Home » Dogs » Puppies » 7 Best Puppy Foods for Weight Gain

7 Best Puppy Foods for Weight Gain

Published On:

Weight management in puppies can be challenging, as some dogs need to lose weight to stay healthy, while others need help adding and maintaining a healthy weight from a young age.

There are various reasons why you would want your puppy to add weight. Your puppy could be losing weight because of underlying health issues or social challenges that could cause anxiety or stress to the puppy. You could also want your puppy to add weight if it is a large or active breed that you want to grow for high performances like athletics or other active-dog activities.

While it is important to consult your veterinarian if you think your pup’s health is in danger, it is also important to consider its diet and give it the best high calorie puppy food.

Food plays a very big role in a puppy’s early development as it helps it grow strong muscles and bones. If your puppy does not get adequate nutrients from the food you feed it as it grows, it might start losing weight or find it hard to maintain a constant healthy weight.

If your puppy is struggling to gain weight and needs a change of diet, then you may consider switching to puppy food that contains lean meats and healthy fats, as these contain high calories that help your puppy healthily gain weight.

This article takes a critical review of the best high-calorie puppy food options by content, brand and cost value and guides you to where you can get them quickly and affordably.

1. Nutro Ultra Puppy Dog Food

  • Main ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, lamb meal, salmon meal, chicken fat, whole grain oats, rice, sorghum, chicken fat, fish oil, chia seed, dried carrot and spinach.
  • Supplements: Calcium, Zinc, Vitamins E, C, B12, B2, B6, D3 and B1.
  • Type: Grain inclusive dry puppy food.
  • Recommended Age: 2- 24 months
  • Price: $$

The Nutro Ultra Puppy Dog Food combines the goodness of three high protein sources of chicken, lamb and salmon to give your underweight puppy lean and strong muscles. It also contains a sufficient balance of healthy calories derived from whole grain oats, whole grain rice, and whole-grain sorghum.

This best puppy food for weight gain also contains chicken fat and fish oil, which are excellent sources of healthy fats to build your puppy’s body mass and bring it back to health fast. The fish oil also provides this food with DHA and omega 3 & 6 fatty acids, which help your puppy develop sharp vision, a healthy brain, and strong teeth and bones.

The Nutro Ultra Puppy Dog Food is high in fibers that help your pup digest its food properly. Vegetables and health supplements in the food provide the requisite amino acids to increase your puppy’s appetite and boost its immune system. These vitamins also give your puppy healthy skin and a shiny coat.

This best high-calorie puppy food is made using non-GMO ingredients and contains soy, wheat or corn products. You can also get this best puppy food for weight gain in a wet formula.

2. Blue Buffalo Baby Blue Healthy Growth Formula

  • Main ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, oatmeal, fish meal, chicken fat, fish oil, and peas
  • Supplements: DHA & ARA, omega 3 & 6, calcium, zinc, L-carnitine, Vitamins A, E, B1, B2, B7, B12, and C
  • Type: Dry puppy food
  • Recommended age: All puppy stages
  • Price: $$

The Blue Buffalo Baby Blue Healthy Growth Formula derives most of its high protein content from chicken, which is its main ingredient. It also contains additional protein from chicken and fish meals to give your puppy strong muscles.

This food is recommended as the best puppy food for weight gain due to its chicken fat and fish oil. These two fat sources help your puppy add healthy weight as it grows from one stage to another. Combined with flaxseed oil, the fish oil in this formulation provides your underweight puppy with omega 3 & 6 fatty acids to help it develop good vision and strong bones.

The Blue Buffalo Baby Blue Healthy Growth Formula contains a balanced calorie serving per meal from its brown rice and oatmeal combination. These high-calorie grains give your puppy the energy it needs to play throughout the day while maintaining a healthy weight.

This best puppy food for weight gain maintains balanced nutrition for your puppy with amino acids like DHA and ARA, which improve your pup’s vision and brain growth, and multiple other vitamins that keep its appetite high and boost its immune system.

3. Purina Pro Plan Sports Development Puppy Food

  • Main ingredients: Chicken, poultry by-product meal, rice, corn gluten meal, whole grain corn, beef fat, dried egg product, fish meal and fish oil
  • Supplements: Omega 3 &6, calcium, folic acid, zinc, Vitamins A, E, B1, B2, B3, B12
  • Type: Grain inclusive dry puppy food
  • Recommended age: All puppy stages
  • Price: $$

The Purina Pro Plan Sports Development Puppy Food is the best high-calorie puppy food that helps your active fur baby add body weight. You can use it if you are growing an athletic or highly active breed dog or helping your puppy add extra body mass for health purposes.

This highly-rated best puppy food contains 30% calorie content for weight gain, derived from its chicken, fish meal, poultry meal, rice, whole grain corn, and corn gluten meal ingredients. These proteins and grain meals help your puppy grow strong muscles for athletics and also help to repair and restore muscles damaged by disease or malnutrition.

This puppy food also contains 20% fat content in beef fat and fish oil. These fatty ingredients help your puppy grow a healthy body mass and develop strong bones and teeth. Fish oil also adds omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, which aid in developing your puppy’s eyesight, brain, healthy skin and shiny coat.

The Purina Pro Plan Sports Development Puppy Food contains several amino acids and minerals to help boost your puppy’s immunity and promote healthy joints and bones for an active life.

4. Wellness CORE RawRev Wholesome Grains Puppy Food

  • Main ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, oatmeal, barley, turkey liver, chicken fat and salmon oil
  • Supplements: DHA & EPA, omega 3 & 6, taurine, calcium, zinc, iron, Vitamins A, E, C, D3, B12
  • Type: Grain inclusive dry puppy food
  • Recommended age: Puppy stage
  • Price: $$

The Wellness CORE RawRev Wholesome Grains Puppy Food contains up to 38% crude protein and 17% crude fat content, making it one of the best puppy foods for weight gain. This wholesome formulation derives high protein content from real deboned chicken and high-quality chicken and turkey meals to help your puppy build lean, strong muscles.

This best high-calorie puppy food contains chicken fat and salmon oil, which help your puppy add weight appropriately. These fats and oils also give your puppy omega 3 & 6 fatty acids and glucosamine, which promote the healthy growth of joints and bones. These fatty acids also nourish your puppy’s skin and give it a shiny, healthy coat.

This puppy food contains wholesome oatmeal and barley to give your puppy enough energy to play. This puppy food is also packed with vitamins and minerals to boost your puppy’s immunity and keep it strong to face another day.

5. Adirondack Puppy & Performance Dogs Recipe

  • Main ingredients: Chicken meal, menhaden fish meal, brown rice, pearled barley, ground grain sorghum, chicken fat and fish oil
  • Supplements: Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids, calcium, zinc, Vitamins E, B12, D3
  • Type: Dry food
  • Recommended age: Puppy
  • Price: $$

The Adirondak Puppy and Performance Dogs Recipe contains 30% crude protein and 20% crude fat, making it one of the best high-calorie puppy foods available today. It is a good food option to help your underweight puppy or performance dog add weight while observing a healthy, controlled diet.

This puppy food gets its high protein content from chicken meal, fish meal, brown rice and barley. It is slow-cooked to ensure that all the nutrients in these ingredients remain intact for a healthy and nourishing meal for your puppy. These proteins help your pup build and regenerate strong muscles.

This recipe also contains a high chicken fat content to help your puppy build a healthy weight for high-performance breeds or regain weight if suffering from a medical condition. This best puppy food for weight also contains fish oil, which nourishes your puppy with omega 3 & 6 fatty acids to help it achieve healthy brain, eye and bone development.

The Adirondack Puppy & Performance Dogs Food Recipe contains brown rice, barley and sorghum to give your pup its daily dose of energy and improve digestion. It also has sufficient calcium and zinc levels to boost bone development and vitamins to boost its appetite and improve overall health.

6. Instinct Raw Boost Puppy Grain-Free Recipe

  • Main ingredients: Chicken, Turkey meal, menhaden fish meal, egg product, chicken meal, freeze-dried chicken heart and liver, lamb meal, chicken fat, salmon oil and peas
  • Supplements: Omega 3 & 6, calcium, zinc, phosphorus, taurine, Vitamins A, E B12, and D3
  • Type: Grain-free, dry food, freeze-dried food
  • Recommended age: Puppy stage
  • Price: $$

Instinct Raw Boost Puppy Grain-Free Recipe is a high-protein, best puppy food for weight gain option available at an affordable cost. With a crude protein content of 36% and fat content of 21%, this puppy food will help your pup to build a healthy weight and strong muscles from an early age.

This grain-free recipe contains a protein-rich mixture of chicken meat, turkey, fish, and lamb to give your pup a healthy start to weight and muscle building. Add freeze-dried chicken heart and liver to the mix, and you have a tasty meal, and your pup can’t wait for the next serving of this raw, nutritious goodness.

This best high-calorie puppy food contains chicken fat to help your puppy add and maintain a healthy weight. It also contains salmon oil, which is a good source of healthy fats and rich in omega 3 & 6 that help your puppy grow strong joints and bones as it gains weight.

The Instinct Raw Boost Puppy Grain-Free Recipe is high in fatty acid and vitamin content to help your puppy build a strong immune system, healthy skin and a shiny coat. 

7. Merrick BackCountry Raw Infused Puppy Food

  • Main ingredients: Deboned chicken, salmon, chicken meal, turkey meal, chicken liver, chicken fat, salmon oil, flaxseeds, sunflower oil
  • Supplements: Omega 3 & 6, calcium, zinc, taurine, Vitamins, A, E, B12, D3
  • Type: Dry Puppy food, froze-dried puppy food
  • Recommended age: Puppy stage
  • Price: $$

As the brand name suggests, the Merrick BackCountry Raw infused Puppy Food combines the tastiness of raw, freeze-dried chunks of real chicken meat, liver and salmon with freeze-dried coated kibble to give your pup a healthy dosage of protein in every serving.

This puppy food contains 30% protein content to help your puppy grow strong muscles for athletic performance or recovery from illness. It also contains a 14% fat content from chicken fat to help your fur baby gain a healthy weight as it grows.

This food also gets its best high-calorie puppy food status from its sweet potatoes, potatoes and peas, ingredients which help your puppy add weight while giving it sufficient energy to play and exercise.

This puppy food is packed with omega fatty acids to help your puppy grow healthy skin and coat, healthy eyes and brain function. It also contains essential minerals and amino acids to boost your puppy’s immunity and grow healthy joints and bones.

What to look for in the best puppy food for weight gain

As mentioned previously, there are different reasons why your puppy could need to boost its weight, be it for performance or medical purposes. As you set out to look for the best puppy food for weight gain to feed your pup, you must consider the following puppy food contents:

Calorie content

The best puppy food for weight gain should contain a higher calorie content than the regular food you feed your puppy. Combined with other food ingredients, calories help your puppy bulk up on weight fast while giving it the energy needed to recover from illness or exertion.

When choosing the best high-calorie puppy food, look for options that contain calorie-dense ingredients like red meats, cheese, sweet potatoes, whole grains, offals, pumpkins, etc. Check for organic calorie sources and not fillers, as these may do more harm than good in your puppy’s health and digestion.

 Protein content

Proteins play a crucial role in weight gain for puppies. Proteins help your puppy grow strong muscles and add to its overall weight gain. Protein-dense ingredients also contain small amounts of healthy calories.

If you are looking for food to help a puppy with an illness leading to muscle wastage gain weight, consider buying protein-rich food. Choose foods with real protein sources, like chicken, red meat, fish, turkey etc. You can also look for foods that combine two or more real meats or multiple protein meal options instead of one.

Fat content

Puppy foods with high-fat content can help your puppy add weight faster than those with low-fat content. Healthy fats help your puppy build strong joints and muscles while adding a natural flavor to the food.

You can consider getting puppy foods that contain chicken fat, beef fat, lamb fat or salmon oil. These fats and oils also carry omega fatty acids and glucosamine, which are important for your puppy’s eye, brain and bone development.

How can I tell if my puppy is underweight?

You can tell if your puppy is underweight if you notice the following:

  • Protruding spine, pelvic bones and ribs
  • Low energy
  • Dull-looking coat

Weight loss in puppies, as in humans, can be a sign of underlying medical conditions. Therefore, it is important to consult a veterinarian if you notice sudden weight loss. Your vet will examine your puppy and recommend the best diet and treatment if your puppy does indeed have an underlying medical issue.

Common conditions that cause weight loss in puppies

Puppies, just like adult dogs, suffer certain medical and behavioral conditions that may affect their health, leading to sudden or gradual weight loss. Some of these conditions include:

Malabsorption disorders:

These are disorders like lymphangiectasia, inflammatory bowel disease or intestinal parasitism, which inhibit the puppy’s ability to absorb nutrients after feeding. These conditions can only be detected by a veterinarian during a medical examination and can be treated medically and with a change in diet.

Metabolic disorders

Metabolic disorders include diabetes, hyperthyroidism, hypoadrenocorticism or Addison’s disease, and cancer. These serious disorders cause a sudden loss in puppies and adult dogs alike.

Maldigestion disorders

These include exocrine pancreatic deficiency, which inhibits your puppy’s ability to digest food properly, leading to nutrient malabsorption and subsequent weight loss.

Anorexia

Just like it happens, this disorder causes your puppy to lose appetite for extended periods, leading to weight loss. Anorexia in puppies can result from social anxiety or an underlying medical condition.

Swallowing disorders

Your puppy could have problems swallowing certain types of food or have an underlying medical condition that causes discomfort while swallowing. This disorder can be diagnosed by a veterinary and adequate treatment provided.

Social disorders

These include depression or anxiety, which causes your puppy to withdraw from interacting with other puppies or dogs and subsequently miss certain meals, leading to weight loss.

How you can help your puppy gain weight faster

If you suspect that your puppy has an underlying medical condition, you should consult a veterinarian who’ll diagnose and treat the problem, allowing it to resume normal feeding and weight.

However, if you suspect that your furbaby has some social challenges, you can try feeding it separately from other puppies to help it feel better. You can put it in a separate room and serve it separately during mealtime. Please give it a healthy snack, and leave its food in the room for longer to motivate a better feeding culture.

You can also consider setting aside more playtime for your puppy to help it overcome any social fears and interact with others better while exercising to motivate better feeding and health.

If you wish to change your puppy’s diet, do so gradually by initially introducing a 10% [portion of the new puppy food to 90% of the old puppy food. Continue increasing the new food portion and reducing the old one until you are sure your puppy is well oriented to the new food.

Consider changing your puppy’s daily servings to smaller portions multiple times a day instead of giving it two big meals in a day. You can sneak in a healthy treat between the servings to introduce other flavors and keep it looking forward to mealtimes.

If you suspect that your puppy is a picky eater or has a problem chewing and swallowing dry food, change to wet puppy foods or moisten the dry puppy food with a soup or gravy.

To cap it all, if you wish to try to help your puppy gain weight by changing its food, here are the best options among our reviews that you can consider:

Best Overall: Wellness CORE RawRev Wholesome Grains Puppy Food

This puppy food brand offers a healthy balance of high protein, high fat and wholesome grain content to give your puppy a healthy and manageable weight gain as it grows. The 100% raw, freeze-dried chunks of turkey meat will keep your puppy coming back for more of this food. It is then fortified with essential amino acids and antioxidants for overall wellness for your puppy.

Best Grain-Free Recipe: Instinct Raw Boost Puppy Grain-Free Recipe

This brand provides the high-calorie requirements of puppy food from its rich protein and high-fat sources. The genius balance of chicken, fish, and lamb protein sources is a sure way to gain healthy weight in small and large breeds of puppies.

The Instinct Raw Boost Puppy Grain-Free Recipe is also favorably priced for high protein grain-free types of puppy food. Click here to get the best puppy foods for weight gain at an affordable price.

Read Next:

The best puppy food for Labradoodles

The best puppy food for Pugs

The best puppy food for Great Pyrenees

The best sensitive stomach puppy foods