Vet Approved Content
  • Sara Redding Ochoa DVM
  • Certified content. This article has been fact checked and verified by our veterinary advisor.

    Approved By: Dr. Sara Ochoa, DVM

Notes from our DVM, Sara Ochoa:

When switching your dog’s food, make sure to do it slowly to avoid any GI problems.  Here is my 10 day plan for switching a dogs food:

  • Day 1-3: 1/4th new food and 3/4th old food
  • Day 3-6: 1/2 new food and 1/2 old food
  • Day 7-10: 3/4th new food and 1/4th old
  • Day 11+:  100% new food

There is a lot of talk about dog food for weight loss, but what about dogs that need to gain a little weight?

It is not uncommon for nursing dog moms to need extra nutrition, for rescues to require additional calories and for certain active dog breeds to need a calorie boost between workouts, but the question is – how do you help a dog gain weight? This guide will point you in the direction of quality dog weight gain food, and go over a few things that you will want to keep in mind when you start your search.

These dog food brands have products that are high in protein and ideal for increasing a dog’s body weight, and it is some of the best dog food products currently available.

View The Best Dog Foods to Gain Weight Below

 

1. Instinct Original Grain Free Recipe Natural Dry Dog Food

Instinct Original Grain Free Recipe Natural Dry Dog Food

When you want the best for your dog, this is, without doubts, one of the best dog foods you can find. 72% of the content comes from real animals, making the animal-based content high enough to help an underweight dog gain weight. Salmon is full of healthy fats and fatty acids, such as omega 3 and omega 6, which will help your furry friend gain some weight in a healthy and natural way, and at a pace that benefits their bodies. If you are a family with multiple dogs, these dog foods can be used for all fur friends in the household, as it is made to get your pup up (or down) to a healthy weight, and that at a healthy weight, rather than to continue gaining.

Pros:

+ For all life stages

+ 72% real animal protein

+ Made with superior raw ingredients

+ Packed with healthy omega fatty acids

Why We Like It – If you want more than just a kibble for weight gain, this is the best dog food you can get as it will keep all the family pets (dogs) healthy throughout their entire lifetime, rather than to be a temporary solution only.


2. Nature’s Logic Dog Food Canine meal Feast

Nature’s Logic Dog Food Canine Meal Feast

The key to healthy weight gain is nutrition – nutrition that is biologically appropriate for your dog, and this dog kibble for weight gain and healthy living has figured this out. All ingredients used are 100% natural, with no artificial flavor, color or preservatives, and each kibble is full of essential probiotics and enzymes, both known to improve digestion and to reset the canine body. Eating this dog food will help your dog reach his or her ideal weight, without going over, and it is one of the best dog foods for weight gain when you want to purchase a product you can continue using also as your four-legged buddy reachest that set weight goal.

Pros:

+ 100% natural ingredients

+ Enzymes and probiotics for better digestion

+ Nutrient-dense recipe

+ Free from artificial flavors

Why We Like It – Good digestion works two ways, both to lose and gain some weight, and this healthy kibble is packed with the enzymes and probiotics your canine needs to land at an ideal weight.


3. Bully Max High Performance Premium Dog Food

Bully Max High Performance Premium Dog Food

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For high-performance dogs or dogs that are on the skinny side and need to gain weight, this dog food for weight gain has a perfectly balanced content of protein and calories. You can often feed smaller amounts than with a commercial dog food brand thanks to the high nutritional value, and the first ingredient is real meat – perfect for building muscle and gaining weight. The brand’s recall history is clean, which in itself is impressive, even if you need to take into consideration that the production might be smaller than many commercial brands, hence the risk of a recall is significantly reduced in comparison. When you feed a high-protein dog food such as this to your pup, you get the satisfaction of knowing that your canine companion is receiving a mostly meat-based diet.

Pros:

+ Real meat as the first ingredient

+ For high-performance dogs

+ No recall history

+ Ideal for nursing dogs

Why We Like It – To have a dog gain weight and stay at that weight, you need quality ingredients like the real meat, protein, and fat found in this recipe.


4. CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Dog Food

CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Dog Food

Say no to animal by-products, wheat, corn and soy, and feed your underweight fur friend with this great option packed with nutrients! It is a high-calorie dog food for dogs to gain weight safely, and it will help your dog increase both weight and muscle mass without having to use an additional supplement. This is useful for female dogs that are nursing, as this will often lead to weight loss, for working dogs, dogs that exercise more than average and for underweight rescue dogs, and the recipe was inspired by how wild dogs and their ancestors – the wolf – would eat out in nature. The high content of real lamb and venison will convince even the pickiest fur friend to finish his or her dinner, something that will further help in your strive to help your dog gain weight.

Pros

+ Real lamb and venison

+ Wolf-inspired diet

+ 34% protein content

+ No animal by-products

Why We Like It – With over 30% protein, this is one of the best foods for weight gain in dogs, as the calories come mostly from highly nutritious animal sources.


5. Adirondack High-Fat Recipe for Puppy & Performance Dogs

Adirondack High-Fat Recipe for Puppy & Performance Dogs

These dog foods for weight correction are great for puppies as the nutrients offer a very natural transition from the mother’s milk, but they are also ideal dog weight gainer food products for a pooch that is in training or that gets a lot of physical exercises. The 30% protein content is enough to properly feed a hungry canine, and there are fatty acids like Omega 3 and Omega 6 to both boost skin- and coat quality, but also to help your dog gain weight by improving their digestion and overall metabolism. Another thing that is great about this weight gain dog food brand is that the product is manufactured and packed in the United States, with traceable ingredients so that you know what you are feeding your dog.

Pros

+ High-fat puppy recipe

+  30% protein from real animals

+ Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids

+ Made in the United States

Why We Like It – A dry food like this has enough calories and healthy fat to aid dogs that need to gain weight, and it is one of the best dog food products for young puppies.


6. Solid Gold High Protein Dry Dog Food

Solid Gold High Protein Dry Dog Food

For dogs that aren’t fully convinced by dry food, a wet and delicious meal like this could be the key to making them eat! It can be used on its own as a full meal or as a kibble topping, and it has a high protein content that will give your pup the calories he or she needs for a stable weight gain. Both large and small dogs can feast on this meaty delight, as it also contains a complete collection of all the most important vitamins and minerals to complete any dog’s diet. It is highly digestible and contains plenty of healthy carbohydrates and fat content, and it will keep your best fur friend full and happy throughout the day. Helping your dog to gain weight can be a stressful experience, but it becomes easy with a high calorie canned food like this, and especially when the dog is underweight.

Pros

+ Use as a complete meal or food topping

+ Nutrient-dense dog food recipe

+ Beef and beef liver from the United States

+ Supports healthy muscle development

Why We Like It – Whether your dog just needs to gain weight or if you are hoping for him or her to build more muscle, this is a formula that will get the job done!


7. Earthborn Holistic Coastal Catch Grain-Free

Earthborn Holistic Coastal Catch Grain-Free

A fish meal and salmon meal recipe like this adult dog kibble is ideal for when your dog needs to gain a little weight, and it is a brand that is likely recommended by your local veterinarian, thanks to the healthy amount of calories per cup. To help your dog gain weight it is important to find a good balance of protein, fat, and calories, and Earthborn achieves this with a gluten and grain-free recipe full of antioxidants, minerals and other essential vitamins, full of natural flavor that even the pickiest eater will love. It is a great dry kibble for weight gain but also for maintaining a healthy weight and lean muscle.

Pros

+ Free from grains and gluten

+ Recyclable BPA packaging

+ Skin and coat promoting

+ Wholesome fruit and vegetables

Why We Like It – There is no grains or gluten in this dry food, and instead, you get a high protein content from real meat, to help get your dogs up to their desired weight.


8. Maximum Bully Elite K9 Nutrition

Maximum Bully Elite K9 Nutrition

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Offer your favorite fur friend a kibble made with a high percentage of real chicken and pork – a product so full of natural flavor that even you will be tempted to take a bite, and where the protein content is a total of 32%, balanced with a 22% fat content. It is an effective dog food for weight gain thanks to the calories per cup designed to ultimately achieve a healthy weight in adult dogs. A mix of cranberry, pumpkin, oatmeal and more makes this kibble amazingly complete nutritionwise, and your dog will be getting all the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants needed for long and healthy life.

Pros

+ 32% protein and 22% fat

+ Amino acids and antioxidants

+ 481 calories per cup

+ Real chicken and pork

Why We Like It – Help your dog gain a few points with this high-quality kibble, where every bite counts towards a healthier weight, a happier dog and an improved muscle mass.


Best Dog Food to Gain Weight Buyers Guide

An underweight dog can be in just as much trouble as an overweight dog, as both conditions are close to equally unhealthy. Weightloss in canines can be a result of multiple things, such as underfeeding, over-exercising or a health condition, and it is important to establish the reason for why your fur friend is weighing less than recommended before you try to take action, so make sure the first thing you do is to contact a licensed veterinarian for a proper health check.

If everything seems to be fine, it is time to have a look at what your dog eats. Poor nutrition and low-quality dog foods are a very common reason for weight loss, and this can be fixed by switching your pooch over to a high-quality kibble or wet food that is rich in both nutrients, protein, fat, and calories. Below is everything you need to know.

Reasons for Weightloss

As mentioned above, the first thing to do is to figure out why your furry companion is underweight or why you think they need to gain a few pounds, and this can be either an easy task or somewhat tricky.

If you have had the dog for its entire life, then you are more likely to know what is going on (although, not always the case), while someone who has recently acquired the canine might be up for more of a challenge.

Illness/Medical Issue – It is not uncommon for there to be underlying health issues, such as worms or other parasites, which is known to cause insufficient weight in many dogs. Only a veterinarian can help establish this and find the potential reason, so make an appointment for a health check before proceeding.

Poor Nutrition – If your veterinarian concludes that there is nothing wrong with your dog other than the weight, then he or she might recommend a diet with more calories and a higher-quality protein. Poor nutrition can be due to a complete lack of food, which is the case with many neglected dogs, or simply due to a dog owner failing to provide their fur friend with a nutritious diet. Your dog might also be a picky eater that chooses to eat less than what would be recommended.

Stress – Just like with us humans, long-term stress can lead to weight loss if it is allowed to go on for long, so sit down and analyze your family situation to see if your pooch might be suffering from stress. Did you have any recent changes take place lately? A move? An addition to the family or a loss? Taking this into consideration can be an important step towards finding the weight loss cause.

Essential Ingredients for Weight-Gain

Smiling Golden Retriever Dog in the grass
Now, if what your dog needs is better food and more calories, then there are a few things to consider before purchasing a new bag of kibble. The back of the product should always have a list of ingredients, and all the information you need is available right there before your eyes, as long as you know how to interpret it.

Meat and protein content – Dogs are meat-eaters, and while some claim they are carnivorous and others that they are omnivores, everyone agrees on one thing – canines benefit from a meat-based diet.

When you look at the ingredient list, you want to make sure there is a real (and named) meat product listed first, such as chicken, beef, lamb or salmon, as this indicates a high percentage of animal-based protein. Avoid any product with animal by-products, as this is considered a low-quality ingredient with questionable protein content.

Fat – When we think about the concept of gaining weight, it is normal for the first thing to pop into our heads to be fat. Fat leads to a dog gaining weight, doesn’t it? The easy answer is yes, but you will want to look for healthy fats and fatty acids like Omega-3 and Omega-6 (found naturally in for example fish) and avoid any types of trans fat products.

Vitamins and minerals – Another key to a healthy weight is a healthy body, and for your pooch to be healthy, you will need to make sure he or she has a functional metabolism and digestion, which is why vitamins and minerals are so important. Most premium dog foods have a good blend of vitamins, but you can also check the ingredient list for nutritious fruit and vegetables, fish, and more, to help get your canine’s body working the way that it’s supposed to.

Will eggs help my dog’s weight?

Eggs can be a great addition to your dog’s regular kibble or wet food, but should not be fed in excess. You can also opt for a kibble containing eggs.

Will rice help my dog’s weight?

Rice is a grain that contains important vitamins and such, but it is unlikely to do much for a dog that needs to pack on a few pounds. Instead, focus on quality protein sources such as real meat.

Conclusion

Finding the right dog food for weight gain is not always easy, and it may often take a little bit of effort and time before you find the product that is right for your dog. Dog food for weight loss seems surprisingly easy to find everywhere you go, but finding a good dog food for weight gain might be something you find to be a little trickier.

Dog food for weight gain needs to have just the right amounts of calories, protein, fat, and other nutrients, and the best way to find the right wet or dry food for your dog is by learning what to look for. Here is a quick guide.

Expert Tip

Allow your dog to get used to his or her new dog food, and don’t expect weight gain results right away, as the canine body may need time to adjust.

Did You Know

You should be able to feel your dog’s ribs when gently touching their rib cage, but if you can see the ribs, then your dog most likely qualifies as underweight.

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