How can I get my dog to gain weight?

Dog Food Advisor Forums Off Topic Forum How can I get my dog to gain weight?

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  • #55064 Report Abuse

    Kristin C
    Member

    Hi-I know this is a crapshoot, but does anyone have advice on how to get my dog to gain weight, gluten/grain free? The rescue we got her from says she is part chihuahua, but we were stumped on what other breed(s). She has webbed feet so we thought redbone coonhound, which is possible as she is from Tennessee. I do believe she is part whippet or greyhound though based upon her bone structure. You can see her bones-ribs and hips, and that’s been since the day we got her last December (2013). I fed her 3-4 times per day earlier this year and every time I think she’s putting on weight, she isn’t. She had some food sensitivity issues after we got her so she is currently 80-90% raw. I do add oatmeal or cottage cheese to her food when I can, and when it’s convenient. I thought after she turned 1 she might fill out but that’s not happening. The vet says she is strong, and yes she is very peppy, so maybe she’s burning off more than I am feeding her and I just need to give her more food? She gets 3-4% of her body weight, sometimes more. Any input will be greatly appreciated.

    #55065 Report Abuse

    Dog_Obsessed
    Member

    So I should probably leave what kind of levels of protein, fat, carbs, etc. is best in a weight gain food to the more experienced people on this forum, but I can give a little advice. If your dog has been completely checked for health issues that might keep her from losing weight, she probably just has more calories going out than in. Maybe you could use the dog food calculator on this site to figure out how much you should feed her, put in the weight you want her to be, not the weight that she is currently. You could also feed slightly more than the given amount. I hope this is helpful!

    #55069 Report Abuse

    Kristin C
    Member

    Thanks, I’ll check it out, although I’m not sure how to estimate the calories per cup since I make most of her food:(

    She actually eats more than my 35 lb beagle/Aussie mix who is less active and I can’t seem to get her above 25 lbs. She was 13 lbs when we got her and I think the chihuahua in her keeps her petite, but it’s the bony-ness that bothers me.

    #55070 Report Abuse

    theBCnut
    Member

    How old is she? She sounds like she is still going through that teenage lean stage and you should probably let her stay on the thin side, but it’s hard to tell from your post how skinny she really is. If you see 3 or less ribs, her weight is fine, same with back bones. Maybe look at the muscling in her back legs. Does she have a decent sized thigh muscle? If she is actually too thin, her muscling will suffer. If she is in good muscle, she isn’t too thin.

    #55075 Report Abuse

    Kristin C
    Member

    She’s 14 months. And you can see all of her ribs AND hip bones AND spine. We call her the anorexic teenager in our house 🙂 The vet says she is strong. I’m not sure what a decent size thigh muscle is for a dog but she’s a hell of a runner, seriously she’s gotta be a whippet. But I’d feel better if she filled out some. Should I feed her more? I read that skinny/or even chihuahua dogs expend more energy just trying to keep warm so I’m afraid it will get worse over the winter.

    We have an almost 5 year old beagle/Aussie and she is so completely different, activity as well as coat, so this dog has been a challenge for us, albeit a welcome one since we have never been blessed with human kids.

    #55077 Report Abuse

    theBCnut
    Member

    As long as feeding her more doesn’t cause loose stools, then yes, just increase her food. If feeding more does cause loose stools, you might want to increase calorie but not volume by adding some coconut oil. And you are right, she will probably need more calories over the winter anyways. You may want to get her a sweater.

    #55080 Report Abuse

    Kristin C
    Member

    Thanks BC! I just pulled out her fleece coat today. I use coconut oil myself so maybe I will start adding small amounts to her food in addition to increasing her intake. My husband says she’s all muscle, and I think so too, I just worry more:)

    #55085 Report Abuse

    theBCnut
    Member

    When they are that thin they do get cold easily and shivering is one of the biggest calorie burns there is, so it’s good that you’re thinking about this now. To start the coconut oil, give 1/4 teaspoon for about 3 days, then increase by 1/4 teaspoon. You can give her about 1 1/2 teaspoons a day.

    #55092 Report Abuse

    pugmomsandy
    Moderator

    There are recipes for “satin balls” on-line. You might be able to modify one to be grain free. There’s also Abady granular food (I think it has rice) that has nearly 800 calories per cup.

    #55104 Report Abuse

    Dog_Obsessed
    Member

    I saw some “calorie boost” supplements at the pet store today, maybe those would help?

    #55109 Report Abuse

    Kristin C
    Member

    Thanks pugsmom, I have seen the satin balls recipe and the ingredients would not work for us. I think I am going to increase her food plus add coconut oil and some cozy sweaters!
    For now.

    #55110 Report Abuse

    Dog_Obsessed
    Member

    Sounds like a plan! You said the vet said she was strong, so I assume she has been checked for health issues right?

    #55111 Report Abuse

    Kristin C
    Member

    Checked as in what? She hasn’t has blood tests. We took her in for an armpit rash over the summer (August) and the vet said she was strong. They gave her antibiotics and allergen meds and the rash went away and has not come back. I believe it was something environmental. She GLOWS. She’s just skinny.

    #55116 Report Abuse

    Dog_Obsessed
    Member

    I think there can be some health issues associated with being skinny, such as thyroid issues, but if she is healthy otherwise that is unlikely. If she doesn’t gain weight with increased food, or if she loses it, then I would start to worry about health issues but right now your plan sounds good. 🙂

    #55118 Report Abuse

    theBCnut
    Member

    With thyroid, you usually notice coat condition before anything else, so if she is glowing(I take that to be shiney), then it’s probably because she is so athletic.

    #55121 Report Abuse

    Kristin C
    Member

    Yes, very shiny coat. She is peppy, bouncy. I call her the mexican jumping bean. I don’t think that would be low thyroid. She doesn’t seem to lose weight, just doesn’t gain it very quickly. So I think I just need to beef up her calories and keep her warm right now.

    #55122 Report Abuse

    Dog_Obsessed
    Member

    Yup, sounds like your on the right track! In a world with so many obese pets, it is good that she is so active and strong!

    #55123 Report Abuse

    Some dogs do not do well grain free. One of my Italian greyhounds will get rail thin without carbs and grains. He is a small Iggy at under 10 lbs to begin with, and when eating raw, he gets a full 8oz of meat, and 1/2 cup of rice or sweet potato. My 6lb dog eats 5% of his body weight, and for comparison, my dobes eat 2.5%.

    #55124 Report Abuse

    Kristin C
    Member

    Melissa-when you say Italian greyhound do you mean whippet? Because it took a while for anyone to even mention this breed to us, including our vet. I’m thinking about adding lunch back into her day honestly, plus some coconut oil. Is that a bad idea since she’s over a year old? Or is it just better to add oatmeal and coconut oil to her morning and evening meals?

    #55139 Report Abuse

    InkedMarie
    Member

    I’m not Melissa but I believe she means Italian Greyhound.

    #55143 Report Abuse

    theBCnut
    Member

    Italian Greyhounds are a toy breed that look a lot like a cross between a Whippet and a Chihuahua. They have pencil thin legs and a very fast metabolism.

    It’s OK to feed 3 times a day, as long as she doesn’t get stomach upset. A lot of dogs don’t want to eat 3 meals a day. You may find that she will only want a snack at midday.

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