The Best Dog Food For Weight Gain: Reviewed and Ranked

Written by Liz Coleman
Updated: December 11, 2022
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Key Points

  • The #1 Best Overall dog food for weight gain is the Crave High Protein Adult Dog Food.
  • To aid your pup’s weight gain, look for foods high in protein and fat.
  • Undoubtedly, dog food with a pleasant taste will help your pup pack on the pounds!
  • Extra vitamins and minerals in special dog food will add nourishment to your pooch’s diet.
  • The best dog foods to help your dog gain weight will come with a high price tag, but there are some brands on the cheaper side that are very effective.
  • To help your pup plump up, you may choose dry dog food, wet dog food, prescription dog food (consult your veterinarian), or homemade dog food.
  • Some dog foods that aid weight-gain are geared more towards puppies or older dogs.

It’s no secret that canine obesity is a problem, but what about skinnier pooches? Even though they tend to fly under the radar, underweight dogs deserve the same attention as their heftier pals. 

Dogs lose weight for all kinds of reasons. Some lose weight as they age, and some canine athletes burn through calories quicker than they consume them. And some dogs are just picky eaters. No matter the cause behind your dog’s weight loss, a nutrient-packed, calorie-rich dog food can help.

We understand that every dog is unique and has their own set of nutritional needs, which is why we’ve selected top-rated dog foods for weight gain in several relevant categories. You’ll find an option for underweight senior dogs, who benefit from superfood ingredients. And we can’t ignore underweight puppies, so we’ve also included a formula that caters to their specific needs (i.e. meat-based ingredients and extra calories for energy).

The extra calories and enhanced palatability of wet food earn it a featured spot on our list. Underweight dogs usually find the taste more appealing, encouraging them to finish every bite.

One final word of advice — as weight loss can signal an underlying illness like kidney disease or cancer, it’s best to check in with your vet to rule out an undiagnosed medical condition before starting your dog’s new diet. And remember to gradually introduce a new diet to your dog, giving his stomach time to adjust.

So, what’s the best dog food for weight gain? Read on to find out!

  1. Crave High Protein Adult Dog Food
  2. Crave High Protein Adult Dog Food
    • A protein-rich formula that has no artificial flavors or preservatives
    • Grain-free and made of real beef
    • Free of corn, wheat and soy
    • Provides energy to your dog
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  3. Instinct Raw Boost Dry Dog Food
  4. Instinct Raw Boost Dry Dog Food
    • A great option for dogs that are picky eaters
    • Calorie- and protein-rich
    • Freeze-dried raw meat provides a protein-packed energy boost
    • Contains added probiotics to enhance digestive health
    • Appropriate for all dog ages except for large-breed puppies
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  5. Bully Max High Performance Premium Dog Food
  6. Bully Max High Performance Premium Dog Food
    • Best for puppies, packing 535 calories per cup of food
    • Never been recalled
    • Meat-based formula is filled with natural ingredients
    • Protein-packed kibble provides energy and promote alertness
    Check Amazon
  7. Solid Gold Barking at the Moon High Protein Dog Food
  8. Solid Gold Barking at the Moon High Protein Dog Food
    • High-protein formula helps older dogs to gain or maintain their weight
    • Contains superfoods like fish, pumpkin, cranberries, carrots and blueberries
    • Grain- and gluten-free
    • Rich in omega-3 and and omega-6 fatty acids
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  9. Ziwi Peak Beef Recipe Canned Dog Food
  10. Ziwi Peak Beef Recipe Canned Dog Food
    • Tasty wet food formula is packed with calories and protein to aid in weight gain
    • All-natural recipe blends meat and organs and contributes healthy levels of chondroitin and glucosamine to aid in joint health
    • BPA-free packaging is eco-friendly
    • Family-owned company based in New Zealand
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  11. Purina Pro Plan Sport Performance Dog Food
  12. Purina Pro Plan Sport Performance Dog Food
    • Affordable pricetag is unbeatable
    • 30% protein and 20% fat
    • Builds muscle to help your dog exercise longer and with more intensity
    • Three protein-packed flavors to choose from
    • Includes probiotics to enhance healthy digestion and immune system health
    Check Chewy Check Amazon

The Best Dog Food for Weight Gain: Ranked

#1 Best Overall: CRAVE High Protein Adult Dog Food

Without a doubt, the #1 best dog food for weight gain is the CRAVE High Protein Adult Dog Food. 

This food is made from a protein-rich formula (34%) with real beef as the first ingredient. This food is also grain-free which makes it suitable for dogs requiring a grain-free diet. this tasty kibble is designed to be flavorful to encourage even the pickiest eaters to eat it.

This delicious food is also packed fu;; of vitamins, minerals, omega fatty acids, and antioxidants to provide a fully balanced and nutritious meal for your pooch. It’s even suitable for all breeds of dogs, whether they are large or small. Another great thing about it is that it is completely free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, meaning you can be certain that your pet is only eating the very best food available. It’s also available in three different bag sizes so that you can chose the one most suitable for the needs of your pet.

Although this food has a lot going for it the kibble pieces are quite small which means that it may be unsuitable for some larger dogs — particularly those who gulp their food.

Pros and Cons of the CRAVE High Protein Adult Dog Food

ProsCons
This food contains 34% protein.The kibble pieces are quite small.
The first ingredient is real beef.
This food is grain-free.
It contains added vitamins, minerals, omega fatty acids, and antioxidants to provide a fully balanced diet.
It is free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.
Best Overall
Crave High Protein Adult Dog Food
  • A protein-rich formula that has no artificial flavors or preservatives
  • Grain-free and made of real beef
  • Free of corn, wheat and soy
  • Provides energy to your dog
Check Chewy Check Amazon

2. Best for Picky Eaters: Instinct Raw Boost Dry Dog Food

We know that having a picky eater can be frustrating, so that’s why we’ve selected the Instinct Raw Boost Dry Dog Food.

This delicious dog food is made with USA-raised beef as the first ingredient to provide food that is packed full of protein to promote strong, lean muscles. Also included in this food is freeze-dried raw meat to help encourage those fussy eaters to eat while also providing a nutritious meal. This food also includes probiotics to promote a healthy digestive system and high levels of omega fatty acids for a healthy skin and coat. It also includes antioxidants for a healthy immune system.

This food is completely free from grains — such as corn, wheat, and soy — as well as being free from potatoes and artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.

Unfortunately, some customers have reported that there is a lack of consistency between bags, with some having more freeze-dried pieces in them and others having more kibble pieces.

Pros and Cons of the Instinct Raw Boost Dry Dog Food

ProsCons
This food contains USA-raised beef as the first ingredient.The bags do not always contain equal amounts of kibble or freeze-dried pieces.
It contains freeze-dried pieces of raw meat.
This food contains probiotics, omega fatty acids, and antioxidants for a balanced and nutritious meal.
It is completely free from grains, potatoes, and artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.
Best for Picky Eaters
Instinct Raw Boost Dry Dog Food
  • A great option for dogs that are picky eaters
  • Calorie- and protein-rich
  • Freeze-dried raw meat provides a protein-packed energy boost
  • Contains added probiotics to enhance digestive health
  • Appropriate for all dog ages except for large-breed puppies
Check Chewy Check Amazon

3. Best for Puppies: Bully Max High Performance Premium Dog Food

We’ve selected the Bully Max High Performance Premium Dog Dry Food as our puppy recipe of choice.

This dog food uses only real meat as its first ingredient to provide a high-protein recipe. It is made using only the finest natural ingredients to create a meal that your pup is sure to love. This formula packs a punch with 535 calories per cup. , making it the ideal choice for weight gain. Another great thing is that it is suitable for all dogs and puppies aged more than four weeks old.

You only want the best for your pet, and you can rest easy knowing that Bully Max dog food has ever been recalled since it was founded in 2008. The company attributes this success to their “triple-check system,” which requires kibble to be checked three times before it leaves the processing plant.

Unfortunately, the major drawback to this food is that it is expensive. Plus, some pup parents have reported that their pooches don’t like it.

Pros and Cons of the Bully Max High Performance Premium Dog Food

ProsCons
This food uses real meat as the first ingredient.This food is a more expensive option.
It contains 535 calories per cup.Not all dogs like it.
It is suitable for all dogs aged more than four weeks.
All food is triple checked for quality.
Best for Puppies
Bully Max High Performance Premium Dog Food
  • Best for puppies, packing 535 calories per cup of food
  • Never been recalled
  • Meat-based formula is filled with natural ingredients
  • Protein-packed kibble provides energy and promote alertness
Check Amazon

4. Best for Senior Dogs: Solid Gold “Barking at the Moon” High Protein Dog Food

Many senior dogs require something a bit extra to support them as they get older, so that’s why we recommend the Solid Gold “Barking at the Moon” High Protein Dog Food.

For senior dogs, issues like dental pain or diminished appetite can contribute to unhealthy weight loss. This food delivers a high-powered dose of protein in every bowl — ideal for giving your senior dog the energy they need to thrive. 

This food is 100% grain and gluten free. It contains wholesome superfoods plus it is packed full of vitamin, minerals to create a tasty and nutritionally balanced meal for your beloved pet. It also contains prebiotics and probiotics to promote gut health.

However, some owners have reported that it is not suitable for picky eaters as they often refuse to eat it.

Pros and Cons of the Solid Gold “Barking at the Moon” High Protein Dog Food

ProsCons
This food contains a high level of protein to provide seniors with all the energy they need.Not all dogs like this food.
It is 100% grain and gluten free.
This food contains wholesome superfoods.
It includes vitamins, minerals, prebiotics, and probiotics.
Best for Senior Dogs
Solid Gold Barking at the Moon High Protein Dog Food
  • High-protein formula helps older dogs to gain or maintain their weight
  • Contains superfoods like fish, pumpkin, cranberries, carrots and blueberries
  • Grain- and gluten-free
  • Rich in omega-3 and and omega-6 fatty acids
Check Chewy Check Amazon

5. Best Wet Food: Ziwi Peak Beef Recipe Canned Dog Food

When it comes to weight gain, sometimes wet food is better which is why we recommend the Ziwi Peak Beef Recipe Canned Dog Food.

Wet food is often more palatable and packed with more calories so canned food may help your dog reach their ideal weight sooner. This all-natural recipe blends fresh meat (92%), organs, and bones to give your dog a boost of energizing protein. It also contains New Zealand green mussels, poultry hearts, and organic kelp which promote mobility and overall good health. This food is grain free and is also free from fillers, potatoes, and other carbohydrates to create a top notch meal for your pup. Additionally, this food is suitable for dogs of all ages and sizes

However, this food is expensive and paying more than $90 for a case of 12 cans might be a little difficult to stomach.

Pros and Cons of the Ziwi Peak Beef Recipe Canned Dog Food

ProsCons
This food contains 92% fresh meat to provide a high protein meal.This food is expensive.
It also contains New Zealand green mussels and organic kelp to promote mobilty.
This food is grain free.
Best Wet Food
Ziwi Peak Beef Recipe Canned Dog Food
  • Tasty wet food formula is packed with calories and protein to aid in weight gain
  • All-natural recipe blends meat and organs and contributes healthy levels of chondroitin and glucosamine to aid in joint health
  • BPA-free packaging is eco-friendly
  • Family-owned company based in New Zealand
Check Chewy Check Amazon

6. Best Budget Option: Purina Pro Plan Sport Performance Dog Food

If you want to give your dog weigh gain food without breaking the bank then we suggest the Purina Pro Plan Sport Performance Dog Food.

This rice-and-beef formula provides 30% protein for muscle-building power and 20% fat for energy. This formula is designed to support active dogs and endurance as it will help your dog build muscle by allowing them to exercise for longer and with more intensity. This food includes amino acids to aid muscle health while it is fortified with probiotics for a healthy digestive and immune system.

Although this food has a lot going for it, some custoemrs have reported that the kibble pieces are too small for larger dogs to eat.

Pros and Cons of the Purina Pro Plan Sport Performance Dog Food

ProsCons
This food contains 30% protein and 20% fat.The kibble size is small which makes it unsuitable for larger dogs.
It is formulated especially for active dogs.
It contains probiotics to support and healthy digestive and immune system.
Best on a Budget
Purina Pro Plan Sport Performance Dog Food
  • Affordable pricetag is unbeatable
  • 30% protein and 20% fat
  • Builds muscle to help your dog exercise longer and with more intensity
  • Three protein-packed flavors to choose from
  • Includes probiotics to enhance healthy digestion and immune system health
Check Chewy Check Amazon

How to Choose the Right Dog Food for Weight Gain

There’s a lot to consider when choosing the right dog food for weight gain. Here are five useful metrics to guide your shopping: 

Fat and Protein Content

For healthy weight gain, aim for 30% protein and 20% fat. It’s also smart to check the food’s calorie content: the higher, the better. 

Quality Ingredients

Check the label to look for wholesome ingredients you wouldn’t mind eating yourself. It’s best to avoid fillers, artificial flavors, and overly processed foods. And don’t forget fiber — it’s essential for digesting all those extra calories.

Palatability

Does your dog turn their nose up at every entry? Dish up something more appetizing to encourage your picky eater to finish their plate. Typically, wet canned food is better received by finicky eaters than dry kibble. There’s something about the soft texture and enticing aroma that drives dogs wild.

Extra Vitamins and Minerals

Additional nutrients help fill in the gaps where your pet’s diet may be lacking, so check food labels for essentials like antioxidants, fiber, and omega fatty acids.

Price

The best quality dog food may come at a steeper price, but it’s usually worth the investment. That said, you can still find healthy dog foods that won’t stretch your wallet. The best dog food for weight gain will balance quality with affordability.

The Different Types of Dog Food For Weight Gain: Pros and Cons Compared

To help your dog gain weight, you’ll need to choose from dry or wet food. You can also talk to your vet about prescription diets or homemade dog food. Every option has its own pros and cons.

Keep in mind that wet food delivers more calories and is more palatable to most dogs, two key considerations for pet owners of skinny pups. One happy compromise that works for most pets is combining the two. Talk to your veterinarian about supplementing dry meals with canned food, or topping meals with a savory moist snack to sneak in extra calories.

Dry Dog Food

ProsCons
Dry dog food is a cheaper alternative to other types of food.Dry dog food is less appetizing to some dogs.
It is easy to store.It is harder on aging gums and teeth.
It is easy to prepare and serve.

Wet Dog Food

ProsCons
Wet dog food is more palatable than dry food.It is a more expensive option.
It is softer on weak teeth.It is messier, smellier, and harder to serve.
Wet dog food spoils once opened.

Prescription Dog Food

ProsCons
It is developed by animal nutritionists and scientists.Prescription dog food requires vet approval.
It targets specific health concerns.It is more expensive .

Homemade Dog Food

ProsCons
Homemade dog food contains no mystery ingredients.It requires more time and effort to prepare.
It is completely customizable.

Our Criteria and Experience: How We Chose the Best

Our top picks to help your dog gain weight were carefully selected after extensive research. We chose dog foods that were protein-rich, free of unhealthy additives, high in calories, and packed with probiotics, which help with digestion. We love grain-free options that use real beef or meat-based proteins to help your dog add some pounds while staying healthy. Remember to gradually introduce a new food to your dog.

Up Next

  • Best Senior Dog Food: Reviewed for You — Most dogs require something a little extra as they get older, so check out the best senior dog food here.
  • The Best Dry Dog Food — If you prefer to feed our dog dry food then check out these top selections.
  • Best Dog Food Brands — Choosing the perfect brand of dog food for your pet can be daunting, so we’ve done the hard work and selected the best dog food brands for you.
About the Author

Liz is a freelance writer who loves putting pet owners in touch with top-rated, life-enriching pet products. She shares her home in Western New York with 2 cats, 2 zebra finches, 1 husband, and an animal-loving daughter. Visit her at Lizwritesforyou.com.

The Best Dog Food For Weight Gain: Reviewed and Ranked FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What can I feed my dog to help her gain weight?

Underweight dogs need extra protein and fat. For best results, look for 30% protein and 20% fat.

You can also talk to your vet about supplementing with dog-friendly human foods for weight gain. Some foods to consider:

  • Boiled chicken (without seasonings)
  • Canned pumpkin puree
  • plain white rice
  • boiled sweet potatoes
  • Cheese cubes
  • Cottage cheese
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Cooked or canned salmon

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