What and how to feed a dog is a question that worries many owners. The functioning of the digestive system, the condition of the skin, hair, muscles, joints, and bones depends on the proper organization of nutrition.
An insufficiently balanced diet, eating disorders, feeding of harmful, forbidden to the dog products from the owner's table can lead to serious health problems.
What if you have an underweight dog? In this article, we explore how to fatten up a dog safely and recommend a proper schedule to track changes and keep a healthy weight.
Why my dog is underweight?
This question is asked by many pet owners, concerned about the appearance of the pet. If a pet, despite proper nutrition, loses weight, it is necessary to understand the reasons for what is happening. It is not necessary to run to a veterinary clinic right away, but you should try to find out as soon as possible.
If you just do nothing and leave everything as it is, the consequences can be unpredictable. The skinny dog has a miserable appearance. It immediately gives the impression that she is poorly cared for, although this impression is not always true.
Already skinny dog attracts the attention of others. Some individuals, unaware of the situation, immediately begin to accuse the owner of not monitoring the health of their pet. It is important to find out why the dog is thin. Only after dealing with them, you can completely solve the problem.
There are several options. Consider them in more detail:
Lack of nutrition
The most obvious conclusion that in many cases you want to do is poor feeding of the animal.
Lack of nutrients is a serious reason for weight loss. In this case, the animal begins to gradually lose healthy weight.' It happens if a person believes that he, for his part, is doing everything necessary to feed his four-legged friend and hopes that dog gain weight.
If you start to delve deeper into this issue, it turns out that he feeds the pet is not quite good: leftovers from the table, dry cheap food.
After all, it is important not just to feed your pet, but also to do it right. Lack of nutrients in the body always has a negative effect on health and appearance.
Infection with worms
This can happen if a person gives a four-legged friend too much raw fish or meat. When the dog's diet is dominated by such food, there is a high risk of worm infestation.
As a result, the dog is thin, and the owner believes that there is no reason for this. That's why you should definitely pay attention to your pet's diet. The presence of worms in a dog is a serious sign.
The owner must take urgent action until the situation begins to get out of control. Regarding helminths, it should be said that all pets (not even thin) for prevention should be given anthelmintic tablets once every three months.
If the animal began to lose weight sharply, there is a possibility that he has certain disorders in the body.
When the gastrointestinal tract begins to malfunction, it feels uncomfortable. He may have epigastric pain, which indicates the need for treatment.
Digestive disorders are not recommended to ignore as its common mostly doe each underweight dog.
If the dog has lost a lot of weight after an infectious disease, then it is safe to say that this happened as a result of weakening the body.
The resources of a dog, like a human, are far from limitless. If the animal has contracted an infection, a certain recovery period is required, and don’t expect that dog gain weight during this time.
It is necessary to give the pet vitamins, to feed it qualitatively. Walks in the fresh air should be long, lasting at least 30-40 minutes.
These are serious diseases such as hepatitis and adenovirus, which are always accompanied by changes in body weight.
As a rule, such diseases require thorough treatment. Against the background of severe intoxication of the body, the pet can lose a lot of weight. For this reason, it is recommended to always seek help from a veterinary clinic.
Viral diseases are life-threatening. They should not be neglected or pretend that nothing is happening. The owner must mobilize their forces as much as possible and help the pet to recover to the required level.
For the health of the dog, the owner is obliged to take timely preventive measures.
One such important step is vaccination. They should be done regularly to avoid possible unpleasant consequences.
It would be wise to consult a specialist about how often they should be put and at what time. Vaccinations prevent the development of diseases and reduce the risk of infection several times.
Does my dog have a healthy weight?
Maintaining a healthy weight is important to ensure the activity and energy of your dog. But how do you know when weight should be a concern?
Numerous studies in industrialized countries have shown that at least one in five dogs is obese. This predisposition to obesity in dogs can lead to an increased risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and arthritis, as well as many other chronic conditions. Therefore, tracking your dog's weight and being able to recognize excess weight is very important to prevent a variety of diseases.
The best way to find out your dog's healthy weight is to see a veterinarian. From him you will learn what weight is most acceptable for your dog, taking into account his breed, sex, age, and a number of other factors. It is often considered optimal for a dog to be overweight, but this can be difficult to determine, especially if it has been overweight for a long time or from an early age.
The dog's propensity to gain weight can be influenced by some individual characteristics, and in this case, maintaining goal weight becomes an even more important task.
Some breeds are more prone to weight gain than others, such as beagles, pugs, Labrador Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels, Scottish Terriers, and St. Bernards.
In addition, females, as well as neutered dogs, are more likely to gain weight: obesity in castrated males and females is twice as common as in uncastrated dogs.
You need to strictly follow your dog's feeding regimen to maintain his optimal weight. Here are some tips for you:
- Always feed him in the same place, from the same bowl and at the same time, so that he gets used to a certain feeding regime.
- Do not give your dog food from your table, do not answer requests, and replace treats with croquettes taken from the daily norm.
- It is recommended to weigh the dog once a month and undergo regular checkups with a veterinarian.
- Try to warm up the food a bit, dogs often prefer warm food to cold, because it has a more appetizing smell;
- Try not to distract your pet while eating, if possible, leave him alone with a bowl, and after 10-15 minutes clean it;
- The dog should be fed regularly, twice a day, to get used to the diet.
- When determining the portion size, you can follow the recommendations of the veterinarian and the manufacturer (if it is a ready-made food). But usually, the rules have to be adjusted by analyzing the behavior and dynamics of the dog's weight. Daily norms for dry, wet food and natural food differ significantly, dry food is the most concentrated and nutritious. This must be taken into account when combining feeds of both types.
- Walk with the dependent more often, stimulate his motor activity;
- Choose a diet that will meet the age needs and level of activity of the animal.
With the right approach, you can help your dog maintain an optimal weight and live a full life.
How do I know if my dog is overweight? How do overweight dogs behave?
Many people wonder how to feed a pet to avoid overeating. It is worth noting that overfeeding is the most common mistake that dog owners make in feeding their pets. Malnutrition is very rare.
How do you find out if you are overfeeding an animal to prevent this? Here are some signs of overfeeding:
- First of all, pay attention to the fact that the dog's bowl after eating should be empty. If there is even a little food left - it's extra food, and you should reduce the portion so that a four-legged friend ate it to the end.
- If you notice that the animal divides the food into 'favorite' and 'uninteresting', this is a sure sign that it is overfed. If you find yourself in this situation, reduce the amount of 'favorite' food. An adult dog eats the whole portion completely, and at the same time gains weight. In this case, you need to reduce the amount of food to avoid obesity. The pet eats the required amount of food but does not eat if you suddenly offer something else. In this situation, the amount of food will have to be reduced.
The first step to understanding if your dog is overweight is to start prevention. By weighing your dog regularly, recording his weight, and visiting a veterinarian, you will get a clearer idea of how much his weight has changed over a lifetime.
The optimal weight of the dog given its sex, breed, and age will tell you a veterinarian. If your dog's weight exceeds the optimal by 15-20%, he is diagnosed with obesity. For example, a dog whose optimal weight is 50 kg is considered obese if it weighs 60 kg.
You can easily find out if your dog is overweight at home. To do this, through the wool and skin you need to touch the ribs. If you feel them, but they do not appear, your dog has the optimal weight. If you can't feel his ribs, your dog is overweight.
In addition, the presence of overweight in dogs is indicated by some changes in his behavior. He may become depressed and lethargic, as well as be less active in games and other physical activities. During walks, your dog quickly suffocates or even stops completely due to pain or fatigue. Also, you will certainly notice that it has smoothed out.
Your dog's eating habits can get significantly worse, such as overeating, begging for food from your table, whining to get treats, or behaving aggressively when you eat something.
To make a weight loss plan for your dog, your veterinarian needs to know how and what you fed him; It is important to answer honestly because sometimes owners can inadvertently contribute to the weight gain of their pet by offering him snacks, too many treats, or leftovers from the table.
Obesity and overweight is a really acute problem among dogs, but it can be solved with the right diet and behavior. Visit your veterinarian regularly to monitor your dog's weight and tell him about any changes in the animal's behavior that may indicate obesity.
How often to feed the dog during the day?
The answer to this question depends on the age of the pet and the characteristics of health:
- From the moment of weaning from the mother to 4 months, the puppies are fed 4-5 times a day;
- From 4 months to six months - 3-4 times;
- From six months to a year - 2-3 times.
- Puppies of large breeds should be fed less often, small - more often. For an adult dog older than one year, 2 feedings a day are enough. If the dog is elderly, it is advisable to divide the same daily amount of food into 3 portions.
A special approach is needed to the nutrition of a dog that raises and feeds puppies:
- The first 3 weeks of pregnancy - in the normal mode;
- Starting from 4 weeks - 3 times a day, while increasing the number of portions;
- The same regimen is maintained during the feeding of puppies, which is recommended to continue for up to 8 weeks.
- The number of calories a dog needs daily in different periods of life should be as follows:
- Puppy: 140 kcal for every kilogram of body weight;
- Adult dog: 75 kcal for every kilogram of body weight;
- Elderly dog: 35 kcal for every kilogram of body weight.
Such an amount is assumed for an animal that leads a moderately active lifestyle. As for age, physical activity, environment, possible pregnancy, feeding, and disease, all these factors in their own way affect the life of the animal, each dog is an individual being, including in terms of its nutrition.
It is very important to properly feed the dog and it is also important not to overfeed it, it is necessary to reduce the amount of food at the first signs of obesity.
Here are our suggestions on how to reduce the amount of food:
- It is necessary to train a dog to eat in the morning and in the evening at the same time.
- Do not leave food that the dog has not milked, or food that has not even been touched.
- Feed in the morning shortly after waking up, and the second time - in 8-9 hours.
- If the number of feedings per day exceeds 2, it is desirable to maintain the same intervals between them.
- If for any reason the next feeding is missed, you should not shift the schedule or give a double serving in one go.
- Access to a bowl of fresh water should be around the clock, and you need to change it every day!
Sometimes the dog refuses to eat. If it lasts for a day and there are no obvious symptoms of illness, there is no particular cause for concern. Perhaps the pet has decided to arrange an 'unloading day'. But if the situation does not return to normal on the second day, you should see a doctor.
Tips on How to Fatten Up a Dog
Dog owners who prefer a natural diet are faced with a difficult task: how to feed the dog so that he received with food all the necessary nutrients and maintain a healthy weight.
Here are a few ways, which can help underweight dogs gain weight:
Visit Your Veterinarian
Ultimately, it is important to contact your veterinarian before making significant changes to a dog’s diet and lifestyle. Regular visits to your veterinarian, maintaining preventative care and vaccinations are important for any dog’s health to keep his goal weight.
Start a new schedule for feeding your dog.
Dogs do not process the food as humans do. However, it may be similar in a few ways. Like with humans who eat food less than an hour before they go to bed are more likely to be overweight. The body stores the nutrients in the form of fat and causes gaining weight. The key to fattening dog up is feeding little and often. You may want to use this logic and help your underweight dog to gain some weight.
Feed food that is rich in fat and protein
Dogs can be given most types of meat, except raw pork, preferably beef, and veal. Also suitable meat of poultry - chicken, turkey. Meat can be partially replaced by offal: heart, kidneys, scar (beef stomach), lungs, liver; Fish can be given sea or ocean, river is usually infected with helminths, and it has more bones; The need for animal protein in natural nutrition is partially met by chicken or quail eggs and dairy products of medium fat
The dog has to gain muscles and for this, exercise is necessary. When you let your dog exercise daily then this will help it to maintain its ideal healthy weight. A high protein and fat diet along with exercise help to give you a healthy dog with the correct weight.
Add more cereals to dog food
Cereals are a great source of energy and fiber is good for peristalsis. In the first place rice, including brown, unrefined. You can also include buckwheat, oatmeal, corn, wheat, and barley groats in the diet;
Don’t forget about vegetables, greens, berries as a supplement to dog foods which are a source of fiber, pectin, which binds and removes harmful substances from the body, and vitamins. Beets are especially rich in pectin, dogs can also be given zucchini, pumpkin, and cucumbers, bell peppers;
Ready-made dog foods of premium and super-premium class contain everything necessary for the body of dogs, and in the form that is best digested. There is no risk of infection with helminths, which can be found in raw meat, fish.
Vitamins and supplements
Necessary vitamin and mineral supplements-choose tasty, easy to use, and effective weight gain supplements which will be an extra complement of your dog food and help your underweight dog bulk up.
How to add Calories to your dog's diet Safely
As the owner of a dog, you can’t just double the dog's portions and hope for the best results. Instead, you need to slowly increase the portions over time.
There are two best ways on how to do this :
- The first method is to increase the amount of food they are getting per day. Add an extra meal into your dog's daily diet. If you feed your dog once a day, add a second meal. If your dog is already fed morning and evening, add a meal during the middle of the day. Do not necessarily change the diet you are already feeding, simply add one more meal to the day to add calories.
- The second option is to add one whole raw egg to your dog's food bowl, this high protein addition is sure to help to put weight on a dog. More things to add to your dog's food bowl include sweet potato, pumpkin, apples (without seeds or the core), green beans, and raw green tripe.
Fat Cottage cheese is also a fantastic method to add more calories to your pet's eating regimen, in addition to it is filled up with probiotics and calcium! It tastes incredible and makes the ideal option for any sort of diet.
Ultimately, giving fine treats and snacks is a decent method to add additional calories to your dog's eating routine. Ensure you don't go over the edge with the treats, since that is a simple method to bounce to the opposite side of the weight range.
We have made up a list of the useful additives which definitely will help your friend to gain goal weight:
- Meat and bone meal is a powder made from processed animal carcasses. In some countries, it is used as a fertilizer. In the diet of dogs is considered a source of calcium, phosphorus, protein. Large animals are given up to 2 teaspoons of flour per day, added to food before serving.
- Fish oil is a useful supplement that strengthens the animal's immunity and skeletal system. The product helps prevent many diseases. Give fish oil to the dog 2-3 times a week, mixing a small amount of it in the food in the dosage prescribed on the package.
- Seaweed is a source of iodine and other useful trace elements. Large dogs can be given up to 100-150 grams per day.
- Plantain - normalizes the gastrointestinal tract, improves blood count, increases hemoglobin. You can add a little leaf of this herb to dog food.
- Eleutherococcus leaves - increase the efficiency of the dog, normalize the heart, used as a growth stimulant, improve the quality of wool. Used in the form of a pharmacy tincture, which is given to dogs half an hour before meals. 7 drops are enough for small animals, 30 for large ones.
Every dog owner knows that the issue of nutrition is one of the main ones that you have to deal with literally from the first hours a puppy appears in the house. After all, the health and sometimes life of your pet depends on how well the diet is selected.
The need for a dog’s food depends, as already mentioned, on many factors: on the size of the animal, its lifestyle and living conditions, breed, climate, weather, age, the personality of the animal, etc.
In order to properly feed the animal and keep a healthy weight, it is important not only to choose the ration wisely but also to observe the same feeding regimen. The dog should be fed daily at a specific time, giving a feed that would contain all the necessary amounts of fats, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. In case you have an underweight dog, you need to see a veterinarian and stick to his recommendation on how to fatten up the dog carefully.
If for some reason the dog’s diet is not balanced, that is, it lacks either calorie content or some separate nutrition elements, then the body makes up for the existing deficit from its internal reserves. At first, this does not lead to any noticeable changes. However, after some time has passed, changes will inevitably begin to occur in the animal’s body, which, if not take urgent measures, can become irreversible.