June 18, 2024

F1000 Scientist

Health to Life

Dog Food for High Energy Dogs

5 min read

High energy dogs bring a unique zest and exuberance to our lives. Whether they’re running alongside you during your morning jog or engaging in a spirited game of fetch, these lively companions require a diet that can keep up with their boundless energy. Selecting the right dog food for high energy dogs is essential to ensure they remain healthy, active, and happy.

Understanding the Nutritional Needs of High Energy Dogs

High energy dogs, such as Border Collies, Jack Russell Terriers, and Siberian Huskies, burn more calories than their more sedentary counterparts. Their nutritional requirements are distinct and must be met to maintain their vitality and overall well-being.

Caloric Intake

High energy dogs need a higher caloric intake to sustain their activity levels. The number of calories a dog requires depends on their weight, age, activity level, and metabolism. Generally, these dogs need dog food that is rich in calories and provides sustained energy throughout the day.


Protein is crucial for muscle repair and growth. Active dogs use their muscles more frequently, leading to an increased need for high-quality proteins. Look for dog food with meat, poultry, or fish listed as the primary ingredient. Proteins should be easily digestible and provide all essential amino acids.


Healthy fats are a vital energy source and support brain health, skin, and coat condition. Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are particularly beneficial. Ingredients like fish oil, flaxseed, and chicken fat are excellent sources of these essential fats.


Carbohydrates provide quick energy and are necessary for dogs with high energy demands. Complex carbohydrates, such as sweet potatoes, brown rice, and oats, are preferable because they release energy slowly, helping to maintain consistent energy levels.

Vitamins and Minerals

A well-rounded diet rich in vitamins and minerals is essential. B vitamins are critical for energy metabolism, while antioxidants like vitamins E and C support immune function and reduce oxidative stress. Minerals such as calcium and phosphorus are necessary for bone health, especially for active dogs.

Choosing the Right Dog Food

Selecting the best dog food for high energy dogs involves more than just looking at the calorie content. Here are some factors to consider:

High-Quality Ingredients

Choose dog food that lists high-quality animal proteins as the first ingredient. Avoid foods with excessive fillers, artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors. Natural ingredients provide better nutrition and are easier for your dog to digest.

Protein-Rich Formulas

Opt for dog food with a higher protein content, ideally 25-30% protein. This supports muscle maintenance and growth, which is crucial for active dogs. Foods with multiple protein sources can provide a variety of amino acids that benefit overall health.

Energy-Dense Foods

Look for energy-dense foods that pack more calories per serving. These foods ensure that your dog gets the required energy without the need for large meal portions, which can help prevent overeating and weight issues.

Fat Content

Ensure the dog food has an adequate fat content, around 15-20%. Healthy fats are a concentrated energy source and support various bodily functions. Look for foods enriched with Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids for added health benefits.

Grain-Free vs. Whole Grains

Some high energy dogs do well on grain-free diets, while others thrive on whole grains. Grain-free options can reduce the risk of allergies and digestive issues, but whole grains like brown rice and oats provide valuable nutrients and fiber. Choose based on your dog’s specific needs and preferences.

Top Dog Food Brands for High Energy Dogs

Several brands cater specifically to the needs of high energy dogs. Here are a few that stand out:


Orijen is known for its biologically appropriate foods, which mimic the natural diet of wild dogs. Their recipes are high in protein, featuring fresh regional ingredients like free-run chicken, wild-caught fish, and whole eggs. This brand is excellent for providing sustained energy and robust nutrition.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness

Blue Buffalo Wilderness offers high-protein, grain-free recipes inspired by the diet of wolves. Their foods include deboned chicken, turkey, or salmon as the first ingredient, complemented by healthy fats and complex carbohydrates. This ensures high energy dogs get the nutrients they need to stay active.

Taste of the Wild

Taste of the Wild provides grain-free formulas that incorporate novel proteins such as bison, venison, and wild boar. Their recipes are rich in antioxidants and include sweet potatoes and peas for digestible energy. This brand is ideal for dogs with sensitivities or allergies.

Wellness Core

Wellness Core focuses on high-protein, grain-free foods with a balanced blend of meats, fruits, and vegetables. Their recipes often include additional supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health, which is beneficial for active dogs.


Merrick uses locally sourced ingredients to create nutrient-dense recipes. Their high-protein formulas feature deboned meat as the primary ingredient, combined with whole grains or grain-free options. Merrick’s foods are designed to provide sustained energy and optimal nutrition.

Feeding Tips for High Energy Dogs

Feeding high energy dogs requires more than just choosing the right dog food. Here are some practical tips to ensure your dog gets the most out of their diet:

Regular Feeding Schedule

Establish a consistent feeding schedule to help regulate your dog’s metabolism and energy levels. Splitting meals into two or three portions a day can prevent energy crashes and keep your dog active throughout the day.

Portion Control

Measure your dog’s food portions based on their weight, age, and activity level. Overfeeding can lead to obesity, which can diminish their energy and overall health. Underfeeding, on the other hand, can result in malnutrition and lack of energy.

Monitor Body Condition

Regularly monitor your dog’s body condition and adjust their food intake as needed. A well-fed high energy dog should have a visible waist, ribs that are easy to feel but not see, and a healthy, shiny coat.


Ensure your dog has access to fresh water at all times. Hydration is critical for active dogs, as it supports all bodily functions and helps maintain energy levels. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and decreased performance.

Treats and Snacks

Choose healthy, high-protein treats and snacks that complement your dog’s main diet. Avoid treats high in sugar and empty calories. Treats should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake.


Feeding high energy dogs requires careful consideration of their unique nutritional needs. By selecting the right dog food with high-quality proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates, you can ensure your active companion remains energetic, healthy, and happy. Brands like Orijen, Blue Buffalo Wilderness, and Taste of the Wild offer excellent options tailored for high energy dogs. Remember to maintain a regular feeding schedule, monitor your dog’s body condition, and provide plenty of fresh water. With the right diet and care, your high energy dog will be ready to tackle any adventure that comes their way!

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