Best Dog Food for Weight Gain

Last Update:
This post contains affiliate links, and we will be compensated if you buy after clicking on our links.
slim dog eating

While many dogs have a problem losing weight, others are underweight and need to gain a few pounds.

But to help your dog do that, you have to find right dog food that meets their needs, offers plenty of calories, and doesn’t make them feel sluggish. There are many things to consider when it comes to the best dog food for weight gain. 

Our favorite food is Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

It’s got everything a dog needs to make weight gain possible — including high calories and plenty of protein. 

But that’s not all. We also have formulas for puppies, seniors, and even dogs who need digestive support. This list is packed with dog foods that can aid your dog’s weight journey. Here are the best dog foods for weight gain. 

Our Best Dog Food for Weight Gain

  1. Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Dry Dog Food (Best for Adults)
  2. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Puppy Grain-Free Dry Dog Food (Best for Puppies)
  3. American Journey Senior Grain-Free Dry Dog Food (Best for Seniors)
  4. ORIJEN Small Breed Grain-Free Dry Dog Food(Best for Small Breeds)
  5. Purina Pro Plan Adult Large Breed Formula Dry Dog Food (Best for Large Breeds)
  6. Solid Gold Barking at the Moon Grain-Free Canned Dog Food (Best Wet Food)
  7. VICTOR Purpose Performance Formula Dry Dog Food (Best Budget Food)
  8. Annamaet Ultra 32% Dry Dog Food (Best Premium Food)
  9. ACANA Singles Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Dry Dog Food (Best for Sensitive Stomachs)
  10. Ollie Beef Recipe Dog Food (Best Fresh Food) 

10 Best Dog Foods for Weight Gain Reviewed 

Each of the brands and formulas on this list meets AAFCO’s nutrient profile guidelines. Before switching your dog to a new food, consult with your veterinarian. 

Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Chicken Freeze Dried Raw
Our Rating:
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Peas, Chicken Fat, Tapioca
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 37% Crude Protein, 20.5% Crude Fat, 4% Crude Fiber, 9% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 508 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: High-Protein, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy, Raw
  • Life Stage: All Life Stages
  • Key Feature: High-protein and high-calorie dog food with omega fatty acids for heart health

This formula is high-protein and high-fat for most adult dogs that need to gain weight. 

With 508 kcal/cup, this high-calorie recipe starts with chicken and chicken meal. These provide taurine and chondroitin, two nutrients that protect heart health and aid in lean muscle mass. 

With 20.5% Crude Fat, you can ensure that your dog can stay active since canines convert fat into energy. But it also fuels their muscles and joints, keeping them supple and strong. 

Pumpkin seeds and salmon oil provide omega-3 fatty acids for cognitive function. And pumpkin seeds contain the amino acid cucurbitin, which keeps your dog’s digestive system healthy and clean.  

Dog owners love that this dog food contains raw bits that provide extra flavor for their pup. But they admit that it can cause stinky gas and burping. 


High-protein for muscle mass

High-fat for weight gain

Probiotics for digestive health

Free of artificial additives


Causes gas and burping

Kibble is large

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Puppy Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Puppy Chicken Grain-Free
Our Rating:
  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Pea Protein, Peas, Tapioca Starch
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 36% Crude Protein, 16% Crude Fat, 5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 423 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: High-Protein, Grain-Free, No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy
  • Life Stage: Puppy
  • Key Feature: High-protein and grain-free puppy food with probiotics for gut health

To ensure proper growth, this formula contains essential nutrients for puppies, including omega fatty acids and taurine

It offers 423 kcal/cup, so it’s proper to feed small and giant breeds that need to put on weight as they grow. 

Deboned chicken, chicken meal, and fish meal provide 36% Crude Protein. And fish meal offers omega-3 fatty acids, which provide DHA and ARA to promote healthy growth and development.

Since some pups can have tummy issues due to a developing immune and digestive system, this recipe also has supplemented prebiotics and probiotics. These flush the gut with healthy bacteria to support healthy digestion. 

Puppy parents love that the kibble is small enough for tiny dogs but still substantial for larger breeds. But some say their vet recommended a formula with grains, so they must mix it with another food. 


High-calorie for weight gain

High-protein for muscle retention 

Contains DHA for cognitive function 

Has probiotics for easy digestion 


Grain-free, which can affect some puppies

Crunchy kibble 

American Journey Senior Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

American Journey Senior Salmon Grain Free
Our Rating:
  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Salmon, Sweet Potatoes, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Peas
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 32% Crude Protein, 10% Crude Fat, 7% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 329 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: High-Protein, Grain-Free, No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy
  • Life Stage: Senior
  • Key Feature: Grain-free senior-friendly dry dog food with healthy fats for weight gain

For active seniors or those who need to gain weight, this formula offers a slightly lower calorie kibble high in protein and animal fat. 

This provides balance to avoid obesity but helps your dog keep a healthy muscle mass and maintain a healthy weight. 

Deboned salmon offers a novel protein option for dogs that can’t handle beef. And it still provides 32% Crude Protein to keep joints and muscles strong. 

For omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, this recipe offers coconut oil, flaxseed, and chicken fat. These boost caloric content and nourish skin and fur. 

This dog food also supplements probiotics to avoid unhealthy gut and digestive problems due to higher fat content. 

Dog parents appreciate that this food is affordable and with a smaller kibble size for dogs with bad or no teeth. But they don’t like that it contains chicken meal, which can cause allergic reactions. 


Moderate-calorie for healthy weight gain

Contains probiotics for gut health

High protein to maintain muscles



Contains poultry

It tends to go “bad” fast and smell rancid

ORIJEN Small Breed Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

ORIJEN Small Breed Grain Free
Our Rating:
  • First 5 Ingredients: Turkey, Chicken, Turkey Giblets (Liver, Heart, Gizzard), Quail, Whole Blue Whiting
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 38% Crude Protein, 18% Crude Fat, 4% Crude Fiber, 12% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 473 kcal/cup 
  • Type of Product: Grain-Free, High-Protein, Gluten-Free, Raw, No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy
  • Life Stage: All Life Stages
  • Key Feature: High-calorie dog food with compact kibble size for small breeds

It’s easier for small dogs to pack on weight, but they still require the right kibble size and high-protein content, which this formula offers. 

It contains 85% premium animal proteins — including turkey, chicken, quail, and whole blue whiting. These offer choline, which conditions muscles, and iron, which boosts the immune and digestive systems. 

There are no grains in this dog food. Instead, it provides whole red lentils and pinto beans. These provide soluble and insoluble fiber for gut health, vitamins A and E for strong eyes, and a shiny coat. 

Even though the kibble size is small, this food still offers 473 kcal/cup, making this a high-calorie option for dogs who need to gain weight.

Dog moms and dads love that this food starts with raw proteins and doesn’t contain gluten or soy. But they say their fussy pups tend to pick at it instead of eating it all. 


High-calorie for weight gain

High-protein for muscle maintenance

Grain-free for sensitive dogs

No fillers or additives


Picky dogs may not eat it


Purina Pro Plan Adult Large Breed Chicken & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan Adult Large Breed Chicken
Our Rating:
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Rice, Corn Gluten Meal, Whole Grain Corn, Poultry By-product Meal
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 26% Crude Protein, 12% Crude Fat, 4.5% Crude Fiber, 12% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 407 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: High-Protein, With Grain
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Key Feature: High-protein dry dog food with EPA for large breed joint support 

This dog food has 26% high-quality protein and 407 kcal/cup for large breeds that need to put on a few pounds. 

Real chicken and beef fat provide natural sources of glucosamine and omega-6 fatty acids. These aid in mobility and joint health. And omega-6 acids also aid in weight gain. 

This is not a grain-free recipe, so it may not be the best choice for dogs with food sensitivities. It contains corn gluten meal, rice, and barley

While these may trigger reactions in some dogs, they are safe to feed your dog. And they provide extra calories and nutrients like magnesium — which is anti-inflammatory. 

This formula also supplements probiotics. These are great for digestive health but also keep your dog’s metabolism in check. 

Large breed owners say their pups love the taste of this dog food. But many wish the brand used different grain options instead of corn and wheat. 


Tasty for picky dogs

High-protein for muscle mass

Contains glucosamine for large joints

Real animal protein is the first ingredient


Contains corn and wheat

Kibble is hard

Solid Gold Barking at the Moon Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

Solid Gold Barking Moon Beef Canned
Our Rating:
  • First 5 Ingredients: Beef, Beef Broth, Whitefish, Beef Liver, Dried Ground Peas
  • Guaranteed Analysis: (wet matter basis) 9.5% Crude Protein, 6% Crude Fat, .75% Crude Fiber, 78% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 460 kcal/can
  • Type of Product: High-Protein, Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy, Chicken-Free
  • Life Stage: All Life Stages
  • Key Feature: Grain-free wet dog food with real animal proteins and flaxseeds for picky pups

This weight gain formula is a high-performance wet food — formulated for active dogs and those that need to add some weight to their frame. It’s a canned option with some of the highest protein on the market. 

It contains 9.5% Crude Protein when measured on a wet matter basis. Compared to dry food, it’s about 38%, which is more than a third of the food content. 

It’s also high in fat, offering 24% fat content — from ingredients like beef liver. And this recipe also contains higher levels of DHA and EPA, which can fight inflammation and boost brain health. 

This is a limited-ingredient diet, so it may be suitable for dogs with sensitivities — as long as they can eat beef. 

Other than animal protein, it contains spinach, cranberries, and blueberries. These provide vitamin C and antioxidants to boost immunity. 

Pet parents believe this is the best-smelling wet dog food they’ve ever bought, and many love that they can feed it exclusively or as a topper. But some hate the texture, saying it’s super mushy and comparing it to wet mud. 


Limited-ingredient diet

High-protein and can be fed exclusively

Contains one animal protein

Grain-free for sensitive dogs


Mushy and wet texture


VICTOR Purpose Performance Formula Dry Dog Food

VICTOR Purpose Performance
Our Rating:
  • First 5 Ingredients: Beef Meal, Grain Sorghum, Whole Grain Millet, Chicken Fat, Blood Meal
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 26% Crude Protein, 18% Crude Fat, 3.8% Crude Fiber, 9% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 399 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: High-Protein, Gluten-Free, No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy, Pea-Free, With Grain
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Key Feature: Gluten-free and affordable high-protein dog food with glucosamine for joint support 

This is the only calorically dense food on this list that’s entirely sourced and made in the US. So if that’s important to you, this is a great option. 

When it comes to promoting weight gain, this food contains high-protein, high-fat, and is high in calories. It has 26% protein, 18% fat, and 399 kcal/cup, respectively. 

It’s grain-inclusive, too, offering whole grain millet and grain sorghum. These provide fiber for easy digestion and prebiotics to support your dog’s immune system. 

Chicken fat and organic dried seaweed meal offer glucosamine and omega-3 fatty acids. These nourish joints and muscles and provide energy. 

Dog moms and dads love this dog food for their picky pups and say it’s perfect for medium and large breeds. But some admit that it causes gas. 


Contains 81% meat protein

High in glucosamine for joints

Contains probiotics for gut health

Doesn’t contain wheat, corn, or soy


Can cause gas

Dry and crunchy kibble

Annamaet Ultra 32% Dry Dog Food

Annamaet Ultra 32%
Our Rating:
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Chicken Fat, Whole Dry Eggs, Herring Meal
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 32% Crude Protein, 20% Crude Fat, 3% Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 480 kcal/cup 
  • Type of Product: High-Protein, No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy, Pea-Free, Non-GMO, Low Glycemic, With Grain
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Key Feature: High-fat and high-calorie premium dry dog food for athletic dogs and working dogs

This formula focuses on high-protein and high-fat ingredients to support dogs with higher metabolisms who struggle to gain weight. 

It starts with real chicken meal and chicken fat. These offer 32% Crude Protein and contain l-carnitine. This can aid with better fat utilization to help your pup maintain lean muscle mass even as they put on pounds.

Dried blueberries and dried cranberries provide vitamins C and K — aiding in a healthy immune system and helping your dog absorb calcium for strong bones. 

It’s important to note that this dog food is lower in fiber. The high-fat content may cause digestion issues in some dogs. So be sure to keep an eye on your pup. 

Pet owners are happy with this food’s high protein content and love how it makes their dog’s coat shiny. But some say it gave their dogs GI issues because of the high-fat content.


Low-glycemic for heart health

High in omega fatty acids for energy

High-protein for active dogs


Lack of fiber can cause loose stool

Large kibble size

ACANA Singles Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

ACANA Singles LID Lamb
Our Rating:
  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Lamb, Lamb Meal, Lamb Liver, Sweet Potato, Whole Chickpeas
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 31% Crude Protein, 17% Crude Fat, 5% Fiber, 12% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 371 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: Limited Ingredient Diet, Grain-Free, Chicken-Free, Gluten-Free, Pea-Free, High-Protein
  • Life Stage: All Life Stages
  • Key Feature: Limited ingredient dry dog food with novel proteins for sensitive stomachs

If your dog is sensitive to chicken and beef, it can seem complicated to find a high-protein option. But this formula contains 31% Crude Protein from one primary animal source — lamb

It is lower in calories, only offering 371 kcal/cup. But it’s a limited ingredient diet to support canines with food allergies. And it still has enough protein and fat to aid in increasing your dog’s body weight. 

Pollock oil and freeze-dried lamb liver contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These aid in muscle building and help your dog keep weight on. Plus, they boost skin health — keeping your dog itch-free and their coat shiny. 

This recipe doesn’t include chicken, beef, peas, corn, or grains. So it’s perfect for underweight dogs who have sensitivities. 

Dog owners say this dog food is perfect for picky dogs and dogs who struggle with gut issues. But they believe the food is dry and crumbly, saying it makes a mess whenever their dogs eat. 


Limited-ingredient diet for sensitive dogs

Moderate fiber for gut balance

Kibble size works for small and large breeds

High-fat for healthy weight gain


Dry and crunchy kibble

Lower in calories

Ollie Beef Recipe Dog Food

Ollie beef
Our Rating:
  • First 5 Ingredients: Beef, Peas, Sweet Potato, Potato, Carrot
  • Guaranteed Analysis: (wet matter basis) 9% Crude Protein, 7% Crude Fat, 2% Crude Fiber, 70% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 192.50 kcal/cup 
  • Life Stage: All Life Stages
  • Key Feature: Customized fresh dog food made with human-grade ingredients 
Get 50% OFF your first Ollie order!

A customized dog food — like Ollie — can meet your dog’s specific needs to help them with weight gain. All you need to do is fill out a questionnaire about what you want for your pup, and they can create the best formula for them. 

While this brand offers multiple protein options, beef protein contains the highest amount of calories, fat, and protein content per cup. 

This recipe also contains sweet potatoes, potatoes, and blueberries to add more calories, vitamins, and minerals. They also offer vitamins A and C, and potassium for strong eyes, immune systems, and bones. 

The actual calorie count of your dog’s food will depend on their custom formula. But, the beef recipe starts at 12% protein and 10% fat when measured as wet matter. This food offers 48% protein and 40% fat compared to dry dog food.  

Pet parents enjoy that this dog food contains human-grade ingredients and is easy to customize. But many wish they could get this food more conveniently. 


High protein for weight gain

Human-grade ingredients for picky parents

Chelated vitamins for long-term health

Recipes can be changed based on needs


Requires a subscription

Long shipping times

Food must be frozen or refrigerated

puppy dog playing

How To Buy Food To Help Your Dog Gain Weight

When you’re ready to buy dog food to help your pup with weight gain, here’s what to look for. 

How to Tell if Your Dog Is Underweight?

The easiest way to tell if your dog is underweight is to rub your hands along their chest and back. Can you feel your dog’s ribs, and are their ribs poking out severely? Can you feel their spine easily? If so, they may be underweight. 

You can also compare your dog’s weight to the “average” weight of their breed, height, and age. Of course, these numbers vary, so be sure to also check with your vet if you suspect your dog is underweight. 

What Causes Weight Loss in Dogs?

There are quite a few issues that can cause weight loss in dogs. These include: 

  • Parasites 
  • Bacterial or viral infections
  • Cancer 
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Hyperadrenocorticism
  • Gastrointestinal issues 

These health problems will come with other symptoms, like lethargy, vomiting, loose stool, and even whining. But no matter what, it’s essential to take your dog to the vet if you’ve noticed they’re losing weight. 

How to Help Your Dog Gain Weight?

If you’re trying to get your dog to gain a few pounds, there are a few things you can try. 

First, be sure to talk to your veterinarian. They will give you advice and point you in the right direction to help your dog reach their ideal weight. 

You can try switching your dog’s food to a diet that’s higher in calories, proteins, and fats. And, adding a topper or wet food can entice them to eat if they’re a picky eater. 

Give them smaller meals more often, so they are eating consistently. Feed them two or three times instead of just one meal a day.

This can increase their overall consumption and energy. And, feel free to give them higher calorie treats more often, especially if you’re training them or teaching them tricks. 

Also, don’t be afraid to increase their activity level. When dogs are active, they want to eat more. If your dog is sedentary, add in 30 minutes or so of daily activity. 

What to Look for When Buying Dog Food for Weight Gain 

Want a dog food that can help your pooch with weight gain? Here are the top two things to look for. 

High Calories

First, your dog needs calories to sustain their energy. And, the more calories they consume and store, the better chance they have of gaining weight. 

Now, the number of calories your dog needs will be dependent on their current height and weight and how much you want them to gain to be at a healthy size.

And, you should increase their calories over time. Don’t immediately double their calories in one day — that can cause stomach upset. Instead, try upping their calories by 5 to 10 calories per pound over a few days. 

For example, if they currently eat 1,000 calories a day and weigh 80 pounds, you’ll want to add 400-800 calories to their diet overall.

On day one, add in 200 calories. On day two, add in another 200 calories (for a total of 400 extra calories). And keep doing this until they reach the 1,800 calories they need. 

High Protein

Another critical factor in your dog’s nutrition is protein. And a higher protein diet can help them with weight gain, maintain muscle mass, and stay fit.

Plus, protein is a secondary source of energy for dogs, helping them in daily activities — which can increase their appetite too! 

Adding more protein to your dog’s diet will depend on their needs. It will be based on their breed, weight, height, and activity level.

But dog foods over 25% Crude Protein typically fall under the “high-protein” category. So switch to one of those options and see how well your dog does with it. 

Keep in mind that if your dog has a kidney problem and is losing weight, they should have high calories but low protein. Be sure to speak with your vet about the best food options for them. 

Our Verdict

See? Supporting your pup and helping them with weight gain doesn’t have to be complicated. There are many recipes out there that can help. 

Our number one choice is Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

It’s packed with flavor, is high calorie for small and large breeds, and can even be fed to dogs of different life stages. 

But there’s nothing wrong with having options. All of the foods on this list can help your dog gain the pounds back — you just have to pick their favorite. 


Want to know more about weight gain and how to help your pup? Here are the answers to your common questions! 

How many times each day should I feed my dog when I want him to gain weight? 

Feeding your dog twice a day should be sufficient. If they are a puppy or need significantly more calories for weight gain, you may want to split their portions to three times a day. 

What’s the best dog food to put weight on a dog?

Any dog food with high calories, high protein, and healthy fats can help put weight on a dog. Our favorite is Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Dry Dog food. But the rest of the options on this list are great choices too. 

Do dogs lose weight with age?

It’s possible that your dog loses weight with age. As the body slows down, your dog needs less energy, so they may eat less.

And, if they have poor digestion or diseases, this can cause weight loss. Be sure to check with your veterinarian if you notice your dog is losing pounds. 

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

As you found this post useful...

Follow us on social media!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

Photo of author
Kim Studdard is a freelance writer for many websites in the pet universe. When she isn't spending time with her family and pets, or saying "Look a dog" everytime she sees one, you'll find her reading a book or traveling the U.S.

Save 30% on your next dog food order!

We have partnered with to offer the best deal on high-quality dog food to our readers. If you click on the button below, we will take you to their exclusive discount page.