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Helping a Dog Gain Weight

Category Health
A skinny dog eating.
Dogs who have been ill or recently rescued sometimes will need to gain some weight. This is a guide about helping a dog gain weight.


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June 30, 20160 found this helpful

This is a guide about great dane needs to gain weight. Food choices, general health, and the breed of the dog can affect their weight management.

Sad looking Great Dane rests heads on paws with food dishes in the background

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By 0 found this helpful
February 5, 2014

I tried the giving food and taking away food and it didn't work. Bandit went over a week and got pissed at me so he refused to eat anything. One thing that helped me was taking him off all chicken by-products, not natural chicken, but the so called by products. I put him on Blue Buffalo a great food he loves, plus the puppy which is better tasting. He loves the lamb and rice. He also loves pumpkin so I make him pumpkin pies. He is just skinny I guess.

My question, is Bandit is picky enough if I give him satin balls will he stop his dry food again altogether or do I mix it? Plus I thought raw burger gives your dog worms, what happens if you cook it like a burger? Help.

By Debbie T.


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February 7, 20140 found this helpful
Best Answer

I think if I were you I would keep feeding the Blue Buffalo and skip treats that may or may not be healthy. The satin balls dont sound like they really add anything good to his diet. I would quit while I was ahead. Try pieces of his dry food for a treat. He wont know the difference.

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February 8, 20140 found this helpful
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Have you had your dog de-wormed by a Veterinarian?

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By 0 found this helpful
February 25, 2014

I have an 8 year old Pit Bull. He was sick a couple weeks back and he didn't wanna eat so we had him on a special diet, but he was skinny although not too skinny. He is better now and I have been feeding him 2 times a day and giving him plenty of water, but he's not putting weight on. I don't know why and I think he might be sick still or might have heart worms because a friend had him and didn't take care of him right and he had to have a flea bath.


By Ana

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February 26, 20140 found this helpful
Best Answer

You really need to see a Vet about the heartworms. Only a Vet can treat heartworms. The treatment is hard on the dog, so don't wait too long. It can be fatal if you do. Be wary of over the counter wormers Most of them dont work and can make your dog quite sick. There is nothing over the counter for heartworms. If you need financial help, check with your humane society. They often have low cost care. Good luck.

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By 0 found this helpful
July 26, 2010

We have just adopted a Maltese terrier. She is approx. 8 years old. She seems to eat very little and needs to gain weight. I have tried dry food small bites, but this is not her favorite. Does anyone in the community have a Maltese that can share some expertise on this subject? Thank you in advance.


By Sheila from Ontario, Canada

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July 26, 20100 found this helpful

My male matease will only eat the dry food if I put a lil water on it that has been heated in the microwave. Dont use hot tap water because of the lead in the hot water heater. I just put about half cup of cold tap water in the microwave and heat it til warm about 25-30 seconds. Pour over the dry food and let it soften for a few minutes. Shake it around. Their teeth tend to get sensative as they get older.

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July 27, 20100 found this helpful

I like to make sure the food you are going to feed is a decent one, is there real meat and not meat by products in the first four ingredients? If not, then I would either buy a better food, or start supplementing the meal for your dog with chicken.


I would cut up chicken and feed it about three times a day. Small amounts, just a little at a time, an underweight dog or one that is not going to eat food needs also to have a lot of water. I would give it some pedialyte or make some on your own, and feed it with a dropper and see if that helps!

Here is a site I found on Maltese care



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July 27, 20100 found this helpful

I have a golden that weighs between 45 and 52 lbs. She is 12 years old and will just not eat--so we feed her puppy food (IAMS) for the extra calories and add (per the vets instructions) either cooked diced chicken, cottage cheese or rice (she loves the wild rice flavor) to her regular dry dog food. These supplements seem to keep her weight about 50 lbs, and then she is not ALL skin and bones, but she is still skinny. If we fail to add for more than a few days she seems content to just forgo eating and drops the weight. She is healthy, but that skinny is cause for my concern so I am addicted to the supplements (and apparently she is too). Good luck.

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July 28, 20100 found this helpful


I assume you have been to the Veterinarian? My Corgi eats a brand that was recommended by our Vet. The name is Wellness, it contains sweet potatoes and is very palatable. My Tucker loves it.

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July 28, 20100 found this helpful


This is Sheila from Ont. again. Thank you so much for all the suggestions. My Maltese Maggie has been to a vet. We have found out recently that her teeth are inflamed and they need to be cleaned. She has started to eat dry food with a slight mix of canned food to add flavor. This is helping. Does anyone have an idea on good dental hygiene for dogs? This website is so great, with some very knowledgeable people.


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February 8, 20110 found this helpful

Hello Sheila,

We are Canadian/Americans who recently moved from Ontario to Traverse City MI. Our little rescued Shiz Tzu had a lot of tartar on his teeth and gum issues. He subsequently was malnourished. Our vet put him on a royale canine oral dry food. The chunks are large but they rid the teeth of tartar so well. We also mix in one tbsp of good wet food a day. He is in great shape now & his teeth are good as well We had to buy it from the vet, but the little guys only eat a cup a day. All the best, Trisha

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July 10, 20130 found this helpful

When my dog would not want to eat I would give her a cooked yam. The vet said it was fine. I also gave her blueberries. Look on the internet for foods that are good for your pet and or look at the expensive dog foods to see what is in it.

I always call a vet and ask first before I feed something different.

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November 20, 20130 found this helpful

I am looking after a Springer Spaniel at the moment. He has 3 meals a day, is always on the go, but can't put weight on. I need advice.

By Sally

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February 4, 20140 found this helpful

My dog is the same as yours I give him Blue bufallo adult and puppy food supposed to have more nutrients. He is not starved in any way, totally spoiled very active and his bones you can see them its very embarrassing I feel like a boad mom. Bandit is a border collie Lab something. I told you what I did but not doing much good. Please if you come up with a miracle share with me eithet here or debbie-t AT Thanks, Debbie

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By 1 found this helpful
December 8, 2010

I adopted a 10 month old Chi/Dachshund mix and she is rather skinny. Any suggestions on a good food to get her up to a healthy weight?

By Nelwyn

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December 9, 20100 found this helpful

I have two skinny cats that recently got over severe illness. They are soo happy to be frisky again but are soo skinny. What can I do to fatten them up faster?

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December 9, 20100 found this helpful

I have seen a greyhound get fat off of scraps of bacon. It didn't even eat that much bacon, just scraps a few times a week.

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December 11, 20100 found this helpful

I'd give my cats the breakfast sausage patties from McDonald's or Burger King but I don't think any of them really like the taste. Rats! Maybe they need mouse patties. Are any of the cat treats helpful to getting a cat to gain weight? My Sugar Cookie kitty is much too thin. I wonder if dogs might benefit from the breakfast sausage patties.

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July 8, 20130 found this helpful

For skinny dogs that have no other medical issue, use Satin balls. It is what we use when we get severely underweight dogs in rescue.

http://www.inst  ith-satin-balls/

As for the cat question we coax them to eat with gerber chicken or turkey baby food, they also have ham and beef if the cat prefers. It is in tiny jars and the ingredients list only 3 chicken (or turkey) cornstarch and water. If the cat still won't eat talk to your vet about other supplements or force feeding as a last resort, but only after a vet's instruction as it is easy to choke them if you do it wrong.

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January 9, 20150 found this helpful

We got Harly a few months ago. His owner could not keep him because of a move. We have tried everything to put weight on him. He is papered. His hair seems to be very dry and he has dandruff. He is a house dog and we have 2 acres for him to run in. He chews everything. We need advice on what to feed him.

By Susanne K

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January 9, 20151 found this helpful

He has a food allergy. The dandruff and lack of weight gain are signs of this. You need to try different non-allergenic foods on him. Try each for at least two weeks. With some dogs it's wheat and with some it's soy. Some are allergic to chicken. I knew a dog that was allergic to beef, but that's rarer. Good luck.

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January 10, 20150 found this helpful

Suggest also taking your dog to your vet, to be sure there are not other problems that may need treatment.

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By 0 found this helpful
June 20, 2013

I need a recipe to put some weight on my German Shepherd. She is 5 yrs old, I adopted her 6 months ago. She hasn't ever eaten people food from me and she does not beg for food. I feed her part raw food and Blue Wilderness. I have increased her food to 3 times a day with 3 1/2 cups per meal, but still that is not enough weight gain.

I have called her vet and he said to try to keep feeding her more fattening food and after 2 weeks he will do blood work. I had taken her to the vet when I got her and her health has been really good! Please send me a recipe or hints that I can use.

Thank you.

By Debkay

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June 22, 20130 found this helpful

10 cups of food is too much. Please have dog checked for worms, or pathological or systemic problems. No dog, even a working dog eats that much.

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July 23, 20130 found this helpful

Your vet wants your money. If your dog is eating and acting healthy you don't need to have blood work.

I don't like Blue. I know it's supposed to be the best and I put my rescue dog on it at first but the same results, no weight gain and horrible gas. I switched to science diet and my rescued husky has put on weight slowly and steadily. She looks great now. You might consider trying another food with some grains. The grain free is not great for putting weight on dogs. Just don't expect too much weight gain too soon. Over time your dog will gain weight. The other thing is do you mean 3 1/2 measured cups 3 times a day? That is way too much food. Your dog shouldn't need more than 2 cups 2 times a day. Good luck.

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February 19, 20150 found this helpful

I have a 3 year old red nose Pit Bull. She had puppies for the first time by our blue nose brindle, but now that the puppies are 8 weeks old she still can't seem to gain any weight. We feed her almost 5 times a day. I give her soft food, as well, mixed into her dry food. We had tried puppy food even cuz I have heard that helps with mother dogs after having pups, but it seems like despite everything we do nothing is working. I feel extremely embarrassed to take her on walks, people look at me like I'm a bad mom, like she's abused, but I assure you she is not abused what so ever! Please if anyone can give me some advice that would be great. Thank you.

By L.A.M

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February 20, 20150 found this helpful

She may have a medical problem if she is not gaining weight. Please take her to your vet for an exam and treatment.

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By 0 found this helpful
October 28, 2014

Recently, I have taken a beautiful, female, 8 month old Blue-nosed Pit Bull into my home. She is very loving, has a great temperament, and is also very under weight. Her ribs and backbone are very visible! She is also not totally house broken.

Her previous owner kept her kenneled and only took her out at 7am and 10pm daily. She works and goes to school full time. Therefore, she didn't have time for the dog and wasn't able to provide it with the attention it so desperately deserves. (I actually got the dog from the cousin of the previous owner.) I have requested papers and documents from vet visits which I have yet to receive. She does not appear to have worms in her stool although her stools are loose considering her food change (brand). The previous owner did not provide me with current brand. I intend on taking her to the vet at the end of the week and gathering a stool sample to take along too. By then, her stool should be more normal for testing. My question is what are the best methods to helping this dog gain weight quickly?

By LenaeLenore

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December 8, 20100 found this helpful

I have a 9 month Chihuahua dog that weights 2.8 pounds; I need to get her weight up. What food is the best for her? Thanks.

By Cinaman from LA, CA


Dog Needs to Gain Weight

Breed standard for Chi's is 2-6 pounds, so your puppy is within range. Has the vet confirmed health? What are you currently feeding her/him? How are you feeding, free range feed or timed?

Read the ingredients on your food, first item should be protein (meat). Cook up chicken, lamb, or beef and mix with a little rice. There are homemade dogfood recipes on this site. Give those a try. Table scraps will fatten, but are not healthy. Chi's legs are fragile, too much weight is not good. (11/19/2009)

By ocheryll

COOKIES for Weight Gain

Here is the recipe. Mix all this together and form into balls, freeze, then take out, microwave for 30 seconds or I forget how long, and give all through the day as treat in addition to regular food. Dogs will not gain weight on kibble alone.

  • hamburger meat cooked and crumbled, you can use chicken if you can afford it
  • Total cereal for vitamins
  • eggs
  • mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp gelatin unflavored, optional
  • macaroni cooked
  • oats cooked
  • light Karo syrup

You can mix all this up and turn it into little cookies to freeze. Then pop them out to microwave for 30 seconds or so until warm or not frozen.

Yogurt is great for dogs so long as there is no artificial sweetener in it. Great for cats too, great for digestion. Dogs also like cottage cheese and evaporated milk with Karo light syrup. I like to supplement all dog foods since I don't like the ingredients in dog food to begin with.

We had a very starved hound dog, days from death, that a concerned neighbor brought to us, sweetie, and she has gained wonderfully on this. Don't freeze the yogurt or microwave it though.

Also animals need Pedialyte here is the homemade version.

  • 4 cups water
  • 7 Tbsps sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

I have found dehydrated animals don't like to eat. Hope this helps!

Robyn (11/21/2009)

By Robyn Fed

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November 19, 20090 found this helpful

I adopted a dog from a shelter. She is very thin and although she is eating she is not gaining weight hardly at all. The vet said she is healthy. What can I feed her to fatten her up safely?

By Beth from Orange County, CA


Dog Needs to Gain Weight

When I brought my very skinny dog to the Vet because I was concerned because she was so thin, she was eating constantly and the vet told me that wasn't good. She was eating just enough to stay alive, he told me to feed her 3 times a day. I should put down the food for 15 minutes and after 15 minutes pick it up. This way she wasn't able to nibble all day long, after a couple weeks she got the idea that when the food was down she was to clean her plate. If she did not eat everything in her dish she was not going to get any more. Then she started putting on weight and her sister was a little chubby thing. (06/05/2009)


Dog Needs to Gain Weight

For a while you could feed a puppy food. This is high calorie and shouldn't be the regular food for an adult dog, but as a short term thing it can help with a weight problem. It does need to be a good quality. (06/05/2009)

By Glenn'sMom

Dog Needs to Gain Weight

Not all dog foods are created equal. I don't know what type of food you are using, but read the ingredients. If it has fillers such as grains listed first, perhaps she is not getting enough actual nutrition. Meat (not by-products should be the first ingredient). If you can shop at Costco their store brand is a reasonable price and has meat as the first ingredient.

If not, you could try cooking up some fresh chicken or anything you can get at a good price and supplement the food. There is a lot of info on this topic online. Depending on the breed she may just look thin. I have a lab and a boxer both at a healthy weight, but the lab looks more filled out than the boxer. You can see the boxer's ribs, but not his hip bones like when we first got him. Best of luck. (06/06/2009)

By merlene

Dog Needs to Gain Weight

Feed your dog high quality dog food (a side benefit are smaller poops because more of it is digested). My vet recommends Hill's Science Diet. We buy it at Petco. Sign up at Petco and they'll send you newsletters with discounts and occasional coupons. Ditto for the Hill's Science Diet company.

Our one year old dog was rescued at a starving to death weight of 19 lbs. A year later he weighed a muscular 60 lbs. and had grown to his full adult pit bull mixed terrier size. Plus snacks, and whenever we eat, he gets a small portion if it's OK. (06/06/2009)

By cookwie

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