How to Fatten Up a Dog
Today we’re learning how to fatten up a dog. Maybe your dog is too skinny, maybe you adopted a rescue that has been abused and not given a proper diet, or maybe your pup just needs to add a few appropriate pounds. Either way, there are a few simple steps you can take that will increase the weight of your dog.
It’s important to note “fatten up” doesn’t mean to make your dog obese. Your dog may be underweight because of illness, maybe they are recovering from an operation – whatever the case, fatten up really means to bring your dog to its optimal weight.
Fatting up doesn’t just involve eating more food. Just because you feed your dog more food doesn’t mean they’re going to gain weight in a healthy way. Dogs need an appropriate amount of muscle and energy to stay healthy and happy. This means a healthy diet along with sufficient exercise.
Understanding Your Dog’s Weight
The first step is always to consult a veterinarian. Before you start changing the dog’s diet or routine, talk to a vet first to understand the optimal weight for your dog. It’s also important that you understand why your dog has lost its weight. There could be a larger problem at hand than your dog just not eating enough.
You also need to take small steps at first. Don’t start over-feeding your dog or they’ll put on weight too fast, and this can add strain to their joints. Have small goals, like half a pound at a time, and only let your pet gain weight gradually.
How do you know what the ideal weight is for your dog? For that matter, how do you know if a dog is too skinny? It’s all in the definition. If your pet is obviously skinny, meaning if its bones are visible through its skin, you have a problem. At the same time, if they seem to have less energy or are acting lethargic, something is wrong.
As your dog gains weight and muscle, you’ll notice the bones begin to look less pronounced. The dog will add bulk around their hips, shoulder, and chest, while their ribs and hip bones become less visible. This is good.
As your dog reaches a healthy weight, you’ll also notice their energy levels return to normal. Once they’re getting enough calories consistently, they should start to feel better.
Lots of Calories
The best way to bulk up a dog is to feed it high-quality calories. It’s the same for people. Increasing the calorie intake will equal an increase in pounds. However, there is a delicate balance at work here. Dogs need usable calories. This means all the calories that they eat should actually be used.
What you don’t want is to feed your dog empty calories or excess calories. Weight will be gained but not enough muscle. This results in a dog that’s fat and not healthy. By delivering just the right amount of high-quality calories, your dog will build muscle, gain bulk, and become more energetic.
Make sure your dog is also getting the appropriate amount of fiber as you increase the calories.
Fat & Protein
Fat and protein are not the best ingredients to a healthy dog. It’s true that fat and protein are necessary for every dog’s diet, but these aren’t the ingredients that will lead to healthy body weight. Too much fat and too much protein can cause digestive issues and can increase body fat.
As with everything, moderation is key. Increase fat and protein in small quantities. Acceptable portions of fat and protein will help to stabilize their new diet. Just don’t add too much or it will have a negative impact on what you’re trying to do.
The Best Foods for Dog Weight Gain
If you have a dog who’s not eating a lot of full meals, try doggie treats that are high in calories. Even if your dog won’t eat an entire meal, it will probably snack on some delicious doggie treats. By having treats packed full of healthy calories, it will help them gradually get their energy back. Once your dog has healthy levels of energy, it will be more likely to eat full meals again.
Start your dog on a diet that is high in calories and protein. Choose a dog food that offers extra calories. It’s not about eating more meals, it’s about eating the right meals. Especially for a dog who’s not very active, a new food high in calories will help them gain more weight.
Another thing to keep in mind is that if your dog doesn’t want to eat big meals, simply feed them smaller meals throughout the day. Give them more opportunities to eat and they will have more chances to gain the needed weight.
There’s always the chance that your dog just doesn’t like its food. If it’s having a hard time eating kibble, try switching to wet food, at least for a while until they get their appetite back. Wet food is easier to chew and digest, and it might be more appealing to a sick dog.
Finally, introduce human food. Not all people food is good for a dog, but there are some that can really help boost a dog’s healthy weight.
For example, eggs are a great source of nutrients and an awesome way to add bulk. Cottage cheese is full of healthy fat, lean meat can be added to the dog’s diet as a source of natural protein, and quinoa is excellent for providing energy, carbs, and the essential amino acids needed to build healthy muscles.
Regardless of what kind of diet you put your dog on, it’s important that they maintain an exercise schedule. Dogs should be exercising constantly to use up all those extra calories and to build muscle. Dogs can’t just pack on pounds while sitting around the house, they’ll get fat and lazy. Dogs need to be active to stay healthy. This is a critical part of gaining weight.