Certain things in our society are promoted as needing to be slender and certain things are promoted as being better chunky.
For example, who doesn’t love baa by with chunky little cheeks? However, our pets, when too skinny can have serious health implications.
Making sure dogs have the right body composition is vitally important to a long, healthy, and active life with you, their best friend.
We add the word “safely” here because it is our natural inclination that my dog needs MORE NOW. Giving your pup too much too quickly can make them even sicker and ultimately do the opposite of what you are trying to achieve.
Related Reading: What to Feed Nursing Dogs to Produce More Milk?
1. More Frequent Meals
Sometimes giving your pup smaller meals more often leads to more consistent food consumption. Doing this allows your dog’s fragile stomach to be able to effectively digest smaller amounts of food more efficiently, keeping your pup from getting sick (or even sicker).
In fact, animals that are malnourished for whatever reason (like people) can suffer things such as heart attacks because their hearts cannot handle the extra strength needed to pump blood to the stomach in order to digest the food.
2. High-Calorie Snacks & Foods
Providing high-calorie snacks over the course of weeks and months may make a bit different for your pet!
Fortunately, there are tons of great recipes on the web that will help you plump up your pooch.
3. Satin Balls
This homemade snack is made from the following ingredients: hamburger meat, Total cereal, instant oatmeal, wheat germ, vegetable oil, molasses, eggs (with shells), gelatin, and salt. This particular recipe will give you a high-calorie and nutrient-rich snack that will provide your pup with almost 2000 calories per serving.
Making satin balls to your pet once a day at the same time with healthy exercise will allow you to start seeing changes in your pet pretty quickly. You should start to see weight gain within the first couple of weeks.
4. High-Quality Dog Food
Don’t underestimate really good, high-quality dog food. There are a lot of really great high-quality dog food products that cater specifically to dogs that need to gain weight. In that same regard, there are a lot of dog foods that care to really any type of dog nutritional need.
One thing to think about is that typically high-quality dog food is more expensive. In this particular case as in most things, you get what you pay for.
One thing to look for in a portion of high-quality dog food is ensuring that it has a high protein and fat content. Make sure the dog food that you’re buying doesn’t just have a bunch of fillers like soy, corn, and wheat. Many less expensive dog foods have these types of fillers and dogs are consistently not getting their nutritional needs met.
5. Household and Dog Safe Foods
Most people have a ton of things in their pantry and refrigerator that dogs can safely consume that will help them also gain weight. For example, eggs, oatmeal, and peanut butter have a high protein and fat count.
These types of things are safe for animals to consume and they will help them gain weight when fed periodically. If you choose to give your pets peanut butter, it is best to go with one that does not have a bunch of added elements like sugar and salt.
Foods such as plain, boiled chicken are a great option for dogs who are needing more protein and may possibly have an upset stomach. Rice is also a good option for pups with an upset stomach, though it does not have a high-calorie count.
Reasons Why Your Dog May Needs to Be “Fattened Up”
There are actually reasons why your dog is not retaining body weight. Luckily, with animals, when this type of thing happens it is easy for humans to recognize to take note that there is an issue in the first place.
1. Your Dog is Depressed or Stressed
Dog depression and stress is a legitimate thing. Have you recently made a move to a new home and a new space that is unfamiliar to your pooch?
Maybe there has been a new addition to the family like a baby or even a new pet that is stressing out your dog? Things like this can stress out dogs just like they can stress out people, and in turn, cause them to pass on their meals.
Dogs can easily become depressed or anxious when they have a new work schedule, a pet companion of theirs dies, or even if a member in the home passes away. These types of things can throw your dog into a depressive state.
Unfortunately, there are so many ways dogs can get sick and lose weight. For example, if your dog is a constant digger in the backyard and you notice they are rapidly losing weight, they could have something called whipworm. This type of parasite lives in the dirt and many dogs who have it lose weight very quickly but still have a raved appetite.
Maybe your pup all of a sudden doesn’t want anything for more than a couple of days? If this is the case, take your dog to the vet as they might have some type of infection that isn’t so obvious.
3. Food Changes
Sometimes, dogs are more like toddlers with their eating habits. There is always the possibility that your dog is simply a picky eater and does not like the change of food you have given them. Just like humans, when you introduce a new kind of food this may cause a funky feeling in their gut.
This can cause food aversion and ultimately weight loss. In this case, ask yourself why you changed their food in the first place. Unless it is specifically for health reasons, try to stick with the food they are most comfortable with.
How Can I Tell if My Dog Is Underweight?
Sometimes it can be more difficult to tell if a dog is slightly overweight versus healthy and slightly underweight versus healthy. Usually, it’s only when we recognize that our animals are severely underweight or emaciated that we actually see the need to take action.
With a healthy weight, you should be able to feel the ribs and hip bones of your animal. With a severely underweight dog, you will see the rib bones like the hip bones protruding easily. If your dog is severely dehydrated as well you may see sagging skin as well.
Don’t Neglect Exercise
Most people align exercise with weight loss, but a healthy amount of exercise combined with a high fat and high protein diet will help your pet to thrive.
Your goal in helping your pet gain weight is not just to gain fat but also to gain muscle. So as you are feeding your pet consistently with foods to help them gain weight make sure you’re also giving them enough exercise to help them build back up muscle.
It’s very important to always pay attention to your pooch and ensure that they are the right weight at all times. Being able to recognize when your pet is starting to get a little too skinny or is averting food will help you be proactive in their health.
As always, make sure you are feeding them foods that they need slowly, consistently, and with exercise to ensure your pet is healthily gaining weight.
Family Dog Expert Author
Hi there! I’m Stuart, a devoted dog lover and family dog expert with over a decade of experience working with our furry companions. My passion for dogs drives me to share my knowledge and expertise, helping families build strong, loving bonds with their four-legged friends. When I’m not writing for SirDoggie, you’ll find me hiking, playing with my beautiful dog, or studying music.