My dog is too skinny but he eats

What makes a dog eat a lot and still not gain weight? This is a common question from many owners and to answer this question this post will talk about the dogs’ gastrointestinal conditions that are responsible for this phenomenon.

My dog is too skinny, but he eats

Many tutors wonder why their dogs eat well and not gain weight. The truth is that several factors can interfere with the dog’s weight gain, among them the most common are:

  • Breed differences;
  • Gastrointestinal diseases;
  • Unbalanced foods;
  • Worms.

Breed differences

Some breeds may have a faster metabolism so these dogs can feed very well but will not gain weight. Faster metabolism causes energy from food to be processed so that little is stored in the form of fat, so the weight gain is little.

The genetics of some breeds may help a more elongated and thin standard body shape, as is the case with greyhounds. In addition, the genetics of some dogs favor the deposit of fat in the organs and not in the abdomen region. So, the animals are getting fat, but the tutor is not able to see.

Gastrointestinal diseases

Some gastrointestinal diseases can prevent the absorption of nutrients from food. Thus, taking them all to the feces. Without the nutrients from food, dogs tend to lose weight in addition to having an exacerbated appetite.

So, the dogs start to eat a lot and lose weight. Vomiting, diarrhea, and muscle weakness in dogs can also be observed. This difficulty in absorption can lead to deficiencies that result in dogs disease. Therefore, a veterinarian should be sought for the correct diagnosis and treatment of the dog.

Unbalanced foods

Unbalanced diets can increase a dog’s appetite without increasing his weight gain. This kind of behavior can scare many tutors. But without the necessary nutrients, animals can increase appetites without characteristic weight gain. 

That is why it is recommended to carry out tests and evaluation with a veterinary nutritionist for a better evaluation of the dog’s condition, in addition to the indication of an adequate diet to meet all the caloric needs needed by the dog.


Worms can be a key part of dogs that are eating normally and not gaining weight. Like gastrointestinal diseases, worms feed on nutrients from food ingested by dogs. This leaves little or no nutrients for the dog. So, dogs can increase their food consumption without gaining weight.

Dogs with worms can be weaker, with diarrhea and even vomiting. The best way to prevent the disease is to carry out a stool exam in dogs periodically. Only after the examination is it possible to know the type of worm and how it should be treated in the most appropriate way possible.

When not properly treated, worms can lead to severe anemia, malnutrition and even blockage of the dogs gastrointestinal tract. So, when you notice any changes in your dog, take him to the vet.

How to make the dog gain more weight?

To increase the dog’s weight gain, a veterinarian should be consulted to better diagnose the cause why the dog has an appetite but still cannot gain weight. Only after identifying the cause will the veterinarian carry out the appropriate treatment for the dog’s pathology.

In many cases, a veterinary nutritionist may be necessary to adapt the dog’s diet according to its weight, body score, physical activity practices and routine of its owners.

When increasing from a balanced diet the dog tends to keep its body in the appropriate body score for the size and breed of the animal. Another important factor is the sport practice routine of these animals. Many dogs, when receiving a proper diet and practicing sport constantly, tend to increase their body structure in a healthy way.

Some owners tend to supplement their dogs, but this type of treatment should only be used when necessary. Food treatments should always be prescribed by veterinary nutritionists, as excess nutrients can also damage the health of dogs.

Healthy food for dogs

Vegetables and fruits can benefit many dogs’ diets. Before offering any food to the animal, it is important to consult a veterinary nutritionist so that he can establish a balanced diet for this species.

For dogs that eat industrial food, vegetables can be used as a snack. Since industrial foods supply all the dogs’ nutritional needs.

Some vegetables and fruits that can be eaten by dogs:


  • Lettuce;
  • Green cabbage;
  • Parsley;
  • Spinach;
  • Carrot;
  • Broccoli;
  • Beet;
  • Pod;
  • Potato;
  • Pumpkin;
  • Yam.


  • Banana;
  • Kiwi;
  • Strawberry;
  • Melon;
  • Cashew;
  • Mango;
  • Watermelon.


Several factors can influence the weight gain of dogs. Some animals will eat a lot and not get fat, while others will gain weight for any gram of extra food. To assess the caloric need of dogs and the ideal diet for them, a veterinary nutritionist should be consulted. With the help of the veterinarian the ideal diet can be prescribed for the dogs besides said secondary causes of the absence of weight gain can be diagnosed.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): My dog is too skinny, but he eats

 What happens to a dog that eats weed?

The dog can become intoxicated and thus present complications that, if not monitored and treated, can lead to death.

Main symptoms of weed ingestion by dogs:

  • Dilated pupils;
  • Tremors;
  • Too much drooling;
  • Loss of motor coordination or involuntary movements;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Vomiting;
  • Lethargy;
  • Seizures.

What to do when the dog has diarrhea?

The tutor should seek a veterinarian immediately. Since the loss of water and nutrients can lead the dog to dehydration and death.  

And with veterinary treatment, the animal tends to improve and go home healthy.

What foods are toxic for dogs?

Common foods that are highly toxic to dogs are:

  • Grapes and Raisins;
  • Xylitol;
  • Chocolate;
  • Tea;
  • Coffee;
  • Onions;
  • Garlic;
  • Alcohol.


Bjone, S. J., Brown, W. Y., & Price, I. R. (2007). Grass eating patterns in the domestic dog, Canis familiaris. Recent advances in animal nutrition in Australia, 16, 45-49.

Filho, T. A. B., Moreira, A. W. L., De Amorim, B., Viana, D. C. C. D. S., & Rocha, G. D. O. O excesso de carboidrato na dieta dos cães domésticos.

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