This isn’t the most common problem, but definitely something that many dog owners face. Your dog could have a small appetite, burn a lot of energy, or be thin from neglect or shelter life.
Our first dog, Kaeto, came from the shelter and was very underweight. He also didn’t eat very much, regardless of the food he was on. Mauja is very similar. She gets plenty of high-quality food, but she never seems to want very much. I certainly can’t force them to eat. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help your underweight dog reach an ideal weight.
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Start at the vet
The first step is to take your dog to the vet. Make sure there isn’t any underlying reason that your dog is underweight. If he/she is healthy, you can try some of these options.
Add another meal
Increase the number of meal times. If your dog is typically fed twice a day, bump it up to three times. Many dogs fill up quickly so adding an extra meal can help them eat a little extra food.
Make the switch to puppy food
Feed puppy food. Puppy food typically has higher calories than adult food to ensure that puppies will grow adequately. Even though your dog won’t be eating any more, the increased calories can help him/her gain some weight.
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Try tasty toppers
Add a topping to their food. Sometimes adding a little something special, like a Caru pet food, a tasty topper, or salmon oil can entice your dog to eat more. If those options aren’t successful, a little Nutri-Cal can make a huge difference. Most dogs I’ve given this to will lick it off a spoon.
Make satin balls
For a severely emaciated dog, you can try the recipe for “satin balls“. I believe this should only be done in extreme circumstances as the recipe is very high calorie/fat. It is highly palatable and will usually coax a dog to eat.
Have you ever had an underweight dog? How did you help him/her gain weight?