What to feed your dog to help them gain weight
Although it may seem sensible, it’s not necessarily a good idea to simply give your dog more of their current food to help them gain weight; their digestion may not be able to cope with it, and it may not provide them with the specific levels of nutrients they need at that point.
A weight-gain food should have a high energy density. This means you’ll be able to give your dog small rations, therefore protecting their digestive system from unnecessary strain, and they’ll still get the energy they need. A high fat diet is often recommended for dogs recovering from surgery as it’s an energy-dense food.
Protein is an essential nutrient for dogs, and also an important source of energy. Their food should provide them with high-quality, highly-digestible protein which is easily absorbed into their body. The right balance of fibre is also important, as this directly affects gut health and the quality of their stools.
Dogs who have been through surgery or illness may have lost their appetite, and so the weight-gain food needs to encourage them to eat. Smell and texture are most important to dogs, so choose a food which has been designed for maximum palatability and the right size and shape pieces for your breed or size of dog.
How to feed your dog to help them gain weight
Generally you should give your adult dog two meals a day, but you may wish to split their daily portion into smaller meals and give these more frequently. This can help improve digestibility and put less pressure on their gastric tract. You can also place their food a little higher than usual and allow gravity to help the food reach their stomach comfortably.
Making their diet wetter – either by using canned food or adding water to kibble – can encourage your dog to eat as it may feel easier to eat than a dry food. Providing them with plenty of fresh water is also essential for their overall health.
The right combination of food and feeding techniques can help your dog gain weight safely; speak to your vet about the best choices for your pet to help them on the road to recovery.