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Dogs that are quickly losing weight or aren't able to gain weight to reach their healthy and normal body weight stage can at risk of many health problems and even death. In most cases, an appropriate and vet recommended diet should be used, 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. Dogs who are underweight according to WSAVA's body condition score (PDF) are considered unhealthy and in need of 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 need to put your dog a special weight gain dog food diet, and some cases may require inclusion of 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 of healthy weight, you will feel his ribs along with 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 a 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 cases of 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.

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 pumpkin are also great additions to your dog’s diet. For anyone into cooking for their dogs, there's a number of homemade weight gain dog food recipes – here's one to try.

If you already know that your dog has a medical problem that lead to his weight loss, it is important to address this health problem first 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 dog's inability to gain 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 a 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 a variety of seed 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 a 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 a variety of 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 that are allergic to poultry but overall a very palatable choice. Unfortunately, given it's 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.

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The Tom Lyn's dog weight gain supplement is very easy to administer and add into 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 who are having 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 makes dogs more energetic during the day and help pets have a shiny coat.

This weight gain dog supplement is may be 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 to add weight fast and easy using a high-calorie weight gainer (conceptually similar to what bodybuilders 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 fat content. It is enriched with whey protein, vitamin A and vegetable lecithin, which means that it may also help in dealing with or preventing 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, it 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 large caloric content and all the nutrients that come with it, this gainer may not only help dogs gain weight but also 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 than 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 for the purpose of gaining 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.

Majority of pet owners found it to be very palatable and most dogs will enjoy the taste, thereby consume 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 their 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 a Bully Max High Performance dog food.

It has no wheat, soy or plant protein but it does have 535 calories per serving, as well as 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

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

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