How to Put Weight on a Dog Safely: Universal Weight Gaining Tips

how to put weight on a dog safely
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Understanding how to put weight on a dog safely is something that plenty of pet parents experience at one point in time, especially as dogs become older. 

Many assume that the only reason a dog loses weight is because of their diet, when, in fact, it can be a myriad of other issues such as activity levels and pre-existing medical conditions. 

When you need to learn how to encourage your dog to have a healthier weight, using the pet-friendly tips in this guide will surely help.

Seeking Medical Advice

Before you attempt any at-home remedy for helping your dog put on weight safely, you must first consult your veterinarian. 

Even though it’s easy to assume your pet isn’t getting enough nutrition, numerous health ailments could be causing their body to lose weight. 

From hypothyroidism to diabetes, weight variations can happen because of many medical mysteries that only a veterinarian can help with.

How to Put Weight on a Dog Safely

Much like humans, your dogs will need a healthy mix of exercise and calories to maintain an adequate weight for their breed, age, and activeness. 

Once they have been cleared of any pre-existing medical conditions, you can begin managing their diets to incorporate more calories or healthier ingredients for better weight gain.

1. Improve Feeding Schedules

You likely have an existing feeding schedule set up to know when to feed your dog throughout the day. 

When dogs are continually losing weight, even with designated feeding times, it might be time to adjust when they are fed.

What You Need to Do

Did you know that dogs digest their food slightly similar to humans?

Our doctors recommend we don’t eat before bed, as this can cause our bodies to pack on pounds as we’re not burning many calories while we’re asleep. 

By using this theory, you can help your dogs to gain more weight by adjusting their last feed of the day to be closer to their bedtime. 

With this change, you will be encouraging their body to store more fat at night so that it can’t be burned off before bed or first thing in the morning.

Another way to help your pet with gaining wet by adjusting their meal times is to feed them more frequently during the day. 

This point may not be adaptable to your personal schedule. 

Still, you can use automated devices, such as automatic feeders, to provide your pet with pre-measured amounts of food at specific intervals daily.

By increasing their feeds from twice to three or four times each day, you have more control over how many calories they’re eating as well as the nutrition their body will grab onto.

2. Add High-Protein Food Items and Treats

Similar to when they were a puppy, your pet will require a lot of fat and protein to ensure they maintain a healthy body weight into adulthood and their senior years. 

Even though high-protein food blends are typically more expensive than other variants, they are well worth the investment since they give your dog the essential nutrients it needs to gain weight. 

You’ll also love how these specialized foods and treats will help your pet to gain weight gradually so that it’s not a shock to their system.

What You Need to Do

First, you will want to take a look at the food you are already giving them and determine the amount of fat and protein they get in each serving. 

You can then find an alternative brand that has more than they are already eating, whether it means opting for a more meat-based formula or one that has a little extra nutrition. 

Another great option is to invest in high-protein snacks, such as cricket-based protein treats.

3. Increase the Serving Size

If you have already tried increasing the number of times your pet eats daily, it may be time to consider increasing the serving size of each meal, as well.

What You Need to Do

More than likely, if your dog is losing weight, it’s because they are burning more calories than they are eating. 

This issue can quickly be remedied by adding an extra half cup or full cup to their meals, depending on how active your breed is.

With that said, you’ll want to pay special attention to their behavior after you adjust their portions. 

If your pet is showing signs of stomach upset or if they are getting sick after they eat, they could be overeating. 

You will also want to consider gradually increasing their food intake, rather than adding an extra half cup of food straight away.

Alternatively, add an extra 1/4 cup to their meals for a couple of weeks, working your way up to the full extra serving you want to give them.

4. Switch Dog Food

Another widespread issue pets may have with gaining weight will pertain to the type of food they’re eating. 

Not only will you want to make sure they are gaining weight healthily, but they are also getting the correct amount of nutrition daily. 

Simply because a particular type of food is said to help with weight gain doesn’t mean that it’s healthy for them in the long run.

What You Need to Do

Take a long look into the ingredients in their current food to make sure they are getting all of the right vitamins and minerals for their breed and age. 

If you find that a particular area is lacking, it may be time to switch to a portion of healthier food with more whole ingredients that will easily be absorbed into their system. 

You may even want to consider making one or two of their meals at home so that you have full control over the ingredients they are eating.

how to put weight on a dog safely

5. Research About Dog Supplements

First, it’s important to note that dog supplements aren’t for every pet, especially if your dog is prone to stomach upset or digestive issues. 

You should always consult your veterinarian first before adding supplements to their meals, as an excessive amount of nutrients can lead to health issues. 

For example, feeding puppies too much calcium can cause skeletal defects in later life.

What You Need to Do

Sometimes, dog supplements can be a fantastic option for pets who need a few extra calories during the day. 

Much like humans, these products add more nutrition in areas where your pet may be lacking. 

There are even specific supplements for gaining weight that will have an assortment of highly nutritious ingredients such as fish oil and whey protein.

With that said, not all supplements are created equally, and if your pet has any allergies, you’ll want to take a hard look at the ingredients.

6. Use Wet and Dry Food Mixtures

This trick is something that every pet parent will want under their sleeve, especially if you are the owner of a particularly picky dog. 

Sometimes, pets aren’t gaining weight because they pick and choose when and what they want to eat. 

There are plenty of pets that nose around in their food bowls for their favorite pieces of kibble instead of eating everything.

What You Need to Do

One of the best ways to entice them to eat their entire meal is to create a wet and dry food mixture, as pets love to get their teeth on wet food. 

All you have to do is create equal portions of kibble and wet food, mixing it in their bowl. 

You’ll quickly realize your pet won’t have the patience to pick out individual pieces and won’t want to waste all of the delectable wet food, so they’ll immediately start to eat their entire serving.

You’ve likely used a wet-dry combination at one point in their life, whether you’re transitioning them to adult food or transitioning them back to wet food as a senior dog.

7. Schedule Exercise

As the owner of a highly active dog, you need to make sure they get an appropriate amount of exercise daily to prevent destructive behaviors. 

However, with the combination of a planned exercise schedule and training, you can manage the number of calories your pet burns during the day. 

As earlier mentioned, every pet needs a healthy balance of diet and exercise to maintain an appropriate weight for their age.

What You Need to Do

Instead of opening your backyard door and letting your dog run around until the sun goes down, you can easily take them to the dog park. 

You also can let them out for one to two hours each day with supervision so that you have better control over the amount of energy they’re expending. 

With that said, you won’t want to be too restrictive on their exercise, as dogs certainly need time to walk and run around for their overall health.

8. Consider Medical Intervention

If all else fails, your veterinarian will undoubtedly be able to give you advice on how to help your dog gain weight healthily.

Whether they provide you with a list of over-the-counter remedies or if they give you a prescription, you will always have a trained professional readily available to help your dog to be as healthy as they can be. 

You may find that none of the other tips will prove to be helpful, in which case it’s always best to put your trust in the professionals.

Final Thoughts

Most likely, adjusting when and how much your dog eats will teach you how to put weight on a dog safely without needing medical advice or professional intervention. 

With the combination of better food and supplements, in some cases, your pet will finally be able to add on pounds without shocking their system. 

As long as the whole family sticks to the new feeding regime, your pet will be in good hands.

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