How to Put Weight on a Dog

How to Put Weight on a Dog

It isn’t often that you hear of a pet needing to gain weight. More often than not, obesity is a problem among dogs. The truth is, there are some dogs out there that are indeed overweight. There are a lot of different factors that can play a part in a dog’s size, or lack thereof. Some dogs are simply not getting enough vital nutrients, and are burning off more calories than they consume. Others may not be eating the right type of food, thus leading to malnutrition. In some instances, illness may be the cause, or it may be related to stress. If you’re wondering how to put weight on a dog, then this guide is for you.

Medical Check Up by a Vet


Before you do anything to help your dog gain weight, you will want to take them to the veterinarian and let them check for any underlying conditions that may be causing your dog to be underweight. This is important, because if there is a medical issue going on it will need to be treated as soon as possible.  Some possible illnesses and conditions that may lead to a dog being underweight include:

  • food intolerance
  • intestinal obstructions
  • parasites
  • bad teeth
  • disease

No matter the cause, there are a few things that you can do to help your pet gain weight so that they can be healthy. First of all, you should know that feeding them empty calories is not a great way to promote weight gain. The key is to promote healthy weight gain, and to do this, you will want to consider the following methods.

Underweight Saluki

 

4 ways to put weight on a dog

#1 Frequent Small Meals

One of the best things that you can do is offer your pet frequent small meals. If you break their meals up into smaller portions more often, you will actually boost their metabolism, giving them better nourishment. Just remember, it is not always a good idea to just leave food out and let your dog feed freely. Sometimes, this may lead to picky eating. If you serve meals at certain times throughout the day, your pup will always get excited for meal time, and will likely eat more of their food. Give it a try! Simply start feeding them meals four meals, about six hours apart.

#2 Calculate Caloric Needs

To see how many calories your pup needs each day, you will want to calculate their resting energy requirement. This guide will help you:

 

  • Small dogs ( <10 pounds ) – approximately 450 calories per day
  • Medium dogs ( 45-75 pounds ) – approximately 1200 calories per day
  • Large dogs ( >85 pounds ) – approximately 1800 calories per day
  • Extra large dogs ( >130 pounds ) – approximately 2400 calories per day

 

Make sure that you are feeding your dog a nutrient dense food that will meet their daily caloric intake needs.

#3 Complex Carbohydrates

While most of the dog foods on the market contain a decent amount of protein, some of them do not have adequate amounts of carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates, such as white bread and sugar, have a bad reputation for contributing to diabetes and hyperactivity in dogs. Complex carbs, or slow burning carbs, are actually necessary in your dog’s diet. This can be found in brown rice, pasta, oatmeal and grains. When given in small doses, this is a great way to boost energy and gain weight. Just don’t overdo it.

#4 Track Progress

Just as you would if you were trying to gain or lose weight yourself, you will want to keep a track of the progress that your pup makes. Keep a record of how much and what they are eating, and weigh them regularly. This will help you to see what is working best. It will also help you to see if there is something that you should be doing differently.

If your dog falls short of their healthy weight range, then you must do something about it. If you let it go, they may continue to lose weight. Chances are they aren’t getting the proper nutrients they need, or they would have  remained at a healthy weight. Keep these ideas in mind, and check with your veterinarian for his recommendation on how to put weight on a dog and see if there are other options that you need to consider. They may recommend a dog food that is specifically formulated for growth or weight gain.


So – how many pounds underweight is your dog?
Tell us in the comments below!


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I've been a dog lover since the day I was born but it's the current four legged love of my life, Phoebe who inspired me to create the Munch.Zone.

We moved together from Israel to New York in 2013, love hiking together, and never pass up a trip to the dog park. Watching her over the years sparked so many questions about dog behavior and health needs, and it wasn't always easy to find answers. Thus, the Munch.Zone was born.

On any given day you'll find me watching Netflix originals, eating popcorn, and thinking about how to get into house flipping.

Latest posts by Shay Atik (see all)

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4 thoughts on “How to Put Weight on a Dog

  1. Remember, it is always best to talk to your veterinarian about how much weight is safe for your pet to lose on a weekly basis. It will depend greatly by their age, breed and current weight. If you think they are not losing quickly enough, or losing too fast, it is worth mentioning to their vet.

  2. Our dog was a bit underweight, and we switched up the type of food that he was eating and gave him frequent portion controlled meals. He is now a healthy weight, and it only took him about 2 months to reach it. Great information, and it really does work. Before you try unhealthy measures, give these tips a try.

  3. My dog is a white German shepard. She only weights 40 lbs. And appears to be thin. She is healthy but not gaiming any weight. She is very active and loves to run.

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