As a responsible dog owner, you want your pup to be a healthy weight, right? Here’s the thing: Many pups struggle with maintaining a “good” weight.
If your pet struggles with being underweight, it could be at risk of a serious medical issue. Not to mention, most underweight pups do not have a good quality of life.
Thankfully, there are several ways to help your pup maintain an ideal weight. As a friendly heads up, feeding your pup more food isn’t the only solution. By fattening your pup in many different ways, it is more likely to enjoy optimal overall health. Isn’t this what every dog owner wants?
Here is everything you need to know about how to put weight on a dog the right way.
First Things First: How To Figure Out Your Pup’s Ideal Weight
Most dog owners have no idea how much their dog should weigh.
When figuring out the ideal weight for your pup, it’s always best to consult with an experienced vet. Since the ideal weight can vary from breed to breed, a vet can help ensure that your dog is in the appropriate weight range.
Regardless of the breed, most pups should have a narrowing around their waist. If you can barely see an outline of your pup’s ribcage, it probably has an ideal weight. For severely underweight dogs, their pelvic bones, spine, and ribs will be really noticeable. Of course, if your pup is underweight, you’ll want to talk with a vet sooner rather than later.
7 Reasons Why Your Pup May Struggle With Putting On Weight
There are seven primary reasons why your pup may have difficulty maintaining good body weight.
1. Diet Changes
The obvious explanation for weight loss in pups is a diet change. Oftentimes, pet owners forget that they changed their pup’s food. If you have recently changed your pup’s food, check to see if the new food contains fewer calories.
2. Stress and Depression
When pups are stressed or depressed, they may not want to eat. A dog may be stressed or depressed because of environmental changes, getting too much or not enough attention, physical illness, grief, punitive training, loud noises, and fear. All these could affect your dog’s weight. Once you identify the cause of your pup’s stress or depression, you can help your dog manage the symptoms.
3. Separation Anxiety
Dogs who are suffering from separation anxiety may struggle with eating and weight gain. A pup may be experiencing separation anxiety if you’re constantly coming home to destruction and uneaten food.
4. Illness or Pain
Just like people, pups often eat less if they’re suffering from serious pain or illness. If your four-legged friend suddenly stops eating, you’ll want to take it to a vet immediately for weight gain.
5. Picky Eater
If you feed your pup lots of table scraps and treats, it could quickly become a picky eater.
For pups who are picky eaters, they may only eat high-quality food. Just keep in mind that sometimes the most expensive food can still taste bad to your pup.
6. Old Age
As dog’s age, many of them experience teeth problems. Older dogs may have trouble with weight gain if they’re dealing with severe tooth decay or tooth loss, making it painful and difficult for them to eat food.
7. Recent Rescue
Many rescue pups tend to be underweight, whether they were rescued from a shelter or found roaming outside somewhere. If you rescued an underweight pup from a shelter, try to fatten up the dog by working with its previous vet.
Great Ways To Help Your Dog Gain Weight
The key to helping your pup maintain a healthy weight is knowing a few tricks. Just make sure that you take baby steps. Check out these fantastic ways to help your dog gain weight.
Consult With A Vet
Before trying to fatten up your pup, you should first consult with a vet. Why? Sudden weight loss could be due to an underlying, life-threatening illness, which will require immediate treatment. A dog could be experiencing a stomach disorder, metabolic condition, cancer, severe heart disease, or parasites. Once your dog is healthy, a vet can recommend effective ways to fatten up your dog.
Give High Protein And Fat Food
Food that’s high in protein or fat will help your pup gain some much-needed weight. While some dogs may prefer food with beef, others might want chicken. In most cases, your pup will gain weight in less than two weeks from a high protein and fat diet.
Pro Tip: Always incorporate fat and protein into your pup’s diet in small portions. Too much fat and protein could result in gastrointestinal problems.
Offer Wet Food
Wet or fresh food is a great alternative to dry food, especially if your pup is a picky eater. Many pups prefer wet food because it has a stronger scent than dry kibble. A good appetite helps improve your dog’s weight.
Pro Tip: Most wet and fresh food should be placed in the fridge after serving your dog.
Change The Feeding Schedule
Instead of feeding your pup twice a day, consider offering small meals frequently. By spreading the meals throughout the day, your dog will have many opportunities to obtain key nutrients. You can also try giving your pup a small meal in the morning and a large one at night. When you offer a large meal at night, your pup will not be able to burn the calories throughout the day.
Make The Food Yummy
Let’s face it: Most pups can’t resist food that tastes delicious— great way to help your dog gain weight!
One way to spice up your pup’s meal is to add warm broth, wet food, olive oil, or tuna to the kibble.
You can also mix canned pumpkin and sweet potato with your pup’s food. These two veggies are rich in fat and fiber. Make sure to monitor your pup’s bowels.
Hand Feed Your Dog
Many dog owners mistakenly believe that hand-feeding their pup is a bad thing. Here’s the reality: If your dog is nervous or sick, hand feeding it dinner may be absolutely necessary.
As you are hand feeding your pup, make sure to offer plenty of verbal praises. By doing so, your dog may be likely to eat more food in the future.
Try High-Value Treats
When searching for high-value treats, look for the ones with high calories. If your pup refuses to eat meals, you may be able to give it some nourishment with high-calorie treats.
Supplement Food With Vitamin Supplements
After speaking with a vet, you can give your dog vitamin B supplements to stimulate appetite. A vet may prefer to give your pup a shot of B-complex vitamins instead. If you choose to supplement your pup’s food with B vitamins, make sure to inform a vet of any changes in your dog’s appetite.
Increase Physical Activity
Despite common belief, physical activity can fatten up a dog because it will gain more muscle. When regular physical activity is combined with a high protein and fat diet, your pup should be at a healthy weight in no time. Most pups enjoy playing ball or going for walks.
Pro Tip: Wait at least half an hour after mealtime to exercise your dog.
Top Vet-Approved Pup Food To Fatten Up Your Dog
When deciding which food to give your dog, you’ll want to talk with a vet. Many vets will recommend the following pup food:
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula: The primary ingredient in this pup food is premium protein from real lamb, supporting your pup’s healthy muscles.
Bully Max High Performance: Since this pup food boasts real meat as the number one ingredient, it can help your pup gain weight.
When Should You Take Your Dog To A Vet?
If you are like most dog owners, you are probably wondering when your dog should see a vet. Make sure to take your pup to a vet immediately if you observe any of the following:
- A sudden disinterest in food for a day or two
- Trouble keeping weight on your pup
- An interest in food but not gaining weight
- Weight loss and lack of eating is accompanied by severe symptoms such as diarrhea
Many pups struggle with maintaining a healthy weight, but they don’t have to be underweight forever. The good news is that dog owners can help their dogs gain weight in a wide variety of ways.
Have you ever fattened up a pup? How did you do it? Do you have any tips for dog owners?
1. How can I fatten up my dog?
When it comes to fattening up your dog, you should consider offering wet food, drizzling olive oil or warm broth over the kibble, giving high-calorie food, changing the feeding schedule, and experimenting with delicious treats. If your vet approves, you can also give your dog vitamin B supplements.
Don’t forget to make sure that your pup gets plenty of exercises so that it can build muscle. Many people are unaware that exercise can actually fatten up your pup. Talk to a vet to determine how much exercise your pup needs.
2. What to feed a dog to put on weight?
In order to fatten up your pup, you’ll want to feed it food that has high levels of fat and protein. With a high fat and protein diet, you may observe a slight increase in your pup’s weight within a month.
You can also fatten up your pup by giving it high-fat treats like all-natural peanut butter. Many pups love carrots with peanut butter. Avoid giving your pup peanut butter with extremely acidic foods because they could cause gastrointestinal problems.
3. What foods are high in fat for dogs?
The most common healthy foods that are high in fat for dogs include avocados, cottage cheese, quinoa, natural Greek yogurt, peanut butter, olive oil, whole eggs, salmon, sardines, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds.
The great thing about these “good” fats is that they will fatten up your pup in a healthy way. Most vets will strongly recommend that you feed your dog food that’s high in fat, but you should always consult with your vet to be absolutely sure.
4. Do dogs gain weight fast?
Most dogs don’t gain weight fast. According to many vets, a pup could take a few months to gain around 20 pounds. If a dog is severely malnourished, it can take up to six months to fatten up a pup.
For a better estimate, consult with your vet. A vet will probably say that your pup shouldn’t gain weight too fast due to possible joint damage.