Dogs often face the issue of obesity, and about 60% of the dogs around the world are either obese or overweight. To make this situation worse, about 80% of the dog owners having obese dogs think that their dog is healthy. At the same time, many dogs suffer from malnutrition for various reasons or are naturally thin. Therefore, the need to weigh depends on many factors that arise from one question: Is my dog overweight or underweight? and how to fatten up a dog in healthy ways.
How to Tell If Your Dog is Overweight Or Underweight?
The Hand Test: This is the most straightforward test to understand if your dog is healthy or overweight. This test requires nothing but your hands. All you need to do is to feel your dog’s ribs with the tips of your fingers just behind their front legs, i.e. running your fingers back and forth around their chest region to see how easily you can feel their ribs. You should be feeling as if your fingers are running at the top and back of your hand.
These are their ribs touching your hands without any pressure, and ideally, you should be able to count them individually. Instead, if you are feeling your knuckle touching the back of your hand, this can indicate that your dog is underweight. If the touch feels like your palm region and you cannot count the ribs, it means that your dog is too heavy. This is the most popular scenario.
Reasons Why is My Dog Underweight?
There should be a minimum fat coverage on your pet’s ribs. If their ribs are easily visible or too protruding due to the absence of healthy fat and loss of muscle mass, it can indicate that your dog is underweight. Ever questioned yourself how heavy should my dog be and is my pet is too skinny. Here some of the reason to know is your dog is underweight or not.
A dog’s weight depends a lot on genetics and the breed. For example, a Labrador Retriever is supposed to be healthy, but they not turn out to be thin and short. Because of their genetics, their body structure and shape will affect their ancestors.
#2 Medical Condition
At times, weight loss could signify that your dog suffers from an illness. If the weight loss is sudden, it should be more alarming. Weight loss can also result from the side effects of the under medications. If your dog is under certain medications, you should consult with your vet whether you have to increase their caloric intake.
Frequently, your dog has roundworms that feed off their nutrition intake. This means that your dog’s body does not get the full nutritional benefits from the food they eat. Moreover as a large part of the nutrition is taken by these worms in their stomach.
#4 Too Energetic
If your dog is too active, hoping and playing around almost throughout the day, they need more calorie intake than an average adult dog. If you serve them the exact proportions of food as any other dog of their breed would need, they tend to get underweight over time.
If your dog is pregnant, its caloric demands will always increase. So if you keep feeding them the same proportion of food you used before they were pregnant, they would most likely turn out to be underweight.
#6 Stress & Anxiety
This phenomenon is similar to humans losing weight when stressed or anxious. Dogs tend to stress out from loud machine noises, the sounds of the ongoing vehicles, firecrackers, etc. You need to find the cause behind their stress and eliminate it or take measures to make your dog feel safer. A dog with disturbed mental health will not put on weight, no matter how much you feed them.
How to Fatten Up a Dog? – 6 Simple Ways
The first and the most important one to put on weight if your dog is thin is to get them to the vet for deworming. If your vet rules out the possibilities of roundworms infesting their stomach after checking their stool sample, you can try out other best Dewormers for dogs.
#2 Maintain a record
Dog weight calculator, yes, If you give measured food and maintain a record of their calorie intake, you will have a better idea of what to do if they lose weight or gain it. Naturally, you are supposed to increase the food proportion when they lose weight and vice versa. However, while increasing the portion of food, make sure that you don’t overdo it because it can often lead to gastric imbalances arising from a sudden change in food intake.
#3 Healthy diet
The best diet for dogs should contain animal protein and healthy fats with little fruits and vegetables for vitamins and fibres. Giving your dog a protein and fat-rich diet will help them grow body mass over time. You can also experiment with new food, especially dog foods, but the transition from old food to a new one should not be too fast.
#4 Feed them throughout the day
You know how many times a day should a dog eat? Try feeding your pet smaller meals. That will keep their digestion going on, and they will be receiving nutrients for the whole day before they go to sleep. Also, spreading the diet into smaller parts helps neutralize too much calorie burn due to exercising, which brings us to our following method.
#5 Fix a particular time for exercise
Your dog playing too often can mean burning excessive calories. If you set a specific time when they are supposed to play, combined with frequent small portioned meals, your dog will be able to put on weight faster.
#6 Make the food more delicious
How to put weight on a dog? Make sure feed homemade dog food for your pets. As canines don’t like canned or packaged food at times. This is because you cannot feed them the typical oily food you consume. The best alternative to human foods to fatten up a dog is chicken or meat broth. To make the food delicious, you can add broth which is tasty and equally healthy. That way, you can get your dog to eat something and put on weight.
People often tend to share their food with their dogs. This is a bad habit in that your food is terrible for both your dog’s heart and weight. For example, deep-fried food or chocolates are awful for his heart, making a dog prone to heart attacks. In addition, these food do not get properly digested and accumulate as fat mass. So it is not the healthy fat that your dogs need instead, and this is that kind of fat that can make your dog overweight.
Eggs are rich in protein and are suitable for your dog if you don’t overdo them. However, while egg whites can be given in higher quantities, high quantities of the egg yolk could increase the cholesterol level. Hence, feeding them moderate amounts of egg yolk and high amounts of egg whites is recommended.
Red meat, which is more affordable, is considered healthy for your dog, mainly because it doesn’t affect them the way red meat affects humans. In addition, beef is rich in protein and fats, and it could prove to be effective for your underweight dog.
Organs like liver, kidney and so on are often avoided by humans for meals but can prove to be an excellent source of energy and nutrients for dogs. Especially the liver, which is very rich in nutrients.
Animal protein is very important for dogs, but that does not mean you have to feed them chicken and fish for every meal. There are other healthy alternatives to put on some weight like Sweet Potato, Pumpkin Seeds, Cottage Cheese, etc. Also, you can add rice to their meals and the protein source before playtime, as rice can provide them with the necessary energy they need to exercise.
The Final Words
It is very important to assess if your dog is underweight and thin before you take measures for them to put on weight. Although many dog breeds are supposed to be skinny and not always have to be overweight. Consider having a word with your vet or an expert before taking measures to opt for healthy ways to gain weight.