How to Put Weight on a Skinny Dog

Feed a skinny dog gradually.
i street dog image by Cherry-Merry from

A dog can be too skinny from eating the wrong type of food, from being sick or from being homeless without regular meals for several days. It can be distressing to see an emaciated pup. Refrain from providing too much food all at once. There is a better method.

Step 1

Take the dog to a veterinarian. The vet can check the dog to determine whether he is skinny because of health issues. The dog could have broken teeth, a lacerated tongue, an eye or ear infection, tapeworm or abdominal pain that indicates a potentially serious condition, such as bowel obstruction, pancreatitis or kidney failure.

Step 2

Offer water first. It’s a good sign if the dog is interested and wants to drink.

Step 3

Feed a small meal every six hours for 24 to 48 hours. Make sure the food is of good quality and contains minerals such as phosphorous, magnesium and potassium. Food with a high fat content will promote weight gain; a fat content of 18 percent for dry food is good. The protein should be in the 28 percent to 30 percent range. The four small feedings should not be more food that what the dog would normally eat in 24 hours.

Step 4

Offer a vitamin and mineral supplement with each feeding. You can also add an omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid supplement.

Step 5

Watch to see whether the dog eats all of what you offer. If the dog is not eating a normal amount of food after 48 hours, you might need to force-feed him. Your vet can guide you.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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