High Calorie Dog Food: Is it Suitable for Your Dog?

High calorie dog food may be needed in certain situations. However, you may be hard pressed to find food labeled as ‘high calorie’ at the store simply because it doesn’t sound right for marketing purposes. So if you do need high calorie dog food and can’t seem to find any, the best thing to look for is high protein dog food. Calories from good quality proteins and fats will help your dog to gain much needed weight. Here’s a brief breakdown to choosing high calorie dog food for your dog.

dog losing weight
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High calorie dog food for weight gain

If your dog needs to gain some weight, calories from high quality proteins and fats is the best way to go. You don’t really need to totally change its diet if you are already feeding it a high quality, meat-rich diet. Rather, you can top up its diet with nutrient rich supplements to help your dog reach its ideal weight. High quality proteins are recommended to avoid empty calories - your aim is to build and maintain muscles, rather than fat cells. 

Foods that can help your dog put on some weight include:

  • Raw or gently cooked proteins
  • Raw or scrambled eggs, which are full of essential nutrients that your dog needs
  • Cottage cheese is not only delicious, but contains good fats
  • Quinoa is one of the only carbohydrates that contains essential amino acids that is needed for building muscles. It is also a good source of energy and will give your dog some added energy. 

In addition to this, you can also look for dog food supplements that will provide your dog with nutritious calories. Aim for a minimum 30% proteins, and 20% fat. High calorie snacks should not take up more than 15% of your dog’s daily diet. Ensure that the high calorie snacks are also high quality. 

Other tips to help your skinny dog gain weight

If your dog does not seem at all interested in meal times, here are some strategies that can help you in feeding your underweight dog:

  • Add delicious, drool worthy extras such as an egg, shredded chicken or peanut butter to its regular food. Your dog will love it. 
  • Add some moisture to your dog’s food. Some dogs find it hard to eat if food is too hard. This is especially so if they have sensitive teeth. Softening the food makes it easier to chew. 
  • Give your dog time to destress. Some dogs go off their food when they are stressed. Allow them some space and you may find that its appetite returns in a few days. 
  • Encourage and praise your dog for eating.
  • Raw dog food is usually unprocessed and contains a whole lot of nutrients. It is high in protein and essential fatty acids which are needed for your dog to build muscle mass. You can try Petcubes’ raw dog food range, which packs a punch of amino acids, enzymes, minerals and antioxidants 

High calorie dog food for sick dogs

Illness and disease can cause your dog to lose its appetite and is one of the reasons that dogs lose weight. If your dog is underweight because it is sick, the first step you need to take is to deal with the illness or disease. Doing so will help your dog gain its appetite back. 

Once your dog is on the way to recovery, you can focus on getting it to put on some pounds to return to a healthy weight range. Select food that is higher in calories and protein to help your dog gain muscles. 

High calorie dog food for senior dogs

As your dog crosses into its golden years, you may notice several signs of aging, including vision problems, skin issues, dental problems as well as weight gain and weight loss. The weight loss might also be due to digestive issues. As dogs age, it can get harder for their bodies to absorb the nutrients it needs. As such, you may need to make certain dietary changes to help keep your senior dog as healthy as possible. 

If your senior dog seems to be losing weight, high calorie dog food might help it to maintain its weight. However, your first step should be to talk to your vet to rule out any underlying medical conditions that might be affecting your dog’s appetite, digestion or caloric needs. 

Your vet may recommend a high protein diet or a diet higher in fat, depending on your dog’s needs. High calorie dog food for senior dogs usually have extra protein to help your dog maintain its muscle mass. Petcubes’ senior dog diet is crafted specially for senior dog’s dietary needs.  

High calorie dog food for puppies

Puppy food is generally higher in calories than regular adult dog food, simply because they are active and need the calories to grow and develop as well asbuild muscle mass. You may find it hard to find high calorie dog food for puppies because of this. 

However, what you can do is to ensure that your little pup gets a good amount of protein. Puppy foods that are high in protein and amino acids will help your puppy to put on some weight in a healthy manner. You can also give it more opportunities to eat throughout the day to ensure that it gets all the calories it needs. 

Do remember that while there are situations in which you need your puppy to put on some weight, trying to get your little pup to grow more quickly than normal is not the best idea. Puppies need to grow at their natural growth rate in order to ensure proper skeletal development. 

Petcubes’ puppy food range is specially formulated with human grade ingredients and a good amount of protein, essential amino acids and other minerals to give your puppy a head start in life. 

How to choose high calorie dog food for your dog

Gaining even a few pounds can be a big change for dogs. As such, here are some things to remember so that your dog gains weight in a healthy manner that will not cause it harm. 

Ensure quality over quantity

Make sure that the food you are giving your dog is packed with nutritious ingredients. Doing this will reduce the need of increasing serving sizes in meals. 

While a slight increase in food volume might be necessary, it is best not to overload your dog with food. This may lead to stomach problems and bloating. If you do need to increase the amount of food, distributing it over the day’s meals will be better than giving it all in to your dog in a single meal. Doing this will give your dog more time to digest the food properly.

Ensure that there is adequate protein

Protein is key if you want your dog to gain muscle mass. Your dog’s diet should be at least 30% protein. It’s best to feed your dog high quality, natural animal meat as a protein source. Check labels and ingredients when you purchase food for your dog to ensure that it contains healthy ingredients. It’s best to stay away from unhealthy animal byproducts as you cannot be sure of what is in them. 

Make changes slowly

Making sudden changes to your dog’s diet and routine can be stressful for your dog. Your dog did not become skinny overnight and thus, probably is not going to gain back its weight quickly. If you plan to make the switch to high calorie dog food, or just change to a different brand of dog food, it is best to introduce the new food in stages. 

Add a little bit of the new food to your dog’s regular food and continue adding the new food over a few days until the replacement is complete. This gives your dog a chance to adjust to the new food as well as lessens the chance of stomach sensitivities. 

Say no to junk food

Many treats contain fat. While fat is essential for dogs to stay healthy, too much fats can cause major health issues in your dog. Empty calories from fatty treats do not provide any nutritional benefits. You want your dog to gain weight by gaining muscles, not fat cells. 

If you want to give your dog treats, choose those that are high in protein and low in unnecessary carbohydrates. Give your dog high quality treats in moderation. 


If you do not want to change your dog’s regular food, supplements are a great option to help your dog gain some weight. These days, supplements come in pills that you can mix in your dog’s food, as well as in the form of delicious snacks. Powdered and liquid supplements can be mixed into both wet and dry dog food.

How many calories should my dog have a day? 

The number of calories a dog needs depends on several factors. Average adult dogs need between 20 to 30 calories per pound of body weight in order to maintain a healthy weight range. 

Small breed dogs, or dogs that are under 20 pounds have high metabolisms and 30 to 40 calories per pound is needed. Large breed dogs and dogs that are less active should be fed 20 to 25 calories per pound of body weight to avoid overgrowth and obesity. 

Puppies, pregnant and lactating females and working dogs usually need more calories as they are burning it at a high rate. 


If your dog is underweight, a high calorie dog food diet can be your answer to helping your dog keep its weight on. However, weight gain needs to be gradual in order to be healthy. Remember that your dog did not lose its weight overnight so be patient and give it time to adjust to its new food or diet. It is also important that you determine the reason why your dog is losing weight. Pinpointing the cause will help you deal with the weight lost symptom, giving your dog a better chance to return to a healthy weight range.