While many dogs suffer from obesity, it’s quite apparent that others are experiencing the opposite. Considering that every dog owner wants their furry friend to be healthy at all times, there is no denying that emaciation can be a reason to worry. Every time we mention anything to do with dog weight, the focus is mainly on preventing dogs from getting overweight.
However, it’s a reality that some dogs are malnourished, and they too need a lot of attention. So, keep reading this article. We are going to find-out the best way to fatten up a dog.
Fattening up a malnourished dog
When a dog is emaciated, the obvious solution should be to fatten him up using the best methods so that they can reach the desired weight. Keep in mind, however, that fattening a dog is not as simple as feeding them on cheeseburgers and restricting them from taking a walk for a couple of weeks. Even though they might gain some weight, you can be sure that it will not be a healthy weight.
You want your dog to gain a healthy weight, with the perfect muscle to fat ratio. Helping your dog meet the required weight should not be such a tough thing to do, as long as you have the necessary information. That’s why you want to stick around and get all the information you need to help Fido gain the extra pounds he so badly needs.
Before we go into much details about helping your dog gain add some weight, however, let’s first discuss some important information in regards to the topic:
Why is it bad for your dog to be underweight?
Being slim might not seem like a severe issue for dogs, but that’s not the case. Even though it’s quite normal especially for a dog that has been under stress, it can have some unwanted effects such as:
- Muscle loss
- Fertility issues in female dogs
- Lack of proper working of internal organs such as liver, kidneys, and the heart
- Hair loss
But is your dog really underweight?
Even though your dog looks thinner than you expect him to be, that does not automatically mean that he is underweight. Before you decide to fatten your dog, first determine whether your dog has the ideal weight. Remember that the recommended weight can vary depending on the breed. Thus, the best way to determine whether your pooch has a healthy weight is to visit the vet.
The vet should use their knowledge about various breeds to determine whether the weight of your dog is at par with what is considered normal for such a breed. You can, however, figure out whether your dog has a healthy weight without necessarily having to consult a vet. The best way to do that would be to look at his rib cage.
If your dog is okay, you should feel the ribs just under his skin upon placing your palms on his sides. If, however, his ribs, spine, and tail bones stick out so that they are noticeable even without getting so near to the dog, it means that he is underweight. If that’s the case, you should also see a curve running from the dog’s waist to his rib cage.
According to most vets, a well-fed dog should have an hourglass figure when viewed from above. When viewed from the side, the tummy should be tucked up from the chest. With enough information about what an underweight dog looks like, you might be wondering why a dog can end up being underweight. If so, consider having a look at the next section:
Reasons behind a dog’s weight loss
Below are some of the most common reasons behind underweight issues in dogs:
- Stress – Just like in humans, when a dog is stressed a lot, he will experience a loss in appetite, which is not good for his weight. A dog can suffer from anxiety and stress if they are in a new environment, and several other causes.
- Finicky eaters – Who’d have thought that dogs can be picky eaters? Well, in some cases they are, meaning that you have to go an extra mile to get the right gourmet food that will fit them. Failure to do so means that they won’t be eating well. Thus they become underweight.
- Tooth problems – Tooth issues can make proper eating difficult, and that can easily lead to malnourishment, which automatically translates to weight issues.
- Low-quality food – Your dog needs the right nutrients to gain healthy weight. Feeding them low-quality food is just like giving junks to your child for every time they have to eat. Even though the dog will love it, that can have negative effects on their body.
- Parasitic infestation – Parasites can interfere with the appetite of your dog, in addition to denying him the chance of benefiting from proper absorption of nutrients.
- Illness – Ailments can affect your dog’s metabolism, which might be a direct ticket to weight loss. In some cases, diseases also affect feeding patterns, making your dog lose appetite.
- Vaccines and medication – Some medicine and medication can cause loss of appetite if used for long, which is an obvious reason for weight loss. For this one, however, you might need to consult a vet for more information and advice.
- Indigestion from stomach blockage – If your dog swallows something that is not biodegradable, then they might have some stomach issues, loss of appetite being one of them.
In general, there are different reasons why your dog might can have weight issues. In cases where you don’t know what the exact cause might be, it should be best that you visit your vet for more information.
Why do you need to fatten up your dog?
If your dog does not eat enough, that can affect them a lot and lead to a drop in blood sugar level, which hurts vital body organ functions. Helping your dog put on some weight can protect them from health issues. That way, they stay fit, and the quality of life improves.
So, how can you fatten up a pooch?
Now that you have the information you need about your dog’s weight, let’s go ahead and discuss what you can do to help them gain those crucial pounds:
1. Add more calories to their food
Unsurprisingly, one of the easiest ways to encourage weight gain in a dog is by ensuring that they take more calories in their meals. Over the next few weeks or months, you should start to notice some changes depending on the number of calories added to the diet. However, avoid adding too many calories at once as that can lead to unwanted issues.
A good rule of thumb is to begin by a 10% increase for the first week and monitor any changes. If your dog responds positively, you can offer another 10% increase until they reach a healthy calorie intake. Remember that the slightest change in calorie intake can make a significant difference with time.
2. Change your doggy’s diet
If your pooch does not seem to like the food you are giving him, you might have to change his diet and get his something more palatable. As you change his diet, however, ensure that it has lots of protein, vitamins, and minerals.
3. Change Fido’s mealtime
One mistake that most dog owners make is to leave their dog with food in their bowl for the whole day, thinking that it will entice them to eat more. What they don’t know is that such action discourages their dog from eating more.
The best thing you can do is introduce your dog to a feeding pattern by timing their meals. That way, they will get used to a routine, and get hungry when the time is right.
4. Get your dog some supplements
Getting the right supplements for your dogs can help them gain some mass. Vitamins like vitamin B can help in metabolism, by breaking down fats, carbs, and proteins. After your dog is energized then their appetite will improve, and they will easily convert fat into muscle.
5. Exercise them
You might be wondering whether exercise is essential to a malnourished dog, but the answer to that is a big “YES!” It’s vital because emaciated dogs have weak muscles which need to be encouraged to grow. Since you’ve increased the calorie and protein quantity in your dog’s meal, then they’ll have enough energy to exercise and become gain enough muscle to become stronger.
6. Observe good hygiene standards
It might not seem like observing proper hygiene standards can help your pooch gain some weight, but come to think of it. A dog that has poor hygiene is exposed to diseases and infections that can make them lose some weight. Besides, feeding your dog in a hygienic standard enhances proper digestion of food.
7. Proper dental care
Lack of proper oral hygiene can have detrimental effects on your dog so that he won’t add on weight easily. As such, you should brush your dog’s teeth not less than three times a week using toothpaste and a toothbrush meant for dogs. This will contribute to his overall health and freshen his breath. You can additionally provide him with chew toys to make his teeth stronger and healthier.
8. Provide homemade meals
In some cases, feeding your dog on a homemade recipe can help you make some critical changes to address your pooch’s unique needs, hence help him gain weight more effortlessly. The good thing is that there are lots of recipes, to make your dog gain healthy weight in a relatively short period.
9. Keep your doggy in a stress-free environment
As mentioned above, stress is one of the factors that can make your dog not eat enough, hence putting them at risk of malnourishment. If the current environment that your pooch is in increases their stress levels, then you might want to make some changes to that. Ensure that your dog is in a clean, spacious environment where they can live and sleep comfortably.
10. De-worm your dog
Despite this point appearing as the last in this article, it can fit among the first if not the first. There’s absolutely no way your dog is going to gain weight if all his nutrients are being absorbed by some tiny annoying creatures in his tummy.
If your dog’s appetite seems not to have changed, yet he is losing some weight, it might be that your dog needs to be de-wormed. If so, consider involving a vet so that they can prescribe the best de-wormer.
Helping Fido gain some weight might seem to be a challenging task, but it doesn’t have to be that way when you are well-informed. It might take some time to get your dog’s weight back on track, but you’ll eventually achieve the goal and help your pooch live a long, healthy life if you follow the best way to fatten up a dog. Remember to consult your vet if you’re not sure how a certain decision or action will affect your dog.