Just like being obese, being underweight has lots of detrimental effects on your dog’s overall health. Underweight dogs tend to have weak immunity, suffer from hormonal imbalance, and have shortened lifespan. As you can see, it’s not something you should take lightly— you can remedy the situation with the best dog food for weight gain. And one of the actionable ways is to select the food that works for your furry friend.
With that said, what can you feed a dog for it to gain weight? If you have an underweight dog, the best way to help it bulk up is to tweak the number of calories it consumes per day. And this entails feeding your furry friend the best dog food for weight gain with high protein content and healthy fat content.
When doing so, ensure all these proteins are from healthy sources. Moreover, they should be digestible. A key thing to note is that not all proteins from animal sources are good. Avoid dog food for weight gain with meat by-products or rendered meat, as they don’t have any nutritional value. Nevertheless, you will never go wrong if you opt for meat proteins sourced from chicken, turkey, fish, and beef.
Be wary, don’t give your dog food for weight gain that has high-fat levels for a long duration. The reason being high-fat levels may strain your dog’s pancreas. The key thing is to learn how to keep a balance by seeking advice from the vet.
- Nulo Senior Dry Dog Food
- Instinct Grain-Free Dog Food Topper
- Purina Beyond Grain-Free, Natural Adult Ground Entrée Wet Dog Food
- The Honest Kitchen Whole Food Clusters Human Grade Dry Dog Food
- Wellness Natural Pet Food Complete Health Natural Small Breed Healthy Weight Dog Food
- Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe
- Taste of the Wild High Protein Real Meat Recipe
- Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Dry Dog Food
- Merrick Grain-Free Puppy Dry Dog Food Recipe
- Blue Buffalo Blue Freedom Grain-Free Adult Lamb Recipe
What Food Will Help Gain Weight?
Introducing your dog to a variety of food can help an underweight dog gain weight gradually. Unless your dog had an underlying health issue, you know that the dog didn’t lose weight overnight. It’s a process. Likewise, bulking up will also take some time.
So, which are these foods that will help with weight gain.
- Puppy food- starting your adult dog on the best puppy food you find out there in the market may look awkward. However, it’s one of the ways that will help it gain weight. But why is a puppy recipe the best dog food for weight gain? You know, a puppy recipe has high protein and fat content tailored to meet the pup’s intensive growth needs.
And when introduced to your adult dog, this puppy recipe will nourish it and help build lean muscles. At first, your dog may develop diarrhea. However, this will come to a stop after a few days—not unless there is a harmful ingredient included.
- Sweet potato – Sweet potato is one of the superfoods that will help your skinny furry friend gain more pounds.
- Give your dog plenty of pumpkins – Pumpkin is also one of the best dog food for weight gain that cannot let you down when you introduce it to your underweight dog. This pumpkin has plenty of macro and micronutrients that will nourish your dog’s muscles. Also, cooked pumpkin has fiber which helps stabilize your dog’s digestion system.
Other foods that will help your dog gain weight are cottage cheese, yogurt, salmon oil, and high-calorie supplements. Some times you ma consider specific dog food for specific breeds as in this example of dog food for beagles.
What Is The Fastest Way To Put Weight On A Dog?
Is there any fast way that can help a dog gain weight fast? Such is one of the questions most dog owners have. You know, it can be frustrating to see your dog remain underweight for long—this is even after you have purchased the best dog food for weight gain that you found in your neighborhood pet shop.
First, what you ought to know is what may work on your dog may be different from how your neighbor’s dog responds. At times, a single methodology may help. Whereas in some scenarios, you may have to use multiple methods for your dog to gain weight.
So which are these ways?
A high-calorie dog food – getting your dog a diet with above-average calories is one of the ways that will help a low body weight bulk up.
Adopt ad libitum feeding strategy – the ad libitum feeding strategy involves leaving your dog with food all day long. Such ensure your dog has access to food anytime he desires. It’s a strategy used to help those dogs who have become underweight after being deprived of food for a long duration.
Award extra healthy treats – healthy treats can also help your dog add more weight. These treats contain plenty of calories that your underweight dog requires. Nevertheless, don’t rely on giving your dog treats as the primary source of calories for your dog.
Exercising – although it may look counterproductive, physical exercise will help your dog in a way to get lean muscles. Try a herding ball for dogs to get them to exercise by themselves.
However, don’t turn to this methodology if you are not giving your dog the best foods for weight gain with high protein levels. The consequences are that you may overstrain your furry friends’ body systems.
Will Eggs Make My Dog Gain Weight?
Eggs have loads of essential fatty acids and amino acids that will benefit your underweight dog to gain weight. These amino acids will help build your dog’s muscles. Whereas the fatty acids will help repair your dog’s coat.
Even though they are good, don’t opt for undercooked eggs. The reason being raw eggs may have salmonella, which can wreak havoc on your dog’s tummy.
The best way is to give your dog boiled or scrambled eggs. Such an egg should have no salt, spices, or butter.
How many eggs will be enough?
- Underweight small dogs- 2 eggs per week
- Underweight medium dogs 4 eggs per week
- Underweight large dogs – 6 weeks per week
You can follow this routine till your dog hits that ideal weight then you can reduce the number of eggs you give it.
How Do I Know If My Dog Is Too Thin?
The best way to know if your dog is thin is by examining his waistline and ribcages. First, a healthy dog with an ideal weight will have a well-defined waistline.
However, a wasting dog will have an exaggerated hourglass shape along the waist.
Another way is to feel your dog’s ribs. For dogs at an ideal weight, you can easily feel a layer of fat cushioning the dog’s ribs.
However, underweight dogs have prominent ribs that have no fat for cushioning.
Other signs that show your dog is thin or underweight are-
- Low energy levels
- Picky eating
- Dull coat
After knowing your dog is underweight immediately, you can start him on the best dog food for weight gain, like the ones we have reviewed in this section.
How Much Should You Feed An Underweight Dog?
If your dog is underweight, do you bombard him with various dog foods all at once? I know that will be the first reaction for most dog owners. However, that is wrong. All you need is a plan.
Underweight dogs should be fed small meals 3-4 times a day—this is one of the best weight-gaining tactics, as it helps dogs digest food well. Moreover, it ensures your dog has plenty of nutrients throughout the day. For better consistency, ensure the dog doesn’t go more than 6 hours without food. When doing so, look for the best dog food for weight gain with a wide variety of nutrients that will nourish your underweight furry friend within no time.
Here is a table that will guide you on how many calories your underweight dog will need
|Dog’s weight in pounds||Total calories needed per day|
Here is how to use this chart
Highlight: Always give your dog its needed calories per its ideal weight.
For example, if you have rescued an adult underweight German shepherd weighing around 22 pounds. However, you know the ideal weight this dog should have is approximately 66 pounds; you should ensure daily he’s taking 1508 calories. Not 725 calories as you may be underfeeding him.
Things to Consider Before You Buy
You might want to know the following facts first before buying the best dog food for weight gain:
Why should I buy the best dog food for weight gain?
Feeding your dog with weight gain-specific dog food can be helpful to maintain a healthy weight.
It leaves them less vulnerable to diseases and also keeps them fit.
A dog that is suffering from malnutrition could not only become too thin but it could also become weak against other dogs and towards the environment, causing them to get sick more often.
Therefore, buying dog food to help your dog manage their weight can help them in the long run.
It can boost their confidence, energy, and immunity against sickness. Not only that, your dog appears more presentable with a just-right weight.
How do I choose the best dog food for weight gain?
If you want to look for an ideal weight gain food for your dog, you may want to know about the following first:
High in calories.
Any dog food that is filled with a lot of calories can surely help your dog gain more weight, just as it does in humans.
Look for dog foods that have more calories than your usual batch, especially those that contain real meat ingredients, such as lamb, bison, venison, or beef (and chicken if your dog is okay with it).
High in protein.
Protein is an important nutrient that dogs should have in their daily meals.
Protein helps not only to build muscles but also can help gain weight for your canine friend.
Look for dog foods that have a lot of protein from nutritious meat sources such as lamb, chicken, bison, or beef.
However, make sure that the meat content does not contain any by-product and look for the label that says that the chicken, beef, bison, lamb, or even salmon, is the first ingredient.
This ensures that your dog is getting the right amount of nutrients and the pure kind of protein.
As we all know, carbs are most likely responsible for gaining weight, so it’s also a good thing to recommend your dog to chow down on carb-rich food, such as those with potatoes or sweet potatoes.
Look for dog food mixes that have that, alongside the main meat dish. If your dog is sensitive to potatoes, you may want to try sweet potatoes instead.
Healthy fat sources.
Look for the healthiest dog food that has healthy fat ingredients, such as chicken fat or beef fat.
These can be helpful in gaining weight for your dog, provided that you feed them sparingly.
After all, if your dog keeps up a healthy lifestyle then adding a little fat into their diet can still be beneficial.
Look for “all life stages” recipes.
It can be easier to feed your dog with this kind of recipe because it is meant for any dog age, regardless of whether your dog is a puppy, an adult, or a senior.
Grain-free dog food.
Most pet owners will tell you that grain-free dog food is the best to feed because it can be okay for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
The grain is usually something that isn’t really widely accepted by all dogs in their digestive systems, so it may be better for your dog to take food that is free from common grams, such as corn, wheat, and soy.
This also helps them digest their food better.
No by-products and only real meat.
Chicken and other meat by-products may not be that healthy because you don’t know where they come from.
If you choose real meat then it can be better for your dog’s health and can help them gain more weight than by-products alone.
You also guarantee your dog that they get a higher quality of meat.
How do I feed dog food for weight gain?
To feed your dog and have them gain more weight, you may want to try any of the following strategies:
Gradually increase the number of times a day you feed your dog.
When you want to feed your dog with weight gain foods, they should be fed gradually.
If they are fed with a lot of food right away then they may not like it or leave it alone.
Instead of doing this, gradually increase their frequency of eating so that they don’t bloat or vomit their food afterward.
Let them eat as they wish.
What you do is leave the bowl out for your dog to look at and eventually eat whenever they wish.
Just be careful so that your dog doesn’t overeat. This can be a strategy to use if your dog doesn’t have a lot of things to do at home.
Consider weight gain supplements – with caution.
If your vet does recommend a weight gain supplement to go along with your dog food, that’s fine.
Make sure that this weight gain supplement is really recommended by your vet, has positive reviews, and it should also be consumed by your dog in the right way and prepared according to the instructions.
Track any changes with your dog’s diet.
Make note of what happens when your dog gets to eat the said weight gain dog food.
Track how much weight they have gained and you can use this as a reference when talking to your vet so that he or she can recommend other products or practices for you and your dog in the later weeks.
10 Best Dog Food for Weight Gain
So what is the healthiest dog food? All the products below are great options. Select one or several for testing based on your dog’s size and eating habits.
Have you recently adopted an underweight senior dog? And you are searching for the best senior dog food for weight gain? Then choose this Nulo Senior Dry Dog Food, and see your senior dog gain weight in a matter of weeks. The first five ingredients in this kibble are deboned trout, turkey meal, salmon meal, yellow pea, and sweet potato. All these ingredients are included to provide your dog with plenty of nutrients without triggering tummy issues.
As evident, the first three ingredients here are animal-based proteins that support your underweight senior dog muscle health.
Moreover, wholesome vegetables and fruits are vital sources of helpful nutrients that nourish your senior furry friend. And as one of the best dog food for weight gain, this recipe has no grains, which can alter your dog’s sugar levels, leading to obesity. All you find here is low glycemic ingredients like chicken peas, yellow peas, and sweet potato tailored to meet your dog’s calorific needs.
Besides being the best dog food for weight gain, this Nulo Senior Dry Dog Food will help keep your dog’s joints healthy. All because of the included glucosamine and chondroitin that improve joint flexibility.
The other thing is that this high-calorie dog food has a patented BC30 probiotic that promotes a healthy gut flora.
|Crude fat ( min)||12%|
- No grains included
- The first 3 ingredients are animal protein sources.
- No artificial flavors or preservatives
- Has wholesome vegetables and fruits that provide multivitamins
Instinct Grain-Free Wet Dog Food is one of the best-wet dog food for weight gain that will help your dog develop healthy and lean muscles.
This best food for a dog to gain weight utilizes natural ingredients to provide complete and balanced nutrition to your dog without triggering any stomach issues.
The first ingredient here is real meat. Per your preference, you can opt for chicken, beef, or lamb flavor. Whatever you choose, you will get a nutritious recipe that resembles the dog’s ancestral diet.
Meanwhile, you can either use this canned food for weight gain as a meal on its own. Alternatively, you can mix it with any of the best dry dog food for weight gain to enhance palatability.
Because of its remarkable taste, your underweight picky dog will find it irresistible, and now mealtime will be remarkable like it was before.
|Crude protein( min)||9.0%|
- Made with high-quality Ingredients
- This recipe has high levels of proteins
- Made in the USA
- No grains included
- Some pet parents complain their dogs developed diarrhea after consuming this recipe.
Another recipe in our list of the best dog food for weight gain is This Purina beyond Grain-Free, Natural Adult Ground Entrée Wet Dog Food. This recipe features humanely sourced and natural ingredients that all combine to ensure your puppy gains weight healthily.
As one of the best-canned foods for weight gain, this meal has real beef as the first ingredient. This real beef is a core source of proteins that rejuvenates those weak muscles on your underweight dog.
Besides the high protein content, this recipe has green beans and potato accents that have many multivitamins. These vital multivitamins fulfill your underweight dog’s nutritional needs.
- Well priced
- Real beef is the first ingredient
- A grain-free recipe
- With natural prebiotic for gut health
- Some pet parents online complain that sometimes this food comes contaminated.
Honest Kitchen is a reputable brand in the pet food manufacturing sector. And one of their recipes is this Honest Kitchen Whole Food Clusters Human-Grade Dry Dog Food that will help your underweight dog gain weight.
One thing that makes this recipe the best dry dog food for weight gain is that it contains human-grade ingredients that are easy to digest.
Furthermore, all the ingredients here are from certified and well-vetted suppliers. Afterward, these ingredients are prepared in human-grade facilities to ensure your dog gets a healthy and savory recipe.
This weight gain meal has high protein levels sourced from chicken. Such proteins repair and support the health of your dog’s muscles.
Other than that, this best dog food for puppies to gain weight has superfoods like lentils, carrots, and pumpkin that are rich sources of macro and micronutrients. These nutrients help maintain the health of your canine muscles. After consuming this recipe for a week or two, be sure you will see a dog who is at its ideal weight.
- Made with 100% human-grade ingredients
- No meat by-products, artificial flavors, or filler ingredients
- No products from china
- Some pets allergic to chicken may develop diarrhea
The best food for a dog to gain weight should contain high proteins, a few carbs, and fats to help your furry friend add more muscle mass. And one of the foods for weight gain that have such a combination is this recipe from Wellness Natural. In this Wellness dog food review, we found that this recipe is one of the healthiest dog food for small dogs as it has high proteins sources like deboned turkey, chicken meal, and salmon meal that all give your dog healthy muscles.
Also, this dry dog food for weight gain has superfoods like blueberries that all provide plenty of nutrients to nourish your thin dog.
Besides being one of the best dog food for weight gain, this recipe has omega fatty acids that support your dog’s cognitive function. These fatty acids also give your dog a healthy coat and skin.
Moreover, oatmeal, rice, and barley are healthy carb sources that provide plenty of calories needed by your underweight dog.
After consuming this recipe, your small dog breed with a low body weight will look healthier and happier. This is one of the best small breed dog food recommended by vets. Scientifically crafted by a team of veterinarians and scientists to provide nutrition for a lifetime of wellbeing.
- Rich in animal protein
- No meat by-products, filler ingredients, or artificial flavors
- Has taurine for heart health
- Enriched with omega fatty acids
- Some dogs develop diarrhea after consuming this recipe- presumably because of the high protein content.
We chose this known brand and this red meat source as an ideal weight gain dog food for your canine friend.
Since it doesn’t have meat by-products, your dog only gets the right sources of nutrients and protein, such as beef, bison, rabbit, or red meat. Each bag is at 4 lbs. but you can also order one at 10 lbs.
Because the dog food is gluten-free, it can be gentle to those dogs with frequent digestive upsets.
It contains lamb, venison, and deboned beef, which is most likely going to get your dog’s taste buds tingling and their tummy full.
It’s also made without grains such as soy, corn, or wheat.
Things We Liked
- No meat by-products
- Available in different bag sizes
- Contains antioxidants
- Rich in protein from real meat
Things We Didn’t Like
- Some big dogs may not get full
Yet another real met recipe, this one contains smoked salmon to help build your dog’s muscles and also help them gain weight.
It comes in a 28-lb. the bag so you get a lot of product in one go. It was made without any artificial flavors, preservatives, or colors, so it can be nice to your dog’s stomach.
It is also grain-free for dogs with sensitivities and it comes with antioxidants to help with your dog’s digestion.
The added protein content of the salmon can help boost your dog’s weight gain, alongside the potato fiber, sweet potatoes, and ocean fish meal that are included in the ingredient list.
Things We Liked
- Packed with a lot of protein
- Stomach-friendly for your dog
- Contains antioxidants
- Includes sweet potatoes
- Salmon is the first ingredient
Things We Didn’t Like
- Some dogs may be picky on the taste
This dry dog food is at a 26-lb. bag and comes with potato and duck as its combination recipe.
Since it is a single animal protein source, it can be ideal for dogs who want to gain weight yet don’t want to have digestive upsets.
Duck is a good source of protein not just for gaining weight but also for muscle building in dogs.
The potato included in the formula can also help with your dog’s carbohydrate intake, which can help them gain weight.
The included natural fiber could also help your dog digest the food they eat much easier.
This recipe has been without any artificial colors, flavors, and grain for your dog’s convenience.
Things We Liked
- Limited ingredient
- Single animal source protein
- Also contains potatoes for carbohydrates
- No artificial flavors or colors
Things We Didn’t Like
- The smell may be a bit off for some dogs and owners
For puppies that want to gain fat and weight, this one can be a choice for the owners.
It is made with a combination of real Texas beef and sweet potato recipe, so it contains easily-digestible carbohydrates and quality home-grown beef as the meat source.
It even has omega-3 and 6 fatty acids so that your dog can have skin and coat.
This puppy food also contains other important ingredients for their diet, such as peas, apples, and blueberries but without the hint of grains to help your dog digest them better.
It also has no preservatives in the formula. Each dry dog recipe comes in a bag of 4 lbs. with 45% of fiber and 55% of protein and healthy fat.
Things We Liked
- Ideal for puppies
- Easily digestible
- Has fatty acids
- Contains sweet potato for carbohydrates
- Includes fiber, protein, and healthy fat
Things We Didn’t Like
- The bites could be a bit too small for some dogs
Like a pack of dry dog food that contains no artificial colors or preservatives, this one comes from lamb, which has been deboned and is rich with protein.
It also comes with potatoes and peas for a healthy and balanced diet that can help your dog gain weight.
The combination of the carbohydrates from the potatoes and protein from the lamb can be an ideal starter for dogs that want to gain weight.
It contains no by-products from any meat source so you only get pure meat for your canine friend.
It comes in two sizes: 4 lbs. and 11 lbs. for your convenience. It also has the LifeSource Bits, which might interest your dog.
Things We Liked
- No artificial colors or preservatives
- Lamb is the first ingredient
- Includes potatoes and peas
- 2 sizes of bags are available
- No by-products from meat sources
Things We Didn’t Like
- Some of the pellets have a different color from each other
Get the best dog food for weight gain
To wrap it up, our top pick for the best dog food for weight gain is the Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe because it contains no meat by-products and is also gluten-free to make your dog’s stomach free from upset.
It is also conveniently available in different bag sizes and contains antioxidants.
This dog food is rich in protein from real meat and while some big dogs may not get full, it’s a minor con and you can just add more dog food to your canine’s mix.
Overall, we think it’s still a great consideration since it comes from a known brand. With that said, all our other picks are also from reputable brands, too.