Weight Gain in Dogs


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Weight Gain in Dogs

Most dog owners would agree that a dog requires great care and attention. They are an extended family and like humans, dogs too suffer from illness.

 A very important health issue often common among dog owners is an underweight dog. This can be due to various reasons and needs to be dealt with the utmost care and attention.

In this article, we will discuss the reasons behind an underweight dog. How to make a dog gain weight, dog food for weight gain, and also address the overweight issue among dogs.

These measures must be applied by all dog owners to address the issue and make sure their "furry" friend stays healthy and strong.

Why A Dog Is Underweight?

There could be many reasons for a dog to be underweight. As no two dogs are the same, so are their habits, likes, and dislikes.

It is important to understand the root cause behind a dog losing weight or the difficulty of putting on weight.

Some common attributes of a dog that often results in underweight conditions are:

Illness Or Stomach Distress

A very common problem of losing weight is prevalent among dogs suffering some illness or stomach related ailment.

 This pattern is similar to how we humans tend to lose appetite or the ability to digest food when we fall sick.

The body, as it recovers, tends to conserve energy to fight the illness, and this results in a loss of appetite.

New Environment/Unfamiliar Territory

A newly adopted puppy or stray dog who is in a new place would often lose weight. The lack of familiarity and the presence of new people around makes the dog nervous and it stops eating.

The dog needs some time to get used to the new environment and build trust around the new owners. 

Picky Eater

Some dogs are very picky about their food. They would require to be fed the same food that had been fed to it for the longest time.

Such dogs often start losing weight when they undergo and a diet change. Although not a persistent problem, but owners need to be aware of such changes.

Old Age

Old age dogs also lose weight. The reasons may vary from decayed or broken tooth to inability to digest heavy food. Such dogs need to be provided with wet and simple foods. 

How To Check For Signs Of Underweight Dog

A dog losing weight displays certain tell-tale signs. A dog owner must look for these signs to understand the problem before it becomes more serious.

Some of these signs would include:

Protruding Bones

A dog losing weight or an underweight dog would have bones starting to protrude out of his skin.

If you can feel your dog's rib cage, spine, or pelvic bones with very little presence of fat, that indicates your dog is underweight.

Low Energy

Another very important sign of a dog losing weight or being underweight would be to note their activities throughout the day.

An underweight dog would have low energy which would reflect in reduce playtime, tiring quickly, and increase in sleep time.

Coat Losing Shine

A dog's fur is a very good indicator of its health. A shiny coat with a thick luster of hair indicates a healthy dog. Likewise, a lackluster coat that has lost its shine would indicate the dog is losing weight and is not keeping well.

How To Put Weight On A Dog

Now that we understood the reasons and signs of a dog losing weight, our focus should shift towards how to make a dog gain weight.

To promote weight gain in dogs, we must evaluate the reason for weight loss as stated above. The solution would be to understand the cause and work towards resolving it.

Some measures of weight gain in dogs would include:

Dog Food For Weight Gain

Once we realize the condition for weight loss, we may look to include high-calorie food into our dog's diet.

A high calorie and high protein diet help build up muscle and fat mass. For a moderate to sedentary dog, a high-calorie diet helps in gaining weight. 

For athletic dogs, a high-calorie diet would be a necessity to maintain their weight. 

Small Meals Throughout The Day

Another very effective measure to help a dog gain weight would be to feed them meals throughout the day. 

It is not recommended for a normal dog as it may lead to overweight issues, but for dogs losing weight or underweight, free-feeding throughout the day is very effective.

Wet Food and Fresh Food

As we spoke earlier, wet food for old dogs suffering from chewing related issues works best.

It helps them swallow the food easily. Wet food also works for the dogs suffering digestion-related ailment.

For the particularly picky eaters, fresh food seem to provide a stronger food scent. 

This in return makes the food more appealing to the dog, and they would warm up to it in no time. 

Adding Supplements Into Meals

Supplements work great for underweight dogs to regain their required nutrition. For the special cases where the dog is unable to chew or swallow more rich food, supplements help bridge the nutrition gap

Supplements high on protein and caloric value may add the much-needed energy and strength to their bodies.

Overweight Issues

While we address the issues of our underweight dog and make necessary changes in diet and schedule, we must be careful not to overdo any of it.

It is highly recommended to always consult a veterinarian's opinion before embarking upon any of the measures. 

Also, once we add weight to our dog, we must know when it is time to go back to old diets after having achieved our goal.

A high caloric diet is not recommended for a healthy dog as it may lead to overweight issues in the future. Dogs need plenty of physical exercise to keep them mentally and physically stimulated and maintain their health. 

about the author

Frank Harrigan

Frank loves tacos and dogs - the good, bad and ugly sides of dog ownership.

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