How To Tell If Your Dog Is A Healthy Weight
All breeds have a healthy weight range, and you can refer to a breed weight chart for a quick reference point. The trouble with this type of table is that many of our beloved pooches are mixed breeds, so that information isnt all that useful or accurate.
A better way to measure your dogs weight is body condition scoring. Its easy, applies to all breeds, and doesnt require any special equipment. Basically, you feel and look at your dogs body from multiple angles and then compare their profile to a scoring chart . Follow these three steps :
Then, compare your dog to the chart below.
If your dog is a healthy weight, their ribs should be barely visible or not at all, and you should be able to feel their ribs without too much of a fat covering. Their abdomen should be tucked up toward their pelvis and their waist should have an hourglass shape.
Taste Of The Wild High Prairie Grain
A great tasting complement to the dry Taste of the Wild formulas, the High Prairie Canine Formula in Gravy will satisfy even the most finicky dogs. A complete and balanced formula, this canned food can also be fed as your dogs sole diet. It contains bison, venison, and lamb for a blend of quality animal protein sources to meet the needs of your special pet. Peas and potatoes are excellent sources of nutrients but also are highly digestible carbohydrate sources. Tomatoes, blueberries, and raspberries are also antioxidant powerhouses.
Weigh Your Dog Regularly
Most weight loss programs for people recommend weekly weigh-ins, and the same applies to your canine. Weekly weigh-ins are an excellent tool because they allow you to clearly chart any gains, losses, or weight maintenance over time.
Keep in mind that weighing more often whether its every day or Monday, Wednesday, Friday wont help and will likely drive you crazy. Weight-building programs take time to take effect and holding a microscope to your dog wont help. If you weigh in too often, youll start focusing on every calorie or play session, and thats not healthy for you or your dog. Weekly weigh-ins are fine.
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Tips For Helping An Underweight Dog Gain Weight
If your veterinarian is able to diagnose the underlying cause of your dogs weight loss, they will also be able to tell you how to treat it. In addition to medical treatment, however, many dogs can benefit from a high-calorie diet to support weight gain as well as other changes to their diet and lifestyle.
Here are some additional tips to help an underweight dog gain weight:
- Improve the quality of your dogs diet to increase digestibility and nutrient absorption.
- Feed your dog small meals three or four times a day instead of larger meals twice a day.
- Encourage your dog to exercise as much as is safeit will help him build muscle and strength while also increasing his appetite.
- Switch to a wet food formula or use a meal topper to make your dogs food more appealing.
- Feed your dog small amounts of high-calorie snacks such as cooked beef and cooked eggs throughout the day.
Helping your dog gain weight may involve more than simply increasing the amount of food you give him. His diet still needs to be nutritionally balanced and formulated to help him gain lean muscle instead of just fat.
Keep reading to see our top picks for the best dog foods for weight gain.
Does My Dog Need Vitamins
Yes. Your fur baby needs them more than you may know.
An excellent vitamin and mineral supplement is actually ESSENTIAL for dogs eating homemade dog food, because even the highest quality, human grade food won’t deliver the exact blend of vitamins and minerals canines need to thrive.
Our homemade dog food recipes with vitamins and supplements have been scientifically developed to meet AFFCOs standards, make your homemade dog food nutritionally complete, and will provide your dogs body with the nourishment s/he craves, so you can live your best life together!
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Purinapro Plan 30/20 Sport High Protein
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Corn Gluten Meal, 3. Brewers Rice, 4. Animal Fat Preserved with Mixed-Tocopherols, 5. Poultry By-Product Meal
A 30/20 formula is what vets would generally recommend for dogs that need to gain some weight quickly. Purina Pro Plan Sport is one of my personal favorites when it comes to high-energy high-calorie formulas. It has real chicken as the first ingredient, followed by corn gluten, brewers rice, and animal fat. There is no way any dog cant gain a few good pounds within a few days on this diet.
Aside from weight, Pro Plan Sports is formulated to increase strength and endurance. That makes it an ideal formula for a dog recovering from sickness. It also has plenty of antioxidants to help your dogs immune system recover and get stronger.
Use Weight Gain Snacks
As weve mentioned, quality and quantity of food is key to helping your pooch add much-needed weight. Weight-gain snacks can be very helpful to supplement your dogs meals. They add novelty and variety to their diet so they keep eating consistently .
These types of snacks are designed to be nutrient-dense, with ingredients that keep your dog feeling energized and reduce side effects of weight loss. That said, be mindful of calorie count and pay attention to the suggested age group so your pet isnt getting too much or too little. Well go over some of the best weight-gain foods and snacks in the next section.
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Higher Protein Or Higher Fat Food
Anybody who has ever raised a puppy will know how essential higher fat and protein foods are. Fat and protein help young dogs grow and develop and are crucial for puppies to advance into adulthood healthily. While these foods can be more expensive than regular dog food, every bite is worth it! High protein and fat foods are great for dogs who need to gain weight. Feeding your dog a diet higher in fat and protein, which will help your dog gain weight steadily over time. Foods high in protein and fat will help your dog healthily put on weight, and you should notice a weight increase in just a couple of weeks. If you can find a dog food with a higher protein percentage, you can add it in right away to the meat protein you feed your dog. If you need to switch meat proteins for a higher nutrient food, first experiment with a little bit of the new food in your dogs original diet to prevent an upset stomach.
Begin with 90% old food and 10% new food, and keep increasing the proportion of fresh food every day until you reach 100% new food. It may take 10-14 days to transition, and your dog may still have an upset stomach for a few weeks. A certain amount of stomach upset is expected during a transitory period, but if you have any concerns, make sure to check with the vet.
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Useful Tips For Healthy Dog Weight Gain
Before you decide to help your dog gain weight, you must determine if its necessary to do so. You should pay close attention to their physical appearance and disposition.
If their ribs can be seen and felt easily, and their waistline curves more to one side, then your dog is most likely underweight and would need to gain more weight. To assess your dog, place your thumbs on their spine and flatten your palm over their ribcage. A dog with a healthy weight would have their ribs felt just enough under their coat and skin. Another way is overhead inspection. A healthy dog would have an hourglass figure as you look at their body from above. If you can see your dogs ribs individually and that their waist is narrower than their ribcage, then theyre underweight. Showing low signs of energy and lack of shine in their coat are also good indicators of necessary dog weight gain.
Dog weight gain is especially important to monitor after your dog goes through an illness. Their digestive system will be sensitive enough to not be able to function as well as they normally would. Their normal feeding portions might be a cause for overloading their digestive system resulting in an upset stomach, vomiting, or diarrhea.
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How To Help A Puppy Gain Weight
One common cause of underweight puppies and lack of weight gain is due to the puppys overall caloric intake. To avoid any problems, it is best to discuss your dogs individual calorie requirements with a vet. That way, you will be able to properly calculate the number of calories the pup needs.
Here we list and discuss the most appropriate strategies to help a puppy put on weight. Puppies arent yet regular eating dogs so having ups and downs is normal. However, witnessing an underweight puppy needs action from your part.
Natural Balance Lid Limited Ingredient Diets Dry Dog Food
This dry dog food is at a 26-lb. bag and comes with potato and duck as its combination recipe.
Since it is a single animal protein source, it can be ideal for dogs who want to gain weight yet dont want to have digestive upsets.
Duck is a good source of protein not just for gaining weight but also for muscle building in dogs.
The potato included in the formula can also help with your dogs carbohydrate intake, which can help them gain weight.
The included natural fiber could also help your dog digest the food they eat much easier.
This recipe has been without any artificial colors, flavors, and grain for your dogs convenience.
Things We Liked
- Also contains potatoes for carbohydrates
- No artificial flavors or colors
Things We Didnt Like
- The smell may be a bit off for some dogs and owners
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Higher Protein Or Fat Food
If youve ever welcomed a puppy into your home, you understand the importance of higher protein and fat foods. These nutrients aid in growth and development for young dogs, and are necessary for pups to advance into adulthood. These foods can be expensive, but are very worth it!
The same method can be used for dogs needing to gain weight. Using a higher protein and fat food will help your dog gain weight over a period of time. This method is used to aid your dog in weight gaining gradually. With higher protein and fat food, you will start to notice an increase in your dogs weight within a few weeks.
If you are able to find a higher protein percentage food, in the same meat protein that you are already feeding, you can start adding it right away! If you are required to switch meat proteins for more nutrients, mix a small amount of the new food in with your dogs old diet in order to prevent any stomach upset.
The formula is simple. Start with 10% new food and 90% old food, and increase the new food each day until you reach 100% new food. This may take 10-14 days, and your dog may still experience upset stomach for a few weeks after. This is normal, but you should consult your veterinarian if you have any concerns.
Whats The Normal Weight For Dogs
The normal weight for dogs varies depending on many factors: age, breed, and sex. Given that, every pet needs to be assessed by a professional in order to get an accurate diagnosis of their health and general well-being. There isnt one standard weight for every dog so dont feel too bad if they dont fall in what is considered to be the ideal range.
Check out the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention s chart on the ideal dog weight range.
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Natures Varietyinstinct Ultimate Protein Grain
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Duck, 2. Chicken, 3. Chicken Eggs, 4. Tapioca, 5. Ground Flaxseed
If you have a picky eater who loves poultry but doesnt gain pounds easily, Instinct Ultimate Protein by Natures Variety is a godsend. This formula is made from cage-free duck and real chicken meat and contains around 47 percent protein and 17 percent fat, which is a very high protein-to-fat ratio.
This raw recipe promises to provide your pup with all the essential nutrients from premium ingredients. Aside from that, there are ingredients to aid in the absorption of those nutrients. This way, you know that your baby is getting the most out of every meal.
First Why Is Your Dog Underweight
Helping your dog maintain a healthy weight is extremely important. It lets them live a longer, happier life, and a study by Banfield Pet Hospital showed that it could increase their lifespan by up to 2.5 years. Losing and gaining a couple pounds is normal, but there are some clear signs that a dog is underweight:
- Visible ribs, hips, shoulders, or tail bones
- Lower energy levels
- Poor eating habits
- Dull, dry, or shedding coat
These signs and symptoms are understandably worrisome, whether youve noticed a recent change in your dogs weight or your dog has always been thin. Lets walk through some of the most common reasons a dog might be losing weight:
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Crave Chicken Recipe Adult Dog Food
Dogs want the taste and nutrition of a diet rich in animal protein. Serve them a meal inspired by their ancestors diet with real meat, poultry or fish as the #1 ingredient. Made without soy or grains such as corn or wheat, this formula focuses on protein-rich diets for a lean, healthy body and energy to play. Its also made with no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. Rich in animal proteins, CRAVE Dry Dog Food is perfect for increasing your dogs energy and supporting strong, lean bodies. Mix CRAVE Dry and Wet Dog Foods together for another high-protein option your dog will wolf down as part of an ancestral diet.
Natures Logic Canine Chicken Meal Feast Dry Food
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken Meal, 2. Millet, 3. Chicken Fat, 4. Pumpkin Seed, 5. Yeast Culture
Chicken meal can pack more proteins than chicken meat. That is why I recommend chicken meal based recipes like Nature Logics Chicken Meal Feast for dogs who are underweight for any reason. This protein-packed recipe is free of gluten and common allergens.
Your friend will get a healthy dose of probiotic bacteria to help with digestion. Whats More: Each kibble is coated with digestive enzymes to make it perfectly suitable for sensitive stomachs.
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What To Look For In Dog Foods For Weight Gain
The most important things to look for when picking a dog food for healthy weight gain and muscle include the following three criteria:
- Provide a lot of calories. Typically, this means looking for a weight gain dog food that contains at least 400 calories per cup, and whenever possible youll want to look for foods with 500 calories per cup or more.
- Be full of protein. Most of the best dog foods for weight gain recipes have a protein content of 30% or more.
- Have plenty of fat. The extra fat will not only help your dog pack on a few extra pounds, but itll also help make the food taste better, which will encourage him to eat more.
But these arent the only things to look for when seeking a good weight gain dog food. Youll also want to make sure you select a food that provides all of the nutrition your dog needs.
Among other things, this means selecting a high-calorie dog food that satisfies the following criteria:
- Feature a whole protein at the top of the ingredient list
- Have plenty of omega-3 fatty acids to help keep your dogs coat healthy and reduce joint inflammation
- Have plenty of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables to keep your dogs immune system operating properly
- Be made in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or Western Europe
- Not contain any unidentified meat meals or meat byproducts
Fortunately, most high-quality brands do satisfy these requirements including the five we recommend below.
Common Reasons Behind Weight Loss In Dogs
Parasites Intestinal Parasites can cause weight loss in dogs. While most pets are on medicines to prevents parasites, some worms like heartworms and whipworms can survive protective drugs. Look for other symptoms such as vomiting, soft stool, or change in stool smell and color.
Teeth and Gum Diseases Sometimes, oral diseases are the sole reason behind loss of appetite and weight loss in dogs. If your dog cant chew properly, it wont be able to get the most out of its meal. Gum diseases can be painful and, if left untreated, can lead to tooth loss.
Kidney and Heart Disease A lot of dogs are susceptible to kidney diseases. If these diseases are left untreated, they can eventually lead to loss of appetite and weight loss. As for heart diseases, they are more common among older dogs.
Diabetes Diabetes can cause excessive and rapid weight loss in dogs. It is also because many dog foods for diabetic dogs are often low in calories. It is best to consult a vet and get a prescription food with a healthy balance of calories and nutrients.
Anxiety and Stress Separation anxiety or any form of mental stress can cause a dog to lose its appetite. It is important to keep your pet happy by spending valuable time with them. Take care of your furry friends by engaging them in social activities and exercise.
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