Eat up! Six of the best foods for dogs who need to gain weight

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  • In Britain and the US, canine obesity is a much bigger health problem to our dog population than underweight pooches. However, if you have ever struggled with a scrawny pup, you’ll know quite how important it is to find the best dog food for weight gain.

    First off, consult your vet. Regular check-ups and weigh-ins will confirm whether your pet is a healthy weight. With 65% of dogs in the UK being obese, helping your dog to lose weight is a more prevalent concern, with many associated health issues. But there may be underlying reasons why your dog is thin, too, especially if he has lost weight suddenly. Old age, illness and stress are all contributing factors to poor body condition. And some pets are just plain fussy!

    However, some breeds and personalities of dogs are simply prone – like humans – not to gain weight easily. Even within the same breed, some have a naturally higher metabolic rate. We all know those dogs (and people) with boundless energy and high activity levels, all of which keep them trim. But when that slimness veers into being skinny, that’s a sign you need to take action.

    An obvious tip is to feed the dog more – little and often – but they won’t always eat it. Luckily there are other ways of upping the calorie intake to help a dog gain weight. One of the best ways is to use a tailored diet specific to your dog’s unique needs. There are several subscription services that offer this. Alternatively, some companies develop mainstream food for the generally active or working dog’s comparatively high energy requirements, which may suffice. It’s worth mentioning that many picky dogs tend to find a wet food more appetising than dry kibble – a topper can help here if you don’t want to make a full switch.

    Best dog food for weight gain

    Bella and Duke: one of the best dog foods for weight gain

    Bella & Duke

    Format: raw/frozen

    A tailored raw menu catering exactly for your dog’s needs. You fill in a questionnaire about the dog’s gender, breed, age, weight, body type, activity levels, health conditions and so on, and will get a suggested diet and serving size per day based on their nutritional understanding of feeding dogs raw food.

    H&H’s resident tester, a hyperactive springer spaniel, thrives on their plan of 645g complete raw meal a day, and we top it up with some of the best cold-pressed dog food (which is suitable to be mixed with raw) if he has a busy week or looks a bit lean.

    In the UK? View now at bellaandduke.com

    Butternut box dog food

    Butternut Box

    Format: wet/frozen

    Gently cooked (90ºC) quality ingredients, then frozen to lock in the freshness without adding preservatives. The ingredients are taste-tested by humans! Customers build their own box, with tailored suggestions according to the dog’s activity levels, gender, whether it’s neutered, age, its body condition and so on.  This means you get an appetising, healthy diet, which dogs tend to wolf down, in the appropriate serving size.

    In the UK? View now at butternutbox.com

    Tails dog food


    Format: kibble

    A nutritionally balanced, tailor-made kibble blend designed for your dog’s unique requirements. You fill in a questionnaire to be advised how many calories your dog needs per day, and a tailored menu. The high-quality ingredients are vet-approved and have no added sugar, colours, flavours or preservatives.

    Made from proteins for healthy muscles, wholesome grains for slow-release energy, essential vitamins and minerals, plus tailored additions for personalised support. Tails prides themselves on helping “many dogs gain weight”.

    You can also get jellies, gravies and pates to accompany the kibble, usually served as a tasty topper.

    In the UK? View now at tails.com

    Baileys Working Dog Bites kibble

    Baileys Horse Feeds Working Dog Bites

    Format: kibble

    A kibble designed for active, adult dogs, this food is fortified with protein, vitamins and minerals to support energetic lifestyles, sustained activity and general good health. It also includes glucosaminoglycans to promote joint mobility.

    A popular choice with working dogs such as border collies and spaniels, with owners reporting great energy levels, stamina and glossy coats

    In the UK? Visit amazon.co.uk

    Time Gain Greyhound 28

    Time Gain Greyhound 28

    Format: kibble

    A complete food for racing greyhounds, to provide optimal energy for both performance and body weight. It contains a scientific balance of high-quality proteins, including chicken fat and highly digestible carbohydrates, plus Omega-3 from flaxseed.

    Many owners mix it with a meat for palatability, although the chicken fat flavour means dogs tend to love the taste.

    Developed specifically for greyhounds, lurchers and other sighthounds.

    In the UK? Visit amazon.co.uk

    Hunger Wolf kibble

    The Hunger of the Wolf 

    Format: kibble

    This high-protein (32%) and high-fat (21%) kibble has been developed specifically to cater for sporting and active dogs with massive energy demands. It is also suitable for nursing and pregnant dogs, with their additional energy requirements. Plus it contains antioxidants to slow down oxidative stress and the ageing process.

    In the UK? Visit amazon.co.uk

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