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When you look at your dog and think that it is too skinny, you are probably right… but not always. Although feeding your dog raw is a good thing that offers several benefits, it can be worrisome if your dog is underweight.
So how do you fatten up your dog on a raw diet? This article offers several solutions to your problem.
First off, do not be overwhelmed! As always, it is important to talk to your veterinarian about your dog’s weight and diet before changing its diet plan. If your dog is too skinny, it may be due to several reasons such as stress, being hyperactive, illnesses, an inadequate diet or it is just a picky eater. Make sure your dog is healthy before you try to put some fats back on it. Here are a few tips to safely fatten up your dog if it is on a raw diet.
Yes it may be tempting to increase the amount of fat in your dog’s diet immediately to help it put on weight. However, be warned that adding too much fat can add on the stress to its pancreas and liver and cause digestive issues.
Instead, increase the fat portion of its raw diet in incremental amounts. The small portions of fat added will help your dog’s digestive system to get used to the increase in volume without any unpleasant reactions to the changes. A goal of slightly less than half the amount of protein is an adequate amount for ideal weight and long term health
Naturally, increasing your dog’s calorie intake is a must. However, you must make sure that the calories are actually useful to your dog.
Just putting on fat and not muscle can be detrimental to your dog’s health. Therefore, it is imperative to ensure that the calories not only contribute to gaining fat but to muscle development as well. You also will want to avoid calories from carbohydrates.
By feeding your dog high quality calories such as those found in Petcubes’ range of raw dog food, your dog has a better chance of using those calories to build muscles.
Your dog needs calories from high-quality proteins and fats. If your dog is fed a raw diet, it is likely that it is already getting a meat-rich diet, particularly if you are following the BARF model or prey model raw diet.
Instead, just use a meal topper to add to its current diet so that you can fatten up your dog. An example of a meal topper you can use is Petcubes’ Kangaroo Meat which is an excellent protein source.
Remember not all human foods are safe for dog consumption. That being said, several types of raw food that are human grade that can just as easily help bulk up your dog such as:
Instead of serving your dog a large portion of raw food at one go, serve your dog in bits instead. For example, if you usually feed your dog two large meals, break it down and feed four smaller meals.
Sometimes, your dog may just be full from having too large a portion and refuse to eat anymore. By breaking down its meals, your dog will eat more, thus putting on weight.
Usually, an increase in vegetables and fruits do not come to mind when you’re trying to fatten your dog that is on a raw diet. However, take note that increasing the portion of vegetables and fruit will also be beneficial, not just in terms of calories but through the provision of supplemental nutrients that are essential for weight gain.
Besides, fruits and vegetables are great alternatives as a treat for dogs, especially if your dog is a picky eater. You can use sliced apples, carrots, spinach or kale as a healthy treat.
You may be a beginner at raw dog food so here is a reminder to increase your dog’s meal portions gradually over time so that it does not get digestive issues. To help your dog put on weight, do not just double your dog’s raw food portions and hope for the best. Instead, track the changes in your dog and recording its weight weekly will help you in determining what is working and what isn’t. As always, talk to your vet about the safest ways to help to fatten your dog on a raw diet.
Lastly, before you begin to fatten up your dog, look at a canine body condition scoring chart to make sure your dog is actually underweight.
Dr Francis is one of the top wildlife nutritionists in Asia. Originating from Montreal, Canada, he left at 21 to pursue his Masters and subsequently a PhD in wildlife nutrition at Oxford Brookes University. Instead of taking the path of common animal science to learn about farm animals, or through the veterinarian space and taking a certificate in nutrition, he took the road less travelled to dive deep into the world of animal ecology, metabolism and nutrition.
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