Malnutrition in Dogs: How to Tell if Your Dog is Malnourished


Dog Malnutrition Symptoms

We hate to see malnutrition in a dog. And unfortunately, it’s something that happens all too often—especially with rescues.

But malnutrition in dogs can take many forms, and can come with a variety of different symptoms. As a result, it can be tough sometimes to know if your dog is really malnourished…or if those symptoms are the result of some other cause.

To help you make sense of this condition, we’re going to explore some of the most common dog malnutrition symptoms. Then we’re going to list some common causes of malnutrition in dogs, and finally, share a few tips to help you provide better nourishment to any malnourished dog.

Your Dog is Underweight

This is one of the most obvious and easy-to-see symptoms of dog malnutrition. Is your dog skinny and underweight? Can you see all their ribs? Do they appear emaciated?

This is really common in rescues, for obvious reasons. And while an underfed dog is a sad sight for us dog lovers, the good news is that the solution is usually pretty simple—the dog just needs more food.

Just be careful when feeding underweight dogs. It can be tempting to give them a big heaping bowl of food—but in some cases, giving a malnourished dog too much food, too fast, can actually cause more problems. As always, consult with a vet to make sure you’re doing the safe thing for your dog.

Your Dog has Low Energy

It makes sense that if your dog isn’t getting all the nutrients they need, they’re probably not going to feel very energetic. And if your dog has been lethargic lately—lying around and sleeping instead of being active and playing—that’s another sign that they might be malnourished.

Your Dog has Dry, Flaky Skin, & a Dull Coat

Malnutrition can also wreak havoc on your dog’s skin & coat, causing flaky skin, dandruff, and even hair loss. Look for patches of dry, red skin; an increase in itching or scratching; and little white flakes of skin.

Your dog’s coat itself can also be affected. If your dog’s coat doesn’t seem as shiny as it should be—if instead it looks dull and rough—that could also be a symptom of malnutrition.

Your Dog Excrement isn’t Normal

If your dog’s feces are runny or more voluminous than usual, that could be a sign that they aren’t doing a good job of digesting and absorbing the nutrients in their food.

In many cases, this is a sign of low-quality dog food. In that case, the solution is simple: get a better dog food!

But unusual excrement could also be a sign of a medical disorder. So it’s not a bad idea to take your dog to the vet to get them checked out.

Your dog experiences frequent health issues

Your dog’s immune system requires a wide spectrum of nutrients to function at full capacity, and it’s no surprise that malnourished dogs often get sick more than usual. If your dog has been experiencing frequent health issues, that could be another sign that they aren’t getting all the vitamins & nutrients they need to stay healthy.

Causes of malnutrition in dogs

Malnutrition can have a number of potential causes, including:

  • Underfeeding
  • A medical disorder
  • A low-quality diet
  • Parasites

As you can see, it’s not always a case of underfeeding (although that is one of the most common causes). This is why it’s always a good idea to take a malnourished dog to the vet, just to get them checked out and make sure there aren’t any underlying medical issues that need to be addressed first.

Recommended food & supplements for malnourished dogs

If you suspect that your dog isn’t getting enough calories—or if their food isn’t providing all the nutrients they need—then maybe it’s time to switch a higher-quality dog food.

And when it comes to dog foods, nothing will improve your dog’s health & physique faster than Bully Max High performance dog food. With 535 calories in every cup, it provides dogs with twice as much calories.

Even better, we use proteinated-chelated vitamins and low cooking temperatures to make the food more bioavailable. In other words, your dog will be able to actually absorb more of the nutrients in our food.

If calories are the problem, we have two supplements that are created specifically to help malnourished dogs:

Our Bully Max Liquid Weight Gainer 2-in-1 is an easy-to-use liquid that you can simply add to your dog’s food to increase their calorie intake.

And our Bully Max Power Chews For Weight Gain are a delicious, energy-packed treat that dogs love. Great for taking on walks or trips.

So give those products a try, and see if they don’t help your dog to start feeling better.


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