High Calorie Foods For Your Dog: Diets To Help Them Gain Weight
As a pet owner, it is of the utmost importance to make sure your pet is loved, protected, and well-nourished. Much like humans, your dog's weight can fluctuate for a variety of reasons inside and outside your control: diet, medicines, medical problems, and underlying illnesses just to name a few. While most pets are more likely to become overweight than underweight, it's not unusual for pet owners to find that their animals aren't keeping on the pounds the way they should be. If you're struggling with keeping your dog at a healthy weight, you may be wondering what you can do, and what foods to supplement your dog's diet with to ensure they gain weight and stay healthy for many years to come.
Potential Health Consequences of Low Weight Dogs
Before adding additional food to your dogs diet, pet owners should rule out any underlying conditions that may be causing their dog to lose weight. If you notice a steady decrease in their appetite, a change in their behavior, or if your dog has been generally healthy in the past and begins rapidly losing weight, consult your veterinarian first to see what steps they recommend.
Dogs that maintain a healthy weight live a much better quality of life; properly fed dogs are happier and typically live longer than those who are underweight. Low body weight and lack of proper nutrition can lead to a host of problems for your pooch such as
- Weakened immune system
- Skin and coat problems such as hair loss
- Infertility or loss of ongoing pregnancy
- Hostility and aggressive behavior
- Lethargy or disinterest in environment around him
- Shortened life expectancy
Why Is My Dog Not Gaining Weight?
There are many things that can play a role in a dog's inability to maintain a healthy weight.
Improper diet or dietary errors
Not feeding your dog often enough or feeding them the wrong food for their breed can play a major part in your dog being underweight. Ensure your dog enjoys his food and that is has all the necessary nutrients for his weight, activity level, and age. Feeding your dog at predictable times can also get him into a routine and force him to eat if he's not going to his bowl often enough himself.
Eating fewer calories than he is burning
If your dog is particularly active and forgets to eat, his caloric output will be higher than his intake, resulting in weight loss.
Worms or parasites
If your dog suffers from worms or has a parasite going untreated, that can block his body from absorbing the necessary nutrients he needs to stay healthy. Consult your veterinarian immediately if you suspect worms or parasites, and always make routine appointments a priority to keep your dog in tip-top shape.
High Calorie Foods For Underweight Dogs
Make sure your dog's food, wet or dry, is appropriate for his breed. Dogs are not strictly carnivorous, so finding a dog food that has a mixture of meat, grains, fruits, and veggies is a good place to start. Transition your pup slowly when deciding to try a new kind of food so the sudden change doesn't upset their digestive system. Additionally, when adding high calorie foods to your dog's diet, it's important to not overwhelm his diet with extra fat; slowly introducing foods and supplementing food in between meal times will help him gain weight appropriately and makes it more likely it will stay on.
- Salmon is a nutrient-dense food perfect for helping your dog gain weight. Along with aiding in weight gain, salmon is an excellent source of protein and amino acids. Be sure to cook unseasoned salmon all the way through before serving to your dog.
- Tuna has lots of omega-3 fatty acids, perfect for helping your dog bulk up. Tuna must be served in moderation, however, due to its high mercury and sodium content.
- Eggs can be a great source of protein for your dog and can help boost their caloric intake significantly. Undercooked eggs can contribute to biotin deficiency in your canine, so make sure to cook eggs all the way before serving.
- Pumpkin, high in fiber and teeming with vitamins and minerals not only helps with weight gain, but can help your pup's digestive system, skin health, and heart function. Plain, canned pumpkin can be served on a spoon or mixed into your dog's food.
- Cheese in small quantities can help your dog gain the weight needed to keep him healthy. Choose cheeses generally higher in fat such as cheddar to pack the most punch.
- Peanut butter, not only a tasty treat for humans, but a food filled with heart-healthy fats and vitamins that dogs will love. Aim for unsalted, natural peanut butter to avoid extra sugar and salt in your dog's diet.
- Yogurt will help your dog put on weight and strengthen his digestive system with probiotics. Plain, whole milk yogurt is the best option for weight gain; avoid yogurts with flavors and artificial sweeteners.
- Pork is an easily digestible, high calorie meat safe that is for dogs. Cook pork thoroughly and skip the seasoning when serving to your dog. Unseasoned, thoroughly cooked chicken and turkey are also good options if you don't have pork on hand.
While low weight in dog's isn't something to overlook, it's not uncommon, and many pet owners find themselves in the same predicament. With dietary changes and patience, your dog will be on the way to a healthy, happy life.