Obese pooches get plenty of attention, right? There are myriad tips and solutions available for when your dog is leaning on the heavier side.
But what when you need to put some meat on those bones instead?
Skinny dogs, particularly ones who have a home and a family caring for them, aren’t all that uncommon, and can have you worried if you’re an owner.
As you’ll find out here in a bit, the solutions in this case are also pretty straightforward and simple to implement.
So unless your dog is injured or otherwise unwell, the situation need not be such a cause for anxiety.
Dogs that are otherwise quite healthy can be under or over their ideal weight at some point or the other. And all that it takes to right the situation is a tweak or two in terms of your dog’s lifestyle or diet.
Here are 5 simple things that you can do in terms of daily routines and dietary changes to put some healthy weight on your skinny pup.
1. First, Rule Out Any Medical Issues By Having Your Dog Checked-Up
This is always the first thing you should ideally do when you’re particularly worried about your dog’s health or behavior.
Having your vet take a good look at her can help identify any conditions she might be suffering from, that may be contributing to the loss of appetite and weight.
Determining your dog’s Body Conditioning Score (BCS) is a good way to understand whether she’s at a healthy weight. This is a simple BCS chart for reference.
If you think your dog’s BCS is not looking so good, make sure you consult your vet before jumping to conclusions.
Prima facie, the scores aren’t always indicative of the actual condition, and depending on your dog’s breed and other factors, interpretations of the score can change.
Generally diabetes, hepatitis and bowel infections can lead to weight loss, as can parasites like worms.
Worms can hijack nutrients from the food that your dog eats, and it’s a good idea in any case to have fecal tests and preventive treatment done every few months or so, based on the recommendation of the vet.
2. Keep a Track of Your Dog’s Weight, Feeding Schedule and Other Relevant Habits
Having a journal with daily records of your dog’s meals, exercise, and of course, all the treats she got to eat between mealtimes is an excellent way to be in control of her feeding habits.
A good way to supplement this data, especially in case of this particular problem, is to measure and record your dog’s weight at least on a weekly basis, to keep track of changes.
Having these records also helps you pin-point reasons for fluctuations in her weight, and also things like changes in behavior, and so on.
A good journal would be much appreciated by your vet when he, or she, is trying to diagnose our dog’s condition.
3. Changing-up the Diet to Better Meet Nutritional Requirements
At times, dogs don’t take to particular brands too well. A brand of dog food may keep your friend’s dog happy and healthy, but your own pup may have different needs or preferences and would rather eat less of it.
Gradually changing to a brand that better suits your dog’s particular nutritional needs. and liking – your vet should have great advice on this – could really improve her appetite, and BCS.
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There are other things you can try as well, apart from changing the kind of dog food:
Adding appropriate human food as supplement to your dog’s regular diet like boiled eggs, roasted chicken, and plain broth.
Adding a little water or plain broth to your dog’s dry food if she prefers wet food.
Including healthy, and tasty snacks in between main meals – This could be something like a tasty mix of cooked, ground meat, eggs, cheese, etc. You could also freeze and store them in bite sizes for convenience if she likes them.
4. Feeding Several Small Meals Instead of a Few Big Ones a Day Aids Healthy Metabolism
Eating heavy meals, however spaced apart can make for inefficient digestion.
This is true for anyone. It’s one of the first tips nutritionists and physical trainers give for improving your diet and lifestyle.
But make sure you don’t suddenly switch your dog’s diet to a whole new pattern. Break up the larger meals gradually over days into more frequent, but smaller portions spaced out not more than 4-6 hours.
5. Don’t Neglect Good Exercise!
A surprising number of people seem to miss the fact that gaining weight also needs a healthy amount of exercise too.
Gaining healthy weight needs a good increase in muscle mass too, in order to support the added weight. You don’t want your dog to just pile on fat!
Again, remember not to start drilling your dog from the get-go. Muscle fatigue is nothing to be laughed at.
This goes for any changes you make to your dog’s lifestyle, routine or habits. Giving her time to get used to the changes helps smooth things out, and avoid resistance too.
And also, make sure you try and involve your vet as much as possible so you are well informed when deciding on things.
Did you find these tips for bulking up your pup helpful? Do let us know your opinions and talk about your own experiences in the comments section below!