How To Fatten Up A Dog

You can deal with an underweight dog (skinny dog), whereas other pet parents might have an overweight dog.

If you’ve noticed your dog looking a little bit skinny lately, or you’ve recently taken on a rescue dog, you might be looking for tips to get your dog to gain weight safely and healthily.

Giving your dog enough food like lean protein and good fat in his meal is the fastest and most effective approach to help him gain weight.

These will promote weight gain and muscular development in your dog while keeping an eye on its health.

How to fatten up a dog can be worrying for dog owners.

Being underweight as well as obese are both equally bad for your dog’s health.

If so, you might also want to check your pet’s health with a veterinarian to rule out any potential health issues.

But before you consult your vet, there are a few things you can try yourself to help your furry darling.

As you know now the answer to the question “how to fatten up a dog”, read on to learn what you can do.

19 Ways To Help Your Dog Gain Weight Naturally

dog gets treats

Are you ready to assist your dog in reaching its ideal weight?

Use the advice provided below. Remember, none of these are quick fixes.

It’s critical to make changes gradually, especially for very thin dogs or dogs who have been underweight for a long time.

The strategies we’ve chosen will assist you in developing a safe and long-term weight gain plan for your dog.

Higher Protein Food

Lean protein will be a dedicated source of protein without fat.

Isn’t protein-derived fat a beneficial thing?

Yes, in terms of your dog’s gaining weight.

Lean protein is your most excellent option to keep your dog healthy and at a higher, healthier weight.

Protein boosts the body’s energy production and helps your dog grow muscle mass.

You can try high-quality food from chicken breast, chicken necks, chicken hearts, chicken liver, and chicken gizzards as protein.

These are one of the best dog foods to gain weight.

Higher Fat Food

Higher fat foods are suitable for a thin dog for healthy weight gain.

For their growth and development, these nutrients are essential.

It aids in the puppies’ development into solid adult dogs.

Although pricey, your dog has to eat these foods.

You can use this food to help your dog acquire weight if it is underweight.

Stick To A Feeding Schedule

dog feeding schedule

A feeding schedule might benefit most dogs with an appetite and worry about food.

They feel calmer and more at ease eating because of the established habit and consistency.

In these circumstances, it is preferable to space out meals and give your dog three to four meals per day.

They won’t have to worry about overeating with fewer meal times and will have time to increase their appetite before the next meal.

Try Sweet Potato And Pumpkin

Your dog can quickly put on weight with the help of canned pumpkin and sweet potatoes.

You can add this if you don’t want to increase the meat in your dog’s diet.

Pumpkins and sweet potatoes enable your dog to put on weight by incorporating fiber and fat.

The nutrients in the dry food will ensure that the dog’s stomach is not irritated.

Try Wet Or Fresh Foods

Wet food and fresh food preparations have several advantages for a dog having problems with weight.

First, they are frequently relatively calorie and nutrition dense, especially when choosing fresh food options.

That is because there isn’t much filler, and everything your dog eats is healthy.

Additionally, this meal is simpler to chew, making it perfect for dogs with dental problems.

Finally, if your dog is fussy, wet and fresh foods typically taste much better and are easier to convince them to eat.

Deworm Your Dog

Your dog may have intestinal worms if they have a great appetite but are still not gaining weight.

Other signs include, among others, diarrhea, coat loss, depression, and shifting desire.

It could be time to obtain a prescription if you observe them and haven’t given your dog a deworming treatment in a while.

Additionally, it’s critical to follow the deworming plan to avoid reoccurrences of the same problems.

If your dog has worms, you may also want to know what are the chances of getting worms from your dog. Click the link to read our article about it.

Try Acupuncture

Dogs are frequently given acupuncture to treat inflammatory conditions like arthritis.

dog at acupuncture

However, it has several advantages for gut health that might assist in increasing your dog’s appetite.

It has been demonstrated to lessen dogs’ nausea and vomiting, frequently resulting in loss of appetite and decreased absorption of nutrients after meals.

Your pet’s best friend may benefit from acupuncture to help stimulate their appetite centers and increase their enthusiasm for mealtimes.

Feed High-Quality Calories

There are particular dog foods meant to encourage weight gain.

In addition to carbohydrates, these include oils, essential meat proteins, and other substances as opposed to byproducts and parts.

So, as you think about what to feed your dog to help them stay healthy, consider giving them a diet makeover with one of the many high-calorie dog food brands available.

Track The Changes

Caloric intake for your dog should be progressively increased.

You cannot simply have the portions doubled and hope for the best.

No, you must gradually increase amounts over time.

You may find out what works and what doesn’t by keeping track of adjustments to your dog’s food and keeping track of weekly weight check-ins.

Try Appetite Stimulants

When your dog’s appetite is significantly reduced, it is often appropriate to bring in heavy guns.

That frequently occurs in sick dogs, particularly those with systemic diseases like cancer.

Appetite stimulants directly trigger the brain receptors that regulate hunger cycles under such circumstances.

Mirtazapine is among the most excellent alternatives for dogs.

To return your dog to its previous, healthy feeding habits, visit your veterinarian about the appropriate dose.

Dental Health

human hands open dogs mouth and showing teeth

Dental issues may be the reason for losing weight in your dog.

With sensitive gums and teeth, chewing on dry kibble is the last thing your dog wants to do.

Puppy dental problems range from gingivitis to tooth decay.

Be careful to take care of those problems if you feel they cause your dog’s weight loss.

Antibiotics, cleaning, or even tooth extraction can be necessary.

Cut Back On The Snacks And Treats

That could seem counterintuitive when you want your dog to eat more and put on weight.

But give us a chance.

Snacking frequently fills their stomach with frequently non-nutritious garbage.

It may even make smaller dogs too full for their main meals, which often have greater calorie and nutrient values.

As a result, make every effort to reduce the number of treats and snack periods you have during the day.

Find Food Flavors That Your Dog Likes

A lot of dogs are picky eaters.  

Dogs have highly developed senses, which explains this.

They might avoid a meal if they detect something unusual, such as an odd smell or strange texture.

As a result, if your dog’s hunger is a problem for you, try varying what you give them.

brown dog lying on the floor while eating from a bowl

Weight-gain snacks can be beneficial in supplementing your dog’s meals.

Give Your Dog Space When He Eats

That generally applies to dogs that have been rescued and those who have experienced other types of trauma.

Mealtimes frequently turn into compassionate times for these pups.

If you follow them around, they become tense and can stop eating.

Therefore, you might need to give your dog some space so it can eat to its heart’s content privately if you find that it refuses to eat while you are around or becomes angry when it is time to feed in your company.

Food First, Then Water

For dog food to support general health, water is vital.

However, it is best to ensure that the dog consumes their food before drinking the water when provided during mealtimes.

Water, which has no calorie content, can be incredibly sufficing.

The result is that the dog consumes more food than is necessary to meet its daily caloric needs before becoming satisfied.

Increase Activity

More activity will lead to more appetite.

It can be beneficial to extend your walk by five minutes, play a few more backyard or engage in extra brain processing like puzzles and board games.

Don’t Risk Your Dogs Health

Make sure to discuss your dog’s appropriate weight with your veterinarian.

Avoid exceeding your dog’s ideal weight and giving them a bulky build.

That is why you should change your dog’s diet gradually.

It is best to discuss the healthiest ways to make more significant changes to your dog’s food and routine with your veterinarian if they need to gain a substantial amount of weight.

Know The Changes You Are Looking For

How can you determine whether your dog is putting on weight?

When making dietary and lifestyle adjustments for someone.

Feel their ribs and hips, and take a profile and overhead view of them.

Even though their weight hasn’t altered significantly, you can still detect improvement in their body definition.

The ribs and hips of your pet should feel less prominent as they acquire weight and muscle, and there should be more heft around the hips, shoulders, and chest.

That suggests that muscles are thriving.

Consult With Your Vet

Before beginning any new nutrition regimen or habit adjustment for your dog, it’s crucial to discuss it with your veterinarian.

Weight changes or sudden weight reduction could be signs of another problem.

Before you bulk up your dog again, be sure he’s healthy.

Reasons Why Your Dog Won’t Gain Weight

skinny black dog

It’s natural for dogs to gain and lose a few pounds, but there are specific indicative symptoms of underweight dogs:

  • Visible ribs, hips, shoulders, or tail bones

  • Lower energy levels

  • Depression

  • Poor dog’s eating habits

  • Dull, dry dog fur, or shedding coat

These signs and symptoms concern whether you’ve observed a recent change in your dog’s weight or have always been tiny.

Let’s go over some of the most prevalent causes of weight loss in dogs:

Picky Eater

While some dogs eat almost anything, others are more difficult to please.

They might be taste, texture, mealtime, and other sensitivities sensitive.

You can win your dog’s gastronomic heart with some experimentation, as we’ll discuss later.


Stress-related weight loss is another possibility.

It may be brought on by a week of eerie thunderstorms, strangers stopping by, a new dog moving into the house, or going to the groomer.

If your dog has anxiety known to be triggered by specific situations, you can work with a dog trainer to lessen the impact.


If your dog is gaining weight or losing weight, there may be an underlying disease or injury.

Visit your veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, digestive difficulties, thyroid disorders, or dental disease.

Dental Issue

Another reason your dog might not want to eat is if they have missing teeth or mouth ulcers.

It’s crucial to routinely check your dog’s mouth because you might not even know these mouth sores.


Your dog’s weight changes gradually as it gets older.

While adult dogs tend to lose weight as they age due to changes in hunger, activity levels, illnesses, and other factors, puppies contain more fat than adult dogs.

Recent Rescues

Rescue dogs frequently have weight issues, whether from a shelter or strays.

Assuming this is the case, you should start addressing the problem immediately by gathering as much information as possible from the shelter and the dog’s former veterinarian.

If they begin to lose weight following adoption, it can be because of stress brought on by the environmental shift.

How Do I Know If My Dog Is A Healthy Weight?

brown dog on a scale to weight

You can use a breed weight chart as a quick reference because every breed has a healthy weight range.

A body condition score is more precise for gauging your dog’s weight.

It is simple, applicable to all breeds, and equipment is unnecessary.

In essence, you feel and examine your dog’s body from various perspectives before comparing their profile to a grading scale.

Examine these three main steps:

Rib Check 

Put your dog in a comfortable standing position before rubbing its ribs with both palms, one on each side.

You should be able to feel their ribs, spine, hips, and tail bones with ease.

Profile Check 

Crouch alongside your dog and observe them from the side.

Examine the person’s abdomen to see if it is visible that it curves upward from their ribcage.

If their coat is in the way, you can have to feel their abdomen.

Overhead Check

Check to see if you can see your dog’s waist behind their ribs by looking down at them from an above perspective.

dog eating at the table

When Should You Consider Veterinary Advice?

It’s vital to consider whether your dog needs to gain weight if they struggle to acquire weight but are just on the leaner side of average.

The vet will provide veterinary advice to assist you in making this decision.

Your dog might have a slender build and be uninterested in overeating, which I bet most of us would appreciate!

Your veterinarian can also assist you in figuring out whether this is the case.

Can Peanut Butter Help My Dog Gain Weight?


Your dog probably already enjoys peanut butter or cottage cheese, and its high-fat content is excellent for promoting weight gain.

Everyone benefits because peanut butter is healthier than many dogs treats you may buy at the store.

Can Eggs Make My Dog Gain Weight?

Again, we say yes!

Eggs are a great source of protein and healthy fat to help your dog lose weight.

They also offer the amino acids your dog requires but cannot naturally produce.

Eggs’ fatty acids are also good for your dog’s skin and coat.

Eggs are a wholesome, simple-to-digest snack that can aid your dog’s weight gain.

Does Rice Help A Dog Gain Weight?

Including brown rice in your dog’s food will undoubtedly aid in weight gain because it is high in carbohydrates.

If your dog is prone to stomach problems, you may also add additional lean proteins to it.

Rice can also help your dog’s upset stomach.

Before You Go…

Now you know the answer to the question, “How to fatten up a dog?”

If you want to learn more, read the following articles too!

Mena Emad, DVM
Mena has a Bachelor’s degree in veterinary medicine. His expertise, passion for animal welfare, extensive knowledge, and experience in the field of veterinary medicine make him an excellent resource for our readers.