How to Choose the Best High-Calorie Dog Foods
For dogs that are highly active or that have difficulty maintaining healthy body weight, it is a good idea to consider feeding a diet that is calorie-dense.
The best high-calorie dog foods derive their calories from top-quality ingredients that are included in their most natural form and that are rich in nutritional value.
Many dog foods that are high in calorie content take their calories from fats.
Though healthy fats are an important part of any diet, calories taken primarily from this food group do not help dogs to develop the muscle mass they require to remain highly active.
The average dog owner owns a dog whose weight should remain status quo or that could benefit from some weight loss.
This means that most owners are looking for a dog’s diet that helps prevent weight gain not encourages it. However, some dogs are picky eaters and others enjoy performance sports or an active lifestyle and need the extra calories to avoid becoming too thin.
In addition to this, some dogs gain weight easily and need to be kept on a low-calorie diet. For these dogs, it is important to find nutrient-rich food for weight management.
For owners whose dogs fall in this category, it is very important to consult with a veterinarian to determine the underlying cause and together come up with a diet that will be the most beneficial to the dog.
Among the health issues which can lead to weight loss in dogs are:
- Dental issues
- Gastrointestinal distress
- Advanced kidney disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
To help dogs that struggle with maintaining healthy body weight, owners should look for high-quality dog food that ideally has a minimum of 30 percent protein and 20 percent fat.
For dogs in desperate need of weight gain, it may be preferable to transition the dog to canned food or to feed a homecooked or raw diet to encourage a hearty appetite for more calorie-rich meals.
Experts agree that dogs that are extremely active do require more food to sustain their energy levels and keep their bodies in good condition.
As a general rule of thumb, these types of dogs require 1.5 to 2.5 times more food than their less active canine counterparts.
When choosing dog food for active canines, look for dog food brands that offer higher amounts of protein and fat as well as complex carbohydrates to fuel activity.
Choosing the Correct Calorie Count for Dog Foods With High Calories
Determining how much of the best high-calorie puppy food to feed a dog can be challenging. The best place to start is by selecting a diet that is naturally high in calories.
These types of diets offer a power-packed calorie count packaged in normal-sized meal portions, allowing dogs to get maximum nutrition from servings of average size.
To ascertain precisely how much to feed active or underweight dogs, it is best to use the suggested serving size printed on the bag as a starting point.
This amount can be adjusted until the dog’s healthy weight gain goals have been met. For dogs that are poor eaters, free feeding is also an option that may encourage dogs to consume more daily calories.
Dietary Requirements for High-Calorie Dog Foods
The best dog foods with high calories to assist with weight gain contain only the highest quality nutrition obtained from the most reputable sources.
As a general rule of thumb, your dog’s food should contain a minimum of 30 percent protein. These proteins should be meats and included in their whole form if possible.
Meat meals offer a concentrated amount of protein that is sufficient quality to fuel the energy levels of very active dogs or dogs in need of weight gain. High-protein dog food should also be high in calories with high-quality fat sources.
Grain-free dog food is a good choice for high-calorie diets because grain-based carbohydrates are high in starch and low in the nutrition that is necessary for weight gain. To help an underweight dog gain weight, make sure their food is also packed with healthy fats.
However, by-products and plant-based proteins such as soy, corn, and wheat are not ideal and are best avoided.
Care should be taken for any increase in weight to occur very gradually. Just as with weight loss, any accelerated gain in body mass puts strain on the body and can lead to the development of further health problems in the future.
The most effective way to allow for incremental weight gain is to begin feeding the dog smaller meals more frequently throughout the day.
This slight increase in food amounts will yield the desired rate in a manner that promotes good health.
Carbohydrates can be taken from whole grains, fruits, or vegetables. The primary importance is that they are high in fiber and rich in antioxidants to encourage good digestion and a healthy immune system.
Healthy fats are an important component of any excellent quality diet for dogs. These should be taken from animal sources and include such foods as chicken fat and oily fish.
Healthy fats contribute to overall coat and skin health and also help to keep a dog’s energy reserves fuelled for performance.
Other helpful supplements which can greatly benefit dogs through their nutrition include prebiotics, probiotics, digestive enzymes, glucosamine, and chondroitin.
Another alternative for dogs in need of weight gain is feeding a high-quality puppy formula that is rich in calories, protein, and optimal fats.
Things to Look for in the Best High-Calorie Dog Foods
Here is a basic list of the most important things to look for in high-calorie dog food:
- Whole meat or meat meal proteins heading up the ingredients list
- Prepared without the addition of chemicals, flavorings, fillers, or mystery ingredients
- Enriched with probiotics and helpful supplements
- Meets AAFCO nutritional requirements for a complete and balanced food
- Contains healthy amounts of omega fatty acids to support coat and skin health
- Formulated to include at least 30 percent protein and 20 percent fat if possible