We Compare High-Calorie Dog Food: Updated for 2022

Updated: May 24, 2022

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Some dogs are highly active or have jobs like hunting and shepherding. Working dogs and always-on-the-move like these need extra calories in their diet to fuel their bodies and supply adequate energy for their extra day-to-day demands.

But sometimes puppies and senior dogs with more laid-back pet lifestyles struggle to gain weight and maintain a healthy build. It can be related to some kind of illness, pickiness, sensitive stomach, or dental problems. Or the reason behind your dog’s low weight may still be a frustrating mystery to you.

Dogs who are having trouble maintaining a proper weight should get veterinary attention to address the issue. It can be challenging and upsetting when your pal is underweight. Because you love your dog like family, and you want him or her to thrive for as many happy and healthy active years as possible.

Luckily there are some high-calorie dog food options that can keep dogs healthy whether they need the added energy for high activity levels or achieving a healthy, higher weight.

Our Top Picks

We’ve rounded up our top three picks for high-calorie dog food in 2022 below. Miracle Vet High Calorie dog food continues to be our top choice due to a very high calorie density per cup, domestically sourced ingredients, and quick results helping dogs to quickly put on weight. After only a four weeks with Miracle Vet’s product, one mixed breed dog put on 8lbs, a 20% increase in total weight from when their program began.

Best for Weight Gain
Miracle Vet High Calorie Dog Food
  • Around 600 cal per scoop
  • All ingredients are sourced domestically in the U.S.
  • Suitable for all life stages (puppy, adult, and senior)
Check Amazon Check Amazon

High-calorie dog food is essential for weight gain when your dog’s weight is less than ideal. When purchased for underweight dogs or for puppies, it can play a role in getting the dogs back to health. Where there are both wet and dry options, there’s something even for the pickiest of eaters.

Finding the perfect food for your underweight dog’s circumstances might seem like completing a puzzle. There are not only different foods for puppies or for seniors, but some dogs living with being under an ideal weight are a bit fussy about what they will eat. A refreshing bit of information for owners is how many options are even for dogs who turn their noses up at everything!

We’ve put together a list of the high-calorie dog foods that we think are best. One of the goals we hope to meet is helping you find the right food for your dog’s circumstances. We will also look at how you can further supplement your dog’s diet for maximum nutrition, how to choose between grain-free and other options, and how to select the most appropriate food for your dog’s breed.

Our Criteria

We have reviewed high-quality dog food options for weight gain and found that veterinarian approval helps provide greater assurance of the food’s efficacy. The high protein levels found in many of these high-calorie foods helps to maintain a healthy muscle mass. Products that help supplement dogs’ food also prove helpful for underweight dogs.

However, some of these foods may upset dogs’ stomachs. In some of the supplemental products, many dogs aren’t always fond of the taste. However, the advantages could outweigh the disadvantages.

Pups can potentially increase their weight 20% in just four weeks after switching to the #1 choice here.

The Top Picks for High-Calorie Dog Food: Ranked

Miracle Vet High-Calorie Dog Food for Weight Gain has earned its place as A-Z Animals’ top choice for high-calorie dog food.

Miracle Vet High-Calorie Dog Food for Weight Gain offers the most calories of any dog food used for helping dogs gain weight. You’ll see the weight gain required for optimal health when you feed your dog according to the directions. With the food being nutritionally complete, your dog won’t need as much to get the nutrients required.

All of the ingredients are U.S.-sourced, taking away concerns about low-quality ingredients from unknown locations. There are also no artificial ingredients or fillers. All of the ingredients are natural.

Experts in the dog food industry have given this food a five-star rating. Most dogs will likely have a good experience with this food. However, some dogs might have digestive upsets that you need to watch for when switching to this food.

Best for Weight Gain
Miracle Vet High Calorie Dog Food
  • Around 600 cal per scoop
  • All ingredients are sourced domestically in the U.S.
  • Suitable for all life stages (puppy, adult, and senior)
Check Amazon Check Amazon

Purina Pro Plan Sport, Energy & Vitality Support has earned the distinction of being the A-Z Animals pick for the best wet and dry dog food. This food features different flavors that dogs will enjoy and comes in either semi-moist kibble or wet canned food.

This food features the highest-quality protein, and with that comes extra antioxidants. These antioxidants help provide support for heart, stomach, and joint health. Another advantage of antioxidants is that they boost dogs’ immune systems, which we find helpful.

There are 25 minerals and nutrients in this food, all of which are vital for underweight dogs. Two choices are available for this type of food, and our testing revealed that both of these options were quite satisfactory for most dogs:

Purina Pro Plan Sport Dry Food
  • Chicken & Rice formula
  • Available in 6, 18, 37.5, and 48 pound sizes
  • Real chicken is the #1 ingredient
Purina Pro Plan Sport Wet Food
  • Available in Turkey, Duck & Quail; Chicken & Rice; and Turkey, Lamb & Venison
  • 12-pack of 13 oz. cans
  • Contains 23 of the most essential vitamins and nutrients

Click here to check out Purina Pro Plan Sport, Energy & Vitality Support on amazon.

A-Z Animals recommends Nutri-cal High Calorie Nutritional Supplement for Dogs supplements a dog’s existing food, rather than being a complete nutritional solution in and of itself.

One of the things that this supplement does is provide dogs with essential nutrients. Whether you need it for undernourished puppies or for seniors with poor appetites, we think you will find this product life-changing. Most dogs enjoyed the taste.

We also found that this product was very easy to dispense. The tube makes the product easy to administer, which is always helpful. If your dog needs a little more encouragement to eat existing food, this product is the way to do that, even though a few may not care for the taste.

Click here to check out Nutri-cal High Calorie Nutritional Supplement for Dogs on amazon.

How to Supplement Your Dog’s Diet for Weight Gain

Regardless of whether you want to supplement for puppies or for seniors, there are times when your dog will benefit from some tasty treats to stimulate their appetite, in addition to high-calorie food. Pumpkin and sweet potato are examples of foods that can make excellent choices to supplement your dog’s wet or dry food.

When you use canned pumpkin, be sure to use plain pumpkin meat instead of pie filling. Pumpkin pie filling contains sweeteners and other additives that are unhealthy for dogs. When you use fresh pumpkin meat, you’ll want to make sure you get all the seeds out.

Fresh or canned sweet potatoes both work well. If fresh, make sure they are cooked and skinned. When using canned potatoes, avoid sweetened varieties because they may contain too much sugar.

Either of these can be mixed in with your dog’s food or used as a topper. Always use a more conservative amount because pumpkin and sweet potato can both stimulate your dog’s bowels. Diarrhea and loose stools are things you will want to avoid.

Can Grain-Free Food Help Dogs Gain Weight?

Grain-free foods can play an essential role in helping dogs gain weight. A common misconception that a lot of owners have is that grain-free foods are lower in carbohydrates. Pea flour and potato, two common ingredients in grain-free food, have high carbohydrate amounts.

These foods can help your dog gain weight, so they can also contribute to your dog becoming overweight. Dogs who become overweight or obese are susceptible to specific health concerns like heart disease. When you select any dog food, you will want to make sure the dog eats the appropriate amount and monitor their weight regularly.

Whether your dog is underweight or overweight, it’s smart to consult a vet’s advice and follow their guidance closely.

Selecting a Food Suitable for Your Dog’s Breed

Many owners do not realize that some breeds do better with particular types of food.

Large breeds will usually require more protein, especially if they are very active.

All puppies need food with enough antioxidants, protein, DHA, EPA, vitamins, minerals, and general nutrients to enable better bone, joint, muscle, immune system, and brain development.

Small and toy breeds have smaller teeth and jaws, making smaller kibble pieces more appropriate.

Seniors will often prefer wet or semi-moist food, which is usually easier to chew.

The Different Types of High-Calorie Dog Food: Pros and Cons

There are so many options out there, so carefully weigh the potential advantages and drawbacks of the various types of high-calorie dog food. You may find that certain choices work better or worse with your lifestyle and your pet’s preferences and age.

Dry Food

Pros!Cons!
Several meat choices May contain more fillers
With or without grain High-carbohydrate
Broadly available

Wet Food

Pros!Cons!
Easy on bad teeth Can contain fillers
Convenient size Requires refrigeration if opened
Tastier

Supplements

Easy to add to food Some dogs won’t touch it
Enjoyable flavors May not dispense easily
Easily stored

Best High-Calorie Dog Food Summary

RankBest ForProduct
#1OverallMiracle Vet High-Calorie Dog Food for Weight Gain
#2Wet/Dry OptionPurina Pro Plan Sport, Energy & Vitality Support, High Protein 30/20
#3Dietary SupplementTOMLYN Nutri-Cal High Calorie-Nutritional Gel

Up Next…

Best Freeze-Dried Dog Food– Many picky dogs prefer the satisfying flavor and high-protein of freeze-dried raw food!

The Best Dog Food Containers– Dog food isn’t cheap- especially specialty kinds. Store your dog’s food in a container that keeps it fresh!

Best Dog Water Fountains– Make sure your buddy’s water is always fresh, too!

Last update on 2022-08-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About the Author

AZ Animals is a growing team of animals experts, researchers, farmers, conservationists, writers, editors, and -- of course -- pet owners who have come together to help you better understand the animal kingdom and how we interact.

We Compare High-Calorie Dog Food: Updated for 2022 FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What food can help my dog gain weight?

Miracle Vet High Calorie Dog Food for Weight Gain and Purina Pro Plan Sport, Energy & Vitality Support is among the top choices for weight gain.

What dog food is highest in calories?

Miracle Vet High Calorie Dog Food for Weight Gain has the highest number of calories, at 600 calories per cup.

What is the best food to help my dog fatten up?

A high calorie dog food in either a dry or wet formula will help fatten up your dog, as well as supplements that you add to your dog’s current food.

Is canned dog food high in calories?

Some types of canned dog food, like Purina Pro Plan Sport, Energy & Vitality Support, are high in calories.