The proper weight for your pooch plays a vital role in their overall health. Underweight pups can have low energy levels, thinning fur, and a generally lethargic attitude. There are many reasons why your pet may lose weight, but beefing them back up is always the best way to solve the issue.
That being said, adding non-healthy calories and fat to their diet is not the way to go. You should provide your canine with vitamins and minerals while also increasing healthy fats and protein to get them back to their regular size.
The best way to accomplish this is by finding a dog food that will promote weight gain. Though it is not as common, there are some healthy options available. To help you find the best one, we have reviewed six of our favorites below.
In this article, we will share nutrition, flavors, important ingredients, fat content, and much more for each food. We will also provide a buyer’s guide with some extra tips on how to get your pet’s body weight back to where it should be.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
The 6 Best Dog Foods for Weight Gain – Reviews 2020
1. Purina Pro Plan SPORT Dry Dog Food – Best Overall
Our first pick is the Purina 17048 Pro Plan SPORT Formula Dry Dog Food. This is a chicken-flavored formula that is available in a 4 or 24-pound bag. Made without grains, this high protein food is part of the 30/20 formula, meaning it has 30% protein and 20% fat. This will help keep your pet fit while also stimulating their appetite. The brand also uses real chicken as the first ingredient along with eggs to boost lean and healthy protein levels.
Purina is made without any corn, wheat, or soy. It contains no artificial ingredients or poultry by-products, as well. You will find EPA, omega-3, and antioxidants to promote a healthy lifestyle. What’s more, the food contains glucosamine that can help relieve joint pain, which will let your dog be more active. Additionally, the formula is designed to promote strength and endurance.
Made in the USA, this dog food can be given to all breeds, ages, and sizes. It’s easy to digest and will help your slim slobberer gain weight. Overall, this is our favorite option for dog food for weight gain.
2. Crave Grain-Free Adult Dry Dog Food – Best Value
For those pet owners on a budget, the Crave 10164796 Grain-Free Adult Dry Dog Food is a great option. This is a salmon and ocean fish recipe that is grain-free and comes in either a 4, 12, or 22-pound bag. With real salmon as the first ingredient, this food provides your pet with 34% healthy protein. Not only that, but the quality of carbohydrates in the ingredients will give their weight an extra boost.
This formula is made without chicken by-products, corn, wheat, or soy protein. It also contains no artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors. Unfortunately, it does contain pea protein at the top of the list, which is used as a filler and protein booster. That being said, you will find calcium, vitamins, and minerals that will help with a healthy coat, immune system, and digestive tract. It is also suited for all dogs over one year of age, and all breeds and sizes.
This food has nutritional benefits and great fat, fiber, and calorie levels. In general, it is the best dog food for weight gain for the money.
If you are looking for a premium option to help your pooch gain weight, the Bully Max High Performance Dog Food is the way to go. This is a dry meal that comes in either a 15 or 40-pound bag. Made in the USA, this is another 30/20 formula that provides your pet with healthy protein and good fat levels. Made for both puppies and adults, this food is meat-based with real chicken, beef, or fish as the first ingredient.
You will find 535 calories per cup of food. That, combined with the protein and fat levels, will have your pup gaining weight right away. Not only that, but this formula contains other healthy nutrients like omega-3 and 6, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, probiotics, and DHA to promote their overall health. What’s more, there is no corn, wheat, or soy in the recipe.
The Bully Max is more expensive than your average dog food. On the other hand, the recipe is designed for muscle growth, weight gain, and endurance. The brand has never been recalled, and the all-natural ingredients are human-grade. The only other drawback is this option is harder to digest.
4. Merrick 37019 Backcountry Grain Free Dry Dog Food
The Merrick 37019 Backcountry Grain Free Dry Dog Food is a USA cooked meal that is made with chunks of real freeze-dried raw meat. It’s available in a 4, 12, or 22-pound bag with real deboned beef as the first ingredient.
Merrick dog food is made without any grains or gluten. The formula is all-natural, plus it has 38% protein. Unfortunately, though the protein levels are good, the fat and fiber content are not where they should be. What’s more, the calorie content is 392 per cup, which is low for a weight gain formula. On the other hand, this meal is poultry-free making it a good option for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
This formula is designed for all dogs of all ages. You should note, however, the ingredients contain potato and pea protein, which is used as a filler and protein booster. That being said, you will also find omegas, glucosamine, and chondroitin to promote healthy skin, fur, and joints.
5. Wellness 7950 CORE Wet Canned Dog Food
In the number five spot, we have the Wellness 7950 CORE Wet Canned Dog Food. This is a grain-free formula that is also meant to be a weight control meal. It is made with high-quality protein, yet there are high levels of pea flour and fiber. These two ingredients are used to boost the protein levels, but it is not as healthy.
What you will not find in the ingredients is wheat, meat by-products, or artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. On the other hand, to promote your pet’s overall health, you will find vitamins A, B-12, and D3; however, this food does not have as many nutrients and other essential items as other meals we have picked. That being said, the formula is all-natural.
Wellness dog food comes in a 12-pack of 12.5-ounce cans. It has lower protein levels at 11% and lower fat content at 3.5%, although this is standard for wet formulas. In general, this meal is better suited for weight loss than weight gain even though it is meant to help with both issues. It is also important to note that the calories are on the lower side to be able to help your pet beef up their body mass. Finally, another ingredient we found high on the list is carrageenan, which has no nutritional value and can be hard to digest. It’s typically used as a cost-efficient filler.
6. Nulo 51LS22 Limited Plus Grain Free Dry Dog Food
Our final pick is the Nulo 51LS22 Limited Plus Grain-Free Dry Dog Food. Available in a 4, 10, or 22-pound bag, it comes in a salmon, Alaskan Pollock, and turkey flavor. One thing to keep in mind with this formula, however, is it’s designed for puppies and adult small breeds only. Besides that, this is a LID food that is high in protein and low in carbs.
When you need your pet to gain some weight, it’s important to have the right balance of protein, fat, fiber, and calories. In this case, the calories and fat content are on the low side for bulking up. On the other hand, this is a good option if your pet suffers from allergies or stomach sensitivities. There is no chicken, corn, wheat, soy, eggs, peas, white potatoes, or tapioca in the formula. It is also a non-GMO meal.
Nulo also contains added vitamins and minerals to promote healthy digestive and immune health. The downside to this option is all these ingredients and supplements are not effective at making your pet gain weight. Not only that, but the meal is hard to digest, and the kibble can be hard to chew for dogs that have brittle teeth. Overall, this is our least favorite option for dog food for weight gain.
Important Facts About Canine Weight Gain
Having an underweight pup can be just as concerning as a dog that is overweight. Coaxing them into a better diet is a great way to beef them up and keep them active, but finding the reason for the weight drop is also important.
For the most part, there are three reasons why your pet might lose pounds. Take a look at these scenarios below.
How To Get Your Dog To Gain Weight
It can be hard to determine whether your dog is underweight or not. The best way to get an accurate answer is to visit your vet. Each dog is different, so what is considered normal for other pups may not be for your pet. That being said, there are some basic signs you can look for. Take a look at the picture below. Your dog should narrow from shoulders to hips, and you should see their rib outline.
If you find your pet is on the slim side, finding healthy food that will help them gain weight is a great place to start. It’s important to find meals that are high in protein and fat. Many brands use the 30/20 formula, which equates to 30% protein and 20% fat, although you can deviate from this depending on your pet’s needs.
Besides food, however, there are some other tricks and tips you can use to pack on the pooch pounds.
The most important thing to watch out for is a dramatic change in your pet’s food consumption and weight. If they suddenly stop eating or they drop a lot of body mass quickly, you should contact your veterinarian right away to rule out other more serious conditions.
We hope the above reviews have helped you find a good weight-gaining formula for your pet. When faced with a possibly underweight pooch, the last thing you want to do is stress over the many food options available.
Overall, we recommend the Purina 17048 Pro Plan SPORT Formula Dry Dog Food. This meal is packed with healthy proteins and fat that will energize your pet while also providing other essential nutrients. If you need something less costly, however, we would opt for the Crave 10164796 Grain-Free Adult Dry Dog Food. This tasty formula is packed with vitamins and minerals, not to mention, the protein, fats, and carbohydrates that will have your pup ready for “harness season” in no time.
Featured Image: currens from Pixabay
Emily started this blog out of pure passion. She LOVES her 3 dogs; Chew Barka, Cooper & Nelson, and spends countless hours every day playing with them.
When she’s not nerding out on dogs, you’ll find her on a snowboard or in the kitchen baking chocolate brownies.
She’s been featured in PetAware, Dogtime, and ModernDog.
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 6 Best Dog Foods for Weight Gain – Reviews 2020
- 1. Purina Pro Plan SPORT Dry Dog Food – Best Overall
- 2. Crave Grain-Free Adult Dry Dog Food – Best Value
- 3. Bully Max High Performance Dog Food – Premium Choice
- 4. Merrick 37019 Backcountry Grain Free Dry Dog Food
- 5. Wellness 7950 CORE Wet Canned Dog Food
- 6. Nulo 51LS22 Limited Plus Grain Free Dry Dog Food
- Buyer’s Guide
- Important Facts About Canine Weight Gain
- How To Get Your Dog To Gain Weight