The majority of pet foods are made with a one type suits all type of formula. They are usually only differentiated by their suitability for a dog’s age. However, not all foods are ideal for every pet. That is where high calorie dog food comes in.
These products are typically used to help dogs to gain weight.
The following is a list of the best high-calorie dog foods on the market. But first, we will discuss how these products work.
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What Is High Calorie Dog Food?
High-calorie dog foods are nutrient-dense products whose recipe contain more calories than regular dog foods. Their energy contents are higher than what most pets require. The exact nutritional breakdown of each option will be different.
Dogs need energy for their daily metabolic functions, to grow, to play, to gain weight, and to recover from an illness.
The following is the average calorie requirements per day for dogs of different ages:
10-pound puppy - 990 calories
Inactive adult dogs
Active adult dogs
Senior active dogs
You can see that the energy requirements vary widely for different dogs.
High-calorie dog foods will generally provide your dog with more calories than their requirements per day.
When Does a Dog Need High Calorie Food?
You should remember that his type of food isn’t necessarily suitable for any dog. Although it can be beneficial for some dogs, it could be harmful to others. For instance, there is some evidence, a diet with reduced calories can allow them to live longer. However, this is more relevant for inactive dogs.
Some dogs will benefit from this type of food. There are even dogs who need to be put on these diets for their wellbeing.
The most common motivation to give your dog one of these products is if they are underweight. Many of these products are made especially for weight gain. Here are some dogs who need high-calorie foods:
These products will help all of these dogs. If the problem is severe, you should first take your pet to the vet. The vet could then advise you to get a prescription food. You can buy all of the products on this list over the counter at pet stores or online.
Aspects to Consider Before Buying
1. High-Quality Ingredients
The number one priority is to check whether the product is made with high-quality ingredients. You want this to make sure that the food doesn’t make your dog sick and works optimally. Premium products might cost more, but it’s worth it.
To find this out, you can research the ingredients used by the brands or ask your vet.
The quality of the ingredients is related to the safety of the product. Although many people don’t know it, pet foods are also supposed to be tested and regulated. Before you buy any food, you need to check whether it has been tested and approved by the FDA.
3. Type of Food
As with regular dog food, high-calorie options are available in a variety of forms. You will find the products in the form of a gel, paste, liquid, powder, dry food or wet food. Some of these products typically act as a supplement to your dog’s diet and are not a complete food source.
This aspect is all about convenience and preference. Pets and their owners usually have a particular type of food that they like to use.
Some pets might have conditions that make some forms impossible to eat. Puppies, for instance, will have less trouble with soft food than with pellets.
The saying is true, just because it is healthy doesn’t mean that it can’t taste good. Like regular dog food, most of these products come in different flavors. You will find that your dog will prefer one of these especially if your pup is a picky eater.
The flavor will give you a good idea of the main ingredient of the formula. For instance, if it says it tastes like chicken it is probably made primarily with chicken. Dogs love the taste of the meat, but they are commonly allergic to it. So if your dog reacts adversely to it, you shouldn’t buy chicken-flavored products.
5. Characteristics of Your Dog
As we have said, there isn’t a product that is suitable for all pets. Like regular food products are made especially for pets of certain breeds, ages or sizes. You need to buy the product that is suitable for your dog whether they are a puppy, a senior or an adult.
6. High Protein Content
Many of the high-calorie products are also high in protein. The high protein content helps your dog to gain weight and to build muscles. You will more often find this in foods that are meant as a complete food source. Remember that dogs need protein in their diet.
Top 5 High Calorie Dog Food
#1 - EUKANUBA Premium Active Adult Dry Dog Food
The Best Quality High-Calorie Dog Food
Eukanuba Premium Active Adult is a dried food that is sold in the form of kibble. It is made to support the health and lifestyle of active pets and allows them to perform at their best. The high-calorie content provides them with all the energy they need.
The calories in the product come from a combination of carbs, fats, and proteins. The high protein content will also help your dog to build more muscles.
The product constitutes a complete and balanced diet for your dog. Unfortunately, it is only suitable for dogs that are older than one year. You will be able to feed this to a senior dog, but you should supplement their diet with extra vitamins and minerals and make sure that they do not consume too many calories.
Eukanuba Premium Active Adult contains 380 calories per cup. This total might not be as high as some other products, but most dogs won’t need more than this.
As a bonus feature, it contains Eukanuba’s 3D DentaDefense which includes minerals that promote dental health and prevents tartar build up. It is also reinforced with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients like glucosamine which supports joint and bone health. Therefore, the dog food not only provides your dog with energy but will improve their immune system and overall health.
Eukanuba is a trusted pet food brand that is known for the high quality of their, and it is no different with this product.
#2 - Purina ONE Smartblend Adult Dog Food
The Best Canned High-Calorie Dog Food
Purina One Smartblend Adult Dog Food is the only canned food on the list. You can buy the product in several flavors including duck, lamb, and beef. So if your dog is a picky eater, the chances are that you will be able to find one that they like.
Fortunately, it is a complete and balanced food source so you typically won’t have to feed your dog anything else. However, you can combine it with dry food if you want to. It contains 483 kcal per cup.
One of the best features of this product is the fact that is is grain free. Many dog owners prefer this as some dogs are allergic to grains and other pets are more sensitive to it and can struggle to digest food with grains. On top of this, it is made with only natural ingredients.
The product is only suitable for adult dogs. You can also give it to a senior dog, but they might need extra nutrients to support their health in their old age.
A benefit of wet food is that it can be easier to eat for pets who might have difficulties chewing or swallowing. Both these problems can lead to significant weight loss, so this can help to counteract it.
Although individual cans of the food are inexpensive, it can become very pricey if you have a large breed dog because they will probably eat more than one can a day.
#3 - Purina Pro Plan SPORT Performance 30/20 Formula Dry Dog Food
The Best High-Calorie Dog Food for Competitive Sport Dogs
Purina Pro Plan Sports Performance is the second high-calorie dog food by Purina on the list. This time it is a dry food in the form of kibble. You can choose from several bag sizes. For this review, we looked at the 36.5 lb bag.
Purina’s range of Sports Dog food comes with different ratios of nutrients for dogs of varying activity levels. The 30/20 is ideal for the dogs that are incredibly active. The 30 % crude protein will help your dog to build muscle while the 20% fat will help to maintain their weight. So, if your dog is severely underweight, this product is also a smart choice.
Like their canned food, their kibble is made of natural ingredients. It is packed full of real chicken and salmon from excellent sources. As a bonus, their formula is reinforced with Omega acids, EPA, and Glucosamine to support their bone and joint health. All of these ingredients amounts to a credible 475 kcal per cup.
An excellent feature of Purina Pro Plan Sport is that it is suitable for dogs of all life stages. You can feed it to your puppy, adult or senior dog.
Compared to other products, this one is relatively expensive. But on the other hand, it is a very high-quality product.
#4 - Blue Buffalo BLUE Life Protection Formula Adult Dry Dog Food
The Best High-Calorie Dog Food for Overall Health
Blue Buffalo BLUE Life Protection Formula Adult is another dry dog food. The size of the kibble should be small enough to chew for most dogs. But they do have a separate range for toy and small dog breeds.
We reviewed the Lamb and Brown Rice, but there are several other flavor options. You can also choose Chicken and Brown Rice, or Fish and Brown Rice.
Blue Buffalo prioritizes using natural ingredients in their formulas. As part of this commitment to health, the product contains no poultry by-product meals. They also don't use soy, wheat, or corn. Their Life Protection formula is packed full of meat. It also contains fruits and vegetables to keep your dog healthy.
The best feature of this product is that it contains Blue Buffalo’s LifeSource Bits. These are specially processed pellets that are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
Unfortunately, the product is only suitable for adult dogs.
Blue Buffalo BLUE Life Protection Formula for adults contains 379 kcal per cup of food. So although it is still high in calories, it does provide less than other products on the list. However, combined with all the protein it will be enough to support weight gain in most dogs.
#5 - Bully Max High-Performance Super Premium Dog Food
The Highest Calorie Dog Food
Bully Max High-Performance dog food is a high-calorie option that comes in the form of kibble. As the name suggests, it is made especially for American Bullies. It is ideal for these muscular giants. However, it can also be fed to other dog breeds as long as they are active.
The Bully Max High-Performance contains more calories than the majority of similar products. It has a total of 535 calories per cup of food. In addition to this, it is very high in protein which further promotes growth and weight gain.
The food is safe for pregnant and nursing dogs. It can be used to feed seniors, adults, and puppies that are older than four weeks.
One benefit of the product is that it doesn’t contain soy, wheat or corn. So it is easier to digest and less likely to upset your pets digestive system.
Unlike many other options on the list, Bully Max High-Performance dog food is a complete food source. So you usually won’t have to feed your dog anything else.
Depending on the weight of your dog, a bag contains more or less 54 servings which means that it will last about a month. But even taking this into account the product is pretty expensive.
Summarising the Options
As you can see, these products are all contenders for the best high-calorie dog food on the market. No matter whether your pet is sick, underweight or just very active all of these alternatives can help to promote growth and weight gain in your pet. But which of these should you buy?
To make the decision, here is a summary of all the products on the list and their attributes.
Purina Pro Plan
Puppies, Adults, Seniors
Puppies older than four weeks, Adults, Seniors
On the bottom of stairs
High in protein
Calories per cup
Suitable for all life stages
Contains Blue Buffalo’s LifeSource Bits
Provides the most calories
5 / 5
4.5 / 5
4.5 / 5
4.5 / 5
4.5 / 5
My personal favorite of all these products is the Eukanuba Premium Active Adult Dry Dog Food. The product is made with high-quality ingredients and is high in calories as well as protein which makes it ideal for active dogs. It will keep them performing optimally.
Undoubtedly, the best feature of the food is all the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients with which it has been fortified.
Compared to other products on the list it is rather inexpensive. Nevertheless, it provides a tonne of value for the price.
Have you tried any of these high-calorie dog foods? Let us know what you think about these products in the comment and share the review with your fellow dog owners.
Hey there, I’m Ruby Smith, founder of Pet So Fun, and I’m here to provide you with useful information about your precious pet. All pets deserve the best care, don’t they? But not all pet owners have access to the right products and tips for their pets. And the central core of my work here is to change that.