Putting weight on a dog
 
 

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Putting weight on a dog

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    09-08-2011, 03:09 AM
  #1
Trained
Putting weight on a dog

Alrighty. So I have had my 4yo aussie/st bernard mix, Cash, since he was 10-months-old. When I got him, he weighed about 45lbs, but lost 5lbs within the first week because he had kennel cough. Since then I have had almost a constant battle keeping him at a good weight.

When we lived in our apartment in Tucson, it was easier to keep weight on him because the most exercise he got was our daily hour-long walk. Once we moved back to my hometown, though, he became a mainly outdoor dog (the house I was living in wouldn't let me have him inside) and he had the run of 1/3 acre. At least twice a week we went to my parents' house (they have five acres) and he got to run as much as he wanted. The daily hour-long walks continued, though.

Since we moved to my hometown, I have found it nearly impossible to keep him at a good weight in the summertime. Wintertime is different as he's not quite as active (not as many bunnies to chase) and he grows his winter coat out, so he looks "fatter" than he is.

Right now he weighs 53lbs and stands about 25" at the shoulder. He's not scary-skinny or anything, but he is much ribbier than I would like and his hip bones can be seen fairly easily. The thing is, he is free-fed Canidae lamb and brown rice dry food. I fill his bowl whenever it is empty, which usually ends up being once a day. The scoop I use is two cups (an old Brummel and Brown butter container ). According to the Canidae feeding guide, this is the right amount for his size. CANIDAEŽ All Natural Holistic Dog Food - Lamb & Rice dry formula However, I still feel like he is skinny (and my mom gives me crap about it whenever we're over there).

He is as healthy as a horse, so to speak, so I know it's not worms or anything like that. The vet who gave him his rabies shot this year was impressed with how well-built he is and how gorgeous his coat is. She didn't express concern over his weight, but it was a rabies clinic, so she obviously didn't have time for a real exam or anything.

I don't know...maybe I'm being a concerned momma over nothing. I don't have any really current pics of him, but I'll try to take a couple in the next few days and post them. Anyone have any ideas how to get some weight on him? My ideal weight for him would be about 60-65lbs, to be honest.

Here's a couple of older pics so you can get an idea of his overall build...
From when we first moved back to my hometown...only reason he was in the water was because I was...he HATES water:

His first snow...LOVED it:

Playing with one of the cows on the state land that backs up to my parents' house:

And just because it's a cute pic, Cash when I first got him and my son...Cash had nibbled my son's elbow (his way of getting your attention) and my son did NOT find it amusing!
     
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    09-08-2011, 07:02 AM
  #2
Green Broke
Drafty, he should be around that now if not more. Being Aussie mix he has energy to burn. Sounds like he loves to run. If you are feeding him two of those cups once a day or when the bowl is empty he should be gaining. But my questioning is: has he been wormed? Even if he was wormed as a puppy he may still need another worming and being outside now he may need it more than usual. Dogs can pick up so many things outside and most are picked up through the pads of their feet. Does he have fleas? Fleas cause tapeworms. And I'm assuming he is current on all his shots.

As long as nothing inside is wrong he should be heavier than 53lbs. Maybe the food you are feeding isn't meeting his needs. Maybe he needs an active dog food. I can't remember what I have my Shep mix on but it is for an active dog. She has a high metabolism and needs more to help balance her out. I have recently started adding wet food to her diet. She is very picky and sometimes won't eat for a whole day. So to make sure she eats I throw in some wet to entice her. With her, I can feel her backbone and hip points. So I'm almost in the same boat as you.

I'm going to worm her and see if this helps but all I can do is offer her food and keep trying. Let me know what you think. Also, do you feed him outside? If so, do you know he is the one eating it? Not a coon or something else? Just a thought if you don't watch him eat.
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    09-08-2011, 08:54 AM
  #3
Started
Having been around dog and shown them my whole life, I always prefer a dog to be leaner than fatter. However you don't really want to feel the backbone or hips, but certainly the ribs.
Lamb and rice tend to be on the lean side of dog food, for some reason alot of dogs don't keep weight on with lamb and rice. Try a chicken and rice or chicken and oatmeal food.
I am feeding my 65 lb German Shepherd Natures Recipe chicken and oatmeal large breed food. She only gets 3 cups a day and is in good weight. I switched to this food because it has no corn or wheat.
I also suggest worming him, any outdoor dog, especially one cruising the farm can get tapes from mice or anything like that. If he is catching mice or getting fleas from mice or other critters, he could be carrying tapes. There are only a few wormers that get tapes, none of the over the counter worm meds get tapes, you need Drontal or Panacur. Both of these wormers also get whips and hook which can keep a dog skinny. A good trick for getting weight on a dog is giving real cream on the food once a day or making and giving Satin Balls, which you can look up on the internet and make. Full of fat with ingredients that you pick up at the store and make a batch and freeze for daily feeding.
He is a beautiful dog.
     
    09-08-2011, 09:01 AM
  #4
Green Broke
Thanks from me wyoming. I may try that dog food. The bad thing is, is I have two dogs. One being a pug. He will pork out on that food. But my Shep needs something. I hope this helps the OP. It will help me.
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    09-08-2011, 02:48 PM
  #5
Trained
Thanks for the responses.

He has been wormed and he doesn't have fleas, so I'm pretty positive it isn't that. He is now and indoor/outdoor dog since we moved (I live in a friend's converted garage...the only time he is outside is when I'm not home [because he howls when he's inside] or when he has to pee).

He is fed inside because my landlady/friend has three dogs and I don't want my (relatively) expensive dog food getting eaten by her dogs. Cash is not food aggressive at all, so he would just watch them eat it. Also, he only eats when I'm home. Before he was okay to be outside with my landlady's lab, he was inside all day and wouldn't touch his food until I got home. I tried feeding him on a schedule when I first got him and it just didn't work for him.

As for feeding a chicken-based food...he won't eat it. I tried feeding him Blue Buffalo Large Breed formula, which is chicken and rice, when I first got him and he absolutely refused to eat it. He will eat any lamb and rice food without hesitation, though. When I tried feeding him the chicken and rice food, he would literally leave it for two days and when he did eat it, he gave me this look like "This is disgusting, but I'm going to eat it anyway."

When he's at my parents' house, he catches rabbits, but not mice. He also doesn't catch rabbits that often (maybe one every couple of weeks) and he doesn't eat them. He will catch it, kill it, and then leave it next to my truck (or next to where my truck is usually parked, if I'm gone) until I find it and throw it over the fence for the coyotes.

I will look into feeding him Blue Buffalo again, as that's what he had when we were down in Tucson and he seemed to keep a decent weight then.
     
    09-08-2011, 06:19 PM
  #6
Weanling
Honestly I think your dog would be obese at 60-65lbs. Hard to say without putting my hands on him myself. But you definitely want to still be able to feel ribs, just not see them. I think he looks pretty good, but I'll look for the other pictures!
     
    09-08-2011, 08:40 PM
  #7
Green Broke
Have you thought of Taste Of The Wild (Pacific is one good one)? A no grain diet is great for dogs. No dog food is for every dog! I feed RAW, my dog LOVES it!!!
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    09-08-2011, 09:11 PM
  #8
Weanling
He honestly doesn't look bad from the photos, of course it's hard to tell with all the fluff though. I also prefer my dogs to be leaner and it's healthier for them that way. Everyone is used to seeing fat dogs so when someone has a dog that is the correct weight, most people think it's too skinny.

However, If you are set on having him gain a few more lbs, then I would suggest switching him to Evo (it's high calorie and it has put weight on many skinny dogs that have come through here) and to stop free feeding.

While it may seem like it's better to leave food out all the time, it usually has the opposite effect. The dog eats less because the food is always there, he takes it for granted. If you give him one or two meals per day, he will learn to eat them right away and not leave any. Meaning he will eat more than usual.

It sounds like he's a bit of a picky eater as well and that could be part of the problem. I have a poodle here now that's quite skinny and the owners were free feeding. He would graze through out the day.

I have only been feeding him once per day and he's now cleaning the dish. First day he wanted nothing to do with it, so I took the food away after five minutes and he didn't get another chance til the next day. He was hungry by then and I have not had a problem since.

Switching to a higher calorie food and curing the picky-ness will likely solve the weight issue.
     
    09-08-2011, 09:52 PM
  #9
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by coffeeaddict    
He honestly doesn't look bad from the photos, of course it's hard to tell with all the fluff though. I also prefer my dogs to be leaner and it's healthier for them that way. Everyone is used to seeing fat dogs so when someone has a dog that is the correct weight, most people think it's too skinny.

However, If you are set on having him gain a few more lbs, then I would suggest switching him to Evo (it's high calorie and it has put weight on many skinny dogs that have come through here) and to stop free feeding.

While it may seem like it's better to leave food out all the time, it usually has the opposite effect. The dog eats less because the food is always there, he takes it for granted. If you give him one or two meals per day, he will learn to eat them right away and not leave any. Meaning he will eat more than usual.

It sounds like he's a bit of a picky eater as well and that could be part of the problem. I have a poodle here now that's quite skinny and the owners were free feeding. He would graze through out the day.

I have only been feeding him once per day and he's now cleaning the dish. First day he wanted nothing to do with it, so I took the food away after five minutes and he didn't get another chance til the next day. He was hungry by then and I have not had a problem since.

Switching to a higher calorie food and curing the picky-ness will likely solve the weight issue.
I agree with coffee, also watch his stools when switching. Make sure no runny poos, and you do a gradual 7-10 switch.
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    09-09-2011, 01:22 AM
  #10
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by atreyu917    
Honestly I think your dog would be obese at 60-65lbs. Hard to say without putting my hands on him myself. But you definitely want to still be able to feel ribs, just not see them. I think he looks pretty good, but I'll look for the other pictures!
Those are all pics from when we first moved to my hometown and he was still pretty filled out from being a lazy apartment dog. Also, that snow pic isn't a good representation because he's got his winter coat in, so he's uber-fluffy.

I don't know. People think he weighs more than he does when they look at him. I've had people look at him and guess he's around 65lbs and then they're appalled that he's only 53lbs. Not sure if it's the hair that makes him look heavier than he is or what.

Quote:
Originally Posted by coffeeaddict    
He honestly doesn't look bad from the photos, of course it's hard to tell with all the fluff though. I also prefer my dogs to be leaner and it's healthier for them that way. Everyone is used to seeing fat dogs so when someone has a dog that is the correct weight, most people think it's too skinny.

However, If you are set on having him gain a few more lbs, then I would suggest switching him to Evo (it's high calorie and it has put weight on many skinny dogs that have come through here) and to stop free feeding.

While it may seem like it's better to leave food out all the time, it usually has the opposite effect. The dog eats less because the food is always there, he takes it for granted. If you give him one or two meals per day, he will learn to eat them right away and not leave any. Meaning he will eat more than usual.

It sounds like he's a bit of a picky eater as well and that could be part of the problem. I have a poodle here now that's quite skinny and the owners were free feeding. He would graze through out the day.

I have only been feeding him once per day and he's now cleaning the dish. First day he wanted nothing to do with it, so I took the food away after five minutes and he didn't get another chance til the next day. He was hungry by then and I have not had a problem since.

Switching to a higher calorie food and curing the picky-ness will likely solve the weight issue.
Here's the thing about free-feeding him...I'm not usually home at all during the day, which means he's outside. So, he doesn't graze. Yes, the food is there, but he doesn't really touch it until I get home in the evenings (around 9:30pm). I have tried putting him on an actual schedule for feeding, but he's so lazy about eating (not like a lot of dogs that bolt their food like they haven't eaten in days) that even if I leave it down for an hour, he won't touch it.

He's also not as picky as I probably made him sound. He'll eat just about anything except salad and chicken-flavored dog food. He'll eat real chicken, just not anything that tastes like chicken (he won't even eat chicken-flavored dog treats). He also has a "cast iron stomach." I have switched his food suddenly before with no loose stools and no vomiting. Heck, once he ate a whole medium bag of M&Ms (long story...my son left them out while I was taking a shower and the dog got to them) and it didn't even phase him.

I just don't know. I'll try to get some good pics of him (hard because he is a total ham when he sees a camera...the shot of him in the snow was taken from inside the house and the one of him playing with the cow, he didn't know I was there) and maybe you'll see what I'm seeing. When he lays down, especially, his hips stick out more than I think they should. I owned a dalmatian for eight years and a pitbull/great dane mix for two years, so I know about lean dogs. I also worked for a vet for two and a half years, so I am fairly well-versed in how to tell if a dog is skinny or obese. I am proud to say that I have never owned an obese dog, nor have I ever owned a dog that scary skinny.
     
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