If you have recently adopted a dog or if your dog is suffering or recovering from an illness, they may be underweight. Your dog may also be a picky eater or you may be feeding them a food that doesn’t meet their nutritional needs. In any case, it’s important to choose the best food for underweight dogs in order to give them a nutritious diet just for dogs that are underweight. If your dog is underweight, you should see your veterinarian and address this issue immediately.
Underweight dogs have less energy, gastrointestinal distress, and may develop illnesses as a result of nutritional deficiency.
To combat these issues here is a guide on how to find the best food for underweight dogs. Check out the quick guide below to determine if your dog is at a healthy weight or not.
How To Tell If Your Dog Is Underweight
The most obvious way to tell if your dog is underweight is to look at their body. If you can see their ribs and their pelvis sticking out, then they are probably overweight. If your dog has longer fur and it is hard to do a visual check, you can feel their ribs and hips, if there is no layer of tissue over their ribs and pelvis and you can feel their skeleton easily, they are probably underweight. There are some other signs too. Your dog’s coat will be matted or dull or their grooming isn’t as thorough. They will also have less energy and avoid exercise and physical activity.
Talk To Your Veterinarian
If you think your dog is underweight, you need to talk to your veterinarian. There are several health conditions that can cause a dog to lose weight like cancer, liver disease, or anxiety. This is especially important if your dog’s weight drops suddenly. Your veterinarian can diagnose the case of the weight loss and make some lifestyle recommendations to get them back to a healthy weight.
How To Fatten Up Your Dog Quickly
Nutritional Needs Of Underweight Dogs
Feeding an underweight dog isn’t as simple as just increasing their food servings. You need to provide them with a good food for underweight dogs that will be easy to digest, replace lost nutrients, and give them the nutritionally building blocks like protein and amino acids to build muscle and gain a healthy amount of weight. When choosing the best food for underweight dogs, you should look for a food that:
- Has a higher caloric value than their normal recommendation. You can determine the caloric value of a dog food by looking for the kcal on the guaranteed analysis panel.
- Contains 30% protein and 20% for optimal, healthy weight gain.
- Is made from unprocessed, real meats. When reading the ingredients list, meat should be the very first item listed.
- Has not artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives that can be difficult to digest and trigger allergies.
- Is either grain-free or features only whole grains to help avoid weight loss issues that can be triggered by food allergies and intolerances.
- Contains digestive aids like pre- and probiotics like lactobacillus to help them correctly digest and process all the nutrients in the food.
- Have a variety of healthy vitamins, minerals, and omega fatty acids to help combat nutritional deficiencies. You can find the nutritional content on the guaranteed analysis panel.
Finally, you want to change your feeding schedule from twice a day, to several small meals throughout the day.
Top Foods For Underweight Dogs
Wellness CORE Grain Free is an excellent food for underweight dogs. It is made completely without grains and contains deboned turkey and chicken. It is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to replenish any nutrient loss. Made without byproducts, artificial ingredients, or fillers and full of pre- and probiotics, it’s easily digestible. Plus, it has the perfect balance of 36% crude protein and 18% crude fat to ensure a perfect balanced weight gain.
Nature’s Variety Instinct is a kibble that contains freeze-dried raw food pieces to add extra energy and nutrition. It contains a perfect balance of 35% crude protein and 20% fat for optimal weight gain. Nature’s Variety Instinct is also made without grains, artificial additives, and filler ingredients that can upset your underweight dog’s sensitive digestion. Plus, it also contains loads of omega fatty acids to restore health and shine to your dog’s coat.
The Honest Kitchen Kindly is a base mix for at home raw foods. You add your dog’s favorite meat and the base mix provides all the necessary nutrients needed to get their weight back on track. The base mix is completely grain-free, contains no artificial additives, and is minimally processed. The Honest Kitchen Kindly is perfect for dogs who have weight loss because of food intolerances or allergies or are just picky eaters because you can tailor it to your dog’s specific needs.
Raw Food For Underweight Dogs
Probably the best thing you can feed your underweight dog is raw dog food. Raw dog food for underweight dogs is not heavily processed so it is easily digestible and contains all the nutrients that can be lost from processing. You can feed your dog raw dog food either as their full meal option or to supplement their kibble. If you are considering a raw foods diet for your underweight dog, read Dog Food Insider’s guide to switching your dog to a raw dog food diet here.
No matter what diet you choose, just make sure to monitor their weight. If they do not start to gain a healthy amount of weight, you may need to consult with your veterinarian again about what lifestyle changes you can implement. Otherwise, if you switch to a healthy dog food that is loaded with nutrients and contains the right balance of protein and fats like the great options listed above, you should be able to get your dog’s weight back on track.