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If your dog is having a hard time gaining weight and lean muscle, then it’s time for you to reevaluate the food that you're feeding him. Is it high in protein and fat? Is it made without useless fillers and artificial ingredients? Dogs need a specific diet to gain healthy weight and a good dog food for weight gain can be very helpful.

Helping your dog to gain weight sounds like a simple task, but if it's not done properly it could lead to health consequences. Some of the options mentioned below may be perfect for your dog, but it’s important to consult your vet before switching to any new type or brand of the weight gain dog food.

A veterinarian or a certified canine nutritionist will assess your dog's current body condition and weight, and help you develop a step by step action plan. This plan will not only include specific diet or brands of food, but also feeding times, supplements (if needed) and exercise routine.

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Choosing the Best Dog Food for Weight Gain

A dog's weight gaining plan should follow nutritional requirements set out by WSAVA, NRC or AAHF. Pet owners themselves will usually have a hard time figuring out the appropriate dietary plan and may miscalculation the dog's needs. The nutritional requirements of a typical dog should be based on his age, weight, breed, activity level and health condition.

A healthy diet is critical for all dogs, but it’s especially important for dogs that are underweight. You need to find the best dog food for weight gain that allow your pet's body weight to increase by adding lean muscle as opposed to excess fat (adipose tissue). This can be achieved with homemade or commercial diet high in protein and fat, low in carbs.

Choosing a dog food brand isn't only about what it offers but also about what is does not offer. Minimizing artificial ingredients, fillers, preservatives and chemicals is obvious, but you may also need to skip some good ingredients because they're low in calories and favor more calorie dense ingredients.

A veterinarian or a canine nutritionist can help you find a diet that will meet your individual underweight dog’s specific nutritional requirements. They can also guide you in finding the best dog foods weight gain and supplements that are specifically made with ingredients that will meet your pet's unique situation.

The 7 Best Dog Food for Weight Gain

1 Purina ONE SmartBlend True Instinct Dog Food

Purina ONE True Instinct Grain-free Dry Dog Food chicken and sweet potato formula is developed for adult dogs. This best dog food for weight gain is nutrient-dense, grain-free and contains real chicken, chicken meal, cassava root flour, and sweet potatoes.

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Its 30% crude protein content and 442 kcal of metabolizable energy (per cup of food) are great numbers to start with if your dog has an active lifestyle and needs to gain some weight.

This rich-tasting formula has crunchy triangular kibbles that can be moistened or served as is. Dogs love the taste and always finish their share without trouble. You know that their food is fulfilling to them, because they don’t keep begging for food. After a meal of Purina ONE SmartBlend True Instinct Grain Free Nutrient-Dense Formula Dry Dog Food they’re fueled for the day and are active till their next meal.

Your dog won’t need supplements because this bag contains all the vitamins and minerals that dogs need and it has good levels of glucosamine and omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. Compared to other grain-free recipes, this one is priced more competitively, and digestion or sensitivity issues are rare.

PROS:

  • Grain-free
  • Real chicken is the first ingredient
  • 30% crude protein content and 442 kcal of metabolizable energy per cup of food
  • No corn, wheat, soy, poultry by-product meal, artificial flavors or preservatives
CONS:

  • Some pet owners claim this food upset the dogs stomach

 

2 Eukanuba Premium Active Adult Dry Food

Eukanuba Premium Performance Dry Food delivers optimum levels of protein and fat (30/20) and calcium to support lean muscles and strong bones and sustain an active dog’s energy needs.

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It is made with chicken, chicken by-product meal, corn meal, brewer’s rice, fish meal, sorghum, chicken fat, beet pulp, dried egg product, and fish oil. It is enriched with vitamins and minerals, and has adequate levels of chondroitin and glucosamine to ensure healthy joints.

This has enormously helped working dogs that had difficulty keeping their weight on.  Not only have dogs attained their ideal weight and kept it, they also bloomed on Eukanuba Premium Active Adult Dry Dog Food. They have strong bones and joints, which they need in their high-level activity, and have glossy coat and healthy skin.

The nice thing about using this product to boost your dog’s weight to normal levels is that there’s no need to overfeed dogs to attain that objective. The correct food dose recommended for your dog’s age and activity level does that after a short time.

PROS:

  • Delivers optimum levels of protein and fat (30/20)
  • Proven to reduce tartar build-up in 28 days
  • Made without fillers
CONS:

  • Formulated only for dogs over 1 year old

 

3 MVP K9 Formula Mass Weight Gainer for Dogs

MVP K9 Formula Mass is an all-breed solution for adding bulk on skinny dogs. Picky dogs or dogs that recently went ill need some perk in their diet to give them more weight, and Formula Mass may just have what it takes.

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This dog weight gain powder formula from MVP K9 Supplements has 28% crude protein and 50% crude fat – you won’t find fat content this high in most dog food formulas. This healthy fat provides an energy source to sustain your dog’s high-energy activities and recovery without relying so much on the body’s protein resources, which are best used up for building and repairing muscles.

This formula is an add-on or topper to your dog’s regular wet or dry food. Its ingredients are vegetable fat, whey protein, flaxseed, and creapure. Aside from fat and healthy calories, MVP K9 Formula Mass Weight Gainer for Dogs is also a good source of 18 naturally-occurring amino acids that support muscle strength and repair.

This is a must-try for dogs that need to regain their energy and lost weight. It packs a lot of other benefits, too, such as nicer coats and more alert disposition. It’s very easy to use since you don’t need to change your dog’s food, so there will be no drastic change in your dog’s setup.

PROS:

  • Contains 28% crude protein and 50% crude fat
  • Suitable for dogs of all breeds and ages, including nursing mothers
  • Good source of 18 naturally-occurring amino acids
  • Ingredients used are tested for 100% safety
CONS:

  • This is not a full meal – only meant to be a topper for your dog's regular meals

 

4 Bully Max High Performance Super Premium Food

Bully Max High Performance is a 30/20 formula like Eukanuba Premium Performance, and has a whopping 535-calorie content (per cup) which is the highest in our list and possibly in this category.

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It is made with chicken meal, brown rice, chicken fat, beet pulp, sorghum, barley, brewer’s yeast, flaxseed, fish meal, egg product, fish oil, probiotics, and vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. The increased calories that Bully Max brings to your dog’s diet adds energy which is vital in gaining weight, building body mass and muscles, and increasing strength and alertness.

This dog food packs a lot of calories and, fortunately, it’s also flavorful, because it would be such a waste if dogs didn’t like it. Dogs take quite easily to it and have no problem switching. In as short as 2 weeks on Bully Max High Performance Super Premium Dog Food you’d already notice some bulk forming.

Dogs are not simply gaining weight in this formula – they’re more active, too, which is very important. Their skin and coat show great health. A few skin irritations were noted with Bully Max, but that’s a dog issue not the food per se. Overall, this is a great option for dogs that need to fill out.

PROS:

  • Protein and fat content is 30/20
  • 535-calorie content per cup
  • No corn, wheat or soy
  • Formulated for all life stages
CONS:

  • Some reviewers noted their dog suffered from skin irritation after being switched to this food

 

5 Purina Pro Plan Natural Grain Free Dry Food

Purina Pro Plan Natural grain-free lamb and egg formula’s animal protein sources are lamb, chicken meal, and dried egg product. It is grain-free and uses alternative carb sources like pea starch and cassava flour.

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It also contains vitamin supplements and chelated minerals. It has optimal ratios of omega 3 and 6 to ensure healthy skin and coat. The significantly high fiber level aids in improving bowel movement and regulating blood glucose.

Dogs that were switched to this transitioned beautifully – even some dogs that had very sensitive tummies – and are doing great on Purina Pro Plan Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food. Their hair turned glossier and they’re at their ideal weight, which are the easiest ways to tell how a dog does on its new formula.

The lamb and egg combination is a hit to the palate of most dogs, so it has helped them eat properly and attain their proper weights. The small kibbles are perfect especially to some dogs with problematic teeth, which may get discouraged from eating large bites. Instead, they get to eat and finish their portions. Highly palatable meals can make dogs over-eat and be obese, but the high fiber content of Purina Pro Plan Natural will also help keep things in check.

PROS:

  • Real chicken is the first ingredient
  • Grain-free
  • Contains vitamin supplements and chelated minerals
  • No poultry by-product meal, soy, artificial colors, artificial flavors or artificial preservatives
CONS:

  • Some dog owners report this food upset their dog's stomach

 

6 Blue Life Protection Formula Adult Dry Food

Blue Life Protection Formula from Blue Buffalo is for adult dogs and is made with deboned lamb, oatmeal, barley, turkey meal, brown rice, sunflower oil, probiotics, and vitamin and mineral supplements.

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There are two kibble types – the first type is triangular in shape and brown, while the other type (called LifeSource Bits) is pebble-shaped and dark. The LifeSource Bits are made with blueberries, cranberries, spinach, flaxseed, pomegranate, and other antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables through a low-temperature process.

This dog food has adequate levels of protein, fat, and total calorie count that dogs need for growing muscles, supporting body functions, and sustaining play and activities. Appropriate feeding methods and correct food dosage will help in attaining the proper weight for dogs who are on Blue Life Protection Formula Adult Dry Dog Food.

Dogs love the taste of Blue Buffalo, and this lamb recipe especially, so dogs that usually lack appetite take easily to this and finish their portions clean. This makes gaining weight so much easier. It’s very important to consider your dog’s current weight and activity level when deciding on the amount to feed.

PROS:

  • Deboned lamb is the first ingredient
  • Made with whole grains and real fruits and vegetables
  • No chicken (or poultry) by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
CONS:

  • Some (rare) reports from other pet owners about torn packaging, bugs in the food, mold on the food and discoloration of the food (see reviews before buying)

 

7 Dr. Tim's Premium All Natural Active Dog Food

Dr. Tim’s Premium All-Natural Pet Food Pursuit Active Dog Formula is so calorie-dense that you need not feed as much amount of food as Blue Buffalo or other dog food for that matter.

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It is made with chicken meal, ocean herring meal, salmon meal, porcine plasma, and other protein sources. Its carb and fiber content comes from brown rice flour, oat flour, beet pulp, flaxseed meal, rice bran, and psyllium seed husk. It has added vitamins and minerals and probiotics for healthy digestion and strong immune system.

This food is developed for dogs that have active lifestyles – dogs that jog, run, and play almost every single day. This high-calorie food helps to keep them in top condition. Dogs that have been on Dr. Tim's Premium All Natural Pet Food Pursuit Active Dog Formula for a considerable period of time are able to keep their ideal weight and have well-toned muscles.

They have great energy, have shiny coat, and always have the appetite for their food. They never seem to get tired of it and never turn down a meal, so it must taste very good. If your dog needs some filling out, this can help her/him gain weight nicely.

PROS:

  • 86% of protein from animal sources
  • Made with patented BC30 probiotic for digestive health
  • No corn, wheat or soy
  • Contains a minimum 30% crude protein and 20% crude fat
CONS:

  • Contains some lower quality ingredients like chicken meal, chicken fat, dried egg product and multiple fish meals

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7 Top Rated Dog Foods for Weight Gain

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