A healthy Rottweiler can weigh as much as 135 pounds, and while you certainly don't want a fat Rottweiler, an underweight pup can also have health challenges. Whether your Rottweiler is recovering from an illness or you just rescued an underfed stray, you can put weight on your dog by adjusting his diet and making sure he is getting enough exercise.
Ideal weight for a Rottweiler
A healthy, adult Rottweiler is a large, well-muscled working dog. Female Rottweilers grow 22 to 25 inches tall and weigh 80 to 100 pounds. Male dogs are a bit larger, reaching 24 to 27 inches tall and weighing 95 to 135 pounds.
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If your adult Rottweiler weighs less than this, it may be cause for concern, although some individual dogs may be naturally smaller, especially if your own a mixed-breed Rottweiler. Evaluate her body condition and consult your veterinarian to determine whether she needs to put on weight.
At a healthy weight, you will be able to feel your dog's ribs, but they will be covered by a thin layer of fat. The ribs will be visible on an underweight dog, and you may notice the hip bones protruding.
Causes and concerns
If your dog is underweight, a trip to the vet to determine the cause is the first step. There are many reasons your Rottweiler may have lost weight, and it is important to treat the underlying condition so he can fully recover. Intestinal parasites can cause weight loss, and fortunately, these are easily treated with deworming medication. Some other illnesses that may cause weight loss include cancer, diabetes, hepatitis, and hyperthyroidism. Pain from an injury can also cause your dog to lose his appetite.
In other cases, your dog may just be a picky eater, which means you will need to try different diets to find one he likes. He may also have stopped eating because he is stressed. In these cases, determine the cause of the stress and make adjustments in the home to help your pup adjust.
For example, if separation anxiety is the issue, you may need to consult a professional dog trainer or get a prescription for anti-anxiety medication to help you resolve the issue so your pup can relax. In the meantime, you can still make adjustments to your dog's diet and exercise program that should help.
Adjust your Rottweiler's diet
In order for your dog to gain weight, she'll need to eat more calories. Follow your veterinarian's instructions and check the food label to determine how much you should be feeding. If she is willing to eat, this may mean simply increasing the amount of food you are giving. You can do this by adding an extra half-cup of food to each meal or adding a third meal to her diet.
If your pup is a picky eater, you can entice her to eat by topping her food with olive oil, the juice from a can of tuna, or some egg. Your veterinarian may also prescribe probiotics to sprinkle on her food. You can offer some canned food or switch to higher-quality dry food to see if your dog likes it better.
Make sure you monitor your dog's weight and body condition and with the guidance of your veterinarian, decrease her calorie intake when she reaches her ideal weight.
Get your Rottweiler buff
Diet alone is not enough for your Rottweiler to put on the healthy weight he needs. Make sure he is getting plenty of exercise as well. Yes, this will burn more calories, but it will also help your dog build muscle so that you don't wind up with a fat Rottweiler.
Don't overexert your dog, however. Start slowly with an easy walk and slowly build the intensity and duration of your walks and play sessions as your dog gets stronger. If your dog is recovering from an injury or has a medical condition, be sure to talk to your vet about how much exercise is appropriate.