Top 10 Best High Calorie Dog Food

Top 10 Best High Calorie Dog Food

Not many people adore skinny dogs, but before you attempt to get your pet on any type of high-calorie food or diet, visit the vet first so they can evaluate the pooch for any underlying disorders.

If the vet advises you to get the animal on a calorie-dense diet, you obviously need to look for quality high-calorie dog food.  Unfortunately, 50 % of dogs in the US are overweight.1 This means that most manufacturers are now more concerned with creating low-calorie formulas.

As such, finding quality calorie dense formulas will take some digging.

Fortunately, you do not have to. We have compared numerous products on the market today to bring you these reviews of the best high-calorie dog foods.

The 10 Best High Calorie Dog Foods

Purina ONE Healthy Weight Adult Dry Dog Food – Best Value

Purina ONE SmartBlend Healthy Weight

With up to 320 calories per cup, this dense calorie formula from Purina ONE is another great product to use when looking to bring up your dog’s weight the correct way. It comes with a decent protein content of 27%. It also contains 12% fat, 5.5% fiber, and 12% moisture. As you can tell from that composition, this meal does not look to make your pooch fat; rather, it focuses on improving its body mass.

The primary ingredient in this product is turkey, which provides it with great taste. Of course, turkey is also an excellent source of high-quality protein. Moreover, the Purina ONE SmartBlend also contains a healthy dose of fiber to keep your pup fuller for longer, in addition to essential vitamins and antioxidants to boost its overall health.

What’s more, all Purina ONE products are tested for quality and safety. Therefore, be rest assured that your pooch’s health will not be at risk here.

The only concern you should have about this product is that the kibble size might be a little big for smaller dogs, which is what prevented it from taking the top spot on this list. With that said, the Purina ONE SmartBlend Healthy Weight High Protein Formula is arguably the best high-calorie dog food for the money.

  • Kibble size could be smaller
  • Full of vitamins and antioxidants
  • Balanced diet
  • 320 calories per cup with minimal fat content
  • High-quality protein from turkey
  • Tested for safety
  • Affordable

American Journey Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food – Best Overall

American Journey Healthy Weight Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

American Journey is one of the most popular brands in the dog food industry, thanks to the high-quality nature of their offerings. This healthy weight grain-free dry food is a good example of why American Journey has that reputation.

For starters, this product contains 337 calories per cup, consisting of 30% protein, 10% fat, 10% fiber, 10% moisture, with the rest being essential minerals and vitamins. The calorie count is not excessive, meaning that there is a less likelihood of this formula encouraging obesity.

Additionally, this product contains ingredients such as L-carnitine that promote fat loss to ensure that most of the added weight is quality mass. Thanks to its substantial amounts of fiber in its composition, this food keeps your doggo fuller for longer, thus discouraging overeating.

It also contains vital compounds such as chondroitin and glucosamine, to keep joint and mobility issues at bay.

Another great thing about this meal is that it is made from foods that your dog will love. Talk about chicken, kelp, sweet potatoes, and chickpeas. Moreover, it is grain-free and does not contain any by-products.

You need to know that weight gain from this product is gradual. Therefore, do not expect overnight changes. The good news is that all the gained weight will be nothing but quality muscle mass. These are just a few reasons why we have the American Journey Healthy Weight Grain-Free Dry Dog Food as our top pick.

  • Changes are gradual
  • No by-products and artificial preservatives or flavors
  • Substantial fiber content to encourage fullness to prevent overeating
  • 337 calories per cup
  • High-quality, nutrient-dense ingredients
  • Grain- and soy-free
  • Contains L-carnitine to promote fat loss

Crave High Protein Grain-Free Dry Dog Food – Premium Choice

Crave with Protein from Salmon & Ocean

This dog meal by Crave contains 424 calories per cup, making it one of the most calorie-dense products on the market. Its composition includes 34% protein, 17% fat, 3.5% fiber, and 10% moisture.

What this means is that it is ideal for quenching the high metabolisms of dogs that are particularly active.

Crave has formulated this meal to mimic the diet of your pup’s ancestors. It consists of white fish, chicken meal, fish meal, pork meal, lentils, and split peas. This allows your doggo to enjoy a meal that they are genetically programmed to eat. Moreover, this dog food is loaded with essential vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids to boost overall health.

You will also appreciate that this product does not contain potentially dangerous filler products such as artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.

However, this product is too calorie-dense for large dog breeds, which is why we did not choose it as the overall best pick despite its high quality. Nonetheless, for active medium-sized and small dogs, the Crave High Protein Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is as premium as it gets. And its price reflects that.

  • Not ideal for large breeds
  • Pricey
  • High-quality protein from white fish
  • Does not contain fillers
  • Mimics diet of dog ancestors
  • Grain-free
  • Comes with numerous vitamins and minerals for overall health
  • Premium quality

Merrick — Backcountry Raw Infused Great Plains Red Recipe

Another beef-based recipe loaded with proteins, Merrick Backcountry, is a raw option for your underweight buddy. I highly recommend it for dogs who aren’t just skinny but are also suffering from malnutrition.

Other than a healthy balance of good fats and protein, this recipe is also rich in carbohydrates. There are freeze-dried pieces of raw beef along with dried fruits and vegetables. The freeze-dried kibble smells and tastes great, so you don’t have to worry about your picky pal either.

Earthborn Holistic Great Plains Feast Dry Dog Food

6Earthborn Holistic Great Plains Feast Grain-Free Natural Dry Dog Food

This product by Earthborn contains 400 calories in every cup, consisting of 32% protein, 18% fat, 4% fiber, and 10% moisture.

The primary ingredient in this formula is bison meal to provide your pet with a high-quality source of protein. It also contains eggs, which are another excellent source of protein. To ensure that your dog stays lean despite gaining mass, this food also contains L-carnitine. Then there’s omega fatty acids that help to promote a healthier skin and coat.

Don’t forget that this product also contains a host of vitamins and minerals to promote the overall health of your dog. However, there is a chance that a dog who is a picky eater might reject it.

  • Some dogs might not like it
  • High protein content
  • Contains loads of vitamins and minerals

Ziwi Peak Beef Air-Dried Dog Food

6Ziwi Peak Beef Air-Dried Dog Food

Ziwi is a New Zealand-based manufacturer that is quickly becoming one of the most popular brands in the dog food industry. This particular offering is extremely calorie dense, containing up to 312 calories per scoop, not cup. This formula also contains one of the highest protein concentrations of any dog meal at 38%. The fat content is also quite high, at 30%.

Even if your furry friend is choosy, they will find this meal tasty as it contains a blend of fresh meat, organs, green mussels, and bones. It has glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health, as well as taurine for heart health.

Thanks to air-drying technology, this Ziwi meal preserves its ingredients naturally, thus eliminating the need for preservatives. It also eliminates the need for rehydration, as air-dried kibbles contain more moisture than ordinary dry kibble. This particular formula contains 14% moisture.

However, this product is one of the most expensive formulas on the market.

  • Expensive
  • High protein content
  • Meat from free-range grass-fed animals
  • Air-dried process eliminates the need for preservatives
  • Contains chondroitin and glucosamine for joint health

Nulo Freestyle — Limited+ Salmon Recipe Grain-Free

It is understandable that some dogs won’t or don’t like poultry or red meat. For such dogs, seafood can be a great option. This salmon recipe is one of my top picks for such picky eaters.

The best thing about the salmon-rich recipe is the healthy amount of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, which are good for joints as well as the coat and skin. Moreover, this high protein formula is low in carbs, which makes it perfect for dogs at risk of diabetes

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food

Blue Buffalo 800378 Wilderness Healthy Weight

Blue Buffalo Wilderness pride themselves in creating formulas inspired by the natural diets of canine ancestors. These diets consisted of high amounts of protein and are free of grains. This particular product comes with a protein content of 30% and a fat fiber and moisture content of 13%, 10%, and 10%, respectively. This ensures that your pup has all it needs for optimal growth.

Again, to prevent fat gain, this product has L-carnitine. This nutrient not only helps boost metabolism to burn fat but also promotes the development of lean muscle tissue.

The meat in this formula comes from deboned chicken, thus ensuring that your pup enjoys every morsel of the meal. It also contains a host of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants for a stronger immune system.

In addition to being grain-free, this product also does not contain any corn, soy, wheat, or meat by-products. However, some dogs might not enjoy this particular flavor. The Blue Buffalo Wilderness Healthy Weight Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food contains 353 calories per cup.

  • The flavor might not be appealing to all dogs
  • Minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants for better health
  • Grain-free
  • High protein content from chickens
  • Contains omega fatty acids for healthier skin and coat
  • Does not contain filler ingredients

Wellness Complete Health Senior Dry Dog Food

7Wellness Complete Health Senior Deboned Chicken & Barley Recipe Dry Dog Food

This product by Wellness Complete has been formulated to meet the nutritional needs of aging dogs. With 416 calories per cup, this formula is incredibly calorie-dense, thus promising fast weight gain. One cup of this meal contains 22% protein, 10% fat, 4.25% fiber, and 10% moisture. The rest consists of a variety of vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids that work to enhance the dog’s health.

This meal is quite delicious thanks to tasty ingredients such as deboned chicken, carrots, blueberries, and apples. It also contains chondroitin and glucosamine for healthier joints and taurine for better heart health.

Nonetheless, it might not be ideal for picky eaters.

  • Might not be ideal for picky eaters
  • Has taurine to promote heart health
  • Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for better immunity
  • Delicious formula consisting of deboned chicken
  • Contains chondroitin and glucosamine for healthy joints
  • Does not contain soy, corn, wheat, meat by-products, or any artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives

VICTOR High Energy Formula Dry Dog Food

VICTOR High Energy

With up to 412 calories per cup, this meal by Victor Pet Foods is truly a high-energy formula. These calories comprise of 24% protein, 20% fat, 3.8% crude fiber, and 9% moisture. Other ingredients include L-carnitine, vitamin E, selenium, zinc, and omega fatty acids.

This dog meal is incredibly delicious as well, thanks to its beef meal, chicken meal, and pork meal composition.

However, due to its high-fat content, this meal is only suitable for high-energy dogs. Therefore, do not offer it to a large breed pooch, unless it is a working dog.

  • High-fat content
  • Tasty formula
  • Extremely calorie dense
  • Fortified with minerals and vitamins to promote overall health

Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best High Calorie Dog Food

If you think that a dog is underweight, the first step should be to consult the opinion of a vet. You should only start feeding your pooch calorie-dense foods after the vet has okayed it. This is because most dog foods contain incredibly high amounts of calories, as is. Therefore, unless you are sure about a dog’s issue, feeding them a high-calorie diet can quickly result in obesity.

In this buyer’s guide, we shall discuss common triggers for weight loss in dogs, as well as how to choose the best high-calorie food.

Reasons for Weight Loss in Dogs

An emaciated dog should be a cause of worry because it shows that something is wrong with doggie. The following are some of the causes of weight loss in dogs.


There are two aspects two malnutrition, an incredibly low-calorie diet or a diet that is lacking in certain essential nutrients. A dull coat, bad dentures, and poor overall health characterize the latter. The former, however, means that the pooch is not getting enough food. This is common among stray dogs or mistreatment by owners.

Dental Issues

Dental problems such as abscesses can impede a pup’s ability to chew due to the pain. Therefore, if your doggie hasn’t been eating lately, check out its teeth first to make sure that there no problems there.


When pooches are experiencing some form of stress, they tend to lose weight drastically. This is because dogs have to be comfortable to eat. Therefore, if it is anxious over something, it might not eat as it is supposed to, thereby resulting in weight loss. Some common symptoms of stress in dogs include continuous barking, digging, chewing, and howling.


When is the last time you dewormed your pup?  Parasites such as tapeworms can lead to weight loss. This is because intestinal parasites live off the nutrients from the dog’s food. What this means is that your dog will be getting little benefit from the food it eats. A parasite infestation can also lead to persistent diarrhea, which will affect your animal negatively.

Factors to Consider When Purchasing High-Calorie Dog Food

Different products have differences in compositions and quality. As a result, some are better than others when it comes to bringing your dog’s weight up safely. To ensure that what you purchase is safe, consider the following things.

Calories per Cup

Most dog foods on the market contain high amounts of calories in their servings. Therefore, a high-calorie dog meal should be above the norm. As a rule of thumb, any food that offers more than 300 calories per cup is considered calorie-dense.

Protein Content

Upon noticing that their pup is underweight, most people’s first instinct is to increase the quantity of food. However, could it be that your food is not meeting the dog’s nutritional needs?

When it comes to high-calorie dog foods, look for a product that contains high amounts of protein in its composition. This is because protein is the primary bodybuilding nutrient in canines. A significant amount of those calories will go into building lean mass, rather than being stored as fat.

Quality Over Quantity

To entice consumers, some dog food manufacturers put high amounts of filler ingredients in their products to increase their quantity without increasing the price. Therefore, do not simply go for a product because it looks like a cost-effective option.

Instead, check out the ingredient label first to ensure that it is not laden with filler products such as corn, soy, and wheat.

Final Thoughts

  • There are numerous reasons why a dog could be underweight. The fact remains that something has to be done about it. As mentioned previously, first take him or her to the vet for a check-up so you can get a professional opinion.
  • High-calorie dog foods will bring your dog’s weight up in a very short time. However, you must be careful, as they can take your pooch from underweight to overweight in the blink of an eye. Therefore, ensure to keep the pup active during that period.
  • After comparing numerous offerings on the market, we found the American Journey Healthy Weight Grain-Free Dry Dog to be the best of its kind. It is not too calorie-dense, and it contains all the ingredients necessary to bring a dog’s weight up in a healthy manner.
  • If you are on a budget, consider the Purina ONE SmartBlend Healthy Weight High Protein Formula. It is made of high-quality protein and is one of the safest high-calorie dog foods available today. The other products in our reviews are great options as well.
Edward Hollon is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Edward has been writing for petdii for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners. Edward has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Edward knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.