Old age, health problems, or an improperly balanced diet can lead to dogs losing more weight than they should. Not sure if your dog is underweight? The best way to check is by looking at their ribs.
You should be able to feel their ribs beneath their fur and skin, but they should not be visible. The same goes for the pelvis.
Just like people, losing and gaining too much weight can be a bad thing, depending on the circumstances. So the first thing to figure out is why your pet is losing weight in the first place.
If you are putting out food and they are not eating it, speak with your vet about potential gut or other health problems. For older dogs, the reason they aren’t eating may be tied to dry food hurting their gums; switch to wet foods and see if that helps.
Once you figure out the cause of why they are losing weight, you will want to help them get back to a normal weight. Keep reading to answer many people’s curiosity about “picking foods to help my dog gain weight.”
Change Their Feeding Schedule
Many dogs eat in the morning and in the evening. This schedule is convenient for owners because they can feed pets before and after work.
Sticking to this schedule may be ideal if you can’t get home to feed them three or four smaller meals a day. However, consider making a small adjustment by feeding them less in the morning and more in the evening.
Just like with people, dogs who eat a lot before bed may store more food as body fat. While the jury is still out on whether this is true or not, it may be worth a try.
More Protein and Fats
Check to see if the dog food you buy is primarily carbohydrates from corn, wheat, or similar sources. If it is, try switching to a high-fat or protein-rich food.
Before switching to this new food, start by mixing 10% new food with 90% of the old food. Continue changing the ratio of old to new over 2 weeks until they are eating 100% of the new food.
Pumpkin, Sweet Potato, and Peanut Butter
Raw pumpkin and sweet potatoes are a good source of fiber, nutrition, and water. Giving any of these to pets is a good way to help round out their diet. Just be aware that depending on the size of the dog, they should only get a few pieces of each. You may also consider buying either of these canned, but make sure it has no additives such as sugar.
Peanut butter too is a good source of protein that you can spread over or mix with the pumpkin or sweet potato. You may also consider spreading it over high-fat dog treats, or vegetables like carrots, celery, broccoli, or anything else that they will agree to eat.
Do not feed dogs any foods from this list.
Offer Praise for Eating
Some dogs won’t eat because they are unsure if the food is for them, or they are feeling stressed or anxious.
You can help them to overcome this by showing them the food, taking some in your hand, and letting them eat from your palm. While doing this, offer praise and take your hand away slowly. Continue offering praise until they eat on their own. As mentioned before, if they don’t like the food or it is too hard for their teeth to try switching to something else.
Don’t Go Overboard
As the dog nears their target weight, start returning them to a normal diet. Remember that an overweight dog isn’t healthy either, and being overweight may be harder to reverse.
There you go. Hopefully this helps with “picking foods to help my dog gain weight,” a question that comes up plenty of times, especially when a change in normal weight is unexpected.
Along with adjusting their diet, make sure you are still giving them enough exercise, which will build muscle to help them stay active and healthy throughout their life. Don’t avoid your vet either. Keep them up to date on what’s happening with their weight. If your dog still isn’t gaining the weight back, get them checked out as soon as possible.