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Ask the Vet – Nutrition for an Underweight Dog and Adding Wet Food to Your Pet’s Diet

Dr. Moser

Dr. Moser

Each issue, Dr. Edward Moser, a board certified veterinary nutritionist, answers your questions on pet food nutrition.

Q: What is an appropriate Wellness diet for the maintenance of an appropriate body weight for an underweight dog or cat with no underlying medical problems? What formulas would help to achieve and maintain an optimal body weight?

A: 1. First establish the database on what is currently being fed to each animal in calories; weigh on a scale and body score your cat or dog.

Example: An 11 pound cat (5 kg) requires about 335 kcal ME per day.
Example: A 100 pound (45.5 kg) dog requires about 1950 kcal ME per day.

2. Determine if you are feeding this much currently: based on the calorie content of the food and amount of the current daily allotment.

3. If you are feeding this much energy and require more calories, add to the diet a source of high quality protein and fat – we suggest that the animals be fed more like puppies than adults or senior animals. Do this in multiple small meals rather than one large meal.

Wellness diets of choice for underweight cats and dogs offer increased protein and energy density:

For Cats:

For Dogs:

Another good way to supply extra calories for dogs is the addition of the Wellness 95 % Chicken canned recipe mixer with 500 kcal per 13.2 ounce can.  These 95% canned diets (beef, chicken, turkey, salmon and lamb) are not complete and balanced diets and are meant for supplemental or intermittent feeding only.

Q: What are the advantages to adding wet food to my dog’s diets?

A: The water content of canned dog foods is usually 74 to 78%.  The dry portion of the food contains the non water nutrients: protein, fat, carbohydrates vitamins and minerals.  Feeding a moist food is a good way to increase the daily water intake of a pet.

  • Moist foods often contain high levels of meat and are often used to enhance the fat and protein content of dry foods without adding carbohydrate or fiber.  They are often added to diets of animals with dull, dry coat conditions and thin dogs.
  • Moist foods tend to be very palatable alone, and increase palatability of some dry foods.
  • Moist foods have a longer shelf life.
  • Moist foods may be easier to digest in some dogs and are often used in the dietary management of some cases of gastrointestinal disease.
  • Wellness canned recipes for dogs come in a variety of flavors to satisfy any dog, including Wellness® Whitefish and Sweet Potato recipe for even the most delicate digestive system.

5 Responses to “Ask the Vet – Nutrition for an Underweight Dog and Adding Wet Food to Your Pet’s Diet”

  1. Glenda says:

    Hi I have a 3 mo old pitbull and Im feeding him wellness for puppies for big breed. I was giving him the wellness the yellow bag for puppy but because he is a large breed I changed it and now he has diarhea. I thought I was able to switch due to the fact that its the same phone so what should I do?

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