A dog that has been malnourished, either through neglect or because of an internal issue that caused them to be unable to process their food, is going to require a great deal of care to get them back to a healthy status and normal weight.
A dog is considered malnourished once it has lost 10% of its normal body weight. Some of the signs that a dog is malnourished include being markedly thin, with prominent bones, usually the hip bones.
When a dog is malnourished, it can often succumb to death from lethargy, skin diseases, or simple dehydration.
If you have taken on a malnourished dog, the first thing you want to do is schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. This is incredibly important for malnourished dogs, as they sometimes require special diets or prescription food to return to a healthy state.
Your veterinarian will discuss a diet and exercise program that can get the dog back on the path to health because it will have poor muscle mass due to malnutrition.
In the meantime, keep the dog warm by providing it with a comfortable blanketed bed.
An emaciated dog can worsen by expending so much of its energy simply shivering because it doesn’t have the body fat to keep it warm.
If it is cold, make sure that there is a warmth source, such as turning the heat on, to keep the dog warm and comfortable until you can see the vet.
Besides, make sure that there is plenty of cool, clean water for the dog to drink. To get back to a healthy state, the dog needs to be fully hydrated.
How Long Does It Take For A Malnourished Dog To Add Weight?
There is no magic timeline as to weight gain, especially for a malnourished dog. You mustn’t try to feed them too much, too quickly, because that can lead to a condition called a refeeding syndrome.
Refeeding syndrome can be just as fatal to the dog as the malnutrition itself is. It is imperative to develop a diet and feeding schedule with your vet and to stick to it.
This will prevent the dog from developing the refeeding syndrome and possibly perishing.
Once the dog is regularly eating again, it is possible to see a weight gain of up to two pounds per week, but that won’t occur for several weeks.
It’s essential to keep the dog on a low energy walking schedule while reintroducing it to regular feedings so that the emaciated muscles can be redeveloped and toned.
You don’t want to allow the dog to lie around eating, as it’s important to get its muscles reconditioned to regular, healthy movement.
Your vet may also advise you to add some regular food to the dog’s dry food.
Pumpkin, whole egg, and sweet potato are great for adding weight to an unhealthy dog, and it may help with a dog with a sensitive stomach.
Weight gain blends of dog food, or puppy food blends, are also great for putting weight onto the dog because they’re high in fat and protein content, which will help bulk the dog up more quickly.
How To Put Weight On A Dog With A Sensitive Stomach
If your dog is discovered to have a sensitive stomach, it is still possible to help them gain weight and get them back into the proper weight range. One of the key signs that your dog has a sensitive stomach is vomiting.
If you find that your dog is vomiting after eating, you need to seek your vet’s advice.
In some cases, they will suggest a grain-free blend of dog food, as many dogs with a sensitive stomach have grain sensitivity.
If a grain-free blend doesn’t help, they may prescribe a veterinarian dog food that you can only get by prescription, or they may suggest a menu for your dog that you make at home.
This typically consists of lean chicken or turkey breast, which you’ll boil and then shred for them, eggs, pumpkin, and tuna.
Besides, cooked rice, baby food, bone broth, and non-flavored yogurt are excellent foods for your dog’s health, and they are straightforward on their digestive system as well.
Depending on the severity of your dog’s sensitive stomach, your vet may recommend a diet of these easy to digest foods that you prepare for them at mealtime versus a dry or canned dog food that they seem to be unable to process.
Best Dog Food For Older Dogs With Bad Teeth
If you have a senior dog or a dog who has lost some or all of its teeth due to neglect or dental disease, there are dog foods specifically designed for senior dogs with bad teeth.
You can also try grinding their dry dog food in a food processor or adding bone broth to the dry food so that they can chew and digest the dry food.
If they have already made the switch to canned food and are working for them, they should continue eating their canned food until it becomes an issue for them to process the food.
If you have put the dog on a soft, home-prepared dog food diet, try to stick with items like canned pumpkin, baby food, and yogurt in addition to canned tuna, as these are generally the easiest for them to chew and process.
You can also make rice and vegetables and then puree them in the food processor for a minute or so to ensure that they can properly chew them.
You can also try to help their dental health by giving them dental sticks to chew on, as it helps with issues like a dental disease by scraping the plaque off of the dogs’ teeth as they chew their treat.