How To Help Your Puppy Gain Weight
It can be rather worrisome when your puppy doesn’t seem to be gaining weight the way it should. Like humans, every dog has a different build and metabolism rate. So before you sound the alarm bells, you should first determine if your puppy is, in fact, underweight.
Is My Puppy Underweight?
While there are weight charts available specific to each dog’s breed, the best way to know if your pup is growing as it should is to use your hands and eyes.
-Take a quick look at your puppy’s upper body, there should not be any visible ribs.
-Run your hands down your puppy’s sides. You should be able to feel the ribs through a thin layer of fat.
-When you look down at your puppy, there should be a waist where the sides just before its hips and rump taper in.
-From the side, your puppy’s tummy should tuck in at the section just before his hind legs.
If your puppy’s physique meets all of the above criteria, you can set your mind at ease. However, if you can see your pup’s ribs and hips, or easily feel out its spine, then you must take steps to help your puppy gain weight.
First Things First
Before we go into the ways in which you can help your puppy gain weight, go through this checklist to ensure that you are meeting your puppy’s nutritional needs:
-Does your puppy have a balanced diet?
Is your puppy consuming the necessary amount of nutrients, protein, vitamins and minerals? Store-bought puppy food should follow the nutrient guidelines set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Check the package label of your puppy’s food to ensure that the food has been formulated to meet the complete nutritional guidelines. Your puppy should be eating food labelled for “All Life Stages” or “Growth”.
-Is your puppy getting a sufficient calorie intake?
Are you feeding your pup enough food? Make sure you are following the recommended feeding chart on your puppy’s food label. In general, puppies under six months should be eating three times a day. There are formulas for owners to calculate their pup’s recommended daily calorie intake, but it is best to consult your vet for the most accurate advice.
-Have you checked for underlying causes?
If your puppy’s appetite is good and you are meeting all of its nutritional needs, there is a possibility that its lack of weight gain is due to underlying causes that only a vet can determine. Intestinal parasites, diseases or dental issues may be the cause of your pup’s slow growth. If you think this might be the case, do bring your puppy to see the vet immediately.
Tips For Gaining Weight
If you have done all of the above and your puppy is still not at a healthy weight, you may consider these options to help it put on some pounds.
1. More Meals
An easy way to increase your puppy’s daily ration is by adding extra meals. Several small meals might be more effective than two or three large meals. Start by adding one extra, and if that is not enough, add one more. Make sure to consult your vet first so you don’t end up overfeeding your pup.
2. Use Puppy Food
If you’ve got a fussy pup on your hands, consider feeding it puppy food. Puppy food has higher calories than regular food meant for all life stages, so even if your pup eats less than the recommended amount, the additional nutrition will make up for the calories lost from a poor appetite.
You can consider adding supplements to your puppy’s food to give it the extra nutrients it may be lacking. However, it is important to know that using supplements without consulting the vet can be harmful to your pup. Always ask your vet for advice before introducing anything new to your puppy’s diet.
Believe it or not, more exercise encourages more weight gain for dogs. Puppies that get a good amount of exercise will naturally experience an increase in appetite. Exercise also builds muscle and improves your pup’s overall health, but be sure to monitor its stamina so that it doesn’t overheat.