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Best Dog Food for Weight Gain – 6 Options for a Healthy Pet

If you’ve owned dogs before, you know that dogs are more likely to become obese than underweight. Some dogs may just have a faster metabolism than others.

There are several situations where your pup may need to pack on more weight. You’ll need to do more research or take them to the vet to find out why they may be underweight, but finding them good food to bulk up on is a good start.

Today, we’ll be highlighting the top 6 dog food options designed to help a dog gain weight, along with the 3 best dog food for weight gain honorable mentions.

Are you a new dog owner? Stop by our quick guide to How to Keep a Dog Happy and Healthy to learn the basics of dog ownership!

Our Top Picks

  Product Details    
01 Crave High-Protein Dry Dog Food Best Overall: Crave High-Protein Dry Dog Food A great choice for all dogs to gain weight. Crave is made with real ingredients and has animal protein as its first ingredient. Each serving has 34% of protein for optimal weight gain. Check Price
02 Purina Pro Plan Sport Dry Dog Food Best For Muscle Growth: Purina Pro Plan Sport Dry Dog Food Purina is made up of 30% protein and 20% of fat for weight gain. Real chicken is the first ingredient, and it has added amino acids for muscle nourishment. Check Price
03 Nulo Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food Best Nutrition Profile: Nulo Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food Nulo is great if your dog needs less processed food in its diet. They use a ton of natural ingredients and are grain-free. Their formula is also allergy-friendly, great for sensitive dogs. Check Price
04 Canned High-Protein Dog Food Best Wet Dog Food: Ziwi Peak Canned High-Protein Dog Food The perks of this canned dog food are no filler or carbs in their formula. It is purely made of meat and vitamins. Ziwi peak is great for all breed sizes. Check Price
05 Solid Gold High-Protein Dry Dog Food Best Dog Food For Any Age: Solid Gold High-Protein Dry Dog Food Solid Gold is great for puppies to adult dogs and is for all breed sizes. This high-protein food is packed with probiotics and prebiotics. It is grain-free and uses USA locally sourced beef. Check Price
06 Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Dog Food Best For Digestion: Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Dog Food  This is great dog food for weight gain and one that promotes proper digestion, containing multiple proteins with no added minerals or vitamins. Check Price

How We Chose the Best Dog Food for Weight Gain

Dog eating dog food
The right dog food will help your dog gain weight healthily.

When deciding which dog foods were best for weight gain, we looked at some of the best brands that make high-protein dog food.

Then we looked at multiple aspects of the dog food, such as the amount of protein in each serving, calories, how natural they are, and if they would promote healthy digestion.

We considered some smaller named brands as well. Sometimes it’s hard to break away from name brands, but a few small brands are better for promoting weight gain than some name brands.

From all of the sources and dog foods we researched, we chose 10 of the best to test on our dogs. Out of those, 6 made our best dog food for weight gain top picks. 3 more made our honorable mentions, and we’ll tell you why.

Read our related article on Why Your Dog Won’t Eat Dog Food. Discover the various causes of a decreased appetite and their severity.

Best Dog Food for Weight Gain

1. Best Overall: Crave High-Protein Dry Dog Food

Crave High-Protein Dry Dog Food

Product Ratings

Affordability 4/5
Taste 5/5
Effectiveness 5/5
Digestion5/5
Nutrition profile4/5

Size: 22 lbs | Flavors: Chicken or Beef | Brand: Crave | Cost: $$ | Type: Dry | Dog Size: For all breed sizes 

What We Liked

  • Made from real ingredients
  • Chicken is its first ingredient
  • Has 34% protein per serving 
  • No Corn, no wheat, and no soy

What We Didn’t Like

  • Not for puppies
  • Some issues with quality control

If your pup is slightly underweight and you need to switch up their food to something more calorie-dense, this dry dog food from Crave is a fantastic solution. This formula is loaded with protein like all the best dog foods for weight gain.

Ingredients

The ingredients in this dog food formula start off with protein and then go into added minerals and vitamins. The first three are chicken, chicken meal, and split peas. 

The carbs in this food come from grain-free sources like peas so your dog will get all the energy they need without stomach inflammation. This makes it more easily digestible and safer for dogs with sensitive digestion.

As well as added vital nutrients, your dog won’t get any unwanted preservatives or artificial colors from this dog food. There’s no corn, no wheat, no soy, and no grain.

Ease of Weight Gain

Every dog is different. Has different needs and goals for their weight gain. It is best to consult a veterinarian or to read the instructions on the food to find out how much your dog should eat.

With this dog food, your dog should easily put on the healthy weight that they need. Our dogs think it tastes great, even our picky eaters, and we found it’s effective.

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2. Best for Muscle Growth: Purina Pro Plan Sport Dry Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan Sport Dry Dog Food

Product Ratings

Affordability 4/5
Taste 5/5
Effectiveness 5/5
Digestion3/5
Nutrition profile3/5

Size: up to 48 lbs | Flavors: Chicken, Duck, Turkey, Lamb | Brand: Purina | Cost: Max $$ | Type: Dry | Dog Size: For all breed sizes 

What We Liked

  • 30% protein and 20% fat for weight gain
  • Multiple size bags for sale
  • Various flavors
  • Chicken as first ingredient
  • Added amino acids for muscle growth

What We Didn’t Like

  • Has preservatives in the ingredients
  • Kibble is smaller than others
  • Brands history of giving dogs stomach aches

When you need your dog to pile on some weight, you’ll want the right high-calorie dog food to make that easier. The ever-impressive Purina delivers the expected home run with this Pro Plan Sport dog food ideal for all life stages.

Purina is a well-known dog brand that makes all types of dog foods. If your dog has a strong stomach, this would be great for them. The food promotes muscle growth and includes ingredients that will help them gain that weight.

Ingredients

The ingredients of this dog food start out with real chicken and rice then move into others such as the vitamins and minerals added. 

What is different about this food is that there are some ingredients that include preservatives and they use natural flavorings. Our dogs love the added flavor, but it could irritate the digestion for some dogs.

The amino acids in this formula make sure that your dog is gaining healthy weight in their muscles and not just fat. Ingredients such as glucosamine and fatty acids are used to ensure their joint health is taken care of as well.

Ease of Weight Gain

Depending on your dog the weight gain from this dog food may be easy or could set them back. Purina has a reputation for giving dogs stomach aches and diarrhea which might be due to the added ingredients.

Our dogs loved this kibble and had no trouble with it, so we are comfortable recommending it in our top picks. 

If your dog can handle this food it works perfectly for weight gain and dogs love the different flavors. 

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3. Best Nutrition Profile: Nulo Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food

Nulo Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food

Product Ratings

Affordability 3/5
Taste 4/5
Effectiveness 4/5
Digestion4/5
Nutrition profile5/5

Size: 22 lbs | Flavors: Salmon, Turkey, Alaskan Pollock | Brand: Nulo | Cost: $$$ | Type: Dry | Dog Size: For all breed sizes 

What We Liked

  • Uses fresh natural ingredients
  • Has probiotic support for healthy digestion
  • Allergy friendly formula for sensitive dogs
  • Different flavors to choose from

What We Didn’t Like

  • Some issues with packaging
  • May be too expensive, especially if you have a large dog

What we noticed right away about Nulo is that it contains a limited ingredient formula that’s only full of the right stuff. This 22-pound bag of natural dog food is not cheap, but it will get the job done. Along with being great for dogs with sensitive stomachs.

Ingredients

The first three ingredients in this dog food are pollock, pollock meal, and green lentils. Depending on the flavor you get, the first ingredients can look a little different but are all natural.

They add a variety of natural vitamins and minerals to make sure your dog gets all the nutrients they need to gain weight healthily.

The formula is allergy-friendly and packed with probiotics so that your dog won’t get a stomach ache from this food.

This food is expensive, but for our sensitive dogs, we trust the limited ingredient Nulo foods, and this formula is no exception. It works well and keeps our dogs comfortable.

Ease of Weight Gain

Following a veterinarian’s guidelines or the guidelines of the food, your dog will be able to gain a good amount of weight from this food. The only thing that may set you back is how much you can spend. This is one of the more expensive dog foods on this list.

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4. Best Wet Dog Food: Ziwi Peak Canned High-Protein Dog Food

Canned High-Protein Dog Food

Product Ratings

Affordability 3/5
Taste 4/5
Effectiveness 4/5
Digestion4/5
Nutrition profile5/5

Size: Max 10 lbs | Flavors: Beef, Chicken, Lamb, Venison | Brand: Ziwi Peak | Cost: $$$ | Type: Wet | Dog Size: Adult 

What We Liked

  • Packed with amino acids
  • No cheap carbs or fillers
  • Contains 92% protein
  • Multiple flavors to choose from

What We Didn’t Like

  • Problems with cans not being vacuumed properly
  • Contains chickpeas 

The Ziwi Peak wet food is a great way to get your dog to gain weight. Wet food is a great alternative if they won’t eat their dry food. Mixing this and dry food together can also help in maximizing weight gain. This wet canned food is special because it is packed with protein.

Ingredients

Ziwi Peak has the lowest amount of ingredients in its formula out of the rest of the dog foods. It does not contain any fillers since it is wet food, and 92% of it is protein.

The first three ingredients are beef, water sufficient for processing, and beef lung. There are a few more proteins and some added minerals. This dog food tastes the most natural to our dogs, and they love the meatiness. 

Some people did not like how there are chickpeas in the ingredients. While certain forms of chickpeas may be dangerous to dogs, the ones added in this formula should not be and help to promote healthy digestion.

Ease of Weight Gain

Since this is wet food it may take longer for your dog to gain the weight you want it to because there is so much protein compared to dry food. Your dog won’t get those extra carbs that aid in weight gain as well.

We suggest if you are planning to use this wet food that you use it with some dry food to optimize weight gain.

Read our related article on How Much Canned Food to Feed a Dog. Overfeeding can result in obesity. See how much you should be feeding your dog!

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5. Best Dog Food for Any Age: Solid Gold High-Protein Dry Dog Food

Solid Gold High-Protein Dry Dog Food

Product Ratings

Affordability 4/5
Taste 3/5
Effectiveness 5/5
Digestion4/5
Nutrition profile4/5

Size: 24 lbs | Flavors: Beef | Brand: Solid Gold | Cost: $$ | Type: Dry | Dog Size: For all breed sizes and ages

What We Liked

  • Perfect for puppies, adults, and senior dogs
  • Loaded with prebiotics and probiotics
  • Natural grain-free
  • Uses high quality real meat

What We Didn’t Like

  • Not all dogs love the taste

Solid Gold’s dog food is quite affordable and contains very high amounts of protein. Unfortunately, not all of our dogs prefer this dog food. We recommend mixing this dog food with wet food to give them more incentive to eat it.

Ingredients

This dog food uses USA-sourced beef and is gluten-free. The first three ingredients are beef, ocean fish meal, and potato protein. Along with an abundance of protein, the formula has a ton of vegetables and fruits, which could be why some dogs don’t prefer the taste. 

This dry food has the most protein-packed into it with 41% of protein, so we love it for the formula. 

Ease of Weight Gain

Your dog may not like the taste of this food so it may be harder for them to put on weight if you use this. However, if your dog does love the taste then they will be on the right track very quickly.

We found that mixing this kibble with wet food worked much better for us, but that also increases the cost per meal. 

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6. Best Dog Food for Digestion: Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Dog Food 

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Dog Food

Product Ratings

Affordability 4/5
Taste 4/5
Effectiveness 5/5
Digestion3/5
Nutrition profile3/5

Size: 22 lbs | Flavors: Bison, Red Meat | Brand: Blue | Cost: $$ | Type: Dry | Dog Size: For all breed sizes 

What We Liked

  • Loaded with protein from a real bison
  • Has all natural ingredients
  • A ton of added minerals and vitamins
  • Good for dogs bones and teeth

What We Didn’t Like

  • Nutrition profile could be improved

Blue Buffalo makes a wide variety of highly effective dog food replicating the diet your dog would eat in the wild. This Rocky Mountain Recipe is enduringly popular and ideal for weight gain.

Your dog will enjoy protein derived from real deboned bison, which is the first ingredient in this protein-dense food. You can also find this formula as wet food, and our dogs loved the softened food.

Ingredients

The first three ingredients in this dog food are deboned bison, fish meal, and peas. There are a large number of ingredients in this dog food, more than most others we tested. 

Although there are a ton of ingredients, they are all-natural. The added minerals and vitamins are there to aid your dog in their weight gain journey while keeping them as healthy as can be.

Some dog owners don’t like the number of ingredients in this dog food so it is best to check for yourself. Blue Buffalo is a reputable brand that creates various dog food and treats that we trust and our dogs love.

Ease of Weight Gain

This food should easily help your dog gain weight. We recommend using their wet food alongside this dry food to optimize weight gain. 

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Comparison Chart

ProductsBest OverallBest For Muscle GrowthBest Nutrition ProfileBest Wet Dog FoodBest Dog Food For Any AgeBest For Digestion
Overall Rating4.6/54/54/54/53.8/54/5
Affordability 4/54/53/53/54/54/5
Taste 5/55/54/54/53/54/5
Effectiveness 5/55/54/54/55/55/5
Digestion5/53/54/54/53/54/5
Nutrition profile4/53/55/55/54/53/5

The Winner

We felt that the Crave High-Protein Dry Dog Food is the best out of the bunch. It is very effective dog food for weight gain that dogs love. It has a wonderful nutrition profile, and won’t leave your dog suffering from constipation or diarrhea.

READ MORE: The Best Dog Foods With Grains. We tested the top dog foods with quality grains for a balanced diet for dogs!

How to Choose the Best Dog Food for Weight Gain

Choosing the best dog food may be a matter of trial and error. You won’t know if your dog likes a certain food until it has tried it. This can make the entire process expensive and lengthy because you need to spend about 15-days transitioning your dog onto any new food.

We think the first thing you should be clear about is why your dog needs to gain weight. Sometimes lower body weight in dogs is just normal. However, it could be due to an underlying health condition, so you should consult your vet if you are concerned that your dog isn’t eating enough.

Some of the most common reasons for low body weight in dogs are:

  • Diabetes
  • Dental problems
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Post surgery problems
  • Anxiety
  • Thyroid problems
  • And many more

While there are several legitimate reasons for trying to increase your dog’s body weight, trying to get your young puppy to gain more weight is not a good idea. Puppies need to grow slowly and gradually, so their skeletons develop properly. 

Look for dog food for puppies to help them grow instead of trying to get them to eat more or putting them on a weight-gain diet.

When you give them the new food, make sure it’s easy to digest and easy to absorb all the nutrients. Increase portion sizes. Feed your dog three or four times a day instead of twice, and consider using wet food to make eating more appealing. Check your dog’s weight often so you don’t go overboard.

Finally, give your dog as much exercise as possible to build lean muscle, especially since they will be eating more protein. You don’t want that protein to go to waste, and lean muscle will increase your dog’s longevity.

Read our related article, How Long Does it Take for Dogs to Digest Food? Learn what healthy digestion does – and doesn’t – look like in this short guide!

Honorable Mentions

Here’s a brief look at the 3 options that didn’t make our list.

1. Wellness CORE Wet Dog Food – Considered for Best Wet Dog Food

Though this is good wet food for weight gain, it didn’t make our list due to some reviews of the food making their dogs sick and there are no resources to deal with damaged cans. However, this is a high-protein wet food that doesn’t contain grain. It has 95% of protein which is a lot higher than most.

We found that the Ziwi Peak Canned High-Protein Dog Food was the best option for wet food because it is high in protein and dogs digest it easily. There are multiple flavors to choose from and it has a better nutrition profile.

2. Purina ONE SmartBlend Wet And Dry Dog Food – Considered for Best Dog Food for Any Age

This Purina dog food did not make our list because we felt that the Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Dog Food was overall better. Along with that, this Purina dog food seems to be out of stock on Amazon and may be hard to find in-store.

Blue Buffalo is a good price and has a smaller kibble for any size adult dog. The nutrition profile includes natural ingredients that include superfoods, probiotics, and omega fatty acids to support digestion. 

3. Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food – Considered for Best Overall

Taste of the Wild is for dogs of all ages and sizes. We considered this for overall best because of the price and because it had high reviews. However, we felt that it fell short in the digestion area and it wasn’t the best dog food for weight gain.

The Crave High-Protein Dry Dog Food contains more protein and supports proper digestion. Overall the Crave dog food is better for weight gain while the Taste of The Wild dog food is more of a general dog food.

5/5 - (6 votes)

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