Menu
Updated August 2022
Header Image
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
HOW WE TESTED

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.

33
Models
Considered
60
Consumers
Consulted
22
Hours
Researched
Category cover

Buying guide for Best liquid dog food

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.

I1
Liquid dog food for weight gain is meant as a temporary solution. You can't feed dogs a liquid diet over the long term.

Key considerations

Types

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.

Broth vs. oil

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.

Nutrients

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.

Dyk1
Did You Know?
If you’re choosing a broth dog food topper, check the sodium content. Dogs need some sodium in their diet, but an excessive amount can be detrimental to their health.
Staff
BestReviews

Features

Fat

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.

Protein

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%.

Joint-friendly

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.

Dyk2
Did You Know?
You can also find some high-calorie gel supplements for dogs, which have a similar purpose as liquid weight-gain food.
Staff
BestReviews

Liquid dog food prices

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.

Dyk3
Did You Know?
High-end liquid dog food toppers are usually free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, and some are made from human-grade ingredients.
Staff
BestReviews

Tips

  • Have your dog checked by a vet. Weight loss can be a sign of serious illness in dogs, so don't just increase calories to encourage weight gain. Take your dog to the vet to check for any underlying conditions first.
  • Mix liquid and standard dog food. If you need a complete and balanced food for a dog that's struggling with solids, try blending standard wet dog food with broth-style liquid dog food.
  • Buy a small quantity first. Think twice before buying liquid dog food in bulk if your dog has never tried it before. You don't want to spend a fortune on a large batch only to find that your dog won't touch it.
  • Increase your dog’s hydration. Dogs that don't drink enough water can benefit from a liquid dog food topper to increase their hydration.
I2
Some types of liquid dog food are also safe for cats to eat, but some contain ingredients they shouldn't consume, so don't leave unfinished bowls around if you also have a cat in the house.

FAQ

Q. Can dogs eat an all-liquid diet?

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.

Q. How much liquid dog food should I feed to my dog?

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.

Q. Does liquid dog food taste good?

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.
 

Our Top Picks