Putting weight on a dog isn’t always easy, and sometimes everything you try just doesn’t work for some reason. I’m going to explain a couple of ways you can help your dog gain weight. Firstly, let’s discuss if your dog actually needs more weight, and then what you should do.
Is My Dog Underweight?
Before we delve into some of the ways you can help your dog gain weight, first let’s discuss underweight dogs. If you can see almost all of their ribs, backbone, and hip bones quite easily, then your dog is, without a doubt, too thin.
A dog that has a healthy weight means that you should be able to feel their ribs, but definitely not see them.
Also, it’s important to keep in mind how some breeds, such as Greyhounds, and hunting and herding dogs, like Pointers and Border Collies, tend to be much leaner than other breeds such as Labradors or Mastiffs.
I would recommend checking and consulting everything with your vet before doing anything. It is possible that a dog’s weight loss could be caused by some illness that needs medical attention.
Now we can talk about what the ideal weight for your dog would be. This depends on a lot of factors such as the age and breed of your dog. There is a chart where you can check and reference to, which is called the Body Condition Score (BCS), and it is similar to how we have the Body Mass Index calculator (BMI) for humans.
Exercise has quite an important role in this journey of helping your dog gain weight. As long as your dog doesn’t suffer from anything related to their joints, such as arthritis, it is quite important, and healthy, to exercise your dog often.
You can do this by increasing the amount of time that you spend on walks with your dog. This has to be done gradually. Swimming is another great way to get them to exercise, if you have this possibility.
Make sure you don’t exercise your dog within thirty minutes after eating, otherwise you’ll cause your dog to bloat.
Add Another Meal
The best way to increase your dog’s weight gain is by adding one more meal into their daily routine. If you feed your dog the same way that I do, which is at breakfast and dinner time, then just add a meal in the middle of the day.
By doing this you might need to change your walking schedule a bit, because since you’re adding a meal into your dog’s day you are also changing their bathroom habits.
Make sure that the food you give your dog is of good quality, not just with a great number of calories but also an appropriate balance of vitamins, minerals, and protein too.
Mix Dry Food with Human Food
Doing something such as completely changing your dog’s diet for something that has double the calories is not recommended. There are much better ways to add more calories to your dog’s diet.
For example, you can mix some chicken (without the skin), boiled eggs, pumpkin, or sweet potato to your dog’s meals. These are great sources of protein and calories.
If you’re not too keen on mixing human food with your dog’s, maybe because of a delicate tummy, it should be fine if you just add some warm broth to the mix (chicken, beef, or vegetable). Just make sure that it doesn’t have any salt or fat.
By adding something different, you’re also awakening your dog’s appetite.
Always avoid giving your dog anything with onions, garlic, grapes, raisins, and so on.
Still Not Putting Weight On?
If your dog still isn’t gaining any weight, it’s probably time to try a new feeding schedule. Feed your dog not long before bedtime because, since your dog will be asleep while digesting the food, his body will store most of the nutrients as fat.
The same thing happens with humans. This is because we wouldn’t be burning off the energy from what we’ve eaten.
So, try giving your dog a smaller portion in the morning and a larger one at night. Or, even better, split your dog’s meals into smaller portions of three or four throughout the day.
And if need be, switch your dog’s dry food for something which contains a higher protein and calorie percentage. As long as you are able to find food for your dog which is the same meat protein that you’re already feeding him, you can change right away.
However, if you are switching the meat protein in order for your dog to get more nutrients, you have to do it gradually. This means, give your dog about 90% from the old diet and only 10% of the new food to begin with, and slowly increase the amount each day so that we can avoid any upset stomachs.
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