Our pooches, just like humans, can struggle on both ends of the weight spectrum. If your dog looks like it could moonlight as a Halloween skeleton, you probably need to look for some high-calorie dog food options.
There are many reasons why dogs might need to switch to a high-calorie formula. Working canines that help with herding or hunting simply need more strength and endurance for their everyday responsibilities.
Ill or elderly dogs tend to lose muscle mass and see a significant drop in energy. Finally, there are the picky eaters who simply won’t follow their self-preservation instinct when it comes to not starving themselves to death!
There are many ways to help your dog gain weight. You can give it smaller portions of food more often or adopt a free-feeding approach – leaving the food out at all times. Adding quality high-calorie dog food and supplements to the diet is another great way of building up that body mass.
If you’re not sure which high-calorie formula will fit your pet’s needs best, this short guide is coming to rescue! I’ve reviewed five best high-calorie dog foods that will help your four-legged friend feel healthier, happier and more energetic.
Best High-Calorie Dog Food
Purina Pro Plan SPORT has been designed with athletic dogs in mind. Whether they’re herding, hunting or simply accompanying you on your daily jog, active dogs need a first-rate source of energy to excel at their tasks.
- Size – 4lbs; 6lbs; 18lbs; 24lbs; 33lbs; 37.5lbs & 50lbs
- Why It’s Recommended – Tailor-made for athletic and working dogs
The fine-tuned ratio of protein to fats in Purina Pro Plan SPORT ensures that your pet has energy for work and play while maintaining a healthy muscle mass. This high-calorie dog food contains 30% protein and 20% fat as well as high-quality carbohydrates. The carefully curated recipe aims to increase the endurance and strength of canine athletes and working dogs.
The formula contains no grain, soy, corn or wheat. Instead, it’s packed with crude protein and crude fat coming from real meat – chicken and salmon are always the number one ingredient!
With 500 calories per cup, this dog food is quite a commitment to an active lifestyle. Make sure that your pooch gets its exercise fix on a daily basis or it might get a little bit too hyper. The high-calorie diet is no joke!
- Real meat is the main ingredient
- Supports energy and endurance throughout the day
- Grain free
- Comes in many sizes
- All life stages
- Strong smell of fish
Despite being marketed to high-performance dogs, Purina Pro can also be a life-saver for owners whose pets tend to fuss over their meals. I’ve heard that some picky eaters have converted to licking their bowl clean thanks to this high-calorie formula. Each dog is different, so there’s no guarantee, but might be worth a try!
It’s not too hard to figure out Taste Of The Wild’s approach to nutrition from its brand name. This high-calorie dog food tries to recreate the ancestral biological diet of our canines in a dry form.
- Size – 5lbs; 15lbs; 30lbs
- Why It’s Recommended – Budget-friendly without compromising on ingredients
The ingredient list features some truly fancy ingredients such as smoked salmon, roasted bison, venison and duck. The fibre-rich carbohydrates in the formula come from sweet potatoes and legumes. And, of course, there is no grain, corn or filler in the mix.
Apart from yummy-sounding meats, Taste Of The Wild contains also probiotics with bacteria common to canine digestive tracks. This is supposed to help your pup digest the meal as well as build up its immune system in the long run.
But watch out, because I’ve heard that some extra sensitive pooch tummies struggle with this dog food! Not all 21st-century doggies are up for the taste of the wild, it seems.
In terms of crucial elements for maintaining or gaining weight, this dog food doesn’t fall behind the others on the list. It contains 18% crude fat and 32% crude protein which should be enough to provide energy for a whole day of playing fetch and chasing tail.
- Real meat is the main ingredient
- No grain, corn, wheat, filler
- Family owned & run
- Contains probiotics
- Supports shiny & healthy coat
- Intense smell
- Not suitable for all dog stomachs
Taste Of The Wild helps with more than just weight gain for picky and active pups. If your dog’s coat has been dull recently, this high-calorie formula might be a solution. It contains omega-3 and omega-6 acids sourced from ocean fish and plants – both are said to support a healthy, shiny coat and promote general wellbeing.
Many dog owners I spoke to report that Rachael Ray Nutrish is particularly kind on delicate tummies. Plus, picky eaters all around have taken an instant liking to this food (I know, a miracle!).
Add all this to the high-calorie contents of the formula, and you’ve got some nicely fattened pups. Just make sure to take them on long walks, so all that extra calorie content turns into muscle and not just fat!
- Size – 6lbs; 14lbs; 28lbs; 40lbs
- Why It’s Recommended – Picky eaters approved and sensitive tummy friendly
Have you got a picky eater at home? Or maybe even worse, a fussy pup who also happens to have a sensitive stomach and a whole lot of allergies? If so, this dry dog food might be a life-saver.
Unlike the dog foods that try to recreate the wolf diet, Rachael Ray’s formula looks more like what your parents would have cooked for their pups at home. No fancy bison meat or smoked salmon in this one (sorry, doggies). Just good-old turkey, chicken or beef meat matched with rice and veggies.
Despite the simple recipe, this high-calorie dog food provides your dog with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for shiny coat and healthy skin as well as prebiotics for a good digestion system. The vitamins and fibre are said to come from peas and rice.
- Supports healthy digestion for sensitive stomachs
- Supports healthy coat
- Picky eater approved
- Runs many package sizes
- A portion of proceeds goes to animal charity
- Grain free
- Contains corn
- Bites can be too big for petite dogs
Note that Rachael Ray Nutrish contains corn, though, and for some dog owners that’s a big no-no. Plus, the ingredient list is longer than in some of the more natural dry dog foods.
Dogs who work hard all day need a high-calorie diet that will continuously give them the energy support that they need. Without foods like Victor High Energy, dogs will get tired faster and not be able to continue their job.
- Size- 5lb, 40lb, 50lb
- Why It’s Recommended-This dry dog food is specifically made to support dogs who are active more throughout the day.
With every cup of dry dog food, your dog will get 455 K-Calories, which is a high energy source for active dogs. Active dogs burn calories faster due to how much they move, so they need foods like Victor’s to keep them fueled.
The primary protein source of this dry food is beef, which makes up 79% of the dry dog food for both a great taste and healthy fat content. Your dog will have long-lasting energy, stamina, and endurance with each meal that they have.
Since the formula is free of corn, wheat, soy, and gluten, there are no filler ingredients, and the diet is easier to digest. You will not have to feed your dog as much of this diet due to the high-quality ingredients and still give them the energy source that they need.
Not only that, the diet contains all the essential nutrients, vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and amino acids that their bodies need to stay active and healthy. You will not have to worry about changing your dog’s diet as they age since this diet is formulated for all life stages, so any working dog can eat this diet and stay on their feet.
- Beef is the first ingredient
- 24% protein content
- Ideal for heavily active dogs
- Easy to digest
- Free of corn, wheat, soy, and gluten
- Contains grains and oats
- Not suitable for mid-active dogs
Make sure that your working partner has the energy to stay on their feet throughout the day with the Victor High Energy.
Provide your dog with the calorie content that their moving bodies need with Eukanuba.
- Size-14lb, 29lb, 30lb
- Why It’s Recommended-Provides a full stomach and calorie content both sporting and working dogs need
You most likely have seen other types of premium performance dog foods, but not all of them are made the same. Eukanuba makes sure that their premium active adult dry dog food is made only of high-quality ingredients and quality animal-based proteins. It is sure to help build strong, lean muscles and maintain an optimal body condition.
Your athletic dog will have a 100% complete and balanced nutrition focusing mainly on quality ingredients rather than filler ingredients. This diet does contain some grain and corn products, but they provide a carbohydrate source and plant protein content dogs need.
To further help maintain your dog’s body, Eukanuba’s premium diets contain a boost of calcium to support strong bone health. Your dog can have amazing and lean muscle strength, but they will need strong bones to keep up with them and their active lifestyles.
Eukanuba is confident in the quality of their foods and that your dog will have all of the energy that they will need throughout the day. But just in case you or your dog are not satisfied with the dry dog food Eukanuba has a 110% money-back guarantee. Though, with the quality and calorie content, this dry dog food offers you may not need to use the guarantee.
- Ideal for highly active dogs
- Contains high-quality ingredients
- Supports muscle and bone health
- 110% Money-back satisfaction guarantee
- Contains grains, corn, and wheat
- Includes by-product meals
Don’t settle for any dog food if you want your dog to have a high-calorie diet. Feed them Eukanuba, and you will be sure they are getting the calorie content that their bodies need.
If you are looking for a grain-free diet for your dog that still gives them the high-calorie content that they need, then you will need to feed them Merrick Grain-Free.
- Size- 4lb, 12lb, 25lb
- Why It’s Recommended-It is grain-free and packed with all the essentials dogs who are constantly on the move need
The first three ingredients of this dry dog food are chicken, chicken meal, and turkey meal, which makes up a good portion of the 70% animal protein content. Due to the high animal protein content, your dog will get a natural calorie source that will give them plenty of energy to stay on their feet.
The 17% healthy fat content ensures that your dog’s muscle mass will stay lean, strong, and functioning strongly. Since there are no grains or other filler ingredients your dog will only be eating the essential nutrients that their bodies need, not just food that fills their bellies.
Each cup of food is about 342 calories, which is high due to the multiple animal proteins being used. Since the dry food contains sweet potatoes your dog’s stomach will transition to the new diet better, and they will maintain a strong and stable digestive system.
Thanks to the addition of salmon meal your dog will also obtain the essential omega fatty acids that will keep their fur shiny and their skin smooth.
- Real meat is the first ingredient
- Contains to filler ingredients
- No grains
- High-calorie content per cup of food
- Contains healthy fats
- Contains chicken, so not ideal for dogs with a poultry allergy
With a great taste and even greater calorie content, Merrick Grain-Free Real Chicken & Sweet Potato Dry Dog Food will become your go-to energy food for your dog.
Guaranteed for taste and nutrition, Earthborn Holistic Great Plains Feast is a healthy option when you need your dog to have a calorie boost.
- Why It’s Recommended-Holistic diets are made of high-quality ingredients that provide the essential nutrient content that dogs need
This dry dog food contains both beef and bison meat. Red meat is lean, easy to digest, and are rich in amino acids. They also have a healthy level of fats that give your dog the much-needed energy that they need.
To further help your dog’s body have the energy it needs to function properly, Earthborn makes sure their diets contain a high content of L-carnitine. L-carnitine converts body fat into muscles and energy and supports lean muscle mass and an overall positive body condition.
You will see just how active your dog will be after a few days on the Earthborn diet, which is fantastic if your dog burns more calories throughout the day whether through play, a sport, or a job.
Being a high energy source is not the only thing Earthborn is. The combination of high-quality fruits and vegetables gives your dog an optimal level of antioxidants and vitamins that will help their immune system and other bodily functions. Your dog will also be eating a balanced source of Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids that support skin and coat health.
- Grain, gluten, and potato free
- Contains lean, red animal protein
- Has all the essential nutrients
- 32% protein content
- 18% fat content
- Customers have claimed the kibbles crumble easily
Be sure that you are feeding your dog the appropriate amount of Earthborn Holistic Great Plains Feast to ensure they are getting the right amount of calories their working bodies need.
Your dog’s body is in your hands, so be sure that they are getting the ideal calorie content by feeding them Blue Buffalo.
- Size-3lb, 6lb, 15lb, 22lb, 30lb
- Why It’s Recommended-Has all the essentials a dog’s body needs while giving them the calorie support for an active body
Deboned lamb is the first ingredient of this diet, which is lean meat that provides plenty of healthy fats high-energy dogs need. A 22% protein content and healthy carbohydrate blend meets the energy requirements for an active lifestyle, so your dog does not lose energy and have to take constant breaks throughout the day.
The deboned lamb and other animal proteins in this diet are of such a high-quality that they build and maintain healthy, lean muscles longer. An addition of glucosamine makes sure that your dog’s joint health is functioning properly for fluid movements.
This diet does contain grains, but they are wholesome and provide essential nutrients and energy sources.
A healthy balance of vegetables and fruits gives your dog the minerals and vitamins that their bodies need to keep up with the high movement demand working dogs have. Since no filler or artificial ingredients are used, the diet will support your dog’s body health inside and not, not just fill their stomachs.
- No chicken products
- No corn, wheat, or soy
- No artificial ingredients
- Made of high-quality ingredients
- Contains grains
- Only for adult dogs
Transitioning to the Blue Buffalo will be easy on your dog’s stomach thanks to the high-quality ingredients.
For peak growth and development of your dog’s energy, feed them the Adirondack High-Fat Recipe.
- Size-5lb, 15lb, 30lb
- Why It’s Recommended-It provides dogs a high-fat content that will give them the calories and energy boost that their working bodies will need
All of the ingredients in this dry dog food formula are grown and harvested in the USA. That ensures that none of the ingredients used are filler ingredients, only ingredients that fully benefit your dog’s overall body health.
Premium-quality, all-natural ingredients such as real chicken, fruits, and vegetables provides your dog with the 30% protein source their active bodies need. Enhanced essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients are easy for your dog’s body to absorb thanks to the added probiotics.
The addition of menhaden fish oil and flaxseed gives your dog a soft coat and smooth, healthy skin.
Dogs of all breeds and life stages can enjoy this dry dog food. All you need to be sure is that your dog needs the high-fat content of this diet due to an active lifestyle.
If your dog is not active enough instead of burning calories fast, they will absorb the calories and gain excess, unnecessary weight.
- No corn, wheat, or soy products
- Good for all life stages
- 30% fat content
- 20% fat content
- All ingredients sourced in the USA
- Chicken meal is the main protein source
- Not suited for dogs with a mid-activity level as can add excess weight
Within a few weeks of feeding your dog the Adirondack, you will see a change not just in their energy, but in their overall body health as well.
High-calorie dry dog foods may not be enough for dogs. To help them, consider feeding them wet food mixed in with their dry food, such as the Zignature.
- Why It’s Recommended-Made of multiple animal proteins for a high fat, high-calorie food source
Zignature Zssentials uses turkey, lamb, duck, and salmon, which are four power animal protein sources. Since this wet food contains a higher protein content than other Zignature wet foods, it has a higher fat and calorie content.
This makes the wet food perfect for dogs who burn calories faster due to their metabolism or active lifestyle. While high in protein it is low in saturated fat to prevent your dog from gaining unhealthy weight and support lean, strong muscle growth.
The mix of quality fruits and vegetables offers heart-friendly Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for overall body health development. This formula is chicken, potato, and grain free, perfect for dogs with allergies and to ensure only quality nutrient absorption.
You can feed the wet food alone, but it works better when paired with a Zignature dry food formula. Your dog will love the taste of this multi-protein wet food, and you will enjoy seeing their bodies full of energy and glowing with health.
- Four different proteins used
- Hypoallergenic, limited ingredient diet
- 392 calories a can
- 11% protein
- 5% fat
- Contains poultry so not ideal for dogs with poultry allergies
Even a spoonful of Zignature per serving is enough to give your dog the extra calories they need for their active lifestyle.
If living sustainably is a cause close to your heart, then this dog food brand could be a good choice for you and your pooch (even though the latter one might not care as much). Orijen promises to farm, ranch and fish the ingredients locally (n Kentucky) and not outsource any part of the production process.
- Size – 13lbs & 25lbs
- Why It’s Recommended – Natural ingredients with up to 90% meat
Not only are the ingredients sourced responsibly, but they are also fully natural. Instead of hard-to-pronounce synthetic chemicals, what you’ll find on the ingredient list are vitamins and minerals coming from meat, fruit, vegetables, fish and nest-laid eggs. Plus, no cereal grains!
This high-calorie dog formula mirrors the biological diet of our four-legged friends. Which means that it is full of real meat (up to 90%) and packed with protein (38-44%) that our beloved carnivores need to stay happy and healthy. The crude fat content is 18% making a powerful energy mix for your pooch to burn off while running and playing.
Does your pet have a sensitive stomach? I might have good news! The owners of dogs that tend to get an upset tummy swear by this formula to calm the digestive system down and help with gas. Of course, each pooch is different (that’s why we love them!), but this dog food might be a new lead.
- Up to 90% meat
- Locally sourced ingredients
- No grain
- Great for dogs with sensitive stomachs and allergies
- Supports healthy, shiny coat
- Resealable package
- Quite pricey
- Only two package sizes
The problem with this natural dog formula is that it’s… pretty envy-inducing. I mean, Angus beef, wild boar, free-run quail and grass-fed lamb? I almost wish that Orijen Original was cooking for me!
Unlike the previous positions on the list, MVP K9 is not a dog food in its own right but a powdered supplement to be mixed in with the usual meal.
- Size – 1.6lbs
- Why It’s Recommended – Powdered form is easy to consume for picky eaters and recovering dogs
This solution can be good for picky eaters who simply won’t try any new food. We all know that one of the best strategies for fussy dogs is to fool them into eating things they don’t normally want to eat.
Start with small amounts of the MVP K9 sprinkled on top of the food your dog tolerates, and you might get lucky enough for it not to notice. This supplement formula binds to the food on contact, so it’s also harder for the dog to leave it out.
This high-calorie dog food works well for ill and recovering pups, too. If your pet lost weight due to a surgery or an illness and desperately needs it back to be its old self again, you might want to consider supplements to speed up the process.
Thanks to high protein and fat content, this formula will also give your pooch a much-needed kick of energy for speedy recovery.
- Can be mixed in with your dog’s favourite food
- Good solution for picky eaters
- Supports muscle growth
- Supports higher energy levels
- Some dogs see effects very quickly
- Quite pricey
- Might take some time for the dog to get used to it
- Uneven effects: some dogs experience no weight gain, others gain weight immediately
But the jury is still out on how reliable this supplement is. Some dogs gain weight rapidly and bulk up on MVP K9, while others see no or little weight gain. Given the price of the product, this might be an expensive gamble.
Whether your dog is underweight or a breed that needs extra calories in their diet, they will significantly benefit from the supplementing power of Buddy & Lola.
- Why It’s Recommended-It is easy to incorporate into your dog’s meals as it has an appealing taste dog will go crazy for
Some dogs need extra protein in their diets whether due to their breeds or activity level. It can be hard to find dry dog foods with enough calories to support these types of dogs; that’s where a supplement comes in. Buddy & Lola’s supplement is 29% protein, 43% healthy fat, and contains 18 BCAA’s.
This supplement contains all of the essential nutrients that your dog needs to have a healthy mass gain. A high protein content means that your dog will not only develop mass at a healthy pace but will also help them maintain lean and strong muscles to reduce muscle fatigue.
Typically, you see supplements like this given to bully breed dogs that need a high-calorie diet, but dogs of any size and age that require a weight gain boost can enjoy Buddy & Lola.
All of the ingredients are gathered and made in the USA and follow the strict GMP guidelines, so you know that this supplement is safe to give over a long period with no major harm to your pet.
Feeding the supplement to your dog is easy! All you have to do is sprinkle a scoop of the supplement over your dog’s food and watch as their bodies steadily change into the shape you desire.
- Has all the essentials dogs need
- Great tasting flavor
- Good for all breeds
- Good for all ages
- Safe for dogs to consume over long periods
- Has 45 complete servings per bag
- Some customers have stated their dogs did not like the taste
All you have to do is sprinkle some Buddy & Lola at least once a day over your dog’s meal and you should start seeing a positive gain in their weight in a few weeks.
For the ultimate dog food that will definitely bulk up your dog turn to the Bully Max.
- Size-15lb, 30lb, 40lb, 60lb, 80lb
- Why It’s Recommended-Veterinarian approved and made of premium, body bulking ingredients
Bully Max uses ingredients that are considered human-grade, which means that your dog is only getting the best ingredients available. Meat is the main ingredient in this dry dog food, which makes this diet a high-protein, a high-calorie food source that will keep your dog on their feet longer.
With 535 calories per cup, your dog will not run out of energy mid-activity and force you to cut the day’s activities short. There are no corn, wheat, or soy ingredients so that your dog will only be eating ingredients that will benefit their bodies overall.
There are no hidden surprises in this dry dog food. Bully Max states all of the ingredients that they use right on their food bag so you will know everything that your dog is eating before feeding it to them.
As another plus, dogs of all breeds and ages can eat this food. Just as long as they are burning enough calories throughout the day, your dog will stay lean, fit, and full of energy when on the Bully Max diet.
- Can be fed at all ages
- Any dog breed can consume
- 535 calories per cup
- 30% protein
- 20% fat
- Meal product is the first ingredient
- Some pet owners have stated not seeing anybody changes after feeding this diet
Bully Max is made specifically for dogs that need to bulk up or who need to have a constant high-calorie source.
NutriSource Performance is perfect for working dogs and bully breeds.
- Why It’s Recommended-Dogs of any breed can enjoy this dry food as long as they are constantly moving throughout the day
With two cups a day your dog will be eating about 488 K-calories. Of course, you can adjust the food quantity if you feel like your dog is working more and burning calories faster.
All of the ingredients are of human-grade quality sourced locally in the USA. Real meat is the first ingredient of this diet, which ensures that your dog is getting a protein heavy food source and a healthy fat source.
Your dog does not have to be a bully breed to eat this diet either. The diet is meant for dogs who work hard throughout the day and need a constant energy boost to keep them on their feet. The high-calorie content will boost their energy and can even bulk up their bodies if need be.
Because it is a NutriSource diet, your dog will benefit from Bio-Available Solutions. That means healthier skin and fur, a strong digestive system, an immunity boost, healthy brain development, low glycemic diet, and a nutrient dense meal.
- 30% protein
- 20% fat
- Real meat is the first ingredient
- Good for all life stages
- Made of human-grade quality ingredients
- Contains grains
- Contains poultry ingredients, so not ideal for dogs with poultry allergies
NutriSource Performance is one of the higher quality meals that will fuel your dog better and longer throughout the day.
Among the top five high-calorie formulas that we’ve selected, Purina Pro Plan SPORT has the best ratio of value to price. It is packed with real meat and natural ingredients, contains no grain, corn or filler and gives dogs a steady supply of energy throughout the day thanks to high percentage of fat and protein.
This dog food has also proven pretty successful with picky eaters, and we’ve heard no complaints about upset tummies.
But keep in mind that all pooches are different and have different needs! It’s not easy to give a decisive answer as to which high-calorie dog food is best for your pet.
Best High Calorie Dog Food
High calorie dog food is important if your dog needs to gain weight or they burn a lot of energy.
- Purina Pro Plan
- Taste of the Wild
- Rachael Ray Nutrish
- Victor High Energy
- Eukanuba Premium
- Merrick Grain Free
- Earthborn Hollistic
- Blue Buffalo
- MVP K9
- Buddy & Lola
- Bully Max