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How to Fatten up a Dog [4 Easy Steps Revealed from Experts]


It is most dog parents’ worst nightmare when their dog suddenly starts losing weight, or had gone through a bad series of sicknesses and don’t want to fatten up.

Although there are various reasons for the lack of putting on weight in dogs, (such as medical, stress and nutrition issues), will most dogs go through it at least once in a lifetime.

We investigate in this article just how to fatten up a dog, and reveal the top 4 steps.

First, take a look at this video:

Step 1 – Determine Why Your Dog Is Thin

The first step is always to determine why the dog got thin in the first place. There can be various reasons, therefore will monitoring the dog over a period of time be one of the best ways to determine what the reasons are.

If you don’t have the time for it, or the dog is severely malnourished, have a look at our list below, and check whether or not your dog falls into any of these categories:

The Top Reasons a Dog Might Lose Weight

Female Dog

Recently had puppies

Male Dog

Female dog was on heat and your male dog couldn’t leave her alone. It often happens that male dogs lose weight during this period of time since most of them forget to eat, or has decreased appetite

Male / Female Dog

Has been mistreated or neglected

Male / Female Dog

Other dogs in the family is stealing his food. In this case, be sure to stand by while all the dogs are eating

Male / Female Dog

Your dog has worms. In my experience is one of the most common causes of weight loss, and the continued appearance of underweight in dogs, worms. It is therefore important to deworm your dogs.

A series usually starts with 1 dose on the first day, followed up 8 days later with another dose, and then de-worming them every 3 months after that. (It is important to keep to the schedule indicated.)

Male / Female Dog

Any serious or chronic medical condition such as kidney disease, cancer, inflammatory bowel syndrome, diabetes mellitus, liver disease and/or the lack of pancreatic enzymes.

Important: If you suspect a medical condition is at hand, take the dog to a vet immediately. Self-medication usually has no effect in these cases and the dog will keep on losing weight

Male / Female Dog

Diarrhea or vomiting. This can happen due to eating the wrong thing, ingesting chemicals, swallowing poison or due to a medical condition

Male / Female Dog

Dog Food - Poor quality dog food, and/or not ingesting enough calories can cause weight loss. Your dogs might not even like the taste of their food, and can be picky about what they eat.

can-dogs-eat-pork (1)

Check the quality of your dry dog food

Some dry foods can become quite dull. It is here important to alternate your food choices. Spoiled food can cause diarrhea or vomiting

Male / Female Dog

Intestinal tumors

Male / Female Dog

Physical Activity – Rescue dogs for example might be working during emergencies for several days, and sometimes food might not be available. Or your dog is doing more exercise than usual, without his diet being supplemented to accommodate the extra calories he has burnt

Male / Female Dog

Fevers, inflammation, bowel infections, bacterial infection, viral or fungal infection

Male / Female Dog

Neurological disorders or stress

Change of Location – Some dogs lose weight when moving house or having to adjust to a new location or climate. It is mostly temporary​


Step 2 – Can Not Determine By Yourself Why Your Dog Is Losing Weight? Have A Professional Diagnosis Done

If you can not determine why your dog is losing weight, is it time to have your vet do a series of tests to determine if the cause is medical.

Various tests are done in this case, including but not limited to blood tests, urine tests, fecal tests, scans and CBC (Complete Blood Count), x-rays, ultrasound and/or a laparotomy.

References: http://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/digestive/c_multi_Weight_Loss_and_Cachexia

Step 3 – Establish a Treatment Program to Fatten Up Your Dog

The process of how to fatten up a dog is slow. You need to be patient, and although there are various techniques out there, determine the ones that is most applicable to your dogs’ situation, and your own circumstances and financial abilities.

Most often is a combination of techniques advisable to fatten up your dog. Lets have a look at some of the techniques in more detail:

A Step-by-Step Guides Below for Some Situations

  • Increase Calorie Intake
  • Change The Type Of Food Or Mix Things Up
  • For A Malnourished
    Or Severely Thin Do

Important: If you have a dog that is severely thin or malnourished, is it important to give small portions of food, regularly. Refrain from dealing out a large portion of food at any single time.

is-tuna-good-for-dog (1)

It is important to give small portions of food but regularly

Step 1: Serve small portion of food every 1-2 hours (day hours) over a period of 4 – 7 days.

Why: An undernourished dog might develop diarrhea or bowel disturbance if suddenly imputing a large amount of food. He will thus continue to stay thin.

Step 2: Once you notice the dog picking up weight, start serving portions every 4-5 hours (day hours). (Another 7 – 10 days.)

Step 3: You will gradually notice your dog fattening up. You can then start serving him 2 -3 portions of food every day, until he is in a healthy state again.

Tip: Determine how large the serving it is your dog needs daily, then divide the amount between the amount of servings you will give him during the day.

Example: If your dog needs 1kg of dry food, and you will be serving 2-3 portions over 12 hours, then you need to serve 0.33kg per serving every 4 hours.


Step 4 – The Importance of Vitamin B12 and Supplements to Fatten Up Your Dog

Another important aspect in fattening up your dog is incorporating Vitamin B12-rich foods which can be found in beef- or chicken liver, and raw eggs.

Raw eggs contain a lot of nutrients and vitamins which are good for dogs

Step 1: Serve your dog chicken or beef liver 2 – 3 times a week mixed with other food or dry food. This will also help with their overall conditioning.

Step 2: Give your dog raw eggs which is really high in Riboflavin, folate, vitamins B and A, Fatty Acids and selenium.

Step 3: Introduce a Vitamin or Condition Supplement. These can be bought from any vetenary clinic.

It is here important to note that these supplements often help increase a dogs appetite, thus is it helpful for dogs that you want to fatten up, but if you have a very healthy dog, do you need to ensure the supplements you buy is specifically for your type of dog.

Important: If your dog didn’t get any of these foods before, slowly introduce these into his diet.



It is always important for pet parents to fatten up a dog so as to help her put it back on after loosing weight and keep her in fitness. Find more useful information on Nolongerwild.com to keep your pets healthy.
In addition, have you ever had to fatten up a dog? Let us know your techniques and experiences in the comments below. 

About the Author Cindy Grant

A pet lover from Boston, USA who is extremely passionate about all cute little pets, especially puppies, kittens and birds. I created NolongerWild as a community where all pet lovers around the world can meet and share their passion with each other.

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