We Compare High-Calorie Dog Foods

Written by Judie Sigdel
Updated: November 11, 2022
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Key Points

  • The #1 Best Overall high-calorie dog food is Miracle Vet High Calorie Dog Food.
  • High-calorie dog foods are formulated for dogs that expend a lot of calories during the course of their day or that have trouble gaining weight.
  • Supplementing your dog’s high-calorie dog food with between-meal snacks or toppers can stimulate their appetite and cause them to consume more calories at mealtime.
  • We’ve researched, reviewed, and ranked the top three high-calorie dog foods on the market plus a high-calorie gel supplement so all you have to do is pick the ones that are right for your pup.

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. High-calorie dog food is the perfect solution.

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. Here are our top picks for high-calorie dog foods below.

  1. Miracle Vet High Calorie Dog Food
  2. 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
  3. Purina Pro Plan Sport - High Protein Wet Dog Food - Adult
  4. Purina Pro Plan Sport - High Protein Wet Dog Food - Adult
    • This high-protein wet dog food is 100% complete and balanced.
    • Its moisture-rich paté recipe helps support healthy hydration.
    • It contains antioxidants for a healthy immune system, plus 23 essential vitamins and nutrients.
    • It's available in Chicken & Rice; Beef & Bison; Salmon & Cod; Turkey, Duck, & Quail; Turkey, Lamb & Venison; and a variety pack.
    Check Amazon

The Top Picks for High-Calorie Dog Food: Ranked

#1 Best Overall: Miracle Vet High-Calorie Dog Food for Weight Gain

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 US-sourced, eliminating 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 experience digestive upset that you need to watch for when switching to this food. And a few buyers reported that their dogs wouldn’t eat this food.

Pros and Cons of Miracle Vet High-Calorie Dog Food for Weight Gain

ProsCons
This dog food contains the most calories per serving of any dog food used to help dogs gain weight.Some dogs may develop digestive issues when they switch to this food.
Since this recipe is nutritionally complete, you won’t need to feed your dog as much to provide the nutrients that they require.Some dogs refuse to eat this dog food.
All ingredients are all natural and sourced from the US.
This product contains no artificial ingredients or fillers.
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

2. Best Dry: Purina Pro Plan Performance – High Protein Dry Dog Food – Chicken & Rice

Purina Pro Plan Performance – High Protein Dry Dog Food – Chicken & Rice has earned the distinction of being the A-Z Animal’s pick for the best high-calorie dry dog food. Your dog is sure to enjoy this tasty Chicken & Rice recipe, which features the highest-quality protein, and 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.

Real chicken is the first ingredient. And there are 25 minerals and nutrients in this food, all of which are vital for underweight dogs. It’s available in 6, 18, 37.5, and 48-pound bags.

A few users said that they experienced quality control issues, such as crumbly kibble and beetles and larva in the bag. Also a small minority of pet parents reported that their dogs suffered skin and digestive allergies after consuming this food.

Pros and Cons of Purina Pro Plan Performance – High Protein Dry Dog Food – Chicken & Rice

ProsCons
This dry dog food features high-quality protein, including real chicken as the first ingredient.A few buyers reported quality control issues, such as crumbly kibble and insects in the bag.
The extra antioxidants in this recipe provide heart, stomach, joint, and immune system health support.A small number of consumers stated that their dogs experienced skin and digestive allergies after eating this food.
Each bag contains 25 minerals and nutrients that are essential for underweight dogs.
This formula is available in 6, 18, 37.5, and 48-pound bags.

3. Best Wet: Purina Pro Plan Sport – High Protein Wet Dog Food – Adult

If you’re searching for a high-calorie wet dog food, look no further than Purina Pro Plan Sport – High Protein Wet Dog Food – Adult. Each can of this high-protein wet dog food is nutritionally complete. It contains 23 key vitamins and nutrients plus the antioxidants your dog’s body needs for immune system health.

Thanks to its high moisture content, this paté-style dog food is perfect for dogs require extra hydration. And you never have to worry about your dog getting bored when they can choose from all these flavors: Chicken & Rice; Beef & Bison; Salmon & Cod; Turkey, Duck, & Quail; Turkey, Lamb & Venison; and a variety pack.

You can serve this wet food as your dog’s primary dog food or use it as a topper to supplement their dry food, which will entice them to consume more calories.

A few reviewers were upset that chicken is an ingredient in each flavor, both due to what they perceived to be deceptive labeling and because some of their dogs are allergic to chicken.

Pros and Cons of Purina Pro Plan Sport – High Protein Wet Dog Food – Adult

ProsCons
This nutritionally complete, high-protein, high-calorie dog food contains 23 key vitamins and nutrients, plus antioxidants that dogs need for immune system health.Some buyers were disturbed because each flavor contains chicken.
Because it has a high moisture content, this paté-style dog food is perfect for dogs that need extra hydration.
This wet dog food is available in the following flavors: Chicken & Rice; Beef & Bison; Salmon & Cod; Turkey, Duck, & Quail; Turkey, Lamb & Venison; and a variety pack.
You can serve it as is or use it as a topper on your dog’s dry food.
Best Wet
Purina Pro Plan Sport - High Protein Wet Dog Food - Adult
  • This high-protein wet dog food is 100% complete and balanced.
  • Its moisture-rich paté recipe helps support healthy hydration.
  • It contains antioxidants for a healthy immune system, plus 23 essential vitamins and nutrients.
  • It's available in Chicken & Rice; Beef & Bison; Salmon & Cod; Turkey, Duck, & Quail; Turkey, Lamb & Venison; and a variety pack.
Check Amazon

4. Best Supplement: TOMLYN Nutri-Cal High Calorie-Nutritional Gel

A-Z Animals recommends Nutri-Cal High Calorie Nutritional Supplement for Dogs, which 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, but some did refuse eat it.

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.

Please note that some buyers said that the gel wasn’t a good buy because they went through the tube very quickly.

Pros and Cons of OMLYN Nutri-Cal High Calorie-Nutritional Gel

ProsCons
This high-calorie gel is a nutritional supplement, not a primary food source.Some dogs don’t like the taste and refuse to eat it.
This malt-flavored gel provides undernourished dogs like puppies and seniors with poor appetites with essential nutrients.Some reviewers noted that they went through the tube very quickly.
The tube makes dispensing the product easy.

Our Top Picks

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. For example, one user reported that after only a four weeks, one mixed breed dog put on 8 pounds, a 20% increase in total weight from when their program began!

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. After all, pups can potentially increase their weight 20% in just four weeks after switching to our #1 Best Overall choice.

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 also work well. If fresh, make sure they are cooked without salt, skinned, and completely cooled. 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, are high in carbohydrates.

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 with your lifestyle and your pet’s preferences and age.

Dry Food

ProsCons
They’re usually available in a variety meat choices. Some dry dog food contains more fillers than canned.
They are available with or without grain. They’re generally higher in carbohydrates.
They’re widely available.
Most dry dog food is less expensive than canned or wet varieties.

Wet Food

ProsCons
Wet dog food is easy on bad teeth. Can contain fillers
It comes in convenient serving-sized cans or containers. Requires refrigeration if opened
Most dogs prefer the flavor of wet food.It’s more expensive than dry dog food.
Due to its high moisture content, it’s more hydrating than dry food.

Supplements

ProsCons
They’re easy to add to food. Some dogs won’t take them.
Most dogs enjoy the taste. They may not dispense easily.
They’re easy to store.

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About the Author

My passion is writing about animals. I’ve published articles on pet parrots, birds, and small animal care and reviews about pet food and products. I have an ever-evolving aviary and menagerie that has included cockatiels, parakeets, conures, European starlings, a chukar partridge, guinea pigs, dogs, and cats. I’m also the author of Faith without Labels: a Guide to Eclectic Spirituality.

We Compare High-Calorie Dog Foods 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.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.