The Best 10 High-Calorie Dog Food – switch to a high-calorie formula

While more than half of pet dogs are overweight or obese, some dogs struggle to gain or maintain weight. Many different things could cause a dog to be underweight, from pickiness to illness to using more calories through exercise than they consume. Regardless, some dogs need high-calorie dog food, but that can be tricky to find. That’s why we’ve put together this list of 10 high-calorie dog foods so that you can find the best one for your dog and your budget.

Best High-Calorie Dog Food

#1 – Zignature Zssential Multi-Protein Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

The first five ingredients of Zignature Zssential Multi-Protein Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food are all meat-based, so you know your dog is getting quality ingredients rather than filler. With 32% protein, 18% fat, and 415 kcal per cup, this food is sure to help your dog gain weight.

Key Features:

  • High in protein, low in saturated fat, and loaded with essential omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, selenium, riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, and phosphorus
  • Free of the most common canine allergens: wheat, corn, soy, dairy, and chicken
  • Grain-free, limited ingredient formula made with several quality protein sources and only a few other ingredients

First 5 Ingredients: Turkey, turkey meal, salmon, lamb meal, duck meal

Caloric Content: 415 kcal/cup

Protein and Fat Content: 32% protein, 18% fat

Customer Reviews: Not all dogs like the taste, and there are a few reports of quality control issues. However, most dogs love the food and owners reported decreased allergy symptoms.

Final Verdict: As long as your dog isn’t allergic to one of the ingredients, this is an excellent high-calorie dog food.

#2 – Crave High Protein White Fish & Salmon Adult Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Dogs who like fish will appreciate Crave High Protein White Fish and Salmon Adult Grain-Free Dry Dog Food. It has 34% protein, 17% fat, and 424 kcal per cup for highly active dogs. It’s made in the USA.

Key Features:

  • No chicken by-product meal, corn, wheat, soy, or artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
  • Protein-rich, grain-free food for all breed sizes
  • Made in the USA

First 5 Ingredients: White fish, chicken meal, lentils, split peas, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols)

Caloric Content: 424 kcal/cup

Protein and Fat Content: 34% protein, 17% fat

Customer Reviews: Like any food, not all dogs like the flavor. However, most dogs like it, and owners report reduced allergy symptoms.

Final Verdict: For dogs who aren’t allergic to chicken, this food is an excellent choice.

#3 – Blue Buffalo Wilderness Salmon Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Dogs who like salmon will love Blue Buffalo Wilderness Salmon Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food. It contains Blue’s LifeSource Bits, which include a unique blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals and has no poultry by-product meals, wheat, corn, soy, or artificial flavors or preservatives.

Key Features:

  • No poultry by-product meals, wheat, corn, soy, artificial flavors, or preservatives
  • Includes LifeSource Bits—a unique blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to support life stage requirements, the immune system, and a healthy oxidative balance
  • Contains omega-3 and -6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat

First 5 Ingredients: Deboned salmon, chicken meal (source of glucosamine), peas, pea protein, menhaden fish meal (source of omega-3 fatty acids)

Caloric Content: 415 kcal/cup

Protein and Fat Content: 34% protein, 15% fat

Customer Reviews: As with most foods, not all dogs enjoy the taste of this one. Dogs often spit out the LifeSource Bits, even those who eat the rest of the kibble. Otherwise, most dogs love the flavor, and many pet parents reported a decrease in allergy symptoms.

Final Verdict: As long as your dog likes the flavor, they are likely to do well on this food.

#4 – Earthborn Holistic Coastal Catch Grain-Free Natural Dry Dog Food

If you love the planet as much as you love your dog, you’ll appreciate Earthborn Holistic Coastal Catch Grain-Free Natural Dry Dog Food. Earthborn Holistic is part of a UPCs for trees program that is helping to replant deforested areas.

Key Features:

  • A proper ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids helps support a lipid balance for healthy skin and coat
  • Natural fibers from fruits and vegetables and a highly controlled cooking process support excellent nutrient absorption and digestibility
  • Fruits and vegetables like peas, apples, blueberries, carrots, spinach, and cranberries help support the immune system and optimal health

First 5 Ingredients: Herring meal, peas, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), pea protein, tapioca

Caloric Content: 400 kcal/cup

Protein and Fat Content: 32% protein, 18% fat

Customer Reviews: Along with the usual complaints about dogs who didn’t like the taste, several people reported that their dogs started to stink after switching to this food. For the most part, though, most dogs love this food, and many people reported allergy symptom relief for their dogs.

Final Verdict: This food is a good choice for many dogs, although there is a chance it could make your dog stink.

#5 – VICTOR High Energy Formula Dry Dog Food

It’s difficult to find dog food that is both high in calories and also grain-inclusive, but Victor High Energy Formula Dry Dog Food fits the bill. It has 412 kcal per cup; however, it’s a little high in the fat to protein ratio, with 20% fat and only 24% protein.

Key Features:

  • Composed of 79% meat protein with premium-quality beef, chicken, and pork meals
  • Nutrient-dense recipe for highly active and sporting dogs
  • Made in the USA

First 5 Ingredients: Beef meal, grain sorghum, whole grain millet, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), chicken meal

Caloric Content: 412 kcal/8oz cup

Protein and Fat Content: 24% protein, 20% fat

Customer Reviews: As with any food, some dogs didn’t like the taste, and some got sick after eating it. Most dogs, however, love the taste, and some dogs were able to maintain their weight when they had struggled with other foods.

Final Verdict: This food doesn’t have the highest-quality ingredients, but it packs a lot of punch for its price point. If you want a budget-friendly, grain-inclusive high-calorie food, this may be your best bet.

#6 – CANIDAE All Life Stages Multi-Protein Formula Dry Dog Food

If you have more than one dog and are looking to feed the same food to all of them, look at Canidae All Life Stages Multi-Protein Formula Dry Dog Food. It’s grain inclusive, made in the USA, and at 468 kcal per cup, it’s one of the highest calorie foods on our list.

Key Features:

  • Optimum protein from chicken, turkey, lamb, and fish meals for a nutritionally dense formula
  • Veterinarian-formulated specifically for dogs of all ages, breeds, and sizes
  • Made in the USA

First 5 Ingredients: Chicken meal, turkey meal, lamb meal, brown rice, white rice

Caloric Content: 468 kcal/cup

Protein and Fat Content: 24% protein, 14.5% fat

Customer Reviews: It looks like there has been a recent formula change or a bad batch, as there are several reviews from the last few months about dogs who have been on this food for years suddenly getting sick or not wanting to eat the latest bag. However, the complaints are outnumbered by people thrilled that they can feed one food to multiple dogs of different ages or breeds.

Final Verdict: There is a chance that you could get a bad bag of this. Still, it’s one of the highest calorie foods on our list and comes highly recommended by many people.

#7 – Dr. Tim’s Highly Athletic Momentum Formula Dry Dog Food

One of the highest calorie foods you can find is Dr. Tim’s Highly Athletic Momentum Formula Dry Dog Food. It has 518 kcal per cup, 35% protein, and 25% fat, making it ideal for extremely active dogs.

Key Features:

  • Metabolically balanced kibble meets the specific needs of a sporting dog
  • Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil promote healthy skin and a lustrous coat
  • Features patented BC30 probiotic to boost your pup’s digestive health

First 5 Ingredients: Chicken meal, brown rice, chicken fat (preserved with mixed natural tocopherols, a source of vitamin E), ocean herring meal, dried plain beet pulp (sugar removed)

Caloric Content: 518 kcal/cup

Protein and Fat Content: 35% protein, 25% fat

Customer Reviews: While some dogs didn’t like this food, most enjoy it and are gaining or maintaining weight better than ever.

Final Verdict: The ingredients of this food are mediocre, but it’s hard to argue with the high calorie content. This food may help your dog gain or maintain weight like nothing else.

#8 – Diamond Naturals Extreme Athlete Formula Dry Dog Food

For a grain-inclusive high-calorie formula that’s made in the USA, check out Diamond Naturals Extreme Athlete Formula Dry Dog Food. It has 470 kcal per cup, 32% protein, and 25% fat to help your pup gain or maintain weight.

Key Features:

  • Nutrient-rich and highly digestible
  • No wheat, corn, filler, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
  • Made in the USA

First 5 Ingredients: Chicken meal, chicken, ground white rice, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), cracked pearled barley

Caloric Content: 470 kcal/cup

Protein and Fat Content: 32% protein, 25% fat

Customer Reviews: In addition to the usual dogs who don’t like certain flavors, there are quite a few reports of dogs having diarrhea or gas. Most dogs love the food and do well, though, and pet parents love the price point.

Final Verdict: This is a pretty good grain-inclusive high-calorie food. As long as it doesn’t upset your dog’s stomach and they like the taste, they should do well on it.

#9 – Merrick Backcountry Freeze-Dried Raw Great Plains Red Recipe with Beef, Lamb & Rabbit Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

If you want to incorporate the health benefits of raw meat with the convenience of kibble, check out Merrick Backcountry Freeze-Dried Raw Great Plains Red Recipe with Beef, Lamb, and Rabbit Grain-Free Dry Dog Food. At 392 kcal per cup, it has the lowest amount of calories for any food on our list, but it still has higher calories than most other dog foods on the market.

Key Features:

  • Includes lamb and rabbit in a protein-rich and highly digestible poultry-free formula
  • Contains freeze-dried raw-coated kibble and freeze-dried raw bites
  • Made in the USA

First 5 Ingredients: Deboned beef, lamb meal, salmon meal, sweet potatoes, potatoes

Caloric Content: 392 kcal/cup

Protein and Fat Content: 38% protein, 17% fat

Customer Reviews: While some dogs don’t like this food, the biggest complaints are actually about the high price and the inconsistency of how many freeze-dried pieces are in each bag. Overall, though, most dogs love this food and thrive on it.

Final Verdict: If 392 kcal per cup is enough for your dog, they are likely to love and do well on this food.

#10 – Adirondack 30% Protein High-Fat Recipe Chicken Meal & Brown Rice Puppy & Performance Dogs Dry Dog Food

The highest-calorie food on our list is Adirondack 30% Protein High-Fat Recipe Chicken Meal and Brown Rice Puppy and Performance Dry Dog Food. It has 522 kcal per cup, with an ideal ratio of 30% protein and 20% fat.

Key Features:

  • Nutritionally complete and balanced recipe designed for all breeds of puppies and performance dogs
  • Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids from menhaden fish oil and flaxseed promote healthy skin and a lustrous coat, while pearled barley supports your canine’s heart function and helps improve insulin response
  • Slow-cooked in the USA in small batches

First 5 Ingredients: Chicken meal, brown rice, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), dried plain beet pulp, ground grain sorghum

Caloric Content: 522 kcal/cup

Protein and Fat Content: 30% protein, 20% fat

Customer Reviews: In addition to the few dogs who didn’t like the taste, several people complained about how tiny the kibble is. Otherwise, most dogs love this food and do well on it.

Final Verdict: This grain-inclusive food is very high in calories and has an optimal protein to fat ratio. However, the ingredients are just average, and the kibble is tiny, which isn’t great for medium and large dogs.

Does My Dog Need a High-Calorie Diet?

Here are a few examples of dogs who might need a high-calorie diet:

  • Athletic or working dogs who always seem underweight, no matter how much they eat
  • Dogs with cancer who are losing weight or have a low appetite
  • Pregnant or nursing female dogs
  • Dogs who were abused or neglected and need to gain weight
  • Picky dogs who don’t eat enough to maintain their weight

Final Thoughts on High-Calorie Dog Food

Whatever reason your dog needs a high-calorie dog food, hopefully, you’ve found one on our list that your pup will do well on. Since most dogs need to maintain or lose weight, it isn’t easy finding high-calorie foods, especially those with really high-quality ingredients, but it is possible. If one of these foods (or something else) helps your dog, be sure to let us know in the comments below so that you can help out fellow dog owners with similar struggles!

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