A healthy weight is essential for your dog’s overall well-being. Your dog’s weight impacts energy levels, immune system functioning, and lifespan. Just like obesity can lead to a variety of health concerns, being underweight can also be a cause for concern.
If your canine companion is struggling to maintain a healthy weight, it’s best to address the problem sooner rather than later. Read on if you want to know how to fatten a dog. We’ve gathered some handy information to help you get your underweight dog back to a healthy weight.
Stop Googling – Ask a Real Vet
- Why Is My Dog So Skinny
- The Best Dog Food for Weight Gain
- Homemade Weight Gainer for Dogs
- Top Tips
- Final Thoughts
Why Is My Dog So Skinny
Before jumping into solutions, it’s a good idea to identify the underlying cause of your dog’s low weight. Several factors can contribute to low body weight in dogs:
- Poor diet: inadequate nutrition can result in weight loss and malnutrition.
- Parasites: parasites like worms can lead to weight loss by preventing your dog from effectively absorbing nutrients.
- Health conditions: medical conditions like gastrointestinal problems or endocrine disorders can lead to weight loss in dogs.
- Stress or anxiety: a dog experiencing emotional stress can have a decreased appetite and food avoidance, leading to weight loss.
Most of these issues can be picked up by your veterinarian at a regular checkup. If you’re concerned that your dog may be experiencing stress or separation anxiety when you leave the house, a Pet Camera can be of great value in seeing how your dog behaves when you’re out, which can help identify the causes of stress.
The Best Dog Food for Weight Gain
Your veterinarian will help you develop a proper plan to fatten your dog in a healthy, safe, and sustainable manner. This can include:
- Switching to a high-quality dog food designed for weight gain Ideal foods for weight gain will include those with higher fat content and a good balance of proteins, carbohydrates, and essential vitamins and minerals. Don’t be tempted by foods with excessive fillers, as these offer very little in the way of nutritional value. A good strategy for helping a dog gain weight is to feed smaller meals more frequently during the day to improve nutrient absorption.
- Supplements can be beneficial for helping your dog gain weight. It’s crucial that when choosing weight-gain supplements for dogs, you consult your vet, as some supplements can have adverse effects or interfere with other medications. Omega-3 fatty acids are a popular supplement to help your dog gain weight, and they’ll give your dog healthy skin and coat.
- Make mealtimes stress-free for your dog. When your dog is relaxed, they are likely to eat a little bit more than usual. Distractions and noise can lead your dog to eat less. Another good tip is to establish and stick to a feeding schedule.
- Tasty, high-calorie treats can help boost your dog’s weight gain. Treats like peanut butter, cheese, boiled chicken, or sweet potatoes can be used as rewards during training or added to their regular food to help your dog gain weight.
Homemade Weight Gainer for Dogs
According to Miracle Vet research the trick isn’t simply to pile on the pounds, but to do so in a healthy way that sets your dog up for success. Protein-rich, high-calorie food items are great options for helping your dog gain weight.
Common household ingredients that are helpful when helping your dog gain weight include:
- Pumpkin and sweet potato (canned pumpkin can work well, but be sure not to use pumpkin pie filling as this can contain other ingredients that will not be suitable);
- Peanut butter;
- Cottage cheese;
- Coconut oil;
If your dog looks a little underweight, it can be easy to slip into panic mode and start overfeeding your canine companion to get them to fatten up. Here are some handy tips for helping your dog gain weight safely and sustainably:
Slow and steady
Wondering how to fatten up your dog quickly? Gaining weight too quickly is not good for your dog’s health. Yes, it’s tempting to get their weight up as quickly as possible, but slow, gradual progress is preferable. You want to aim for an average weight gain of around 1–2% of their body weight per week—more than that could have health consequences in the long run.
As counterintuitive as this sounds, regular exercise is good for underweight dogs as it helps to build muscle mass and stimulate a good appetite. Of course, you don’t want your dog to exercise so hard that they burn more calories than they consume, as this will again result in weight loss. Aim for low-impact activities, like short walks and gentle play sessions.
Parasites are a common cause of weight loss and malnourishment in dogs. Make sure that you schedule regular check-ups with your vet to check for any parasites and to administer preventative medication where possible.
A stressed-out dog is less likely to have a healthy appetite. The result could be an underweight dog. Aside from creating a calm and safe environment where your dog feels secure, make sure you spend plenty of quality time with your pet to strengthen that bond and enhance your dog’s sense of well-being.
In rare cases, a reduced appetite and severe weight gain can result in the need for an emergency visit to the veterinarian. In such cases, you’ll be glad to have some financial support to get you and your canine companion through. An Emergency Fund can ensure that your finances don’t get in the way of providing your best friend with the care that it needs.
How to tell if my dog is underweight?
Not sure if you need to fatten up your dog? Check their ribs. If you can easily feel their ribs, your dog could probably stand to gain some weight. Another way to tell is if you view your dog from above. If you can see a very defined waistline, they’re probably on the thin side.
The easiest way to tell if your dog needs to gain weight is to stick to a regular check-up schedule with your vet. Regular checks are a great way to track things like weight and stay ahead of the game where changes are concerned.
Why is my dog not gaining weight but eating well?
If your dog is eating well but still underweight, it’s most likely time to pay a visit to your veterinarian. It might be that your dog has an intestinal parasite, diabetes, a digestive disorder, a problem with its ability to absorb nutrients, kidney disease, or even liver disease. Heart disease and cancer may also cause your dog to be underweight despite a healthy appetite.
Interestingly, tooth pain can also be a reason that your dog has an appetite but is losing weight. When your dog has discomfort in their mouth, they won’t chew their food properly, which can result in problems adequately digesting and absorbing nutrients, leading to weight loss.
How to increase my dog’s appetite?
If your dog seems to be a little less than enthusiastic at mealtimes, there are a few tricks you can try to stimulate your dog’s appetite.
- Warm up their food. The warmth will release those meaty aromas to tempt your dog into chowing down.
- Add a little something yummy and decadent to their regular food — a blob of cottage cheese, some gravy, a spoonful of pumpkin.
- Try hand-feeding your dog. This may make your dog feel at ease and more willing to eat heartily.
- Chat with your vet about medications that can help stimulate your dog’s appetite.
- Gentle and regular exercise can cause your dog to have more of an appetite. Of course, if you’re trying to help your dog gain weight, you want to avoid very vigorous or strenuous exercise. Aim for a gentle walk instead of a full-on run.
Helping your underweight dog reach an optimal weight range will take some time, so patience, perseverance, and a dash of professional veterinary guidance are needed. Starting with a good understanding of the underlying causes, you can tackle the issue with a balanced and nutritious diet, light exercise, and stress management techniques.
With these tips, you’ll be able to support the health and wellness of your furry friend and have them living their best life at their optimum weight in no time.