taste of open range venison, beef, and lamb to attract your dog. It’s a very nutrient-dense recipe that will help your dog feel full much longer, and this dog food doesn’t contain a lot of unhealthy and empty fillers. You get the choice of three different sizes and three different flavor combinations.

There are no grains, gluten, or fillers in this formula, and this fact makes it an excellent choice for dogs that have sensitives or grain allergies. There are no artificial flavors, poultry by-product meals, or artificial preservatives or colors. Each batch of this dog food gets safely cooked in the United States, and it uses very high-quality ingredients to ensure your dog gets the best.

Calories Per Cup

  • 338 calories

Pros

  • It uses United States-based ingredients
  • It follows strict quality control standards
  • It has wholesome vegetables and minerals
  • It comes with easily digestible carbohydrates like sweet potatoes
  • The kibble is slightly smaller

Cons

  • The pricing tends to fluctuate
  • The kibble is very hard
  • It might be too strong for sensitive dogs

>> Check price on amazon <<


VICTOR CLASSIC HIGH ENERGY

VICTOR CLASSIC HIGH ENERGY

This nutrient-dense dog food uses a mix of pork, chicken, and beef meals in each serving to entice your dog to eat. Since there are higher calories in each cup, this dog food suits sporting and active dogs better than lower-energy breeds. Your dog will get 24% protein and 20% fat in each bag, and this encourage healthy weight gain and maintenance.

Each bag has the Victor Core ingredients that come scientifically formulated to keep weight on. These ingredients support both immune and digestive health. There are gluten-free grains in each serving, and this dog food is great for dogs with allergies to meat proteins. Your dog will get a dose of prebiotics and probiotics with vitamins and minerals for continued health.

Calories Per Cup

  • 412 calories

Pros

  • It’s made in Texas
  • It has high protein and fat content
  • It’s a gluten-free grain mix
  • It boosts immune and digestive health
  • It’s meant for all life stages

Cons

  • It doesn’t have a large size range
  • It takes over 10 days to transition to it

>> Check price on amazon <<


Merrick Grain Free Dog Food

Merrick Grain Free Dog Food

The first ingredient on the bag of this grain free dog food is real fish, poultry, or meat, and there are eight formulas to choose from when you order. There is a 70% fat and protein content in this dog food, and these ingredients help to support your dog’s lean muscle growth and weight maintenance. It contains higher levels of omega 3 fatty acids to boost your dog’s skin health while leaving then with a shiny coat.

The fatty acids also help protect your dog’s joint health by improving their flexibility. There are whole ingredients in this dog food like blueberries, apples, peas, and sweet potatoes without any gluten, wheat, corn, soy, preservatives, or fillers. You’ll get a 100% satisfaction guarantee when you order this dog food, and Merrick will refund you in full if you’re not completely happy.

Calories Per Cup

  • 380 calories

Pros

  • There are formulas for all ages and breed sizes
  • It contains whole ingredients like apples and peas
  • It is grain free to avoid upsetting your dog’s stomach
  • Meat is the first ingredient on the label
  • It has omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat

Cons

  • It has a very strong scent
  • It can upset sensitive dog’s stomachs
  • You can’t reseal the bag

>> Check price on amazon <<


Bully Max High Performance Super Premium Dog Food

Bully Max High Performance Super Premium Dog Food

The Bully Max 40 pound bag of dry dog food has a very high calorie count at over 500 per cup. It will help your dog gain weight and bulk up, and this formula contains 20% fat and 30% protein. This high calorie dry dog food is the only meat-based dry dog food specially formulated for Pit Bulls. Real meat is first on the label, and this food is suitable for all ages.

Every batch of this food goes through a triple check before packaging. This ensures that its strict quality control standards are met or exceeded. This high calorie dog food has never had any recalls attached to it, and AAFCO registers this food in its database. Brown rice makes up a good portion of the carbohydrates, and this is easy to digest.

Calories Per Cup

  • 535 calories

Pros

  • It’s meat-based dry dog food
  • It suits all life stages
  • It’s AAFCO registered
  • It has never had a recall
  • It feeds up to 50% less due to higher calories

Cons

  • It’s only available in one size
  • It can cause loose stools
  • It may take months to see results

>> Check price on amazon <<


Maximum Bully Elite K9

Maximum Bully Elite K9

This high calorie dry dog food comes formulated for multiple breeds, and you can feed your dog the same thing from the time they’re a puppy until they hit their senior years. It has multiple amino acids, protein sources, vitamins, and minerals to ensure your dog gets a balanced meal each time they eat. It’s 32% protein and 22% fat in the formula, and the main protein sources come from pork and chicken.

The yeast extract in this high calorie food helps to support healthy and lean muscle growth while maintaining your dog’s digestive health. The complex carbohydrates like bran, oatmeal, and peas help keep your dog full longer, and this blend also gives them a bigger boost of energy. The cranberries and pumpkin encourage healthy digestion, and the formula also contains probiotics.

Calories Per Cup

  • 481 calories

Pros

  • It has chicken and pork flavor
  • It has yeast extract that supports muscle growth and maintenance
  • It has pumpkin that improves digestive health
  • It’s formulated for multiple breeds
  • It has several protein and carbohydrate sources

Cons

  • It can cause diarrhea
  • It’s more expensive to buy online
  • You can’t reseal the bag

>> check price on amazon <<


CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Adult Dry Dog Food

CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Adult Dry Dog Food

This high calorie food has oceanfish and salmon as the two main protein sources, and you can choose from three different sized bags. Your dog will get 34% protein and 17% fat in this formula, and meat is the first ingredient. You can feed this food to adult dogs of any size to help them build muscle and maintain their weight.

This is a grain free food that has healthy carbohydrates that are easy on your dog’s digestive system. You won’t find any corn, chicken by-product meal, soy, wheat, or artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors. This lowers the risk that it’ll upset your dog’s stomach. The amino acids and minerals help round out your dog’s diet and support their growth throughout their lives.

Calories Per Cup

  • 443 calories

Pros

  • It’s available in three sizes
  • It’s made with 34% protein
  • It’s high in omega 3 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat
  • It has healthy carbohydrates
  • It is grain free
  • The kibble is a nice size

Cons

  • It may be too hard for older dogs
  • It has a high amount of salmon meal
  • It may set off skin and coat allergies

>> check price on amazon <<


Buying Guide

Why should you give your dog a food that is higher in calories? What could cause your dog to lose weight? If you’re concerned about your furry friend’s weight, you’re not alone. Some dogs struggle to keep weight on, and we’ll outline everything you need to know below.

Why Give Dogs High Calorie Dog Food?

If your dog has something preventing them from gaining weight or keeping weight on, they may need a higher calorie food to keep them healthy. Sporting or very active breeds typically burn much more calories than older or less active breeds, and they need higher calories to make up for it. If they don’t have it, you could see them start to lose weight at an alarming rate. Foods with higher calories also support lean muscle growth, and this can help your dog bulk up.

High calorie dog food is also common for rescue dogs from neglect situations. Many dogs with unfortunate pasts are severely underweight, so they’ll need to gain weight quickly to thrive. In those instances, a high calorie dog food product is the best way to help a malnourished canine get back into shape. Dog rescues and shelters can often benefit from receiving these brands as donations for that reason.

How to Measure Your Dog’s Weight

If you’re not sure what your dog’s actual weight is supposed to be, head on over to PetMD. They have a healthy weight calculator on their website. This tool allows you to fill in all of your dog’s information before it calculates their ideal weight. You put in their age, breed, name, weight, and body condition. The calculator will give you an approximate calorie range you should feed your dog a day to reach their ideal weight. You can also consult your veterinarian if you have questions.

Another easy way to tell if your dog is underweight or overweight is to perform a quick touch and visual test. Take your hands and lightly touch along your dog’s sides to see if you can feel their ribs. You should be able to feel their ribs without pressing hard, but they shouldn’t be prominent. If you can’t, your dog is most likely overweight. If their hipbones stick out, you are dealing with a underweight dog. This short YouTube video will show you how to check your dog’s weight.

If you’re unsure how much your dog weighs, a quick measurement on a scale will do the trick. Yet, some dogs don’t like to sit still enough to be weighed. So, many dog parents weigh themselves, then weigh themselves holding their dog. Subtracting your weight from the second measurement should give you an estimated weight for your dog. Every time your furry friend goes to the vet, they will also get weighed to make sure they stay healthy.

Dog parents with underweight dogs should weigh their dogs regularly to make sure they’re gaining weight. Since dogs are smaller than we are, a little weight loss or gain can have a critical impact on their health. So, keep track of you canine’s body weight as much as possible.

The Biggest Reasons Your Dog is Losing Weight

Did you know that there are several things that could cause your dog to lose weight? It can be scary if your dog suddenly starts to drop weight, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re super sick. We’ll tell you the biggest reasons dogs lose weight below. Of course, you should always consult your vet in this instance as well.

Anxiety

Dogs can suffer from anxiety just like humans can. Your dog wants to feel safe when they eat. If they don’t, they may stop eating. Stress can also cause your dog to lose their appetite, just like how it could for humans.This can result in rapid weight loss that won’t go away until you figure out what’s stressing them out and fix it.

Some causes of stress in dogs could be separation anxiety, a switch in your routine, or maybe you invited a new baby or pet into the home. Work on treating your dog’s source of anxiety and see if they start gaining weight back. Read more about anxiety in our extensive article.

Dental Problems

As your dog ages, the chances of them suffering from dental problems goes up. Their teeth can crack, break, or get cavities, and this can make it painful for them to eat. Their breath will usually start to smell very strongly as the decay advances, and you may notice their gums turn red or start to swell. Schedule a professional teeth cleaning with your vet, and serve your dog softer dog food in the meantime.

Internal Parasites

It’s very common for dogs to get infested with internal parasites like tapeworms or roundworms. If they do, they can seem hungry all of the time and eat a lot, but your dog will still keep losing weight. You could see worms in their feces as the infestation advances. Your veterinarian will diagnose and prescribe medications to treat them. This is a severe health problem that should be address immediately.

Other Health Problems

There are tons of health problems that can make your dog gain weight or lose weight. So, if none of the above reasons seem plausible for your dog, then there could be a more serious underlying health concern. Visit your vet to get to the bottom of your dog’s weight loss. They can do tests to discover the issue and they can give advice on how to help your dog grain weight.

Things to Consider Before Buying a High Calorie Food

There are several essential factors that go into narrowing down the different types of high calorie dog food. The following short guide will help you. Everyone has different dry dog food recommendations, but it’s up to you to look closely at the ingredients to decide which product is best for your dog.

Protein

The protein in your dog’s food should be one of the first ingredients on the label. In fact, the best high calorie dog food product should list meat as the first two or even three ingredients. The protein should come from a whole meat source like beef, chicken, or salmon. Avoid any ingredients that are meat by-products or vague proteins like “poultry meal,” rather than chicken or turkey. You should feel confident knowing what food is going into your canine’s tummy.

Calorie Count

The calorie content can vary from in the upper 300s up to the mid-500s per cup. You want as many calories as possible without sacrificing quality, and this is a delicate balancing act. If your dog is only gaining calories from fatty, unhealthy fillers, then that’s a huge concern. Make sure your dog is gaining weight from beneficial proteins instead. Once your dog has reached a healthy weight, you might want to switch to a low calorie formula instead.

Vitamins and Minerals

Dog food is for so much more than weight gain. The best high calorie dog foods will also benefit many other areas of your dog’s health, thanks to vitamins and minerals. For example, omega fatty acids can help your dog’s skin and coat while glucosamine and chondroitin can keep their joints healthy. Also, other vitamins and minerals could help body parts like the brain, heart, and digestive system. So, calorie count certainly isn’t the only important item in high calorie dog foods.

No Fillers

Some dog food has a lot of fillers in it. These are empty ingredients used to bulk up the food’s formula without adding nutritional value. Dog food should be made up of lots of meat, along with other beneficial ingredients, like fat, fruits, vegetables, vitamins, and minerals. Some common filler ingredients in dog food could be potatoes, tomato pomace, peas, corn, wheat, or soy. While these ingredients can have their benefits, they are still cheap alternatives to more beneficial ingredients. Plus, these less important items should never overpower the animal-based protein.

Grains or No Grains

Some dogs do okay with eating grains while others have allergies. Watch your dog’s coat and skin for signs of allergies and decide whether or not their food should have it. Some common allergens in dog food are chicken, grains, potatoes, and beef. If you know your dog has lots of allergies and sensitivities, a grain free or limited ingredient dry dog food will be the best choice for them.

When is Dog Weight Gain Bad?

Unfortunately, dog weight gain isn’t always positive. In fact, at least 25% to 35% of the canine population is obese, and those percentages only grow for studies involving older dogs. So, while helping a malnourished dog gain weight might seem like the biggest concern, it can become a problem if they gain too much weight.

Here are some instances were dog weight gain can cause more harm than good.

Obesity

Helping a dog gain weight too much can lead to obesity. Obesity is when a dog has excess body fat, where you can barely feel their ribs. Like being malnourished, obesity in dogs can cause a lot of problems. Obese dogs are at a higher risk of joint damage, cancer, heart disease, bladder stones, and diabetes. So, don’t ignore excess weight gain in your canine.

Low-Quality Food

If you use a low-quality food to help your dog gain weight, you could be causing more problems without meaning to. Formulas like Bully Max are full of animal-based protein while formulas like Purina Pro Plan Sport are full of fillers and by-products. So, while both options can help an underweight dog gain weight quickly, a filler-based diet should be swapped out for something healthier in the long run. Choose a food that’s complete and balanced for your dog’s long-term diet.

Not Enough Exercise

What your dog’s food contains isn’t the only factor that can lead to an excessive weight gain. A protein rich diet also needs to be paired with plenty of exercise. Even if your dog is low-energy or a senior, you should still give them at least a walk a day. Set aside between a half hour to an hour of exercise time for your dog daily, depending on their energy levels. That way, you can ensure that your canine is staying active while eating healthy. It might seem like a lot of work, but that’s the price you pay for having a loving pet.

So, a high protein diet might not be your canine’s food for life. Once they reach their weight goal, decide if they still need that many calories in their daily meals. If not, it’s okay to switch to something less intense. Keeping your dog a healthy weight doesn’t always require the same food as needed for gaining weight.

Frequently Asked Questions

With so many great high calorie dog food options, it’s difficult to make a final decision. Here are some questions that dog parents commonly ask. Maybe they will help you settle on the best dog food for your canine.

1. What dog food has the most calories per one cup?

Out of the seven choices we reviewed, the Bully Max High Performance Super Premium Dog Food had the most calories in each cup at 535. However, you can see that several of our other picks were very close behind with their calorie content. This higher calorie count makes it very easy for your dog to gain weight or bulk up. You do want to carefully monitor them to be sure they’re not getting overweight.

2. How can I increase the calories in my dog’s food?

The first thing you can do is switch them to a higher calorie food if they’re not on one. You can also try to add a scoop or two of wet dog food in and mix it with the dry dog food. Not only will this add moisture, but it’ll also pack in more calories. You can split their large meals into smaller ones throughout the day and encourage them to eat a little more. Also, talk to your veterinarian about your concerns with your canine’s weight. As a side note, if you want to know more what a dog can and cannot eat, read our top 35 article on that.

3. Can I use other forms of high calorie dog food?

This article focuses on high calorie dry dog food, but that’s not the only form of high calorie dog food out there. Many dog parents turn to wet food, raw food, or homemade dog food to keep their dogs healthier. After all, those options aren’t as processed. Yet, they can be harder to portion for you dog.

Other forms of high calorie dog food can be beneficial for your pup, but only if you know how to portion them properly. Fresh dog food made from scratch won’t have a calorie label on it like dry dog food might. So, you’ll need to do the calculations yourself to make sure your dog is eating enough calories daily. If you’re not experienced with dog food, then you could end up making it harder for your dog to gain weight without even realizing it. Always do your research before making changes to your canine’s diet.

Bottom Line: Best Dog Food for Weight Gain

There is no shortage of high calorie dog food products, so making that final decision can be overwhelming. Yet, as long as you’re confident in the ingredients, you’ll be able to make an educated choice. Here’s what my favorite option is.

The winner of the best high calorie dog food is Bully Max High Performance Super Premium Dog Food with 535 calories in every cup. This weight gainer dog food comes formulated to give you lasting results and bulk up your dog’s muscle content while helping keep them at a healthy weight. We liked that this is a meat-based dry dog food that seems very flavorful.

Every batch of food goes through a triple-check process before being sent out. This gave us greater peace of mind concerning the food’s quality. Finally, it allows you to feed your dog up to 50% less while hitting a higher calorie margin.

High calorie dog food isn’t for every canine, but it’s beneficial for any dog who needs to gain weight. Hopefully, these high calorie dog food formulas helped make this decision easier for you. Ideally, it will help your dog gain enough weight to look and feel healthy again!

Want to know about dog foods, check out our following articles

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Peter Schoeman