How to Help Your Dog Gain Weight

An ideal body condition is essential to support a dog’s health. While it’s more common for dogs to need to lose pounds to achieve a healthy weight, some dogs need to gain them.

A dog could be underweight for a variety of reasons. He may be recovering from an illness or injury, a recently adopted former stray, or simply a picky eater. With special care and nutrition, like dog food for weight gain, these dogs can get back to a healthy weight, supporting happiness and vitality.

So, how can you tell if your dog is underweight? The most obvious way is to look at the prominence of his bones. Can you see your dog’s ribs, spine and pelvic bones with no evidence of fat? Does your dog have low energy? Has his coat lost its shine? If so, he could be underweight and in need of increased nourishment. Visit your veterinarian right away to determine whether there’s a medical cause for his low weight.

After your veterinarian confirms that your dog’s low weight is not due to a medical problem, you can begin to help your dog achieve a healthy weight. First, add more calories to his diet. The best formulas of dog food to gain weight have high levels of calories and protein. Consider switching to a dog food like Purina ONE® SmartBlend® True Instinct Nutrient-Dense Adult Formulas, which have 30% protein, 17% fat and real meat as the #1 ingredient.

Next, give your dog more opportunities to eat throughout the day, so he’s sure to get the calories he needs. Following the feeding guidelines on the package, divide up his daily feeding amount into small meals fed throughout the day. For example, if you normally feed two large meals a day, offer him four smaller meals instead. You can also try leaving the daily serving of dry food out all day, allowing your dog to eat whenever he’s hungry. This tends to work best with dogs that have smaller appetites. Dogs that quickly gobble up their food could eat too much at once and experience digestive upset. Also, this method only works with dry kibble, as wet dog food will spoil if left out all day.

If your dog is a picky eater, try enticing him with a wet food topper. Simply add a scoop of wet or canned food to his dry kibble for a boost of flavor and moisture – and some extra calories! If he still refuses the food, you may need to switch to a different formula of dog food for gaining weight.

Your veterinarian may suggest feeding more than the recommended amount on the package until your dog reaches a healthy weight. At that point, cut back to the feeding amount recommended for maintenance. You can continue to feed the high-protein dog food for weight gain after your dog has achieved a healthy weight, as long as your dog is active and gets plenty of exercise. Continue to monitor your dog’s weight regularly, and see your veterinarian if the weight loss persists.  

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