Is your dog eating but not gaining weight? This can be a scare to any pet parent. Underweight can become a health problem if not corrected on time. Get to know what causes, and how to get your dog to gain weight fast.
- 1 Why is my dog underweight?
- 2 How do you tell if your dog is underweight?
- 3 How to get a dog to gain weight fast
Why is my dog underweight?
Underweight dogs can appear so skinny, weak and not healthy, their ribs and other bones can visibly be seen from a distance. Although some breeds appear small in body size, the ideal way to tell if your dog has insufficient body weight is to visit a veterinarian. Any rapid weight loss should be monitored and be reinstated as soon as possible. Here are the reasons why your canine could not be having enough weight:-
- Under nutrition
- Parasites (external & internal)
- Mouth and teeth problems
- Diseases and conditions
- Side effects of medications
- Stress and lack of exercises
A dog can rapidly lose weight if consuming diet that does not have a proper content of nutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Underweight can also happen when the food does not meet a dietary need in relative to their body sizes. An example is a case where food for small dog breed is fed to a large or medium sized breed.
The amount of food you give or the number of times per day you feed your canine is also a major weight factor. Frequent meals within the day sustain good health and weight unlike one or two.
Sometimes when you change a diet, it may take time before your pup likes it. In the meantime try to feed the previous diet as you introduce the new one slowly by slowly.
If you have problems deciding how and what to feed a dog, visit a vet who will be able to give you a schedule and recommend the best diet.
Both internal and external parasites are a great health risk. They include intestinal worms, fleas, ticks and mites among others. Parasites feed on the host blood and they leave them with infections, stress and discomfort.
Underweight could be a sign that your pet is having such dependents. Parasites are also capable of causing other secondary infections that might also affect the health of your dog. See your vet to arrange on deworming and controlling of other external parasites.
Mouth and Dental Issues
Mouth injury or lesions could be a reason why your dog is not eating. Teething in young dogs is also a main problem. Dogs under this stage experience a lot of pain caused by teething and mostly that will make them not to want food.
Inflammation of gums, broken or abscessed tooth caused by an infection can be a problem to any dog. Signs of this include dog breath smelling bad, rapid weight loss and writhing in pain. Inform or visit a vet immediately who may offer any help.
Diseases and Conditions
Many diseases and conditions can make your dog weak and underweight. Diabetes is one condition that affect many old dogs. The shortage of insulin in the body leads to lack of sufficient energy supply into the cells thus drawing much from fats and muscles.
Cancer, arthritis pulmonary conditions, liver and kidney diseases are also a big health threat. Dogs with such conditions need special care, checkups and treatments from a vet.
Side effects of medications
Dogs with certain conditions and diseases are put on strong medications for quite a long time. One of the major side effect is loss of appetite for almost the entire period of time. This can also happen after a strong vaccination.
If this happens you should inform a vet on time so that he can either change the prescription or recommend the right supplements. While on medication, a dog should be offered nutritional treats and other delicious meals.
Stress and lack of exercises
Dogs also have their own reasons of getting stressed or becoming anxious. Staying indoors for too long, getting bored and lack of exercises can negatively affect your dog mentally and physically. Parasites can also rob the happiness of your dog and leave her stressed.
One way of controlling dog stress and anxiety is change of environment and some vigorous exercises. Introduce toys, dog walking and playing. Stressed dog doesn’t eat and sleep well hence a high possibility growing underweight.
How do you tell if your dog is underweight?
If you look at your dog and see their ribs and pelvis sticking out, then it is obvious they are underweight. For dogs with long hair or fur, running your hand on their body will feel their skeleton. Matted coat is also a sign of not having enough weight.
Dogs that are underweight have less energy and in most cases will avoid engaging in exercises or other physical activities. When you discover this in your dog, you need to talk to a veterinarian for diagnosis and lifestyle recommendations that can help to regain weight.
Test and diagnosis by a veterinarian will reveal the exact cause of the problem and a solution will be provided. If the underweight is attributed to an illness, a vet will begin by a medical treatment and upon recovery your dog will resume normal feeding habits.
While your dog is under medication or in the recovery process, you are advised to avoid forcing him or her to eat a lot more than normal. This will be overloading the already sensitive digestive system and it could result to other complications such as stomach upset, vomiting and diarrhea.
Dogs recovering from surgery or illness will have little or no appetite, you will have to provide foods that are highly delicious and nutritious. Proteins and high fat diet in most cases does the trick.
How to get a dog to gain weight fast
A vet may also recommend the following as a way of bringing back healthy weight:-
1. Provide a high quality diet
High quality dog food has plenty of protein, minerals, vitamins and fats. They are the best for an underweight dog. Fats and proteins are great for weight gain. After reading instructions on the quantity of food to offer, you can arrange to increase it by a little amount.
2. Offer food in small quantities throughout the day
After settling on the amount to offer per day, split into small quantities and offer after every two or three hours throughout the day. The small meals will be perfectly digested and nutrients and energy will be supplied constantly. You should also provide nutritional dog treats throughout the day as this will encourage eating.
3. Add water on the list
Dehydration can also cause underweight in dogs. Water plays a very important role in body cell functioning. Insufficient water in the body can affect the animal’s health so badly. Let your dog have access to fresh water directly and by adding it to dried food.
4. Introduce a different type of food
If the weight is not responding, try to introduce a different type of high quality food. This may require advice from a vet. The new food should be highly nutritious with high levels of proteins and fats. Perhaps your dog is not enjoying the current meals and changing to a different type might work.
5. Foods for underweight dogs
There are plenty of foods for underweight dogs that can easily replenish any lost nutrients. They are loaded with proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in the right proportions for a fast weight gain.
Raw dog food diets also helps in instant weight gain. The food is not heavily processed and is easily digestible. Raw dog food can be offered as the main meal or you can use to supplement your dog’s kibble.
Best food for underweight dogs should include the following attributes:-
- Should have a higher calorie value
- Contain at least 20% to 30% proteins
- Made from unprocessed real meats
- Has no artificial flavors or colors
- Can either be grain free or whole grain
- Should include a variety of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and omega fatty acids.
Always determine your dog’s average weight and keep a record of the amount of food he or she eats. This will help you track the weight and eating habits of your canine. It therefore becomes easy to know when your dog underweight problems begin and you can stage a solution on time.