It’s best to play it safe and bring your puppy to the vet to rule out medical causes. There could be any number of reasons behind her inability to gain weight, but intestinal parasites—particularly roundworms and hookworms—are probably the most common, says Dr. Joe Bartges, professor of medicine and nutrition at the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia in Athens.
You may unwittingly be feeding your puppy an insufficient number of calories or a diet that lacks essential nutrients for growth. However, “medical causes of slowed growth are more common and can include parasites, digestive issues (such as inflammatory bowel disease), a liver shunt, and diabetes, for example,” Su says.
Another potential problem to avoid is obesity. “Many puppies that owners deem too thin are at a healthy weight and the owners are trying to make them fat because they don’t have a good understanding of what a healthy puppy looks like,” Heinze says. “Unless the puppy has a known health issue, being slightly ‘ribby’ is generally healthier than slightly overweight, especially for large and giant breed dogs.”
A raw food diet isn’t a cure-all, either. “While I help people with raw food diets if that is what they want to feed, I discourage pet parents from feeding raw food diets to puppies,” he says. “The margin of safety is narrow during growth and this can be an issue not only for nutrient imbalances but also infectious disease.”
Feeding a higher calorie food may be beneficial if the puppy has a poor appetite and isn’t finishing the recommended portion of food, says Heinze, who is board-certified in veterinary nutrition. “But this should only be attempted after parasites have been checked for and treated and blood work and other diagnostics have been done to rule out health issues.”
How to Feed an Underweight Dog
It is the most important daily meal for underweight and malnourished dogs. If feeding homemade diet, this meal should include high protein source, enriched with some carbohydrate like white rice and additional fat and vitamins sources like eggs.
Start breakfast with one cup of food and give one more in case the animal asks for more. However, careful dosing of the meal is also important to prevent overfeeding and vomiting.
Nature’s Logic Canine Chicken Meal Feast
Another flavorful meal that your puppy will love is the Nature’s Logic chicken meal. This dry dog food is made with all-natural ingredients which promote healthier growth and development in puppies.
Moreover, this puppy food contains digestive enzymes and probiotics to keep your pup’s gut healthy. It is free from fillers, such as corn, potato, soy, wheat, rice, lentils, or peas. Therefore, it saves your pup from having an upset stomach.