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Need help putting weight on a skinny dog!

February 20th, 2010, 07:24 PM
We adopted a 7 month old Dane/Lab mix about 5 months ago. She was skinny when I got her, but I thought she was just having a growth spurt, and would put on weight as she matured. Now that she's a year I really would like her to fill out a bit. She is around 55lbs, and you can see all her ribs and her hip bones stick out. She has been dewormed with a broad spectrum dewormer, and I took her to the vet to rule out other things. She had a blood test, and everything came back normal. Generally her stool is pretty good, but it can be soft on occasion.

She eats raw food, and I have her at almost 2 lb a day split into 2 meals. She gets a variety of RMB, meat, organs, eggs, fish etc.

Does anyone have experience with having or knowing a skinny dog? What worked for you?

February 21st, 2010, 07:21 AM
We had a foster who needed to gain weight.
We offered really high calorie treats, such as cheese and bacon/meats etc.
She was not on RAW at the time, so we fed her Orijen with Wellness puppy wet food because it was higher calorie. We also fed her as much as she would tolerate, giving her smaller more frequent meals. Additionally, we added plenty of Omega Oils to her food, which I think also increased caloric intake.
Many users on this forum have had success with Satin Balls. If you search the forum you will find recipes, or just google it- there are tons of different variations.

February 22nd, 2010, 08:58 PM
Thanks for the input! I have heard about the satin balls, and I was thinking of giving them a shot.

Thanks again!

February 23rd, 2010, 11:27 AM
Hey, you are very welcome.
They have worked wonders for a couple of users who had GSDs- notorious problems with keeping weight on.

February 23rd, 2010, 01:33 PM
My 55 lb GSD eats more than twice the weight of food that our 50 lb terrier x eats...and this is a minimum, and only counting daily rations (not scraps or treats, which she also gets) or else she is a total bonerack.

February 23rd, 2010, 03:04 PM
I had the same situation with my GSD. I ran extensive fecal and he had giardia, coccidia and hook worm. Also checked for heartworm which was positive.

4 months later (I think) he went from 40 something lbs to 72 lbs. Free of coccidia, giardia and hook worm. Test remaining for the heart worm since he was under treatment. To be advised.

I have my boy on Solid Gold Bark at the Moon. This is fish based. 1.5 cups of dry in the morning and 2 cups at night with 1/2 can of Merrick and 1 tablespoon of yogurt. For dessert - one frozen large sardine.

February 28th, 2010, 10:00 AM
Thank you Benmax, I was just thinking of running a detailed fecal on her to check for hidden bacteria or parasites. Did your dog have any other symptoms other than being skinny when he had that parasite load? Nelly has the occasional spell of diarrhea( every few weeks) as well as she has vomited a couple of times in the last few months. I am wondering if that has anything to do with it.

Thanks for the input!

March 13th, 2010, 08:21 PM
So I got the results back from Nelly's fecal and its totally negative. I'm kinda at a loss now for what to do. I mean its good that she doesn't have nasty internal parasites but at the same time at least then I would have known what was wrong with her....

Anyone have any pointers?

March 13th, 2010, 08:57 PM
No weight gain with the satin balls and a jump-up in food rations?

I trust her blood panels have all come back normal as well yes?

March 13th, 2010, 08:59 PM
TulipRoxy - when Frenchy got her Nelly (also a Dane) I remember her trying to put weight on her and using Satin Balls with great success :thumbs up
But basically, any way you increase calories will put on weight if there is nothing medically wrong. If she will eat more of what you are already feeding, could you not just feed more? :shrug:

March 13th, 2010, 09:28 PM
She doesn't really look too skinny to me in that pic :confused:

Some dogs just run skinny. Our collie has always been skinny and he eats a ton, but he paces a lot out in the yard, so I think he burns a lot off. He was on raw at one time and still was pretty skinny. He has hip dysplasia though so I don't encourage my mother in law to try and get him to gain weight (and honestly he eats so much now I don't see the point in giving him more). He's overall really healthy.

I wouldn't really worry too much about it if he's healthy otherwise. I wouldn't recommend very high fat foods because it can lead to pancreatitis which is worse than being underweight.

Try to up the calories in general by feeding more per meal. Feed several meals a day, instead of just feeding a couple of meals a day. I have noticed with our collie that he can't even eat enough in two sittings to keep very much weight on. He just free feeds at this point because he never gains too much weight and we don't have to worry about him overconsuming because he seems to cut himself off before eating too much, which could lead to bloat.
You don't want to give her more food twice a day because if she eats too much it can lead to bloat (yes, even on raw), so you should split the extra calories into extra meals. You can try giving her more treats throughout the day too (like I said, just don't necessarily turn to extremely high fat stuff because it's not healthy). You can add calories through adding a little more fat but mostly more protein. Eggs are a pretty good source of calories. Higher fat meats like bacon ADDED to her meals (I wouldn't feed it alone because it would be too much fat at once).

I honestly think 2 lbs is not enough probably. When I was feeding Royce raw he weighed around 55 lbs at the time, was on the skinny side and I was feeding 3-4 lbs. 1.5-2 lbs twice a day, and that was just in meat, not incuding the bones. Some dogs because of their metabolism and exercise amount need more food. 2 lbs a day is on the low side.

March 13th, 2010, 09:43 PM
And btw, remember that with raw you don't have to feed exact amounts every single day.

If she's on the skinny side you can let her eat until she's full, especially if she's not the type of dog that tends to just eat and eat until she's about to explode. If she starts to gain too much weight (which is not likely in her case) you can cut down on calories at her next meals.

Most dogs don't seem to overeat on raw, so if you cut them off before they're full they may not have eaten enough. There is no exact amount you should be feeding with raw (or with any food really) so you have to go by the dog's body condition.
If the dog is too skinny then they are probably not getting enough food.

March 13th, 2010, 09:47 PM
Hey I just noticed your dog is only a year old too.

They may fill out. Our parent's dog is part whippet (we think) and he was SKINNY until about 3 years old. You could always feel his spine and he was well fed and had vet care, no parasites, etc.

The dog may not even be done growing. That's another reason you probably need to feed more.

Large breeds (i.e. lab and great danes) will grow for several years.

March 14th, 2010, 08:54 AM
Thanks everyone for the feedback. I will try adding a 3rd meal in the evening to see if that helps. I just have one of those feelings that something isnt right with her ( maybe I'm just a hypochondriac)! You can't really see it in the picture but she is can see backbone, ribs, and hipbones. I just want her to be healthy and normal, and to stop having to explain to people why she's so skinny!

March 15th, 2010, 04:31 PM
There's nothing wrong with looking for medical issues if you feel there is an issue, but she doesn't look skinny to the point of emaciated.

I think mainly you're probably just not feeding enough. Like I said, I was giving my collie 3-4 lbs a day and if you're giving 2 lbs a day that just doesn't sound like enough for that size dog.

March 15th, 2010, 04:35 PM
I would increase the food for sure. She looks pretty good but I do see the ribs, but her coat looks great and in good shape.

March 15th, 2010, 04:37 PM
TulipRoxy - when Frenchy got her Nelly (also a Dane) I remember her trying to put weight on her and using Satin Balls with great success :thumbs up

Ditto otter !

TulipRoxy , I give Nelly more than what's "prescribe" on the bag for her weight. Great danes have a fast metabolism , and if yours is high energy like my Nelly , than I would give her more kibble , split in 3 meals would be ideal. And a fourth meal would be a satin ball.

From the pics , she looks good to me , only needs to put on a few more pounds :thumbs up

March 15th, 2010, 07:55 PM
Luna was sick awhile back and she lost quite a bit of weight, but I upp'd her meals to 4 times a day instead of her regular 3 times (she's a pup). She was up to her weight in 1.5 weeks.

I don't feed raw though, we feed her Canidae, sometimes with potato's or rice in there, then we feed her the occasional desert of fruit salad (strawberry, banana and apple). Which always makes her poop just perfect the next day.

March 15th, 2010, 08:54 PM
Thanks for the input! I have started to feed her a 3rd meal at night after her evening walk so hopefully while she is resting her body will convert it to mass instead of using it to run around with!

March 16th, 2010, 06:38 AM
my lab/dane/rotti full grown weighed 70 pounds and looked slim, not quite as slim as your pup, I was often asked if she was one of my fosters just found *L*, she was free fed so food wasn't the issue, she just had a slim build, your pup is very handsome!! I think the increase in food will soon end your worries.

March 16th, 2010, 10:48 AM
My son's newf was skinny skinny. Even after I figured out that he was allergic to barley and found a food that didn't have any, he still would not gain weight. He stayed very thin until he hit about 3 yrs old. Now he is still lean, but not skinny - his hip bones and spine don't stick out anymore. I think sometimes it just takes time for them to fill out. :)