We often think and picture our dogs as overweight rather than underweight. There’s an existing stereotype among dog owners that their furry buddies are likely to get obese rather than become malnourished. But then again, the possibility of having an underweight dog does exist. It’s also as pressing as an issue to that of obesity.
Weight loss in dogs is a serious issue, and it usually has something to do with how and what you feed your canine friend. Unhealthy weight loss is as dangerous as the more common health issues in pets like diabetes. Fortunately, you can do something to help your pooch recover and eventually gain weight.
Quick Picks: The Top-Rated Dog Food for Weight Gain
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Causes of Weight Loss in Dogs
Many cases of weight loss in dogs aren’t a cause for concern. Nevertheless, there are signs that your pup’s sudden loss of weight is no longer “normal.” Loss in weight that exceeds 10% of the average body weight is what is considered by veterinarians as “clinically significant.” It happens when the animal’s caloric intake is considerably lower than the amount of calorie it burns.
This is the same explanation you get from experts when they tell you that a hunting or working dog breed requires a higher calorie diet compared to a puppy or a toy poodle.
Any of the following causes a clinically significant weight loss in dogs:
- Low quality and imbalanced diet
- Issues related to the digestive system
- Stomach-linked conditions like diarrhea and vomiting
- Anorexia and stress
- Dental issues that prevent the dog from eating well
- Exposure to frigid temperatures
If the cause of weight loss in your dog is an underlying condition, the best course of action is to take your buddy to the vet right away. You never can remedy it with increased feeding or changing its food. The condition must be treated first for the dog to return to its healthy eating habits.
If the reason why your dog is underweight is a low-quality diet, then intervention is possible. Your job as the owner is to learn which types of food can help in weight gain.
Types of Food for Weight Gain
PetMD identified three critical parameters in determining the ideal food for weight gain in dogs. So, there is more to what you feed your pup than just being tasty and healthy. Before you start your search for a dog food option to help your dog gain weight, be sure to consider these things first:
The best dog foods for weight gain are those that taste great. Don’t get too overwhelmed by the possible serious cause for your dog not eating right. After all, it just might be a case of your buddy disliking the food.
Wet food is a sensible option when you need the dog to gain its appetite gradually. In other words, if your dog doesn’t like eating, then you’ll have much better success if you feed it with wet food with an excellent or favorable taste.
Put in the effort to make homemade dog food because you have control over what to incorporate in it. It also means you can improve its taste based on what you know about your dog’s preferences. Some owners even go the extra mile by consulting a veterinary nutritionist to help them feed their buddies with balanced and tasty food.
PetMD adds that digestibility is as crucial as the taste of the dog food. It refers to the measurement of how much food the dog ingests in its system compared to the amount converted to waste. So, a highly digestible dog food variety is something that offers high nutritional value even in small quantities.
Vets recommend calorie-dense food for underweight dogs because they don’t have to eat a lot to get the needed calories. Fortunately, every dog food product comes with a label where you can get the information you need about its caloric density. Choose a variety that contains a lot of fat and protein instead of carbohydrates. High-fat dog food has more calories than those made from base ingredients rich in carbohydrates.
5 Best Dog Foods for Weight Gain
You sure will see a massive improvement in your dog with this product’s high concentration of protein and fat. The manufacturer claims that the formula contains 32% protein and 22% fat, which by far is one of the highest percentages we’ve seen for a dry food variety.
This dog food contains a combination of chicken and pork meat designed to help your pet build its muscles and put on some weight. Aside from the rich protein sources, it also contains probiotics, vitamins, and minerals. It has ingredients for improving digestive health, i.e., cranberries, pumpkin, and oatmeal.
- An impressive combination of protein sources
- Low in carbohydrates
- Made for dogs that must gain weight fast
- Reasonably priced product
- Contains a controversial additive called menadione
The Bully Max Premium Dog Food is a meat-based product that contains at least 30% more protein than its counterparts. It is a highly feasible option for underweight dogs that need help in gaining weight and improving health. One cup of this dog food contains over 500 calories, which says a lot about its potential not just to add weight but also provide energy.
One of the sales pitches for the product is that it doesn’t have any artificial flavoring or preservatives. It is a highly recommended alternative for a dog with sensitivity to certain additives in canned food. If your dog has some digestive issues and allergies, this one is a reasonable proposition.
- Contains one of the highest protein concentrations
- Packed with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins
- No additives or preservatives
- Quite expensive when equated to other products in the list
This dry variety of dog food gets its protein source from fish, specifically white fish and salmon. This makes it a premium alternative to the more affordable competitors with chicken, beef, or pork ingredients. It is also inimitable in a way that it doesn’t contain any grains but still retains the carbohydrate component in the form of peas.
The idea behind the CRAVE grain-free dog food is to emulate the natural diet of a dog, which means that it is also filled with the essential vitamins and minerals. If you hope that your dog regain its healthy weight but hopes to avoid artificial flavor, preservatives, and grain, then the CRAVE Adult Dry Dog Food is an excellent option.
- Premium source of protein
- Uses vegetable as a source of carbohydrates instead of grains
- Zero presence of additives and preservatives
- Contains the least number of calories per cup in this list
Purina is no stranger to dog nutrition, and this high protein dog food is one of the best solutions for weight problems in pets. This product is specially formulated for physically active and large dog breeds. The formula is highlighted by 30% protein content and 20% fat, which is the ideal ratio for a dog with an aggressive metabolism and active lifestyle.
Although the Purina Pro Plan Dog Food is marketed as food for sporting dogs, it is also a recommended solution for underweight and malnourished pups. The high protein and fat contents help in building muscle and adding weight. Overall, it provides balanced nutrition that a skinny dog is in desperate need of.
- Contains 100% all-natural ingredients
- Feedback on the taste is generally positive
- Multiple sources of protein
- American-made product
- Does not contain as many calories compared to some of the products in this list
- Contains animal by-products
If what you’re looking for is a complete meal for a dog that needs to gain weight, then this product should have enough in its sleeves to provide a solution. With chicken as its primary protein source, Nature’s Logic Dog Food offers quite a diverse selection of ingredients. It has fruits and vegetables to guarantee the presence of vitamins and minerals.
Unlike some similarly priced dog food for weight gain, this one doesn’t contain any trace of chemicals and preservatives. Although the taste isn’t as premium compared to some of the products in this list, it’s because it relies on natural flavors. It also doesn’t have any high carbohydrate or sugar content. You don’t see fillers like potato, wheat, and corn.
- Contains a whopping 400 calories in a cup
- Natural source of vitamins and minerals
- No artificial flavor
- On the expensive side
- Not suitable for dogs with allergies to poultry-based products
Choosing the best dog foods for weight gain depends on a bevy of factors. One product may be perfect for your pooch buy may not be ideal for another. Your job as a caring responsible master is to figure out your canine buddy’s specific needs and preferences. You can’t force Fido to munch on something pricey if he doesn’t like the taste. So, it’s basically “trial and error.” At least, you now have a list of products to consider.