Having an underweight dog with you can be really stressful. For people who don’t value the wellness of their pets, yes, they won’t care. But for someone like me who truly loves Toy Maltese and German Shepherd, the first incentive will be on how to make my dog gain weight. Not that I’m ashamed people will be quick to judge but since my dog is part of my family and I can’t leave her unwell.
When it comes to rearing pets, a dog can be underweight for a couple of reasons. The majority of onlookers usually deduce it to be malnourishment but in some cases, it can be a medical issue troubling your canine. Just as with people, some dogs even tend to be naturally lean and perfectly healthy.
Anyways, before you jump to any conclusion, it’s of great benefit you know if your dog is underweight. Then, now you start thinking of what can be the cause (if underweight) and how you can prevent the condition in the future (if not underweight). One of the best ways of telling any of this is by determining the body condition score (BCS) of your dog.
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As of today, we’re going to use a BCS management tool developed by Nestlé Purina PetCare Company to help track the nutritional needs of your dog. The system uses a scale of 1 to 9, with the highest being very “overweight” and the least very “underweight”.
Body Condition Score (BCS) Of Your Dog.
Severely Underweight with Ribs, pelvic bones, lumbar vertebrae, and rest of bony prominences visible even from far. There’s no evident body fat or muscle mass
Thin, whereby you can easily see the lumbar vertebrae, ribs, and pelvic bones. There’s no noticeable fat and also you can see other bony prominences. The dog, nonetheless, has minimal loss of muscle mass.
Slightly Underweight, whereby you can easily feel the ribs after touching. The canine has no palpable fat and the tops of lumbar vertebrae can be seen. The waist and abdomen can be seen tucked up.
Ideal Weight: under this score, the ribs are easily palpable (can be felt) but the dog has negligible fat covering. The waist is visible (when you view from above) as well and the abdominal tucks.
Ideal Weight 2: if your dog is at this score, you’ll notice the ribs are palatable as well and there’ no excess fat covering. When you view your dog from above, you’ll see the waist behind the ribs. If you’re viewing from the side, you’ll notice the abdomen is tucked up.
Shows your dog with slight excess fat covering but you can still feel the ribs after touching. The waist is not prominent but you can discern it when you view your pooch from the above.
Slightly Overweight 2: Now the ribs will be palpable but with difficulty due to the heavy fat covering. You’ll even notice fat deposits around the lumbar area and at the base of the tail. At this point, the waist will be absent or barely visible but the abdominal may be present.
Markedly Overweight: the ribs are not palpable due to the very heavy fat cover and if you want to feel them, you’ll have to apply some pressure. You’ll notice heavy fat deposits at the base of the tail and around the lumbar area. You won’t be able to tell the waist and there would be abdominal distention with no tuck.
Obese: well, you’ll now notice massive fat deposits over thorax, spine, and base of the tail. You’ll also notice fat deposits on the neck area and limbs. You won’t be able to tell the waist of your dog and the abdomen will be distended.
In case your dog is under a score of 6 to 9, you truly might have some hard time, particularly if you’re new to dog-keeping. If the score is at the range of 1 to 3, nonetheless, bringing it at the ideal range (4 or 5) is very easy. Both animals and humans usually share this aspect of weight management, with it being easier to put on some pounds than to slim them down.
Does Your Dog Really Need to add Weight?
When it comes to determining the body condition score of your dog, it might become confusing at times. This comes as not all dogs that appear to be skinny are underweight. Some dog breeds like Italian Greyhound, Saluki, Whippet, or Chihuahua Italian Greyhound Mix might have a comparatively narrow waist. Yet, they’re at their healthiest since that is their gene definition. At this point, nothing will change their “normal” body formation unless you want to make your chubby.
Also, you need to understand that young dogs might look skinny while undergoing the lanky stage. This is where now you need to grasp a couple of aspects (if not all) that you need to focus on to support healthy growth and development.
If your dog is not under the lanky stage, some other reasons that might make him need to gain weight include:
Others Reasons Why Your Dog Might Need To Add Weight
- While Recovering from a certain health issue or injury which has made him lose some pounds.
- If your dog is actively involved in hiking, weight-carrying, and other tough activities. Active dogs usually need more food since they burn up a lot of calories each day. Failure to provide the needed amount of food leads to increased hunger, which later on can cause weight loss.
- Some elderly canines tend to have trouble eating due to old-age related conditions, such as dementia, dental issues, and sometimes digestion problems. So, you might need to provide extra care to maintain the ideal body condition score.
- A rescued malnourished dog might, as well, need to be catered for properly to get her back to a healthy weight.
- Just as with the young dogs, small dog breed usually consumes more calories to support their higher metabolism and to stay warm. As such, you might need to provide proper support to maintain your small pet’s healthy weight.
Tips on How to Help Your Dog Gain Weight
Once you discern your dog’s body condition score is in the range of 1 to 3 and she falls in any of the above 6 categories. You now need to help get that ideal weight.
Following is the best and healthy way you can help your dog gain weight:
Set a Goal
Yeah. Setting a goal weight for your pooch should be your very first step when it comes to solving the underweight problem. While doing it, though, you have to focus on your dog’s breed, size, and age. If not sure, you can even consult your veterinarian to tell you the ideal weight of your dog.
Develop a New Feeding Plan
After setting up the goal weight for your dog, you can now come up with a fine feeding schedule to use. If your Beagle eats twice a day (as many do), consider offering a smaller portion of the meal in the morning and larger in the evening. Similar to people who gain weight after eating before bed, your dog will store fat during sleep since he is not burning energy at that time.
Add an Extra Meal or Offer Small but Frequent Meals
Well, if you notice the two meals are not bringing fast outcomes as you had hoped, then, add another meal for the midday. If time allows you (or someone else) to be with your pet, you can give your dog more opportunities to eat throughout the day. This, actually, is one of the best-proven ways of enhancing weight gain in your pooch.
When it comes to allowing your dog to eat more, you can either divide the meals into four or five portions. Or else, leave a daily serving of dry kibble in the bowl to allow your dog to eat whenever he’s hungry.
Switch to Puppy Food
Um, this one can do great too! Puppy food usually has a high amount of calories to help encourage growth. So, it can really support your dog is gaining weight. To prevent your dog from developing a deeper taste of the food, you can try mixing her regular brand with that of the puppy.
Treats Can Fasten Weight Gain
The use of treats or snacks is a very good alternative for puppy food when it comes to adding extra calories to the diet of your dog. Nonetheless, the number of treats throughout the day should be minimal to prevent your dog from developing other behavioral or health concerns.
Remember To Exercise Your Dog:
In case you’re wondering, exercising your dog is not just for losing weight but building some pounds as well. In this one, though, you’ll be building muscle mass from the fat gained through the diet. Simple exercises like walking or jogging can help in improving your dog’s appetite.
Supplements Can Also Help
Supplements are only good for a rescue dog which is very malnourished or which is has been diagnosed lacking certain essential nutrients. The act involves the use of high-calorie supplements to give your dog more healthy calories alongside essential nutrients such as omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. A good example of these supplements is the Muscle Bully Puppy Naturals, which features all the essential nutrients to gain weight and ensure the optimal growth of your dog.
If your thin pocket won’t help it, you can get a high-calorie diet that will serve the nutritional needs of your dog, whilst treating the hunger.
High-Calories Dog Foods for Gaining Weight
If you look at the bag of this dog meal, you might think it’s all about exaggeration. Once you get it for your dog, though, you’ll truly yearn to share the outcomes with your friends and other dog owners. The diet has up to 3930 Kcal/ kg, with each cup harboring 535 calories.
Bully Max High Performance Super Premium Food comprises of real meat as the first ingredient. There is no wheat, corn, or soy, as well as artificial additives like flavors and preservatives. The dog meal is just premium and all-natural for robust growth. I recommend this is the best dog food for weight gain and also it was the best dog food for pitbull puppies to gain weight.
When it comes to growing the weight of your dog, you have to focus on a high-quality, high-protein diet all the time. A high-quality dog food like this one from PURINA Pro Plan usually comes with no filler (which has less nutritional value). The meal is primarily for puppies but it can help build the weight of your adult dog very fast.
Purina Pro Plan Dry Puppy Food has up to 28% of protein and 18% fat, which will help fasten the weigh-gaining process. And if you give your dog some exercise, he’ll build up some really tough muscles. Overall the best dog food to gain weight and muscle.
If your dog is picky and losing interest in his favorite kibble, Cesar Steak Lovers Collection Wet Dog Food can be a great mixer. The wet dog food has US Beef as the first ingredient, although there’re other numerous essential ingredients like Chicken Liver and Beef Lung. The diet even has Chicken Broth for a distinguished taste and to improve palatability.
Due to the insensitivities and allergic reaction coupled with wheat, soy, and corn, Cesar Steak Lovers Collection Wet Dog Food has no grains. Hence, a great wet dog meal to get your dog even with a sensitive stomach.
This is a good alternative to help your dog start eating normally while still providing additional protein to gain weight. The dog food comprises of chicken and smoked bacon. Hence, a savory recipe to leave your pooch licking its lips just as the toy dog on the label.
When it comes to your dog’s mealtime, you only need to mix this Purina Bella Adult Single-Serve Wet Dog Food with his favorite. You can also get Rachael Ray Nutrish Western Grasslands with Bison Dry Dog Food to ensure you provide optimal nutrients. The Rachael Ray Nutrish’s recipe has 30% high-quality Protein, which predominantly comes from North American farm-raised Bison.
So, Are You Ready for Action Now?
You now know how you can tell if your dog is underweight or not, as well as how you can help in adding some pounds. The guide is very simple and we tried to be as straight-forward as possible to ensure you don’t miss a single. We, Dog Food Guides, duly hope you’re now ready to add a couple of pounds of weight and muscle mass on your sweet pet.