When you decide to bring a new fur friend into your family, it’s quite possible that you may come across some health challenges you weren’t expecting. Dogs are very similar to their human counterparts in that they tend to be overweight dogs rather than underweight. However, certain health conditions, the dog’s diet, or living environments can cause a dog to experience weight loss or inability to gain weight. This is where you need dog food for weight gain that are made specifically to help your dog remain healthy while gaining weight.
Like with any weight-loss plan, there are thankfully some options you can explore when trying to help your dog gain weight healthily and safely, instead of just stuffing your dog’s body with any old canned food or wet food.
Is My Dog Underweight?
This is a great question and one that most dog owners don’t even know to ask.
Your dog may be underweight if they are
Less active than they used to be
Exhibiting a dull coat or a less shiny coat
Ribs, hips, and shoulders are easily visible or protruding
Lack of energy (depressive behaviors)
Lack of eating even though you are feeding your dog regularly
It may not be obvious why your dog is acting this way right off the bat. However, the earlier you can recognize these signs of your dog being underweight, the quicker you can secure the help you need and employ the solution—in terms of feeding—that you and your vet come up with.
Just as humans do when they want to bulk up in the weight department, dogs can also increase their caloric intake to help pack on the pounds. However, just adding calories to your dog’s diet is not the best option for his overall health. There are other factors to take into consideration when deciding what to do to help your dog gain weight.
So, before you start adding the calories into his diet, be sure to consider the other factors as well.
Supplements and Medications
If your dog is suffering from a medical condition that is causing him to lose weight/not gain weight efficiently even though you are feeding him properly with regular food in small amounts, there are other avenues to need to go down first.
To start, you should always consult with your veterinarian if you are concerned about your dog’s health. Weight loss can be a sign of something very serious. If you notice that your dog is suddenly losing weight or cannot gain weight (no matter how much calories you add to his diet), your vet’s office should your next stop.
There, you can discuss what might be causing the weight loss issue. Maybe it is an underlying health issue that has suddenly reared its ugly head. The great thing about consulting your dog’s vet first is they can identify problems well before you can, stopping the health problem from escalating into something serious, even fatal.
Medications or supplements added to your dog’s normal diet may help stop or ease the effects of whatever is causing the weight loss or inability to gain weight. This is obviously a good solution if the issue cannot be solved on its own.
Often, caregivers for dogs in foster care may notice that pups suffer from weight loss or the inability to efficiently gain weight when they’re stressed from the constant moving around of being a foster dog.
While foster dog parents love their fosters as much as they love their permanent fur friends, the stress on the foster dog can sometimes become too much. They may even exhibit depressed behaviors while in a foster home if their previous living environment was stressful or abusive.
The best thing to do for this type of dog continues to show them love and support. All they really want to know is that they’re in a loving home and will be taken care of starting now. This is still a time to consult your vet regarding things you can do to ease the transition for them and prove they’re safe now.
As a bonus…
Working with your veterinarian and any type of foster/adoption care you may be a part of is crucial but not the only thing you can do. On top of getting the expert help you need for your dog, you can also employ another strategy: new food.
Dog food manufacturers have been creating dog food specifically with the purpose of helping dogs gain weight for many years. New studies have shown that dog food with nutritional balance, good calorie content, and healthy ingredients can actually help dogs healthily gain weight.
It is important to keep in mind that there are options on the market that are aimed specifically at helping dogs gain weight. Finding any type of dog food that claims to be an aid in gaining weight would not work for all dogs. Take into account your dog’s age, stage of life, health concerns, activity level, physical environment, etc., before deciding on the right food for the job.
However, finding the right dog food for your dog’s needs is achievable and can be done if you know what you’re looking for from the start.
What Should Be Included
Here are the ingredients you should look for when finding a dog food to help your dog gain weight as well as ingredients to stay away from!
High-calorie count (not derived from grain, corn, or potatoes)
High protein count (fresh or raw meat preferred)
High fat count
Real meat ingredients
No grain, corn, or potatoes
No meat by-products or animal-meals
Skip the Pizza and Soda
It can be easy to get into a trap with your pup where you want to feed them anything and everything, they could possibly want in order to help them gain weight. However, just like a human, finding the right food to help them gain weight is important.
A person who is underweight wouldn’t be directed by their doctor to eat pizza and drink soda all day long to gain weight. Why? Because this type of food is dangerous in other ways—cholesterol, artery build up, blood sugar, and so on. Therefore, doctors typically prescribe a healthier diet plan that allows the person’s body to gain weight at a steady and healthy pace.
The same thing goes for your dog. It is not recommended to feed your dog anything under the sun, including unlimited treats. There may be some exceptions to this, but that is a discussion you should have with your vet first before employing your own buffet-style meal plan to your pup.
Any weight gain should be made steadily and healthily. Consult your dog’s vet for tailored instructions on how to work with your dog’s needs specifically!
Other Things to Consider
Sometimes a one-size-fits-all plan doesn’t fit all. In fact, dogs are just like humans in the sense that each dog needs something different. If you find that your dog isn’t responding to your efforts to help them gain weight, try different alternatives (with your veterinarian’s approval first).
Start by offering your dog small meals throughout the day. This should be done as a way to encourage them to eat smaller meals more frequently.
Offer high-quality foods for your dog (we’ve listed our top four favorite foods below) to ensure they’re receiving the right nutrients. It is important that your dog gains the right amount of weight with the right nutritional balance. If they get the wrong type of food for their bodies, the adverse effects could be detrimental.
Make sure to always provide your dog with enough hydration opportunities throughout the day. Some dogs may not be big water drinkers, but having the option out there for them is a great way to encourage all-day hydration! Any pup that suffers from being underweight should be careful not to become dehydrated, as it can lead to other issues.
Reviews of Dog Food for Weight Gain
Familiarizing yourself with the ins and outs of dog weight gain can be a tad overwhelming, especially when you start looking for the right dog food. Therefore, we’ve gathered our top four dog foods that are best for helping your dog gain weight in a healthy manner! Let’s take a look.
Helping your dog gain weight in a healthy way may be one of your top priorities at the moment. Now you have the knowledge and tools to help your dog gain weight and stay healthy! Whether your dog is fighting a health concern, coming from a difficult environment, or simply feeling blue, these dog food brands can help bring your dog back to health in no time, with top dog food for weight gain.
As always, be sure to consult with your veterinarian before changing anything in your dog’s diet or regime. There may be underlying issues that are causing the weight loss, so it is important to figure that out first. Your vet will be able to guide you in the right direction of what is best for your dog’s health.