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Underweight in dogs: causes and tips

Overweight is widespread in dogs. However, there are also many dogs with underweight. Just like obesity, too low a body weight is not something you as a dog owner should take lightly.

Because underweight is with dogs not only a sign for already existing health problems. It can also have further consequences for the health and well-being of your four-legged friend.

How to recognize underweight in your dog, which causes are possible and how to ensure a healthy and lasting normalization of his body weight, you will learn in the following.

When is a dog too thin?

Body weight is a good indicator of whether your dog is underweight. Especially in pedigree dogs, a deviation from the ideal weight can be determined quite easily by comparing with the specifications in the breed standard.

In addition, the Body Condition Score helps you to determine whether your dog is too thin. The Body Condition Score indicates what the body structure should be like and which signs indicate underweight or overweight in dogs.

In a heavily underweight dog, ribs, pelvic bones and vertebrae are often visible from a distance, muscle mass is significantly reduced and there is no recognizable body fat left.

Why is a dog underweight?

Underweight in the dog

Your dog's body consumes a certain amount of energy every day. In order to balance this consumption, he must consume the appropriate amount of energy in the form of calories. If this is the case, his energy balance is balanced and his weight remains the same.

If your four-legged friend eats more than he uses, he gains weight. If, on the other hand, he eats less regularly than he consumes, he will lose weight and your dog will sooner or later become underweight.

Possible causes of underweight in dogs

There are a number of causes that can lead to underweight in dogs. If you want to help your pet gain weight, it is important to know the exact trigger.

Underweight can have the following causes in dogs:

  • Parasites such as worms and Giardia
  • Diseases and associated loss of appetite
  • dietary errors

Underweight in dogs due to parasites

If your dog suffers from intestinal parasites such as worms or giardias, one of the consequences is that important nutrients are withdrawn from his body. The resulting nutrient deficiency then manifests itself, for example, in skin and coat problems.

In addition, despite normal food intake, a significant weight loss occurs over time. In order to avoid such complaints and further health consequences of the parasite infestation, it is important that you do something for the treatment as soon as possible. If your dog is free of parasites, his body weight will usually return to normal quite quickly.

Underweight in dogs due to illness

Diseases are another possible cause of underweight in dogs. Many diseases lead to a significant loss of appetite. If this lasts for a longer time, the body of your quadruped looks for alternative energy sources and burns fat and muscle mass to cover its needs.

Apart from that, some diseases, such as tumours, can also cause an increased calorie and protein requirement. If this circumstance is not taken into account to the necessary extent, there will also be a significant loss of weight.

Underweight in dogs due to dietary errors

In addition to parasites and diseases, underweight in dogs can also be a result of feeding errors. If, for example, you do not provide your dog with enough food in general, he will not be able to cover his energy requirements and will lose weight.

In addition, however, the wrong food can also promote underweight. In the long run, inferior dog food can damage the dog's intestinal flora. As a result, the organism of the animal can no longer absorb enough nutrients and a nutrient deficiency occurs.

Health consequences of underweight in dogs

If your dog has only recently become underweight, this is usually not a cause for concern. However, if this condition persists over a longer period of time, the low body weight and lack of nutrients can have further consequences for the health of the four-legged friend.

Permanent underweight can cause the following problems in dogs:

  • Weakening of the immune system
  • Increased susceptibility to infections
  • Skin and coat problems, such as hair loss
  • Disorders of the hormonal balance
  • infertility
  • Slowed wound healing
  • Shortened life expectancy
  • Reduction of bone density
  • muscle loss
  • Disturbances of the water balance
  • Decreasing physical resilience

What you can do against underweight with your dog


As you can see, underweight in dogs is a serious problem that should be addressed promptly. Depending on the cause, it may be useful to consult a veterinarian for this purpose.

If your dog's underweight is due to an illness, he or she can determine the necessary treatment measures and ensure that the cause of the malnutrition is eliminated.

Apart from that, you must of course ensure that your underweight dog's diet is designed in such a way that it is optimally cared for and can gain weight again.

The ideal weight with Bellfor products

If you want to permanently counteract your dog's underweight, you should not make the mistake of providing him with as large a quantity of unsuitable food as possible. This may increase your dog's calorie intake in the short term, but in the long run it will damage his health.

Therefore, do not mix sausage pieces and similar supposed delicacies with the food and instead use high-quality dog food with natural ingredients.

In the Bellfor range you will find premium quality dry food. A large selection of extruded and cold-pressed varieties ensures that there is something to suit the taste of every dog. In addition, the absence of artificial additives ensures excellent digestibility and an optimal supply of all important nutrients.

Bellfor Fitness powder for underweight dogs

For dogs with underweight we recommend an additional dietary supplement with Bellfor Fitness powder. The natural food supplement contains insect protein from the larvae of the black soldier fly.

A sufficient supply of proteins is of decisive importance for dogs with underweight and contributes, among other things, to the reconstruction of the musculature and the strengthening of the immune system.

The protein obtained from the larvae of the black soldier fly is particularly suitable for this purpose. Because it contains all amino acids essential for dogs, can be used by their bodies particularly well and is also very digestible.

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