I was given a 10+ yr. old, very neglected, St. Bernard/Husky mix male dog for Christmas! He is so sweet and fits well in our family. After a couple of vet visits he is overall healthy with a few issues being heartworms, severe flea allergy and mild hip dysplasia. He also roughly half his weight at 65 lbs.
The more I read, the more I am confused on how to best put weight on him. The vet recommended puppy food. With his age I am concerned about pancreas issues feeding him a high fat diet. What would you recommend for…
Wet and dry foods?
Additives to food such as raw eggs, oils?
Thanks for your help!
I would be more worried about the dog surviving the heartworm treatment, that is a priority.
Otherwise I would go by your vet’s suggestion, maybe a high quality puppy food (canned and dry). I might add a tablespoon of chopped cooked chicken or chopped cooked chicken liver, add a little water to meals. I might feed 3-4 small meals per day instead of 2 regular ones. I would not add any supplements unless your vet advises so, just more junk for the liver to deal with. I would not give raw food to an old sick dog.
You don’t want rapid weight gain, too stressful, just a gradual increase.
Also, see what your vet advises regarding the flea allergy, frequent baths? Be careful about vaccinations and pesticides with a senior dog like this….
Walks/activity as tolerated, keep him moving.
Btw: It was very kind of you to take on a mature dog with issues, I am sure he appreciates it very much.
Congratulations on your new family member!
I went through the same ordeal last year with a very elderly and underweight rescue; how to put on weight safely, finding the balance between feeding him enough but not too much, so that his weight gain wasn’t too quick and his system wasn’t overwhelmed with too many fats.
I second the advice above – if at all possible, feed him 3 or 4 small meals a day instead of 1 or 2 big ones. I fed a good-quality puppy food mixed with a good-quality adult food* starting with a 3:1 ratio. As he came close to his target weight, I gradually changed the ratio to 2:2, then 1:3, and then finally all adult food.
Supplements: don’t over-do it. I’d give him probiotics and maybe a joint med, but really, good food is going to wonders all by itself.
*Earthborn Holistics Puppy Vantage, Earthborn Holistics Great Plains Feast, Earthborn Holistics Large Breed (all dry); Wellness Complete/Core Puppy, Wellness Complete Senior and Canidae Large Breed (all canned). I mix up what I feed my dogs; variety is a good thing.
One more thing, please: be patient! You won’t see results so much day to day, but week by week he’s going to come around. Take pictures!
Hi Mom T, nice thing you have done taken in an old boy….. I have a 7 yr old with IBD & Skin problems & he has problems keeping on his weight, so I feed 4 smaller meals thru the day & more then what it says on the kibble bag. Patches kibble says 2 & a 1/2 cups kibble per day but I cook as well so I give 1 heaped cup kibble a day…
I would not feed any puppy food, it’s made for high energy puppies, like you said the puppy food would be too high in fat, find a good kibble & I feed 4 meals a day…Holistic Select has their Senior kibble chicken meal & rice that’s easy to digest… http://www.holisticselect.com/recipes.aspx?pet=dog#category5
I cook then freeze the cooked chicken or beef in 1 cup sections & I freeze small kangaroo mince balls, like a rissole that I bake, I add 1 egg, some parsley, some people add Turmeric powder & coconut oil for arthritis, you can bake small balls of beef, chicken or turkey mince rissoles & give as a treat or mix thru the meal…. Patch gets cooked meal for breakfast & dinner, I feed cooked chicken breast, tin Salmon, boiled potatoes, broccoli, zucchini, some times, beef, Kangaroo, sweet potatoes a bit of pumkin, boiled egg etc make sure you add the fish (tin Sardines or Salmon in spring water drained) for his omega’s for his skin… I prefer to add Patches omegas naturally thru food not the fish tablets….. Fish oil tablets made Patch feel sick, you have to remember these dogs were not looked after probably most of their lives & when we rescue them & start adding all this healthy new stuff etc some dogs stomachs/bowels can’t cope…. then I give 1/2 cup kibble for lunch & another 1/2 cup kibble for late dinner….that’s for a 39lb dog……. Kibble keeps & puts the weight on, I have found…. look at the Kcals on the kibbles web page for the Kcal/per cup the higher the Kcal per cup the better around 380-400Kcal/per cup…..Once you start feeding 3-4 meals a day his weight will slowly start to come back, nice & slow, it may take about 4 months but it will be healthy weight not a diet full of fat..
Here’s a calculator to see how many Calories he should be eating a day, it gives you a ruff idea, just enter the weight he should be & he’s a senior dog..
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