How To Help an Underweight Australian Shepherd Gain Weight: 7 Top Tips

Dog owners often face the problem of pet obesity. However, it is also uncommon for a dog to be too skinny and weigh less than it should. If your Australian Shepherd is too skinny or underweight it can be worrying. Low dog weight can be a sign of health problems and have consequences for your animal‘s health and well-being. In this article we will talk about underweight causes for Australian Shepherds and the best tips to help your Aussie gain weight.

What Is The Normal Weight of Australian Shepherds?

Body weight is a good indicator of whether your dog is underweight. Purebred deviation from the ideal weight of dogs can be easily determined by comparison with the specifications of the breed standard.

According to the American Kennel Club the average weight of Australian Shepherd:

  • The normal weight for an adult male Australian Shepherd is 50-65 pounds
  • The normal weight for an adult female Australian Shepherd is 40-55 pounds

In addition, the body condition score will help you determine if your Australian Shepherd is too thin. The body condition score indicates how the physique should be and which signs in dogs indicate underweight or overweight.

A good body condition score for a dog should be between 4-5 out of 9. Dog is considered too thin if their body condition score is 1-3. On the contrary, dog is overweight if their body condition score is between 6-9.

For a dog that weighs less than it should, the ribs and pelvic bones are much easier to see. As well as muscle mass is significantly reduced and there is no more noticeable body fat. It is always a good idea to consult a veterinarian for an accurate assessment of your Aussie‘s body condition score.

Causes of Underweight Australian Shepherds

Dogs, like humans, consume a certain amount of energy every day. In order to compensate for this energy consumption, your Australian Shepherd must consume an adequate amount of energy in the form of calories. If the dog gets the right amount of calories according to his weight and lifestyle, the energy balance is balanced and the weight remains the same.

If your Aussie eats more than he needs, he gains weight. On the contrary, if he regularly eats less than he needs, he will lose weight. And sooner or later your Australian Shepherd become underweight.

Possible reasons why your dog is underweight:

  • Poorly balanced diet
  • Illness and associated loss of appetite
  • Underweight due to parasites

Poorly Balanced Diet Can Be The Reason Why Your Australian Shepherd Is Underweight

A common reason why our dogs don‘t weigh what they should be is due to an unbalanced diet. Often the owners do not calculate how much food a pet needs and do not give as much as they should. As a result, the dog becomes too skinny or too fat.

Another reason is improper food, which can lead to underweight. In the long run, poorer dog food can impair a dog‘s gut function. As a result, the animal‘s body is no longer able to absorb enough nutrients and nutrient deficiencies occur.

Underweight due to Illness and Loss of Appetite

Another possible cause of underweight in dogs is some disease that has occurred. If a dog has an illness, the dog may lose his appetite, resulting in not getting the right amount of calories. If this continues for a long time, your Australian Shepherd‘s body will look for alternative energy sources and burn fat and muscle mass.

Aussie Is Underweight Due To Parasites

If your Aussie suffers from intestinal parasites such as worms, it means that his body lacks important nutrients. Nutrient deficiencies can occur, for example, in skin, fur, joint disease and weight loss problems.

In order to avoid such symptoms and other health consequences of infestation by parasites, it is important to take timely action on treatment. It is best to include foods high in fiber in your dog‘s diet, such as vegetables. Veggies like beetroot, pumpkin, carrot are rich in fiber and act as a natural dewormer. Also fruits like banana, apple, coconuts. And of course consult your veterinarian, you may need other measures to control the parasites.

Health Consequences of Being Underweight in Dogs

If you‘ve recently noticed that your Australian Shepherd looks thinner than it used to be, you probably don‘t need to worry too much. Try to improve his diet and if the dog has no diseases, often the weight recovers quickly.

However, if this condition has been going on for quite some time, low body weight and an inadequate supply of nutrients may have additional consequences for your Aussie‘s health in the future.

Possible Consequences of Underweight:

  • Weakening of the immune system
  • Skin and coat problems
  • Muscle breakdown
  • Decreased physical resistance
  • The dog may become infertile
  • Slowed wound healing
  • All this can lead to shortened life expectancy

How to Deal With an Australian Shepherd‘s Underweight Problem

You have probably already realized that underweight is a fairly serious problem that cannot be delayed and needs to be addressed in a timely manner. Depending on the cause, it may be appropriate to consult a veterinarian to find the best way to correct the problem.

If your Australian Shepherd is underweight, the veterinarian will prescribe the necessary treatment. However, as the owner of the dog, you must ensure that the dog‘s diet is adjusted accordingly to his needs and that he can return to his normal weight.

Some Tips on How to Regain The Weight Your Australian Shepherd needs

1.     Divide your Australian Shepherd‘s daily food intake into several portions

Instead of one or two large portions, food should be divided into several small portions and given at regular intervals throughout the day. This will speed up your dog‘s metabolism and make it easier for your dog to digest food.

2.     Choose high-calorie foods

If you want your Australian Shepherd to gain weight, you should choose high quality foods that are rich in protein, fat and calories. Look for foods that have at least 30 percent protein and about 20 percent fat (source). In addition to meat, fish, eggs and other protein sources, you may also consider feeding them denser foods like sweet potatoes or grains like quinoa that are also high in protein, but not as heavy food as meat.

3.     Monitor the dog‘s weight

Watch your Aussie‘s weight. This observation will let you know if you are moving in the right direction, or you may need to change your plan.

4.     Bring in a little variety

If your Australian Shepherd is very picky about food – try to diversify his food a bit. Try to give more pleasant food. Perhaps more fragrant so that he can enjoy the food again. Perhaps a good option would be to try dry and wet food to discover what your Australian Shepherd likes best.

You can also try to feed your Aussie in different ways. For example, try a new plate to put food in or a new place. Also, sometimes you can try to feed the dog from your hands, while the dog is doing certain tasks. Curiosity can encourage the dog to eat and possibly try something new.

5.     Use snacks

If your dog is hungry, you can give him some snacks. But keep in mind that snacks should not exceed 10-15% of the daily diet. Snacks don‘t just mean treats. Instead, make sure the snacks you provide have some nutritional value and have the essential vitamins and nutrients your dog may be lacking.

Peanut butter can be a great choice for a special treat. Peanut butter is high in healthy fats and proteins, both of which can help your Aussie increase calories and weight.

6.     Reduce stress

Stress can also be an underweight problem. Whether it is due to a new environment, new people, or some bad experience, action needs to be taken. Find ways to soothe your pet so that your dog has a good appetite and is healthy.

7.     Workouts should also not be forgotten

Similar to humans, if you want a dog to gain weight – he needs to exercise. Exercise helps build strength and endurance, and can also help your dog gain weight and muscle.

Final Thoughts

Like being overweight, underweight is also a concern for your Australian Shepherd‘s health. To take care of your dog‘s health, it is important that he reaches that healthy weight. By taking the steps above, you can help improve their health and ensure that they get the nutrients and vitamins they need to maintain the right weight.

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