Grains! No grains! Lots of protein! Too much protein! With all the hype about dog food, it can be very difficult to know where to even start considering what to feed your pooch. In order to gain weight safely, your need to pick a food that's not likely to be recalled, full of bacteria or that's going to cause him to lose more weight. In order to accomplish that feat, stick to natural foods from companies that carefully screen their sources.
The Honest Kitchen
When feeding an underweight dog, correcting nutritional imbalances while helping your four-legged friend gain weight is vital. The Honest Kitchen is an all-natural, organic, dehydrated raw pet food company based out of California. Their foods are high calorie and contain easily digestible ingredients. All ingredients in The Honest Kitchen line of foods are certified free of bacteria, mold, yeast and pesticides.
There are seven foods formulated to be 100 percent balanced, with three of them (Thrive, Embark and Love) suitable for puppies. One of the foods, Preference, is not a balanced diet and must have meat added in order to make it complete. One of the best things about The Honest Kitchen foods, though, is the way it's prepared. Because it is a dehydrated raw food, it requires water to re-hydrate it so it can be eaten. Not only does this significantly boost your dog's water intake, it easily allows you to mix-in weight-boosting supplements and add-ins, such as additional raw meat, raw eggs, Greek yogurt, and oils.
When mixing add-ins and raw, uncooked supplements to your dog's food, it's important to either mix it with a raw diet or to feed them entirely separate of your dog's kibble. Kibble digestion requires significantly different enzymes and follows a different process than the digestion of raw foods. When raw foods and kibble are fed together, the results can often be disastrous!
The Honest Kitchen formula with the highest calorie content is Love, a grain-free, beef based diet. Coming in a close second is Embark, a grain-free turkey diet. For dogs who need a bit higher carbohydrate content to make their food stick to their ribs, Thrive contains quinoa, an extremely high-quality, amino acid-rich grain most dogs tolerate very well.
Orijen, a Canadian-based company, utilizes all natural, organic, locally sourced ingredients for their "biologically appropriate" kibble. Orijen kibble is cooked with a special focus on preserving the enzymes and nutrition found in the raw ingredients while creating an easy-to-feed, convenient, non-messy food.
Orijen is 80 percent meat, 20 percent fruits and veggies and has no grain products whatsoever. The high meat content keeps even the pickiest eater eating and allows skinny critters to extract the most nutrition possible out of the kibble. Waste becomes minimal, meaning there's less to pick up, and the extremely high calorie content means your pup will gain weight without difficulty.
Acana is produced by the same company as Orijen. It possesses the same high-quality ingredients and quality control, but has a higher carbohydrate content. For somes dogs, the additional carbs can help them gain and keep weight a little easier. Some of the Acana formulas are grain-free, and some contain a single grain source. All of the Acana formulas contain 420-430 calories per cup.
Timberwolf Organics is a Florida-based company specializing in kibble diets that mimic the diet of wolves in the wild. All of their formulas are balanced nutritionally and have at least 500 calories per cup, while the highest calorie formula, the grain free Wild and Natural, has 564 calories per cup. Each of the formulas are geared for optimal digestion and contain a number of herbs and supplements to ensure your pup grows at the proper rate, doesn't suffer digestive upsets and remains healthy throughout the weight-gain process.
Since 2001, Kea Grace has published in "Dog Fancy," "Clean Run," "Front and Finish" and an international Czechoslovakian agility enthusiast magazine. Grace is the head trainer for Gimme Grace Dog Training and holds her CPDT-KA and CTDI certifications. She is a member of the APDT and is a recognized CLASS instructor. She's seeking German certification from the Goethe Institut.