Underweight dogs who do not have the proper body weight often make owners worry about their health. Owners can actively participate in encouraging the dog to gain weight in a healthy way, without injuring the dog. The owner can start the process by noting any changes in eating habits or lack of interest in food and keeping track of everything that the dog eats.
Give Small Meals Several Times a Day
Dogs who are underweight should not have free range access to food, as the owners will not be able to measure the amount of food that the dog eats. Offering the underweight dog meals several times a day allows the owner to watch what the dog eats and ensures that the dog eats it all. Small meals also allow the dog to have a source of nutrition throughout the day.
Offer a High Quality Dog Food
Underweight dogs need high quality dog food that has lots of protein, vitamins, fats and minerals. The starving dog needs phosphorous, potassium and magnesium according to PetMD. The high fat content in the dog food will help the underweight dog to gain weight, while the high protein will also help the dog to gain adequate weight. The owner should read the directions on the bag of dog food to see the amount of food that the dog will need. The owner can then arrange the amount of food that the dog gets at each meal accordingly.
Encourage Nutritious Treats Throughout the Day
Dog treats will encourage the underweight dog to eat during the day and a fussy dog may eat treats quicker than it will eat dog food. Create a treat out of a pound of hamburger, 10 oz. of oats, six egg whites, molasses and wheat germ and roll out one inch balls. This treat will help to fatten your dog up, according to lowchensaustralia.com. Another treat that it recommends is one pint of cottage cheese mixed with 1 lb. of ground turkey or beef, two eggs boiled in the shell for 30 seconds and then cracked, 2 tbsp. of olive oil and a can of tuna fish all mixed together and rolled into one inch balls. These treats both contain healthy fats and proteins to help the underweight dog and they can be stored in the freezer until needed.
Hydrate Your Underweight Dog
Underweight dogs are sometimes dehydrated as well. If a dog does not have enough water in its system, it can cause health issues in the dog. Dogs who need to gain weight should always have access to fresh water, no matter what the dog's feeding schedule is. Water will help to keep the dog healthy while it is gaining weight.