Before making your dog gain weight, it is essential to determine the root cause for your dog’s weight problem. Is your dog recovering from injuries or sickness? Does your dog have a history of maltreatment? Or is your dog simply choosy with his food? Malnourished dogs can regain their standard weight with an increased caloric intake supported by a healthy diet and lots of care. Be sure to conduct any weight gain plan under the supervision of a veterinarian.
How Long Will It Take to Make Your Dog Gain Weight?
The weight-gain period depends on the breed. Following the diet recommended by a veterinarian will help in weight-gain process.
How To Determine If Your Dog Is Underweight?
Your dog is probably underweight if they are
- Fat-free and their spine, ribs, and pelvic bone is clearly visible
- Drowsy and sluggish
- Have a non-lustrous coat
Visit the veterinarian to rule out non weight-related medical conditions.
Healthy Weight for Dogs
Healthy weight varies by breed, depending on their size and gender. Your veterinarian can recommend the standard weight for your dog by examining his breed, gender, size, and other medical issues, if any.
If your dog has any medical issues, your vet will prescribe a customized diet chart along with medicines to help him gain weight.
Reasons for Your Dog Being Underweight
There are many reasons why your dog could be underweight including:
- Picky Eaters: Some dogs are selective eaters, which makes maintaining a healthy weight more challenging. If this is the source of their weight problems, you can try mixing some wet food or food toppers to tempt them to eat more than usual. Dog food toppers have the extra benefit of providing nutrients that might impact their weight. Pumpkin toppers are ideal for dogs that have sensitive stomachs and need to gain weight.
- Stress: Dog’s lose their weight due to stress. A schedule change, too much interaction, or anything they see or hear outdoors, such as construction noise or an increase in the presence of other animals, can stress your dog. Punitive training methods can also cause stress. Your veterinarian or a trainer can assist you in determining the source of their anxiety and resolve it accordingly.
- Illness: Many diseases, including cancer, can cause weight loss or lack of appetite as symptoms. If your dog has a tumor in their esophagus, lungs, or stomach, they may have difficulty eating and maintaining their weight. You should take your dog to the vet if your dog is losing weight. The lack of appetite and weight loss is accompanied by other symptoms such as fever or vomiting.
- Old Age: Senior dogs frequently lose more weight than they should. It is sometimes difficult for them to chew their food due to tooth decay or oral discomfort, making it challenging for them to maintain a healthy weight. Wet and fresh food can make it more comfortable for them to consume and gain weight.
- Recent Rescues: It is not unusual for dogs to be underweight after being rescued, whether from a stray. You should obtain information from the shelter and the dog’s prior vet to begin working on the problem as soon as possible. If they start to lose weight following adoption, it may be due to stress caused by the change in surroundings.
Steps to Help Your Dog Gain Weight
Let us see how we can make your dog gain weight.
Step 1: Diagnose Low Weight
- Keep a record of your dog’s weight: If you feel your dog is underweight, start keeping note of his weight so you can monitor his weight loss and increase as you adopt weight-gain techniques. Don’t forget to tell your vet about this.
- Consult a vet: You must ensure that your dog’s weight loss is due to nothing that requires medical treatment. Your dog might have an ailment or parasite that you aren’t aware of that only your veterinarian can diagnose.
Diabetes, cancer, hepatitis, and inflammatory bowel disease can cause weight loss, but these require different treatments. As a result, a pet suffering from an undetected illness will not recover with food alone. If they are not treated, they will deteriorate significantly.
- Determine dog’s ideal weight: Consult your veterinarian about utilizing body conditioning score (BCS) to determine if your pet is thin, heavy, or just right. An example chart is available here. If your dog appears underweight based on the BCS, you should consult your veterinarian about a weight-gain strategy.
- Deworm your pet: A dog with an intestinal parasite infection can be underweight because the parasite drains the nourishment from the dog’s food before it can be processed. It is preferable to have your veterinarian do a fecal test for intestinal parasites.
- Give your dog adequate exercise: A dog’s weight is connected to his general health, and obtaining enough moderate exercise is part of your dog’s wellness.
Before beginning a vigorous exercise program, speak with your veterinarian. Some dogs suffer from arthritis, neurological issues, or metabolic illnesses that cause muscle wasting, which would necessitate specialized therapy under your veterinarian’s supervision to enhance your dog’s health without causing more harm.
Swimming can be helpful for dogs who don’t mind being wet. Make sure the access and departure points to the water are appropriately set up to avoid harm.
Step 2: Add Calories to Dog’s Diet
- Add an extra meal to your dog’s diet: If you feed your dog once a day, consider adding another kibble. If your dog is fed in the day and evening, consider adding a meal in the middle of the day.
Keep in mind that you are also modifying your dog’s toilet habits by raising your dog’s food by a complete meal, which may need an adjustment in your dog’s routine.
- Determine the quality of dog food: Dog food is available in several quality levels. You should ensure that the food you serve your dog has an acceptable quantity of calories and a proper nutritional balance.
Check the protein and fat content of the food you are feeding.
The calories per cup are not usually listed on the packaging. Therefore, you may need to visit the company’s website or call the manufacturer to obtain that information.
Consult your veterinarian about your pet’s dietary requirements, including the daily calorie intake for your dog.
- Check for appropriate human food: Including some tasty, safe “human” food in your dog’s diet can help improve a dog’s appetite. Non-fat, no-salt chicken broth, beef broth, or vegetable broth is delicious, significantly, if warmed up before pouring over the dog’s meal. Non-fat, no-salt broths are reasonably priced at the grocery store. A few teaspoons can give an excellent taste to your dog’s diet.
- Add water to dog food: If your dog isn’t interested in eating his dry food, try adding boiling water to the dried food and allowing it to cool until it’s mushy. This frequently increases the food’s attractiveness to dogs.
- Feed small meals throughout the day: Feeding small meals can increase appetite and provide calories throughout the day.
- Kabo: It is composed entirely of natural components, including beef, carrots, and fish oil. Everything is pre-portioned and packed to your dog’s particular weight and needs – all of which have been certified by experienced pet nutritionists.
- If your dog starves for more than a day or two, take it seriously and seek veterinarian treatment.
- Make modest adjustments to your dog’s diet and activity schedule. This will not only help your dog adjust, but it will also help you adapt to your routine and habits.
Best Human Foods for Weight Gain
The best dog foods to help your dog to gain weight are:
- Sweet Potato and Pumpkin: Sweet potato and pumpkin are fantastic weight-gainers! If you want your dog to get nourished but don’t want to feed him additional animal protein, consider adding pumpkin or sweet potato to his meal. This increase in fat and fiber will help him gain weight, and the nutrients will keep him from getting an upset stomach.
- Lean Meats: Proteins like chicken, turkey, fish, and lean cuts of beef are hard to go wrong with. Steaming, boiling, or roasting reduces the fat content.
- Peanut Butter: It is high in protein and healthful fats. Make sure to avoid peanut butter that contains xylitol, which is harmful to dogs.
- Eggs: Eggs are a healthy, readily digested food that can aid in weight gain in your dog. They are packed with fat and protein.
- Rice: Rice is high in carbohydrates and can help your dog to gain weight if you include it in their diet. You may add other proteins to it, and rice can help calm your dog’s stomach if they have stomach problems.
- Quinoa: It contains amino acids which help in muscle building.
Best Dog Foods for Weight Gain
This high-protein, high-fat meal has the finest ingredients and is priced accordingly. It is suitable for all dog breeds.
Elite K9 will assist any dog in gaining muscle and weight. This brand’s food also contains oatmeal and pumpkin, which aid in calming digestive processes.
This meal contains Glucosamine and Omega 3 and 6 acids to preserve your dog’s skin, hair, and joints. It includes more brown rice than the other foods, but it is an excellent alternative for dogs that suffer from skin or joint problems.
This meat-based meal contains probiotics and enzymes to help your dog’s tummy calm while he gains weight. It is available in several tastes and protein sources, making it an excellent alternative for dogs with food allergies.
A healthy weight is of utmost importance for your dog’s long term health. Obesity and low weight might create health problems or possibly make your dog sick. In addition, dogs that are malnourished may lack the energy to live a happy and healthy life. A dog who eats well will have the energy to run, play, and offer delight to everyone around them. If you think your dog is underweight, consult your vet and if recommended, increase their caloric intake.