My 11 year old labradoodle is perpetually underweight. The vet has commented at every visit that she is underweight and is concerned that she is not eating adequately. She doesn’t show any other symptoms of a GI problem and has good energy levels. She weighed in yesterday at 44.1 lbs, down one pound from last year, and at her lowest weight since reaching adulthood.
For years, we fed her Wellness CORE Original Recipe and now that she is older, she eats Hill’s Ideal Balance Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe Mature Adult Dog Dry Food. We offer her 3 cups once a day, and she rarely eats the full 3 cups at meal time. Frequently there is still a cup left in her bowl by her next feeding.
The doctor suggested that we are feeding her too healthily (?!) and might consider additional treats each day or a different recipe.
Any thoughts or suggestions?
She is a senior, some dogs and people get skinny as they grow old, just look around.
Anyway, I would broil up a little chicken liver, chop it up and mix a spoonful of it with her kibble. For a couple of bucks, it should last 4-5 days (cooked) in the fridge.
Consider adding other cooked chopped up lean meats to her kibble, chicken breast, steak…no bones.
PS: I might try less kibble (2 cups instead of 3) if you are adding the meat. Maybe divided, 2 meals per day instead of one.
Hi Larry A-
While I’ve never had this issue with any of my dogs, cats or myself, I agree with Red that it is a good idea to mix in some “extras” in her kibble.
We add a little canned food in with our dogs kibble every morning. In the afternoon we add either meat, eggs, or sardines along with misc. fruits and or veggies.
Here is a link to a download prepared by Steve Brown that gives recommendations and what and how much to add to your dog’s meals: https://www.dogwise.com/ItemDetails.cfm?ID=DN330EBK
p.s. A word of warning: once you start doing this your dog most likely will expect it and you will get the stink eye if there is not anything yummy in their kibble!
You may even want to consider 3 or 4 small meals per day, instead of one or two average sized meals.
Another thought, is she drinking enough water? Add a splash to her meals. You can soak her kibble in water in the fridg overnight, might make it easier for her to digest.
Those are all great ideas Red and C4c posted. I follow the download from Steve Brown C4c suggested for adding fresh foods to kibble for my dog.
I would like to suggest making bone broth. I make it once a month and feed a few cups/wk regularly to my dog. If you are interested in the easy (and lazy) recipe I use just let me know. Otherwise, you could try picking up a low sodium/no msg added broth from your grocery store. Add it to her kibble, the flavor might make the kibble more enticing for her.
I would definitely second Bobby Dog’s suggestions for bone broth and Steve Brown’s ABC download. That’s the best few bucks you can spend on your dog!
Here’s a link to the download: https://www.dogwise.com/ItemDetails.cfm?ID=DN330EBK
One other thought, if you are happy with Wellness and Ideal Balance products you could look into the canned food recipes from these brands. I feed a few Core and Ideal Balance canned recipes, my pup is always happy when either is mixed in with his kibble.
Thanks all. I appreciate the thoughts!
Hi Larry A,
I’m not sure why you decided to switch from Wellness Core, but if you look at the G/A on both foods you are actually feeding about 75 kcals/cup less with the Ideal Balance. The fat is pretty comparable as there’s only 1.1% more fat in Wellness than Ideal Balance and the protein is considerably lower in Ideal Balance. Older dogs actually need more quality protein as they age since they don’t metabolize it as well. Lower protein causes muscle atrophy.
I would personally go back to the Wellness, since Senior dogs usually need less fat due to underactivity and overweight issues, but this is not true in your dogs case. Also, they often do eat less and can’t smell as well as they age so adding fresh food as Red suggested and bone broth as Bobby Dog or canned food as Dog Foodie and C4C suggested are good ideas. Adding a bit of wet food (canned, etc) to all the meals and mixing it in with some warm water. It might entice your girl to eat more and more moisture is always better for any dog eating a kibble diet.
Good Luck with her! 🙂
We switched as she was eating less and less of the CORE and Hills was recommended by a local shop owner. Looking at the nutritional analysis I see what you mean and
I can try another blend of the CORE that will give her more protein. I’ll also try the broth also. Thanks.
Kibble, no matter how high quality, or how much it costs, is like cereal. So, it makes sense to add real food to it that is not processed. Use the kibble as a base.
Would you like to eat nothing but Cheerios every day, for the rest of your life? It is nutritionally balanced, after all, so you might be okay doing so.
Just my opinion.
Hi, change kibble & feed breakfast/ & dinner, not just the big 1 meal a day, half the meal, have a look at Holistic Select Senior, Holistic select also has wet tin foods maybe feed 1/2 -1 tin of the wet tin food for breakfast & the dry kibble for dinner, she probably looks at her boring meal & thinks YUK same boring thing…. My boy has IBD but I still mix things up a bit & I ask him what do you want for breakfast & dinner, (he will lick the cup of kibble or cooked meal in container, I show him to pick from) & he gets excited…. Holistic Select is made by Wellpet who also makes Wellness Core…
Meant to make this suggestion earlier, but got busy at work during lunch. Have you ever tried raw, green tripe to entice your pup to eat as well? They love it! It smells awful and is full of wonderful, healthy stuff like enzymes.
I have added oatmeal, meats, liver, canned foods to my dog’s kibble when the weather gets cold to add a little extra insulation. They basically have a summer weight & winter weight.
My new favorite thing is raw goat milk. I’m starting them on that today. It worked wonders for the hand raised pups. Especially the runt who we wouldn’t have saved if not for that goat milk. I swear by it after seeing how he thrived. At the time I couldn’t find raw goat milk so they had pasteurized. All went home very healthy.
I’ve also been told that Senior food isn’t really necessary unless you have a dog that tends to become overweight due to age. Sounds like your dog would be fine on regular adult.
- This reply was modified 4 years ago by Jenn H.
Red, I agree with you on the kibble essentially being cereal.
DogFoodie, you are so right! My dogs love tripe in any form. It smells terrible, but maybe that’s why they love it so much! LOL! 🙂
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