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10 Best Dog Foods for Active Dogs in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

Written by: Brooke Billingsley

Last Updated on May 15, 2024 by Dogster Team

10 Best Dog Foods for Active Dogs in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

labrador retriever eating dog foodIf you have an active dog, you may have found that you struggle with keeping weight on your dog, no matter how much you feed them. Some breeds also struggle to maintain their body weight, especially while they’re young. A food formulated for active dogs may help you maintain your dog’s body weight and build muscle without having to break the bank by overfeeding a lower-energy dog food.

To help you find the right food for your active dog, we’ve reviewed the best foods for active dogs.

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A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites of 2024

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Ollie Fresh Lamb Dog Food Subscription Ollie Fresh Lamb Dog Food Subscription
  • Nutrient-dense wet food
  • May support urinary tract health
  • 36.7% protein and 30% fat on a dry matter basis
  • Budget Buy
    Second place
    Diamond Hi-Energy Diamond Hi-Energy
  • Supports digestive health
  • Adequate nutrients for most active dogs
  • Contains nutrient-dense ingredients
  • Third place
    Purina Pro Plan Performance Purina Pro Plan Performance
  • 30% protein and 20% fat content
  • 527 kcal per cup
  • Formulated to optimize oxygen metabolism
  • Eukanuba Puppy Pro Eukanuba Puppy Pro
  • Designed for active puppies
  • 28% protein and 18% fat content
  • DHA supports brain development
  • Tiki Dog Wildz Lamb Recipe Tiki Dog Wildz Lamb Recipe
  • Ethically sourced ingredients
  • 34.5% protein and 37.9% fat on a dry matter basis
  • Very high in nutrients for active dogs
  • The 10 Best Dog Foods for Active Dogs

    1. Ollie Fresh Lamb Dog Food Subscription – Best Overall

    Ollie Lamb Dish With Cranberries

    Main ingredients: Lamb
    Protein content: 36.7%
    Fat content: 30%
    Calories: 1,804 kcal/kg

    The Ollie Fresh Lamb with Cranberries recipe is the best overall dog food for your active dog. This food contains nutrient-dense ingredients like lamb, lamb liver, kale, green beans, butternut squash, and cranberries may help support urinary tract health. This food has a 36.7% protein content and 30% fat content on a dry matter basis, making it ideal for active dogs.

    This food is sold on a subscription basis, and you can add additional recipes to your subscription if you’d like your dog to have some variety. Many of the other wet food recipes have similar fat and protein content to the lamb recipe. Since this is a subscription-based food, it retails for a premium price.

    Pros
    • Nutrient-dense wet food
    • May support urinary tract health
    • 36.7% protein and 30% fat on a dry matter basis
    • Subscription-based food
    • Your subscription can be customized as desired
    • Other recipes contain similar nutrient profiles
    Cons
    • Premium price

    2. Diamond Hi-Energy Dog Food – Budget Buy

    Diamond Premium Recipe Hi-Energy Complete And Balanced Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Chicken by-product meal
    Protein content: 24%
    Fat content: 20%
    Calories: 433 kcal/cup

    Diamond Hi-Energy is the best dog food for your active dog for the money. This dog food contains 24% protein and 20% fat, so it is a little lower than some of the other active dog foods, but it is still adequate for supporting your active dog’s health. It contains chicken by-product meal, which has a bad reputation but is actually a nutrient-dense ingredient in your dog’s food.

    This food contains probiotics to support digestive health and omega fatty acids to support skin, coat, joint, and heart health. It’s also a good source of vitamin B12, which supports healthy energy levels. While this food is a great option for your typical active dog, it may not contain enough nutrients for active working dogs.

    Pros
    • Affordable price
    • Adequate nutrients for most active dogs
    • Contains nutrient-dense ingredients
    • Supports digestive health
    • Vitamin B12 supports healthy energy levels
    • Good source of omega fatty acids
    Cons
    • Less fat and protein than other options
    • Not ideal for active working dogs

    3. Purina Pro Plan Performance Dog Food

    Purina Pro Plan Performance 30/20 Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Salmon
    Protein content: 30%
    Fat content: 20%
    Calories: 527 kcal/cup

    The Purina Pro Plan Performance 30/20 food is our third pick food for active dogs. This food contains 30% high-quality protein from salmon, as well as 20% fat. It comes in at 527 calories per cup, making it ideal for active working dogs.

    This food is formulated to optimize oxygen metabolism, ensuring your dog has high levels of endurance and energy. It’s a good source of live probiotics to support digestive health, and it contains amino acids to support muscle recovery after activity. It also contains omega fatty acids and glucosamine to support joint health. This food does retail for a premium price.

    Pros
    • 30% protein and 20% fat content
    • 527 kcal per cup
    • Formulated to optimize oxygen metabolism
    • Supports digestive health
    • Amino acids support muscle recovery
    • Omega fatty acids and glucosamine for joint health
    Cons
    • Premium price

    4. Eukanuba Premium Performance Puppy Pro Food

    Eukanuba Premium Performance Pro Puppy Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Chicken by-product meal
    Protein content: 28%
    Fat content: 18%
    Calories: 360 kcal/cup

    If you’re feeding an active puppy, the best food option is the Eukanuba Premium Performance Puppy Pro food. This food contains 28% protein and 18% fat, along with 360 calories per cup, making it ideal for active, growing puppies.

    It’s a good source of DHA, which supports brain development, and glucosamine and chondroitin, which support healthy joints. It contains a tailored antioxidant complex to protect against the negative effects of exercise, as well as amino acids to support muscle growth and healing. The cylinder-shaped kibbles are designed to slow your puppy’s eating speed. This food does retail for a premium price that may be out of some people’s budgets.

    Pros
    • Designed for active puppies
    • 28% protein and 18% fat content
    • DHA supports brain development
    • Supports joint and muscle growth and health
    • Cylinder shape slows eating speed
    Cons
    • Premium price

    5. Tiki Dog Wildz Lamb Recipe Dog Food

    Tiki Dog Wildz Lamb Recipe Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Lamb
    Protein content: 34.5%
    Fat content: 37.9%
    Calories: 586 kcal/can

    The Tiki Dog Wildz Lamb Recipe canned food is another good food for active dogs. This wet food contains lamb muscle and organ meats. It contains 34.5% protein and 37.9% fat on a dry matter basis, making it exceptionally high in nutrition for your active dog. In fact, 91% of the dry matter content of the food is made from animal protein sources. It contains ethically sourced ingredients, making this food a responsible option.

    This is a grain-free food, which may not be appropriate for all dogs, so make sure to discuss this with your vet before transitioning to this food. It does retail for a premium price when fed as the primary food source for a dog.

    Pros
    • Our vet’s pick
    • 34.5% protein and 37.9% fat on a dry matter basis
    • Very high in nutrients for active dogs
    • 91% animal protein dry matter content
    • Ethically sourced ingredients
    Cons
    • Grain-free
    • Premium price

    6. Purina One True Instinct Dog Food

    Purina ONE True Instinct Natural High Protein with Real Turkey & Venison Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Turkey
    Protein content: 30%
    Fat content: 17%
    Calories: 365 kcal/cup

    The Purina One True Instinct contains real turkey as the number one ingredient, and it has a 30% protein content and 17% fat content, making it a good food for active dogs that need a lower-fat diet. It’s lower in calories per cup than most active dog foods as well.

    This food is a good source of omega fatty acids to support skin, coat, joint, and heart health. It also contains antioxidants to support immune health. This food is one of the more budget-friendly picks we reviewed. It’s designed to be highly palatable, but some people find their picky eaters aren’t a fan of this food.

    Pros
    • 30% protein and 17% fat content
    • Lower in fat and calories than most active dog foods
    • Good source of omega fatty acids
    • Contains antioxidants to support immune health
    • Budget-friendly option
    Cons
    • May not work for picky eaters

    7. Inukshuk Dog Food

    Inukshuk Professional Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Chicken meal
    Protein content: 32%
    Fat content: 32%
    Calories: 720 kcal/cup

    For very active dogs, the Inukshuk 32/32 food is the best food choice because it comes in at 720 calories per cup of food. This extremely nutrient-dense food contains 32% protein and 32% fat. It’s a good source of omega fatty acids for skin, coat, and joint health. It’s also a good source of prebiotics for digestive health.

    Since this food is a concentrated formula, it requires less amount of food and produces less waste, making backyard cleanup easier. This is one of the more premium-priced foods we reviewed, but you will feed significantly less of it than most other foods. Since this food is quite rich, some people report it being difficult to transition their dogs to this food without diarrhea.

    Pros
    • 720 kcal per cup
    • 32% protein and 32% fat content
    • Good source of omega fatty acids
    • Supports digestive health
    • Concentrated formula produces less waste
    Cons
    • Premium price
    • May be difficult to transition dogs to this food

    8. Victor Purpose Performance

    VICTOR Purpose Performance Formula Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Beef meal
    Protein content: 26%
    Fat content: 18%
    Calories: 399 kcal/cup

    The Victor Purpose Performance food is lower in fat than most active dog foods at 18% fat content, but it does contain 26% protein. It’s composed of 81% meat protein on a dry matter basis, and it’s a nutrient-dense food. The VPRO Blend in this food supports digestive and immune health.

    It’s a good source of omega fatty acids and amino acids. It also contains glucosamine and chondroitin for extra joint support. This food is less nutrient-dense than some of the other options, so it may not be suitable for extremely active working dogs. For the amount of food you receive, this is one of the more budget-friendly food options.

    Some people report finding the size of these kibbles to be too small for large dogs, making it difficult for them to eat this food.

    Pros
    • Lower in fat and calories than most active dog foods
    • 81% meat protein on a dry matter basis
    • Supports digestive, immune, and joint health
    • Good source of omega fatty acids and amino acids
    • Budget-friendly option
    Cons
    • Not ideal for active working dogs
    • Small kibbles may be difficult to eat

    9. Merrick Grain Free Real Duck Dinner

    Merrick Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Deboned duck
    Protein content: 36.4%
    Fat content: 31.8%
    Calories: 358 kcal/can

    The Merrick Grain Free Real Duck Dinner canned dog food contains 36.4% protein and 31.8% fat content on a dry matter basis. It’s lower in calories than most other active dog foods, so it may not be ideal for extremely active working dogs. It’s a grain-free food, which isn’t ideal for all dogs, so talk to your vet about this food.

    This food is a good option to be fed as a primary food source or as a food topper, although it retails for a premium price if used as the primary food source. This is a highly palatable food with a soft texture, making it a good option for dogs with eating difficulties.

    Pros
    • 36.4% protein and 31.8% fat on a dry matter basis
    • Lower in calories than most active dog foods
    • Can be fed as a primary food or as a topper
    • Highly palatable
    • Good option for dogs with eating difficulties
    Cons
    • Grain-free food
    • Premium price

    10. Zignature Select Cuts Trout & Salmon Meal

    Zignature Select Cuts Trout & Salmon Formula Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Trout
    Protein content: 28%
    Fat content: 15%
    Calories: 376 kcal/cup

    For active dogs with food sensitivities and restrictions, the Zignature Select Cuts Trout & Salmon Meal is a great option. This food contains 28% protein but only contains 15% fat, making it ideal for dogs that need a lower-fat food. It’s a good source of omega fatty acids for skin, coat, joint, and heart health.

    It contains oats, which provide healthy fiber to maintain your dog’s digestive health. This food retails for a premium price, and many people report finding this food to be exceptionally smelly due to the fish proteins in it. The kibble pieces are also very small and may be too small for large dogs.

    Pros
    • Good option for dogs with food sensitivities
    • Lower in fat and calories than most active dog foods
    • Good source of omega fatty acids
    • Healthy fiber sources support digestive health
    Cons
    • Premium price
    • May be smelly
    • Small kibbles may be difficult to eat

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    Buyer’s Guide: Selecting the Best Dog Foods for Active Dogs

    Why Do Some Dogs Need Active Dog Food?

    If your dog goes for a walk once or twice a day, then it’s unlikely that your dog needs food for active dogs. Active dog food is higher in calories, fat, and protein than your average dog food. This ensures that these foods can meet the needs of dogs that burn more calories per day than the average pet dog.

    Dogs that regularly participate in high-energy sports and activities often need food that can not only provide them with the energy they need but also support the health of their muscles and joints and help their bodies heal after strenuous activity. Activities like long-distance running, hiking, bikejoring (mushing), swimming, and sledding may all require more energy-dense food. Dogs with jobs, like police dogs, and dogs that have difficulty maintaining their body weight may also need active dog food.

    In some instances, pregnant and nursing dogs may require active dog food to provide them with the nutrients necessary to develop, birth, and feed puppies. If you think your dog might need an active dog food, it’s a good idea to talk to your dog’s vet for their recommendations. These foods are not appropriate for all dogs, and it’s important that your vet rules out any medical cause for concern before switching your dog to an active diet.

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    In Conclusion

    When it comes to feeding your active dog, the best thing you can do is feed it high-quality dog food. These reviews comprise our favorite high-quality foods that are made specifically with active dogs in mind.

    The best overall food for active dogs is the Ollie Fresh Lamb with Cranberries recipe, which is a subscription-based food that contains nutrient-dense ingredients. The more budget-friendly option is the Diamond Hi-Energy food, which is slightly lower in fat and protein than some of the other options but is still a great option for active dogs.


    Featured Image Credit: Jaromir Chalabala, Shutterstock

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