Can be used alone, or mixed with dry kibble. Provides additional calories for puppies, pregnant dogs and post-surgical patients. Uses real vanilla flavoring for added appeal. Addresses dehydration issues when mixed with water.
Not always effective for weight gain. Sweet vanilla fragrance may not appeal to some dogs. Can trigger loose stools.
Formula similar to a slow-cooked beef stew with vegetables. Works well as a dry food topper or by itself. Human-grade ingredients, no grains or fillers. Packaging is portion-controlled.
Individual portion sizes smaller than expected. Some dogs may prefer the chicken formula to beef.
Contains holistic superfoods like pumpkin and ginger. Can be used to rehydrate freeze-dried or raw foods. Turkey provides natural collagen. Works well as a stand-alone liquid treat. Packaged in a reusable pouch.
Finicky eaters may not find the pumpkin-ginger flavor profile appealing.
Formulated with glucosamine and chondroitin to promote joint health, which makes this bone broth great for older dogs. Made with human-grade ingredients and without artificial additives. Choice of beef and chicken broths.
While most dogs love this product, some owners with picky pets said they refused it. Rare reports of stomach upset.
Made for dogs that are recuperating from illnesses or injuries, as this liquid formula contains omegas, prebiotics, nutrients, and antioxidants that promote healing. Keeps dogs hydrated and encourages them to eat. Most dogs like it, even those that tend to be finicky.
Some very sick dogs may not eat it. Fairly short shelf life - keeping it refrigerated may help.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Some senior dogs, or dogs recovering from injury or illness, need a little extra help to get calories into their diet. Liquid dog food can get calories and nutrients into your pet at times when it doesn't feel much like eating. There are also liquid dog food toppers, which can add some interest to boring dry dog food.
Liquid dog food isn't necessarily complete and balanced, and it shouldn't be the only food you feed your dog, but it fills an important need. Things to consider include whether you want a broth-based food, which is great for hydration and moistening dry food, or an oil-based liquid that helps pack in some extra calories. Check whether your chosen liquid food is fortified with vitamins and minerals too, which is more important if your dog isn't eating well temporarily than if you're using liquid food as a topper for regular dog food. Also consider both the fat and protein content of your chosen liquid dog food.
You'll find two primary types of liquid dog food: toppers and formulas for weight gain. It's important to know the difference between the two and choose accordingly, since both have quite different uses and benefits.
Food topper: If you think your dog's kibble looks a little dry and boring and could use some livening up, then a liquid dog food topper could be the solution. These toppers are designed to be fed in conjunction with a complete and balanced dog food, so they don't necessarily contain a complete array of vitamins and minerals. They're generally formulated to taste good, so dogs will find their dry food more appealing, though they do have some nutritional benefits too.
Weight gain: This liquid dog food is meant for dogs who are struggling to eat enough solid food to maintain their ideal weight. It’s extremely calorie dense and designed to help dogs maintain weight when they can't eat much or put on weight after weight loss due to illness or another ailment. Although liquid weight-gain formulas aren't meant for long-term use, they do contain a wide array of nutrients to give dogs a boost when they aren't getting all the nutrients they need from regular dog food.
For the most part, liquid dog food is either broth-based or oil-based.
Broth-based liquid dog food often uses bone broth, which contains collagen peptides that promote healthy connective tissues. Some are topped up with other meat broths or vegetable broth. If you're struggling to get your dog to drink as much as it should, broth-based liquid dog food is very hydrating. You can also leave the broth to soak into dry dog food for an hour or so to make it softer.
Oil-based liquid dog food usually contains a variety of oils — fish oil is a common choice due to its range of nutritional benefits, but vegetable oils are also widely used. Oil-based liquid food is calorie-dense and high in healthy fats, so it’s generally used for weight gain and weight maintenance.
Liquid dog food may or may not have added vitamins and minerals.
Liquid food toppers usually don't have added vitamins and minerals because they're poured over regular dog food, which already includes vitamins and minerals. It is possible for a dog to consume too much of some vitamins and minerals, so doubling up the quantity could be detrimental to its health.
Quality liquid weight-gain formulas should always have added vitamins and minerals. Dogs requiring this type of liquid food are likely to be underweight and not eating as much of their regular food as they should or refusing to eat at all. In this case, a wide range of vitamins and minerals is necessary to keep dogs healthy.
Liquid dog food meant for weight gain and maintenance should have moderate to high levels of fat. The crude fat content of regular dog food is usually between 8% and 18% by weight. Liquid dog food designed for weight gain should have a fat content that's at least on the high end of that spectrum — around 15% to 18% — but it can be up to 50%. Ideally, most of these fats come from healthy unsaturated fats that promote cell growth and heart health.
It's hard to get too much protein into liquid dog food since protein usually comes in solid forms, such as meat and legumes. There are some sources of protein that can be added to liquid food, such as meat broth and whey. While you can't expect the same level of protein in liquid dog food as in solid dog food, you should look for the highest protein content possible when feeding liquid food to dogs to help them gain or maintain weight. Some liquid dog food formulas have a protein content of as much as 3% to 5%.
Look for liquid dog food that contains joint-friendly ingredients to either help maintain joint health or increase mobility and reduce pain in dogs suffering from arthritis or other joint issues. Both broth-based and oil-based dog foods can contain joint-friendly ingredients.
In broth-based dog food, joint health is usually improved by bone broth, which contains collagen peptides. Some also contain glucosamine and chondroitin to aid joint health.
Oil-based liquid dog food often contains fish oil, which helps reduce stiffness, swelling, and inflammation in the joints.
Inexpensive: The cheapest liquid dog food costs between $10 and $20. This often comes in small packages that contain only a few servings.
Mid-range: Between $20 and $30, you'll find a range of liquid dog food options, including veterinary weight-gain formulas and liquid dog food toppers.
Expensive: The costliest liquid dog food is priced from $30 to $50. This includes large packs of high-end options and top-notch vet-approved formulas.
A. Dogs need fiber and other nutrients in their diet that can't be gained from liquid food alone. Rather, liquid dog food is either meant as a supplement to speed up weight gain or a topper to make dry food more appealing. If your dog is struggling to eat solid food, your first step should be to see a vet. Then you can try feeding a soft wet food with a pâté-like consistency. You can even attempt to thin this food with liquid dog food.
A. That depends on the brand of liquid dog food, the size of your dog, and whether your dog needs to maintain weight or gain weight. The packaging of your chosen liquid dog food should contain all the relevant information you need to find the right amount to feed your dog.
A. This is subjective because dogs have their own idea of what tastes good and what doesn't, so you'll find some dogs will wolf down a particular liquid dog food, while others will refuse to try it. If your dog usually eats anything, you can be fairly sure it will enjoy most types of liquid dog food. Fussy eaters are a different matter. If your dog is notoriously picky, check the ingredients carefully to see if it contains anything your canine companion usually refuses.