Just like humans, our canine friends’ weight also matters – it generally affects their quality of life. Thin dogs in particular tend to have a negative notation. Even though some are genetically modified that way, the rest get a bad rap for being malnourished. With that in mind, many pet owners are looking into ways of add some meat on the boney legs of their furry friends.
However, before sampling the variety of dog fattening food options, it is best to figure out the cause of your dog’s weight loss. You may begin by observing your dog’s feeding pattern and later paying a visit to the vet for further diagnosis. Nevertheless, here are some factors that might be contributing to your pooch’s skinny appearance.
Causes of weight loss in Dogs
Loss of appetite
If your dog suddenly seems less interested in feeding time, he or she might begin to lose weight. There are different reasons as to why your four-legged friend is not as enthusiastic about food as before. They might be suffering from an illness, too depressed to eat or simply not like a change of diet. Let’s examine possible reasons why your dog is underweight.
There are two kinds of loss of appetite, namely:
- Pseudo-anorexia: Where your dog wants to feed, but can’t due to physical problem.
- True anorexia: They have no desire to feed.
Some signs of loss of appetite include:
- eating less food than normal
- refusing to eat at all
- less interested in treats and snack time
- Unable to eat even when interested.
Just like humans, psychological trauma causes lost weight in dogs. They might be too depressed or anxiety to eat. Such situations can be triggered by change of environment or routine and loss of a family member. Nevertheless, your dog won’t feed when in an uncomfortable environment, further contributing to a sudden decline in weight.
Diseases can affect your dog’s metabolism and lead to losing weight. Illnesses such as diabetes (common in senior dogs) affect the body’s insulin intake, which in turn affects the dog’s ability to store body fat. Furthermore, illnesses affecting vital organs that provides crucial nutrients to your dog’s body, such as the liver, can have major effect on your dog’s ability to gain weight. Respiratory diseases in some dogs may also affect their feeding patterns.
Poor feeding habits
If your dog has a change in his feed habits, he might experience a drop in weight. If a dog takes less calories than what the body requires, he might not gain healthy weight or may begin to shade some. Poor feeding habits may result from:
- Being less interested in the type of dog food given
- Fighting for food with other dogs in the pack
- Feeding fewer times than usual
- Receiving a low amount of food
- Feeding on spoiled or deteriorated food
- Being issued too many treats before meal time
- Feeding on table leftovers instead of designated dog food
- Recent vaccinations
A dog severely infested with parasites can experience sudden weight loss. For instance, intestinal worms such as tapeworms can deprive your dog nutrients making him become malnourished. For this reason, it is wise to deworm your dog after a couple of months.
Dental health issues
If your dog has some missing teeth or has a mouth ulcer, feeding will generally become hard contributing to his drastic loss of weight. In such cases, the veterinary needs to administer some antibiotics to clear of the irritation for feed to resume back to normal.
Dogs also experience hormonal imbalance due to thyroid problems. The problem manifests itself as high metabolism resulting in a drastic drop in weight. Luckily, when detected early, thyroid problems can be managed easily.
It goes without saying a pregnant dog is eating for two or more, so chances of losing weight are high especially if the diet is not increased and nutritious. It is best to take your dog to the vet to find out if your dog is truly pregnant or not. In such a case, the vet will advise you on a diet that is packed with nutritional value and is good for your expectant dog.
Indigestion due to stomach blockage
If your dog accidentally ingests something that’s non-biodegradable, he or she is likely to experience some stomach upset leading to loss of appetite. It is best to take your dog for an X-ray or ultra-scan if you are suspicious this might be the reason for his sudden loss of weight.
Once you have identified the cause of your dog’s lost weight, you can now begin to look into ways to help them meet an ideal weight and resolve any health issues of your beloved dog. Here are a few steps to take when fattening your dog.
Ways of fattening your dog
When it comes to food, dogs are pretty much the same as humans. These omnivorous creatures just like us, live on a variety of foods – meat, vegetables and grains – all summed up in one dog’s meal.
Dogs require a balanced diet packet with natures treats – vitamins, carbohydrates and proteins. Such a moderately sized meal will fuel your dog’s activities unlike an overindulgent diet that expands his or her waistline while putting your dog at risk of lifestyle diseases like diabetes. Nevertheless, when fattening a malnourished dog, his or her diet has to be different from a regularly sized breed. But have in mind that, how much you feed your dog is dependent on three things:
- Ideal weight
- Activity level
Take for example a young German shepherd needs a lot of exercise, and that means a whole load in his plate to keep him going unlike a tiny Chihuahua more accustomed to spending her day on your lap rather than building up a huge appetite.
So, what exactly constitutes to a balanced diet for your fattening dog? Well, a dog’s diet should be based on his nutritional level and needs. It is important to calculate the number of calories your dog takes in order to know when to increase or decrease in case he or she isn’t gaining weight. At times that might mean changing his whole diet and increasing feeding time hours.
Remember to feed the right type of dog food such as more of proteins and less of filler foods such as grains. Fat and oils are great place to start if you are looking to fatten your canine buddy. Your vet can also give expert advice on what constitutes to a healthy balanced diet for your fattening dog and one that is also friendly to your pocket.
When it comes to the type of diet your fattening dog needs, here are a couple of things you need to consider:
- Compare what you have been feeding your dog to the recommended amount.
- For certain breeds, like German Shepard, go online and research on the proper type of dog food you should be giving them.
- Depending on how much you need your dog to gain from his diet, decide on how much food allowance to increase.
- If your dog is not responding positively to his old diet, you might switch things up with a more nutritious one.
- In case your dog is expectant, make sure to increase her plate portion with a more balanced diet as recommended by the doctor.
- Try increasing the number of times you feed your dog.
- Introduce the use of corn oil that will help your dog with digestion and rejuvenating your dog’s coat.
- Have a dietary dairy where you indicate your dog’s weight gaining process.
Regular deworming and retrovirus examination
Worms are common among dogs. However, they tend to cause havoc on your dog’s ability to add weight. As a pet owner, it is wise to regularly deworm your dog and not necessarily when his feeding habits change. Remember worms, deprive your dog nutrients that nourish his or her body. Extremely thin dogs tend to be victims of intestinal worms. If you have such a severe case of an underweight dog, it is wise to first visit the vet for a deworming examination before changing or increasing the diet pattern. Furthermore, performing retrovirus examination on your dog can help your dog in early diagnosis of potential aliments that may impede your dog’s ability to gain weight.
Issuing of Supplementary Pills
Just like in humans, supplementary pills are packet with vitamins that strengthen your dog’s immunity bettering his chances of gaining weight. The active ingredients present in each pill vary. Many dog weight gain supplements are full of vitamins and minerals essential to the growth of your dog’s body. Most supplements are effective in stimulating appetite and encourage the pet to consume dog food especially after sickness or trauma.
As a dog owner, you should read and follow the packaging instructions before issuing any supplements to the dog. Furthermore, it’s best to discuss with your vet, which nutritional supplements best suits your dog’s breed. In addition to weight gain supplements, it’s important to exercise dog to keep his or her joints supple. Since diet and exercise are crucial for good health, dog owners should make sure their pup gets a healthy diet and settle for only high quality dog food products.
Some of the locally available weight gain supplements for canines include:
- New Mark and Chappell Nurish UM paste
- Tomlyn NutriCal
- Full Petential Ultra-Premium Probiotic Supplement
Exercising more often
Exercising your dog is beneficial if you are looking to fattening him up. It may seem counterproductive to recommend it for your fattening dog. After all, exercise is meant to burn calories, right? Exercise helps build muscle if you have an underweight dog, which adds bulk to his general body weight. Plus, the engaging activity increases your dog’s appetite.
As you gradually increase your dog’s diet, also increase his exercise as well. Remember sore muscles are discomforting to everyone. But if your dog has been exercising regularly, consult your veterinarian how much your dog needs to do, then slowly increase it.
Observing proper hygiene standards
It may not seem much but improving your dog’s hygiene standard can help in attaining your weight gain goals. When your dog has poor hygiene he or she is prone to diseases and infections that may cause your dog to lose weight. By tiding up the house with a little bit of regular dog grooming, you can avoid some of the trips to the vet’s office. Furthermore, you will prevent the breed of parasitizes such as flees, ticks or even worms that attack both you and your dog.
In addition, issuing dog food in a hygienic standard also helps with proper digestion of food. Avoid giving your dog table leftovers by sticking with his or her appropriate diet plan. This in the long run will keep more money in your pocket as well as make sure the general health of your dog is taken care of. After all, no one likes a dirty malnourished dog even if it is the cuties poodle.
Benefits of fattening your dog
Once your dog has gained the right amount of weight there are some benefits he stands to gain from his newly acquired weight. They include:
- Protection against anorexia. Thin dogs a likely to become anorexic.
- Better absorption and retention of body nutrients.
- Improved functioning of body organs such as the liver, large intestines and other vital organs.
- Better blood circulation in the body.
- More resistant to ailments such respiratory diseases.
- Helps in the stability of your dog.
- More admiration and appreciation for family members and the public at large.
- Live a more longer active life.
- Reduces chances of developing dementia in senior dogs.
- Improves physical appearance of your dog.
Before fattening your dog, you need to figure out the cause of his lost weight. It might be his genes, but many a times ailments can cause the loss of appetite. If it’s a case of sensitive stomach, read our post about the best dog foods for sensitive stomachs. Whichever the case, it is important to consult a veterinary doctor to find out the root cause of things and who best to stop it from worsening. Even though the process of fattening your dog may be exhausting, the results are much rewarding – you get to have a happy, healthier dog.