Dogs that are quickly losing weight or cannot gain weight to reach their healthy and normal body weight stage can be at risk of many health problems and even death. In most cases, you should use an appropriate and vet recommended diet, but a dog weight gain supplement can be helpful, too.

Cases of underweight dogs are much less common in first-world western countries than cases of overweight or obese dogs.

According to WSAVA's body condition score (PDF), underweight dogs are considered unhealthy and need help to gain weight.

This could be caused by a health issue like parasites or neglect by the owner.

If you notice that your dog is rapidly losing weight or having problems with gaining weight, consult with a vet immediately.

You're likely to need to put your dog on a special weight gain dog food diet, and some cases may require the inclusion of a dog weight gain supplement.

How to Know if Your Dog is Underweight

The most obvious sign that your dog is underweight is his body size, shape, and condition.

It is not always easy to spot weight loss in dogs because it often happens gradually, with small changes over time, but using the below body condition score chart can help you decide whether your pup needs a special diet and dog weight gain supplement:

Dog Body Condition Score Chart (BCS)

As indicated in the above chart, check whether your dog has a healthy weight by touching him on his sides.

If your dog is healthy, you will feel his ribs and a thin layer of fat over them. Underweight dogs don’t have any padding between their ribs and skin.

Another test is to stand above your dog and look down. If you see a noticeable hourglass figure instead of a definite waist indentation, your dog is probably underweight.

Take your dog to the vet to be sure for a dietary adjustment and recommendations for a dog weight gain supplement or other advice.

Loss of appetite and gastrointestinal problems are the most common symptoms of underweight dogs, and this condition can lead to many different, more serious health issues if not addressed.

Dogs can also become underweight due to medical conditions like parasitic infections, anemia, pancreatitis, cancer, or kidney failure.

How to Help Your Dog Gain Weight

Diet for malnourished dogs needs to be carefully structured. Underweight dogs need to be on the highest quality diet that provides essential nutrients.

It is also important to feed your dog a high-calorie, high-protein diet to help him gain weight.

In some dogs who refuse to eat, specific foods for picky eaters can be more enticing for your pet, encouraging him to consume more calories.

Although it might seem counter-intuitive, regular exercise and playtime can also help your pet add some pounds and maintain a healthy weight.

Try to build up the intensity in your dog's playtime or exercise gradually, consistently increasing the time or the amount of work your dog does, which will make him hungrier.

Make sure that by the time you're increasing the load, the dog is already on a high-calorie diet and possibly taking some dog weight gain supplement.

A regular feeding schedule is important as well. Adding another meal (e.g., lunch in between breakfast and dinner meals) to your dog’s diet can also help.

You can even supplement your dog’s diet with a little bit of safe human foods, like roasted skinless chicken or boiled eggs.

Sweet potatoes and pumpkins are also great additions to your dog’s diet. There are several homemade weight gain dog food recipes for anyone into cooking for their dogs – here's one to try.

If you already know that your dog has a medical problem that leads to weight loss, it is important to first address this health problem before adjusting his diet or using a dog weight gain supplement.

Take your dog to the vet to get a proper diagnosis and therapy if necessary when you notice weight loss or the dog's inability to gain a healthy weight.

The Best Dog Weight Gain Supplement Choices

Each supplement option will be different when it comes to active ingredients, and you must consult with a veterinarian before using any to make sure it will work for your pup.

Most dog weight gain supplement choices will be high in protein and enriched with vitamins and minerals to provide complete nutrition for dogs.

1 Bully Max High-Performance Super Dog Food

As mentioned in our review, the Bully Max dog food is specifically designed for weight gain – very rich in protein content and provides a ton of nutrition through added vegetables.

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Bully Max dog weight gainer also contains various seeds and similar ingredients, which provide enough minerals, vitamins, and other vital nutrients for your pooch to gain weight. It contains no corn, wheat, or soy.

Before you try a dog weight gain supplement, try this is high-quality dog food for your pup.

Consider its cost to value ratio for your pet because it's reflected in this dog food brand's price tag since it is one of the most expensive options on the market.

2 NATURE'S LOGIC Dog Food Canine Meal Feast

This particular weight gain dog food from Nature's Logic has 551 Calories per cup, which makes it great for underweight dogs who have problems consuming enough energy.

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In addition to the above, it also has various useful fruits, vegetables, and seeds. It is nutritionally dense and has all the vitamins and minerals that your underweight pet likely needs.

This weight gain dog food’s primary source of protein is chicken, which makes it unsuitable for dogs allergic to poultry but overall a very palatable choice.

Unfortunately, given its nutritional variety and content, it's one of the more expensive foods as well.

3 Nutri-Cal High-Calorie Dog Dietary Supplement

While in most cases, adjusting the diet for weight gain dog foods is better, sometimes weight gain supplements for dogs may be the only viable option.

The Tom Lyn's dog weight gain supplement is straightforward to administer and add to your pet's diet.

It contains vitamins, amino acids, and nutrients that help your dog gain weight. The biggest advantage comes from the fact that this high-calorie supplement can also boost your dog’s appetite.

According to the manufacturer, it may also provide relief for dogs with stress problems and other health issues related to weight loss.

Note that even though this supplement can boost appetite in some dogs, others might not like its taste.

4 Dyne High-Calorie Liquid for Dogs

This is one of the easiest dog weight gain supplement options to administer because it's a liquid form weight gainer and can be mixed either with food or water or both.

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Dyne is a good choice as a dog weight gain supplement since it is very high in calories and other nutritional elements to counter weight loss and deal with stress in dogs.

According to the company and some pet owners, it may make dogs more energetic during the day and help pets have a shiny coat.

This weight gain dog supplement is maybe a good option for a pregnant or nursing dog.

Note that Dyne dog weight gain supplement only comes in vanilla flavor, and some dogs might not like the taste, while some pet owners claimed that their dogs even got sick from it.

5 Miracle Vet High-Calorie Weight Gainer for Dogs

You can help an ill and malnourished dog add weight fast and easily using a high-calorie weight gainer (conceptually similar to bodybuilder use).

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Miracle Vet's dog weight gain supplement is an all-natural solution that doesn’t contain any trans fats even though it does get a large portion of its calories from the fat content.

It is enriched with whey protein, vitamin A, and vegetable lecithin, which means that it may also help deal with or prevent heart problems in dogs and improve their eyesight.

Although this dog weight gain supplement is perfectly safe for all dogs, it is not suited for puppies below 4 weeks, and you must discuss its use with a veterinarian beforehand.

6 Formula Mass Weight Gainer for Dogs

Another weight gainer option for dogs may not be suitable or appropriate for all pets, but MVP K9 Supplements' dog weight gainer is one of the most popular options among pet owners.

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This dog weight gain supplement contains 56 percent fat and 26 percent protein in every scoop.

As a result of the large caloric content and all the nutrients that come with it, this gainer may help dogs gain weight and improve dogs' coat health and decrease shedding.

It is safe for all types of dogs and has many high-quality nutrients that help build muscle.

However, it's important to note that Formula Mass dog weight gain supplement has twice as much fat as protein and won't be appropriate for dogs sensitive to such large amounts of fat content.

7 Purina Pro Plan SPORT Performance Dog Food

Going back to weight gain dog foods, although not better than the above-mentioned options, Purina Pro Plan's diet is more affordable.

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Note that this dog food isn’t specifically made to gain weight, yet because it's designed for canine athletes, it may be a fine choice since it contains more calories than your average bag of dog food – 475 kcal per cup.

It is also packed with many valuable nutrients and has no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

Most pet owners found it to be very palatable, and most dogs will enjoy the taste, thereby consuming more food.

This dog food has chicken listed as the first ingredient and contains omega-6 fatty acids, which promote coat health.

However, consider that it does lack the caloric density offered by other dog weight gain supplement choices or dog foods on this list.

8 Bully Max Dog Weight Gainer

Finally, if you're already familiar with Bully Max company and their products, and have tried the above-mentioned weight gain dog food choices, then this All-in-One pack may be a good and more cost-effective option for you.

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This powerhouse dog weight supplement pack provides all the necessary nutrients and multivitamins specifically designed for dogs to gain weight and build muscle.

This pack comes with a bottle of a dog muscle builder, a bag of Gorilla Max, and a bag of Bully Max High-Performance dog food.

It has no wheat, soy, or plant protein, but it has 535 calories per serving and real meat or whey as the main sources of protein.

However, even though this is cheaper than buying everything separately, this pack still comes at a steep price.

Top Dog Tips Dog Body Condition Score

Other Tips to Complement Weight Gain Supplements

While weight gain supplements are a great way to help your pooch gain weight, they should not be your only method.

We already touched on ways to help dogs gain weight, but it is worth taking a closer look at them. When in doubt, always talk to your dog's vet for recommendations and figure out your pup's ideal weight.

Figure Out Why Your Dog Needs to Gain Weight

The very first thing you want to figure out is why your dog is underweight. This way, you can address the issue from its source. Your vet will help with this.

Sometimes, the issue comes down to dogs being picky eaters. If they don't eat their food, they won't gain any weight. You can fix this by trying another food.

Your dog may also lose weight or fail to gain weight when he is stressed or sick. Age-related issues may also be to blame.

For example, some older dogs have issues chewing dry food, so they don't eat as much.

Choose a Food for Weight Gain

In addition to the weight gain supplements, try swapping out your dog's current food for one with more healthy fats or protein.

Your vet can offer some suggestions for you to try. You can also try swapping dry kibble for wet food or even homemade food.

Just remember always to change your dog's food slowly. Going from one food to another overnight can lead to an upset stomach.

You can also supplement your dog's normal food with pumpkin or sweet potato. Both will help him gain weight and give him plenty of fiber.

Peanut butter is another delicious option that promotes weight gain. Just keep an eye on the sugar content of the peanut butter you choose.

Feed Your Dog at a Different Time

You may also be able to encourage healthy weight gain in your dog by changing his feeding schedule.

For example, you could increase the amount you give him at night and decrease how much you give him in the morning.

This works because eating close to bedtime encourages fat storage.

Another option is to give your dog more frequent smaller meals. This can work because he will receive nutrients throughout the day instead of all at once.

Rethink Exercise

When you encourage your dog to get exercise, you help him gain muscle. Muscle is an important part of weight gain because it is healthy.

Signs You Should Help Your Pet Gain Weight

All of the above advice assumes that your dog needs to gain weight. But how do you tell that this is the case?

The best sign that your dog needs to gain weight is if your vet tells you. Their expertise means that they can recognize the signs of an underweight dog.

They will likely look for the following things:

  • Obvious shoulders, hips, or ribs (in breeds where this is not normal)
  • Depression
  • Poor coat health with reduced shine
  • Lower energy levels
  • Poor eating habits

Remember that there are plenty of reasons your dog may be underweight. Picky eaters are just one possibility.

There may also be health issues, such as intestinal parasites, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, or pancreas issues. Your vet can figure out the cause of the issue and start treating it.

In conclusion, remember to consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to help your dog gain weight.

In general, adjustment of your pet's diet and increase in exercise and/or playtime can help promote appetite in your underweight dog, increase caloric intake through nutrition-dense foods and thereby maintain a healthy weight.

Using specific weight gain dog food and dog weight gain supplement options can often help reach the desired result quicker but may not always be necessary.

READ NEXT: Pit Bull Muscle Gaining 101 – How to Bulk Up a Pit Bull Healthfully

Common Questions about Dog Weight Gain Supplements

As a dog owner, you probably still have some questions about weight gainer dogs and which products are the best. The following answers should help you with your dog's weight gain journey.

What Is the Best Weight Gainer for Dogs?

The best weight gainer will depend on your dog's specific needs. Every dog is unique, but you typically want to choose a food with high protein.

This protein promotes muscle growth. Any of the formula mass weight gainer options listed above would be a great choice for most dogs.

How Can I Fatten Up My Dog Fast?

If you want to increase your dog's body weight fast, then your best option is to get personalized recommendations from the vet.

Start by choosing a food with more calories. Ideally, choose one that is also high in protein and healthy fats.

It would help if you also considered switching to wet food or giving your dog fresh food you make at home.

You can also give your dog more frequent meals throughout the day instead of several larger ones.

Are Calorie Supplements Good for Dogs?

Most adult dogs do not need calorie supplements. If your dog doesn't need them, then they will not be good for him.

If, however, your dog is underweight or not eating enough, then yes, calorie supplements are good for dogs. Calories supplements frequently have weight gain results guaranteed.

This is important as that can prevent side effects of your dog being underweight.

As a refresher, consider some potential side effects of your dog's eating habits not including enough calories.

Some include low energy, weight loss, malnutrition, and weight loss.

Does White Rice Help Dogs Gain Weight?

Yes, white rice can be a natural weight gainer for many dogs. That is because when your dog eats too many carbs, he is likely to gain weight.

How Can I Fatten Up My Skinny Dog?

Your vet may suggest a weight gainer supplement or changing the dog food you buy.

You can also give your dog some safe-for-dogs human foods to encourage weight gain. Options include eggs, cottage cheese, quinoa, and lean meat.

What Do You Feed a Malnourished Dog?

You will typically want to give a malnourished dog food high in protein and fat and low in carbs. It should also contain phosphates, potassium, and magnesium.

8 Best Weight Gain Supplements for Dogs