Owning a dog provides us with a sense of wellbeing as they are givers of unconditional love. They are pack animals and offer fantastic company and comfort to their owners and families. The overall health of your dog is paramount. For many years I refused to have a dog. We had numerous pets; fish, birds, rabbits, and chooks. One day my husband took me to 'look at' a puppy. I fell in love. I held the woolly puppy in my arms and looked into his dark eyes, and I was not going home without him. That was many years ago, and that dog is long gone. However, we still have a dog. In fact, we have two, two beautiful bundles of comfort, love, and energy.
Recently one of the dogs became unwell. I was apprehensive. He was no longer interested in his food. He was vomiting and losing weight. It was apparent my dog was unwell, but he could not tell me what was going on.
If a dog is underweight or losing weight, you have to decide if it is an issue, and what measures can be put into place to ensure the improved health of your dog? An owner must keep a dog's weight in a healthy range to ensure a long and happy life for the important animal member of your household.
Is My Dog Underweight?
Firstly you must ascertain if your dog is actually underweight, and if so, why? You can check your dog's weight against the breed's ideal weight on sites like the Purina site. When you place your thumbs on your dog's backbone, you should be able to spread your fingers and feel the animal's ribs. The abdomen or tummy of the dog should tuck up behind the rib cage, and if you look at your dog from above, you should be able to see a waist behind the ribs.
Don't compare the weight of your dog to other dogs you see. You may be seeing obese or overweight animals. It is wiser to use a published weight guide so that you are certain. You may be able to do this through observation. For example, if you have several dogs, it may be that one of the other dogs is taking the underweight dog's food. I have an older and younger dog. I have to feed them in separate places as the young dog is like a vacuum cleaner with food and sucks it up in seconds. The older dog savors every mouthful. If he is eating dry food, he will pick up each small biscuit individually and take it from the plate and place it on the floor. He will then eat that individual piece.
Other reasons for an underweight presentation might be that a bitch has given birth and is raising a litter of hungry puppies. If you have picked up a rescue dog, this may explain the emaciation.
Many illnesses can have an impact on body weight. You may have noticed diarrhea or vomiting. These things interfere with the body's ability to process food, which can mean that they get no value from the food they eat. Consider if they have had a decreased appetite, are they lethargic, or have you noticed they have been drinking more than usual? A multitude of illnesses can affect a dog's ability to process and take in the nutrients from food. So if you notice your dog is underweight or unwell, make sure you see your veterinarian immediately. A professional consultation is advisable before the situation gets out of control. Many conditions could be the cause of your dog's weight loss like lack of pancreatic enzymes, diabetes mellitus, liver disease, kidney disease, cancer, and inflammatory bowel disease. A vet can rule out such things and will provide you with a way forward. Ensure that you take your dog for a vet visit before you try to increase the weight of your canine. After your veterinarian rules out any illnesses, you can begin to help your dog reach a healthy weight.
The vet has now assured you that your dog is not ill, so there must be another reason that your dog is so thin Stress, trauma or changes in their life may be the reason for weight loss. The food you are giving your dog may not be suitable. It could be low in nutrients, or your dog may be a fussy eater. There are ways you can help your beloved pet.
How Can Weight Be Increased?
You can consider quite a few things, but you should begin with the dog's diet.
If your dog is thin but bouncing around with unlimited energy and feces is solid, it may be that there is a problem with your dog's diet, and they are simply not getting enough calories. Like a human being, if dogs use up more calories than they are eating, they will lose weight. So consider your dog's diet and the quality of dog food you have been using. If they are using more calories than they are eating, you will need to add more calories to the dog's diet. Increasing the portion size will fix the issue.
You can compare the ideal weight for your pet with how much food they are suggesting on the packaging you feed it. Follow this with a comparison between your dog's diet and what the suggested amount of food is. If there is a difference, it should be quite easy to solve the problem.
If you are increasing food, then make sure you do so gradually over some time. It is generally recommended that you do not increase food by more than 10 percent of the original quantity a day. Suddenly providing increased food in the dog's diet can cause stomach issues and diarrhea, so take it slowly. The key is to raise weight, so feed the dog with small amounts of food and do so often, ensuring the provision of the right supplements if your dog has any dietary deficiencies.
High Quality and Calorie-Dense Food
There are many formulas on the market specifically created for dogs to gain weight. These foods contain high levels of protein and calories with greater nutritional value than cheaper options. Dog weight gain food containing real chicken, beef, fish, or lamb is preferable. Be aware of the fat content in these foods as although you want to increase the dog's weight, using dog weight gainer food, you want to do so with quality products, not dog food with large quantities of fat. You are looking for the best possible feed for dogs to gain weight, and it is worth doing your research and looking at what is on offer. Make sure you read the instructions on the packet so that you are feeding your dog the appropriate amount of food for weight gain as your aim is to get your dog to a healthy weight.
If you are concerned that your dog is not receiving or taking in all its necessary needs, then a supplement may be added to the dog's diet or dog food to assist in the uptake of calories and nutrients. This is a fantastic option for fussy eaters.
A supplement rich gravy over dry food may help your dog particularly if it is a fussy eater.
Vitamin B rich food has been found to increase a dog's appetite, and it is also a supplement that assists in increasing energy through breaking down fats, carbohydrates, and protein. Liver is a great option as it is high in vitamin B so you can add cooked liver to their diet. Eggs are also high in vitamin B.
Before adding supplements to your dog's diet, a visit to the vet is recommended.
I have to say this is one of the options that my dog certainly liked and it is an option given to people who are underweight also. If you want to fatten up a dog, the catch cry is little and often. Offering many opportunities to eat during the day helps digestion of food and create a faster metabolism.
People can reduce the exercise they give their underweight dog, but exercise has so many benefits. In the same way, that exercise is good emotionally for human beings, the same can be said for dogs. It encourages a positive frame of mind, assists in muscle growth, and increases appetite. If you aim to fatten up a dog, that does not mean you need to reduce exercise.
The bowel is home to many different parasites. They compete for food in the bowel and work to extract nutrients. All dogs require regular worming medication, and it is particularly important in an underweight dog.
If your dog is underweight, there are ways to help. The first thing you should do is consider the reasons for this. If there is no apparent reason for the dog's weight loss or you feel there is any chance your dog may be ill, then schedule a visit to the vet. Once it has been ascertained that the dog's overall health is okay, you can gradually implement different things to encourage and increase weight gain. Dog food for weight gain can make the task easier for you. Once your dog reaches a healthy weight, you will need to adjust the meals so that your dog needs are met, and the healthy weight is maintained.