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How to Fatten Up a Dog (15 Bulk-Up Tips)

 Do you want to know how to fatten up a Dog to make them gain weight in a healthy way?

Are you worried that your Dog is thin and underweight and want to know how to bulk up a Dog for safe weight-gain?

Don’t let your dog stay too skinny any longer—use these helpful tips to get your dog to its athletic ideal weight.

Is Your Dog Underweight?

Your dog should have a trim, athletic appearance.

Depending on your Shepherd’s size and age, they can eat from 15 to 25 pounds of dry kibble in a week!

And that’s not including their treats.

They are large breed dogs with fast metabolisms that are active and energetic in their daily lives. It’s necessary to keep a consistent feeding schedule with suitable foods that maintain their ideal body weight and sustain their energy needs.

Fit Dogs may at first seem slightly underweight. They have a body shape that tucks in at the waist and their ribs aren’t visible.

They are lean, athletic dogs with a strong, firm figure and you should avoid learning how to make a Dog fat.

Instead, you want to bulk-up your Dog to make them fit.

But if you see their ribs protruding or their hip bones raised and easily felt when petting, this is a sign of being underweight.

You should first check with your vet for possible medical issues.

Keep Track of Weight Gain and Loss

Use a physical calendar or your phone to keep track of your dog’s weight gain.

Begin a schedule of weekly “weigh-ins” to keep track of your Dog’s weight when looking to bulk-up your dog’s body. You want to know if they are gaining weight, losing weight, or remaining the same.

This helps you to decide if your weight gain plan is working – or if you need to adjust your plan. If your dog continues losing weight or if you see a lack of progress, take your dog back to your veterinarian.

How to Bulk-Up a Dog the HEALTHY way

When looking for way on how to make your Dog gain weight stay away from just giving them junk food or lots of fatty products. That is NOT the right way to bulk-up your Dog.

You need to see this as a long term plan and not an overnight fix to get your Dog fat (and by fat, I mean bulk-up not obese or overweight).


follow these tips and keep track of your Dog’s body mass to make your Dog gain weight in a HEALTHY WAY.

1. Choose Foods with a Higher Protein and Fat Content

Look for foods high in protein for a healthy weight gain program.

If your Dog eats normally but isn’t gaining weight, you may need to switch to different food. Look for foods that have a higher percentage of fat and protein than your current food.

Adults and seniors should eat about 20 to 25 percent of their daily calories from protein and 25 to 50 percent from fats. The rest of the calories should come from carbohydrates.

Those are just the minimums, so if you aren’t feeding your Dog this amount fix this issue immediately!

The best food for a Dog to gain weight is this high protein red-meat adult formula dog food which contains 30% protein to bulk-up your Dog and get them fat in a healthy manner.

Keep your puppy on a puppy-formulated food until they’ve reached 80% of their adult weight. This is anywhere from 8 months to a year or longer.

2. Change to Puppy or High-Performance Food

If you have an adult dog, switch them to a puppy or high-performance dog food to help them gain healthy weight.

Some adult and senior dogs’ benefit from a puppy or high-performance food. Both puppy and high-performance (also known as a working breed) food is higher in calories to support complex energy needs and sustained growth.

Test out a mixture of half of your dog’s regular food combined with half of the puppy or high-performance food to help with weight gain.

If you want quality high-performance or puppy food then go with Victor Active Dog & Puppy Grain-Free dog food for a healthy way to add fat to your Dog.

Puppy foods generally have added nutrients to support puppy growth which can help your underweight Dog gain weight and fatten up in a controlled manner – which is what you want.

Mixing regular adult and puppy or high-performance food helps your Dog gain weight and fat in a regulated manner. But dogs with certain kidney problems shouldn’t eat a high protein diet – which is why it’s best to check with your vet first.

3. For More Calories Feed Dry Kibble

Dry kibble dog food generally has more calories if you want your dog to gain weight.

Dry kibble is denser and contains more calories than wet food because the moisture has been removed from dry foods.

Therefore, dry food has up to 4 times the number of calories as the same amount of wet food – dry kibble is a weight gaining powerhouse!

If your dog is currently eating wet meals, then try mixing in some dry food with their wet food to help stimulate weight gain. Wet foods may taste better to your dog, so mixing in the dry foods with the wet still encourages your dog to eat in order to not lose more weight.

Look for dry food with higher protein and fats to encourage weight gain in a healthy manner and go with one of the foods mentioned above for fat gain that is healthy.

4. Offer an Extra Meal to Their Normal Routine

Increase your Dog’s weight by offering another meal during the day.

Begin by feeding your dog a bit more of their current food spread out over one more meal per day. Add a quarter to half a cup of extra food per meal.

You can also take their regular feeding and the additional food and increase their feeding schedule to four times per day, splitting the food equally at each feeding.

This routine allows your dog to space out their food more evenly, so they don’t fill up too quickly and then ignore their later meals. It’s also gentler on their stomachs and makes digestion easier since there’s less food sitting in their belly at one time.  

If you want to make a Dog gain weight the right way, you’re going to have to plan for multiple feedings and watch how much you feed them so they don’t get fat, but build muscle.

5. Let Your Dog Eat When They Want

Dogs don’t all eat at the same time, so find what works for your dog.

If your Dog is picky about when they eat, then it may help to leave food out for them all the time. This is called free feeding.

Dogs who can free feed tend to gain more weight than dogs fed on a schedule. Free feeding allows your dog the chance to eat a little whenever they are hungry or bored.

This type of feeding may help them eat more overall. But only use free feeding with dry food, since wet foods spoil when left out for more than a couple hours.

And remember to watch their weight gain, as a fat Dog isn’t healthy.

6. Sit with Your Dog While They Eat

Give your dog some company when they eat.

Some dogs simply don’t like to eat alone.

They may follow you around rather than eat when you offer their food bowl – this may be especially true of Shepherds since they tend to get fixated on their caretaker.

But, just keeping your dog company while they eat may stimulate their appetite. Find a comfortable spot to sit and wait on your dog while they eat.

Bring a book or do a quiet activity while they eat close to you. Don’t force them to eat or stick your hands in their food.

Simply sit with them and enjoy your time together while they eat.

7. Offer Treats Along with Their Regular Meals

Avoid junk treats and pick healthy options instead.

Most treats aren’t complete in their nutrition, but some contain extra calories with healthy ingredients that can help your German Shepherd gain weight.

Don’t feed your dog only treats but do give your dog a few extra treats throughout the day. Keep the treats handy and offer them to help get extra calories into your dog.

Find a healthy treat from this list of the best Dog treats to help your dog’s weight gain.

Look for healthy treats and keep them to around ten percent of your dog’s daily calories. Don’t feed your Dog only treats or they will get fat instead of muscular and bulked-up.

8. Add in Healthy, Natural Foods

Pumpkin puree (without seasonings or spices) can help an underweight Dog.

It’s safe to give your dog small amounts of cooked chicken or turkey mixed with steamed sliced carrots, unflavored Greek yogurt, or canned plain pumpkin every day in addition to their normal food.

Adding these foods into their regular kibble may also entice them to eat more of their dry dog food, which can help an underweight puppy or adult.

They also add extra calories which are healthy and nutritious. Be sure to check that the foods are dog-safe and avoid anything you’re unsure of.

9. Sprinkle on Tasty Topper

Add a tasty topping to your Dog’s meals to get them to gain weight.

To get your dog more interested in their food, try sprinkling on a topping to their usual meals.

Toppers make your dog’s food smell more appealing and can stimulate a dog’s senses to encourage them to eat more. They’re also healthy and natural.

You can even buy healthy toppers that are easy to add. They come pre-packaged and make sprinkling them on top of your dog’s food easy and inexpensive.

You literally just sprinkle them on top of your dog’s food to entice them to eat and add extra calories. Simple.

10. Ensure Your Dog is Eating the Right Food for Their Age

There’s a big difference between puppy and adult foods.

Depending on your dog’s age you may need to switch foods.

Seniors, adults, and puppies all have various nutritional concerns.

Most commercial and pre-made dog foods specify their intended age range on the packaging and state what groups the food is aimed at feeding.

If you’re feeding your senior Shepherd adult food, you may consider changing to a more age-appropriate food with the correct nutrition made specifically for senior dogs.

And, if you’re feeding a puppy adult food then that’s not usually appropriate, so buy appropriate puppy food.

11. Make Sure You’re Feeding the Right Amount

Too little food isn’t healthy for your Dog.

Underfeeding a Dog puts your dog at a serious health risk.

You need to make sure they get enough food for their age and energy needs.

This amount varies depending on the activities your dog does each day, the quality and type of food you’re feeding, and how sedentary your dog is.

Puppies generally eat almost double the number of calories an adult dog needs, so be sure to check out this post on what amount to feed a Dog puppy to keep them healthy.  

While a senior Dog may eat significantly fewer calories, if they are losing weight or underweight and a vet has been consulted, they may need extra feedings or food to help them gain the weight back.

12. Stick with a Regular Exercise Program

Your Dog needs exercise to keep a steady weight gain.

Don’t skip on your dog’s exercise because you want them to gain more weight and think they’ll burn too much fat.

Dogs thrive on consistent physical activity.

Walking and swimming are activities that build muscle and are lower impact and less intense on their joints and bones. They can be done every day to keep your dog active and help them to maintain their muscle mass.

It’s important to consider if your dog is healthy enough for longer walks or swimming. But these two exercises can be performed at a lower intensity so that even older dogs and puppies can enjoy their benefits (make sure your puppy can swim first).

Keeping muscle mass is important to prevent wasting and help maintain their health and mobility, as well as their athletic appearance.

Don’t use intense exercises when your Shepherd is losing weight, as this can make matters worse!

Try walking up hills to improve muscle growth or a gentle game of tug using a spring pole in which your dog can start and stop on their own.

Learn what to include in your Dog’s exercise workout for healthy ideas.

13. Use Appetite Stimulating Herbs

Dandelion isn’t just a plant, it’s also herbal medicine.

Some of the herbs used to increase human appetite are also safe for use in dogs. For dogs that are underweight try dandelion–the yellow flower sprouting all over lawns and fields BUT ONLY IN HERBAL FORM.

Dandelion is available in this 10-for-1 multivitamin, along with other herbal supplements to make your Dog gain weight. Follow the manufacturer’s and your vet’s advice for dosing instructions.

While a multivitamin alone won’t help an underweight Dog with weight gain alone, you should include it to ensure their nutritional needs are getting met.

14. Include B Vitamins

B vitamins can help with increasing your dog’s appetite.

B vitamins are natural appetite stimulants and are readily available over the counter and online. Brewer’s yeast is a great source of B vitamins that not only helps increase appetite but also gives more energy to an underweight dog.

Offer your dog Brewer’s yeast tablets following the manufacturer’s instructions for dosing.

Brewer’s yeast also helps with skin and coat health, which may be lacking in an underweight dog.

Here are even more ideas to improve your Dog’s skin and coat that are healthy and may add additional calories for weight gain.

15. Visit Your Vet Regularly

Always see your vet regularly.

Regular vet appointments are especially important for your underweight Dog.

Be sure to make good notes regarding what your feeding plan is and how your dog’s weight fluctuates.

Your vet will use your notes to help make medical adjustments, as necessary, and to give you the right tips and advice.

If your home treatments don’t work, then visit a vet immediately as your vet may need to run some tests to see if a disease or medical problem is the cause of your dog not gaining weight and being underweight.

Helping Your Dog Gain Weight

Knowing how to fatten up a Dog can help you and your dog achieve their ideal weight and maintain this healthy condition.

There are many reasons why your dog or puppy may not be gaining weight.

But there are also ways to help your dog at home to become healthier and have more energy.

Buy the highest quality food for your dog to keep them from losing any more weight and adjust your feeding plan by keeping track of your dog’s weight loss and gain.

Seek vet treatment if your dog doesn’t gain weight or their condition worsens.

Owners who read about their Dog’s health also found this post on training a Dog at home with manners helpful.

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