How To Fatten Up A Malnourished Dog


How To Fatten Up A Malnourished Dog | Your dog has been going through a tough time, and you need help to fatten them up. It looks like your dog is starving and you are struggling to find the best food for them. Their ribs stick out, their hair is thinning and it seems like they just can’t seem to get any healthier.

It’s important that your malnourished pet gets the right nutrients during this difficult time so they will make a full recovery in health without going through an expensive surgery or treatment plan.

How can you fatten up your malnourished dog? If you’re not sure what’s out there then it can be quite difficult finding one that will suit their needs while being easy on your wallet too.

In today’s article, we share with you exactly what you need to know about how to fatten up your malnourished dog, and how you can make sure they are getting enough nutrients during this time of need.

How To Fatten Up A Malnourished Dog

How To Fatten Up A Malnourished Dog
How To Fatten Up A Malnourished Dog | Goodhousekeeping

There are many reasons a dog may become malnourished. The most common cause is an underlying health issue, such as a digestive disorder or cancer. Other causes can include a lack of access to food or water, obesity, or parasites.

If your dog is malnourished, there are several things you can do to help them gain weight and improve their health.

In order to help a malnourished dog, it is important to understand how to put on weight safely without complications. Here are six ways to do so:

  • Add high-fat foods to the diet.
  • Feed multiple small meals per day instead of one or two large ones.
  • Supply plenty of water and encourage drinking.
  • Increase the protein content of the diet.
  • Supplement with essential fatty acids.
  • Consider using a commercial weight gain product.

There are a number of ways that you can help your malnourished dog gain weight. Here are seven ways you can fatten up your malnourished:

  1. Small but frequent meals
  2. Slowly increase calorie intake
  3. Provide healthy snacks and treats
  4. Consider weight gain supplements
  5. Exercise is still necessary
  6. Track the dog’s progress
  7. Natural food only

1. Small but frequent meals

Small, frequent meals are the best way to maintain a healthy diet. This will help your body to better digest and process the food. The food should also be balanced with essential minerals like phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium.

2. Slowly increase calorie intake

The best way to fatten up a malnourished dog is through calorie-dense food. You can help the dog consume extra calories by choosing calorie-dense foods. This will allow the dog to slowly gain weight until it is healthy again.

Making sure that the food your dog eats is complete and balanced is essential for helping them gain weight. Additionally, weight gain supplements will help the dog build muscle mass and increase caloric intake. There are a variety of ways to do this, so consult with your veterinarian to see what would be the best option for your dog.

3. Provide healthy snacks and treats

Just like humans, dogs need snacks throughout the day to help them stay energized. However, not all snacks are good for your dog- it’s important to give them healthy options as well. Some great ideas for healthy dog snacks include feeding them pieces of fruit or vegetables, stuffing Kong toys with peanut butter, or giving them a small amount of lean meat. And remember: treats should be given sparingly.

4. Consider weight gain supplements

Weight-gain supplements are not always the solution to a dog’s malnourishment. While they can be helpful in supplying certain nutrients that may be missing from the dog’s diet, it is important that you also supplement their regular meals with snacks. This will help ensure that your dog is getting all of the nutrients they need to stay healthy and grow properly.

5. Exercise is still necessary

Dogs need exercise just as much as humans do. Just like humans, dogs who don’t get enough exercise are more likely to be obese. Exercise helps your dog gain weight and muscle, rather than just being fat.

A regular exercise routine is necessary for not only fattening up a malnourished dog but also for establishing good habits for them in the future. Exercise helps to develop lean muscle and reduces the risk of gaining too much body fat. This will make it easier to manage their weight in the long run.

While you want to make sure your dog is getting enough to eat, don’t forget that exercise is still necessary. Exercise will increase your dog’s appetite, allowing him to eat more meals. In addition, dogs need exercise to burn off energy as well as get some mental stimulation. This can help keep them mentally and physically healthy while they are recovering from malnutrition.

6. Track the dog’s progress

It is very important to keep track of your dog’s progress while they are on a weight gain diet. This can be done by keeping a weight gain journal, where you record the dog’s food intake, exercise habits, and body weight. You should also check the dog’s overall condition daily to make sure that they are responding well to the treatment and not experiencing any adverse effects.

In order to track the dog’s progress, you need to weigh it on a regular basis or take its measurements. This will help you see how much weight it has gained over time and make necessary adjustments.

7. Natural Food only

Adding natural foods like pork, beef, and chicken to a dog’s diet will help them get fattened up because these types of food have high-calorie content.

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Naturally, a dog’s diet should consist of natural food items whenever possible. Commercial pet food is often supplemented with vitamins and minerals, but these nutrients are not as easily absorbed by the dog as those found in natural foods. In fact, supplements can be expensive and difficult to find.

What Are The Causes Of Malnourishment In Dogs?

How To Fatten Up A Malnourished Dog
How To Fatten Up A Malnourished Dog

There are a variety of reasons why a dog may become malnourished. One of the most common causes is parasites. These can sap the nutrients from the dog’s system, leading to malnutrition. Other causes can include a lack of food, illness, or injury. Dogs that are not getting enough nutrients will start to lose weight, and their health will decline over time. Weight loss can also be caused by other medical problems such as thyroid issues, cancer, dental problems, and kidney disease.

Health problems are one of the main causes of malnourishment in dogs. While they may be easy to detect with a physical examination, other health-related issues can cause malnutrition that is harder to identify. For instance, liver disease may not have any external symptoms but can lead to weight loss and muscle wasting in a dog.

Malnutrition is not only a problem for stray and abandoned dogs but also for pet dogs. It is important to get your dog checked by a veterinarian if you suspect that he or she is not getting the proper nutrition.

Malnutrition can manifest itself in a variety of ways, including severe emaciation or loss of muscle mass and strength. It is important to seek veterinary care if you believe your dog is suffering from malnutrition.

Malnourished Dog Symptoms

A dog can be malnourished even if it is not underweight or visibly thin. There are a number of behavioral and physical signs that can indicate that a dog is not getting the nutrients it needs.

Some common signs of malnutrition include aggression or lethargy, skin problems such as dryness, flakiness, or excessive oiliness, and digestive issues such as diarrhea or constipation.

Weakness and Lethargy

Malnourished dogs are often very weak and lethargic. They may lag behind on walks and have a reduced interest in activities that they used to enjoy. This is because their bodies are lacking the resources needed for optimal functioning.

Skin Disorders

Itchy skin can be a sign of many different things, including an underlying nutritional deficiency. If you have a persistent itch, it is important to see a doctor so that the cause can be determined and treated. Red, irritated areas on the skin are often caused by nutritional deficiencies and can be treated by addressing the underlying issue.

When a dog is malnourished, it can be susceptible to skin infections. Infection signs include lesions that are hot to the touch, oozing or weeping, crusty lesions, raised lesions, and angry-looking red areas. If you see any of these signs in your dog, please take it to the vet for proper treatment.

Dull, Slow Growing Coat

The coat of a malnourished dog will often be dull and slow-growing. This is because the dog isn’t getting the proper nutrition, which means the coat won’t fill out properly. The coat may also take on a more rugged appearance over time.

Frequent Illness and Long Recovery Period

The most common sign that a dog is malnourished is a frequent illness. If a dog has an immune system weakened by malnutrition, then they are more susceptible to catching something and will take longer to recover.

Malnourished dogs often have a long recovery period due to weakened immune systems. This means that they are more susceptible to infection or illness and may take longer to recover than healthy dogs.

Change in Bowel Habits

If you notice a change in your dog’s bowel habits, it could be a sign that something is wrong and he needs to see a vet. Constipation, diarrhea, and inconsistent bowel movements can all be signs that there is a problem.

Dogs that are malnourished may also show symptoms like diarrhea or vomiting. It’s important to take your dog to the vet if you notice any changes in their bowel habits, as it could be a sign that they’re not getting the nutrition they need.

Foul Breath

Bad breath, or halitosis, may be caused by a number of factors, including malnutrition, tooth decay, and other health problems. If you’re experiencing bad breath and haven’t been able to identify a cause, it’s best to consult with your doctor or dentist.

What Human Food Can I Give My Dog To Gain Weight?

Safe human foods for dogs (in moderation and with vet approval):

  • Cooked lean protein: Roasted chicken (without skin), boiled eggs, cooked salmon (deboned), or lean cooked beef.
  • Healthy fats: Cooked salmon, sardines (packed in water), olive oil, or coconut oil (small amounts).
  • High-calorie carbohydrates: Cooked sweet potatoes, pumpkin puree (plain, canned), cooked white rice, or quinoa.
  • Dairy (in small amounts): Plain, unflavored yogurt (low-fat or fat-free) or cottage cheese.

What Dog Food Will Help Gain Weight?

Choosing the right dog food to help your furry friend gain weight can be tricky, but with some guidance, you can find the perfect option for their needs. It’s important to remember that consulting your veterinarian is crucial before making any major changes to your dog’s diet, as they can assess your dog’s individual needs and recommend the most suitable food.

Here are some factors to consider when choosing a dog food for weight gain:

Calorie content: Look for a food that is higher in calories than your dog’s current food. This will provide them with the extra energy they need to gain weight. Generally, foods with 400-500 calories per cup are considered high-calorie.

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Nutrient content: The food should also be rich in nutrients, including protein, fat, and essential vitamins and minerals. This will ensure that your dog is gaining healthy weight and not just fat.

Ingredients: Choose a food made with high-quality ingredients, such as real meat, poultry, or fish. Avoid foods with fillers, artificial flavors, and colors.

Digestibility: The food should be easily digestible so that your dog can absorb the nutrients efficiently.

Here are some popular dog food brands that offer weight-gain formulas:

  • Purina Pro Plan High Protein: This food is formulated for active dogs and contains 30% protein and 20% fat.
  • Royal Canin Weight Care: This food is designed for dogs who need to gain weight and contains a blend of nutrients to help them build muscle.
  • Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight: This food is formulated to help dogs maintain a healthy weight, but it can also be used for weight gain if fed in larger quantities
  • Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Chicken Recipe: This grain-free food is high in protein and fat and is a good option for dogs who are active or have difficulty gaining weight

How To Fatten Up A Dog In A Week

However, it’s strongly discouraged to attempt to fatten up your dog in just a week. This approach can be dangerous and have negative consequences for their health. Here’s why:

1. Unhealthy Weight Gain: Rapid weight gain can lead to obesity, which is linked to numerous health problems in dogs, including:

  • Joint issues: Carrying extra weight puts strain on their joints, increasing the risk of arthritis and other orthopedic problems.
  • Heart disease: Obesity can put stress on their heart and lungs, leading to heart disease and respiratory problems.
  • Diabetes: Rapid weight gain can disrupt their insulin regulation, increasing the risk of diabetes.
  • Digestive problems: Introducing drastic dietary changes quickly can upset their stomach and cause vomiting, diarrhea, or other digestive issues.

2. Underlying Issues: Before focusing on weight gain, it’s crucial to rule out any underlying medical conditions that might be causing weight loss or preventing weight gain. Underlying health issues like parasites, thyroid problems, or dental disease need proper diagnosis and treatment before addressing weight concerns.

3. Sustainable Approach: Aim for a gradual and healthy approach to weight gain, focusing on long-term well-being. This involves:

  • Consulting your veterinarian: They can assess your dog’s individual needs, recommend appropriate weight gain goals, and suggest healthy dietary changes.
  • Choosing a high-quality, calorie-dense dog food: Look for food formulated for weight gain or active dogs, with higher calorie content and balanced nutrients.
  • Portion control: Increase their food intake gradually, following your vet’s guidance to avoid overfeeding.
  • Regular exercise: Maintain moderate exercise routines to promote muscle growth and prevent obesity-related health risks.

What Is The Highest Calorie Food For Dogs?

Here are some high-calorie options to consider, with the caveat that they should be fed under proper guidance and not as a one-size-fits-all solution:

Commercial High-Calorie Dog Foods:

  • Miracle Vet High-Calorie High Protein Formula Dog Food: This veterinarian-approved food boasts 600 calories per cup, making it a top contender for calorie density. It’s formulated with high-quality ingredients like chicken and rice and is suitable for weight gain, performance, and growth
  • Purina Pro Plan Sport, Energy & Vitality Support: This food caters to active dogs with 427 calories per cup. It contains high protein content for muscle building and essential nutrients for overall health.
  • Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight: While designed for weight management, this food can be fed in larger quantities for weight gain, offering 431 calories per cup. It includes a blend of nutrients to support healthy weight gain.

Homemade High-Calorie Dog Food Additions:

  • Fatty Fish: Cooked salmon, sardines, or mackerel are excellent sources of healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids, with moderate calorie content. Remember to remove bones and feed in moderation.
  • Eggs: Scrambled, boiled, or poached eggs are a protein-rich addition, providing around 78 calories per egg. Ensure they’re cooked through and avoid adding unhealthy fats.
  • Coconut Oil: This healthy fat source offers around 120 calories per tablespoon. Add a small amount to their food for a calorie boost, but be mindful of potential digestive upset.
  • Pumpkin Puree: Plain canned pumpkin is a low-calorie, high-fiber addition that aids digestion and provides around 40 calories per cup. It’s also a good source of vitamins and minerals.

Remember, these are just a few examples, and the best option for your dog depends on their specific needs and preferences. Always consult your veterinarian before making any significant dietary changes, especially if your dog has any underlying health conditions.

Why Is My Dog Not Gaining Weight But Eating?

There are several reasons why your dog might not be gaining weight despite eating normally. Here are some possibilities:

1. Not Enough Calories: Even though your dog might be eating, they might not be consuming enough calories for their individual needs. Factors like age, breed, activity level, and individual metabolism can all affect calorie requirements. Consult your vet to determine their ideal daily calorie intake.

2. Underlying Health Issues: Medical conditions like intestinal parasites, dental problems, thyroid disorders, or even organ dysfunction can hinder nutrient absorption and prevent weight gain. Schedule a checkup with your vet to rule out any underlying health concerns.

3. Poor Food Quality: Low-quality dog food might lack essential nutrients or be poorly digestible, leading to inadequate nutrient absorption despite sufficient intake. Consider upgrading to a high-quality, calorie-dense dog food formulated for weight gain or active dogs.

4. Increased Energy Expenditure: If your dog exercises excessively or has certain medical conditions, they might be burning more calories than they consume, making it difficult to gain weight. Discuss their activity level and any health concerns with your vet.

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5. Age-Related Changes: Older dogs might have naturally lower metabolisms and require fewer calories overall. However, weight loss in seniors can also indicate health problems, so consulting your vet is crucial.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Schedule a vet visit: A thorough examination and diagnostic tests can help identify the underlying cause of your dog’s weight loss or lack of weight gain.
  • Follow your vet’s recommendations: They might suggest a dietary change, medication, or treatment plan depending on the diagnosis.
  • Monitor your dog’s progress: Keep track of their weight, eating habits, activity level, and any other relevant changes.


While the desire to see your malnourished dog regain weight is understandable, remember that quick fixes and fad diets can do more harm than good. Prioritizing their overall health and well-being through a gradual and safe approach is the key to long-term success.

Consult your veterinarian first and foremost. They are your partner in navigating this journey, equipped to assess your dog’s individual needs and create a personalized plan for healthy weight gain. Remember, addressing any underlying health issues is crucial before focusing on weight gain.


How can you tell if your dog is malnourished?

Malnutrition is a serious issue that often goes unnoticed. The first thing to do is determine how much your dog should be eating and whether he’s actually consuming enough food per day, which may help you identify if he’s malnourished. If the dog is not eating enough, you should try to increase his food intake by adding a little more wet or dry food at each meal.
It can be difficult to tell if your dog is malnourished because some signs that they may not be getting enough food are hard to distinguish from other things, like a lack of muscle mass. Some signs to look for are a lack of energy and muscle mass, as well as a lack of weight gain.

What are the risks associated with allowing a dog to remain malnourished?

The risks associated with allowing a dog to remain malnourished are that it could result in the development of a condition such as hypothyroidism, which would make the animal more susceptible to infection.

Are there any long-term effects of malnutrition in dogs?

Yes, malnutrition in dogs can cause a number of different long-term effects, including but not limited to diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and changes in sleep patterns and behavior.
An article on the website written by Dr. Debora Lichtenberg and Dr. Lisa Radosta states that “Malnutrition can cause stunted growth, thinning hair, diarrhea, and tooth decay.”

How often should you feed a malnourished dog?

When you have a malnourished dog, it is best to feed them multiple small meals throughout the day instead of one or two large ones. This will help their stomachs to digest the food properly and give them more energy. You should also make sure that they are eating a high-quality diet with plenty of protein and vitamins so that they can start to gain weight again.
High-quality puppy food is usually recommended for malnourished dogs. However, the fastest way to put weight on a dog would be to feed it high-quality food low in carbohydrates, fat, and protein with minerals such as phosphates, magnesium, and potassium.

Are eggs good for dogs?

Yes, eggs can be good for dogs in moderation! They are a nutritious source of protein, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals, making them a beneficial occasional treat or dietary supplement for your furry friend.

How long does it take for a malnourished dog to gain weight?

Generally, it’s not recommended to focus on a specific timeframe for weight gain. Prioritizing a gradual and healthy approach under veterinary guidance is crucial. Here’s what to expect:
Initial stabilization: This initial phase focuses on addressing any immediate health concerns and ensuring the dog tolerates the new diet well.
Slow and steady weight gain: Aim for a weekly weight gain of 1-2% of their ideal body weight. This allows for healthy tissue growth and prevents complications.
Regular monitoring: Schedule checkups with your veterinarian to monitor progress, adjust the diet if needed, and address any concerns.

Does rice help dogs gain weight?

Rice can help dogs gain weight, but it’s important to consider several factors before incorporating it into their diet.

Can a dog recover from malnutrition?

It’s important to remember that recovery is not guaranteed, but early intervention and proper care significantly improve the chances. If you suspect your dog is malnourished, consult a veterinarian immediately for diagnosis, treatment, and guidance on their specific recovery journey.

What’s the best thing to fatten up a dog?

There isn’t one single “best” thing to fatten up a dog, as focusing solely on quick weight gain can be detrimental and even dangerous. It’s crucial to prioritize your dog’s long-term health and well-being by adopting a gradual and safe approach to weight gain.

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