There are often misconceptions when it comes to how to feed a malnourished dog. The common thought is often to feed the dog as much as he will eat whenever he is found; free-feed essentially. This is not the correct way to feed a malnourished dog. A malnourished dog should be fed carefully for behavioral and medical purposes.
Malnourished Dog Symptoms and Signs
The first sign of a malnourished dog is of course, emaciation, or essentially being overly thin and weak. If the dog is extremely thin, there is a good chance the dog is suffering from malnutrition. If you can see the dog’s ribs and backbone under his skin then this is not a good sign. It is important to note that the dog may not be neglected or abused necessarily if malnourished; the dog could also potentially be suffering from some type of digestive problem or other illness such as cancer. Other symptoms of a malnourished dog include pain while defecating, bile in the vomit and/or frequent gas. Malnourished dogs may also be suffering from a severe lack of energy and have no interest in any type of play or action.
How to Feed a Malnourished Dog: Medical Clearance
First, prior to determining what to feed the dog, are there any medical conditions which are causing him to be malnourished? Illnesses such as cancer or an excessive amount of worms could cause the dog to become severely emaciated. Taking the dog to the veterinarian is extremely important when adopting a malnourished dog. If you are unable to get to the veterinarian quickly, you may have no choice but to feed the dog. If you must feed the dog prior to visiting the veterinarian, only feed the dog a very small amount of food. Feeding a malnourished dog a significant amount of food could harm him.
What to Feed a Malnourished Dog?
Once the veterinarian has cleared the dog of any medical conditions and approved to dog to eat dog food, the pet parent can begin searching for some type of growth food to assist the dog in getting back to good health. Suggestions are often surrounded around a high quality puppy food as puppy food has additional nutrients to support a puppy’s growing body. The veterinarian may also want to prescribe a supplement to support the malnourished dog in returning to normal body weight.
How to Feed a Malnourished Dog
Another extremely crucial point is to feed the malnourished dog throughout the day. For example, if he should be eating 4 cups of food each day; you should separate this into perhaps ½ cup a time until he reaches the full 4 cups. Small amounts given at each feeding is necessary to assist in preventing severe stomach cramps, vomiting, bloat and overall illness.
Amber Johnson, Animal Behaviorist
Miss Amber Johnson has many years of experience with pets and is a licensed cat and dog nutrition and behavior specialist. She currently collaborates with PetPremium where she counsels clients in pet behavior and nutrition. The statements made in this article are the personal opinions of Miss Amber Johnson and based on independent experiences and could be different from the opinions of PetPremium Pet health Insurance or any other pet health insurance provider.
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