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Ideas to get some weight on young dog, please!

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  • Ideas to get some weight on young dog, please!

    Dusty is an 17-month old GSD/ACD who needs more weight. Okay, vet says he's okay, but she also doesn't want him to lose anything. For perspective, he's the same size as my old dog in height with similar bone structure, but the old man has never been less than 50lbs in his adult life (healthy weight...only one vet freaked, but I fired her that same visit because she hurt my cat the same visit, resulting in nearly $500 of treatment elsewhere). Dusty is not quite 43lbs. I would rather not be able to feel his pelvic bone and spine so well, nor have his profile be so...narrow in the waist! He has a LOT of hair, so ribs are covered, but they'd probably be visible if he had less covering.

    Here's the kicker: he is stupidly picky. He absolutely refuses to even mouth raw foods (after he tried and spit out multiple varieties). He won't eat eggs, rice, yogurt, cheese, peanut butter. He won't touch treats or biscuits...except for the pumpkin bars from Blue Buffalo. If it isn't Fromm large breed gold (dry food), he won't touch it (admittedly, I haven't tried any of their grain-free recipes, but he even turns his nose up at the senior gold blend). I have found one, only one wet food from Taste of the Wild that he'll eat, so I've started mixing it with his dry food. He'll only eat about a cup each day...no matter how much I put in front of him. Oh, and the Nutri-Cal type calorie boosters just get picked up and moved. If its mixed in, he won't eat. He does like pumpkin, though!

    We adopted him when he was 9 weeks old and he was like this then. I have never seen such pickiness! He makes picky children look good!

    Anyone have any ideas? I'm willing to try it all...it's just up to him to actually LIKE it!
    "IT'S NOT THE MOUNTAIN WE CONQUER, BUT OURSELVES." SIR EDMUND HILLARYMember of the "Someone Special To Me Serves In The Military" Clique

  • #2
    Squirt the Nutri-cal on your finger, then hold his muzzle and scrape it off on the roof of his mouth and top teeth?

    You can add a little canola or safflower oil to his food, start just a 1/2 tsp at a time til he's used to it. If he's allergic to even that, how about beef or pork fat, rendered down and poured on his dinner? I also give mine raw marrow bones. The marrow is very fatty, and the bones are good safe entertainment.


    • Original Poster

      I actually did try that with the Nutri-Cal. He managed to get rid of it, even to the point of gag-gag-gag-puke. That resulted in me feeling like a crapball.

      I'll give the oil a try. And marrow bones! I won't do pork, but I will see if he'll take the beef fat. He mouthed the little bit brisket fat I let the animals have after the last one I cooked, but didn't ever actually eat it.

      Thank you!
      "IT'S NOT THE MOUNTAIN WE CONQUER, BUT OURSELVES." SIR EDMUND HILLARYMember of the "Someone Special To Me Serves In The Military" Clique


      • #4
        It is sometimes hard to get weight on young males, even when they are not picky. Try buying some macaroni and cheese dinner (in a box - Kraft or generic) and mix that in his kibble. Or try some lower quality food, Pedigree canned, Purina ONE. Most dogs will grow out of the picky stage; they will not starve themselves to death.
        We do not have an overpopulation of dogs, we have an under population of responsible dog owners!!!


        • #5
          FWIW, this is what the rescue I got my puppy from had her on to put weight on her: http://www.midamericapetfood.com/vic...ood/ultra.html


          • #6
            are you sure he needs to gain weight? it's very healthy for dogs to be on the skinny side, particularly when young. Many owners have never even seen a dog that wasn't overweight so they think a dog at a healthy weight is "underweight".

            The Fromm you're feeding is really on the low side for calories per cup. If he'll only eat one cup of food at a sitting, if I were you I'd try a number of dog foods with higher kcal content and see if he'll eat any of them. I wouldn't go grain-free for a skinny dog- it's the carbs that put weight on a dog. Try one of the 30/20 performance dog foods- Dr. Tim's Pursuit (450 kcal/cup) would be perfect if he'll eat it. Or try Native #4, Anamet Ultra, or even Diamond Naturals Extreme Athlete.

            Other options are Natural Balance dog food rolls- the ingredients aren't the best, but most dogs scarf them up; and these: http://www.thedogathlete.com/product...-pemmikan-bars


            • #7
              I have a picky female Ridgeback whom I fretted over like crazy when she was growing. She was always gawky and ribby, but had plenty of energy. She has never been a dog to chow down, EVER, and really I just had to realize that she is not a Lab or Golden Retriever, both breeds I was familiar with. She is never going to be chunky - she is lean even now at 3 years old. She basically gets free choice food all day long and as many cans of wet food as she will eat. She normally eats 2 cups of dry food and 1 can of wet food per 24 hr period. I feed this food from Fromm: http://frommfamily.com/products/four...f-frittata-veg, and rotate canned food to keep her interested.

              She is so funny - she only likes certain types of dog treats, usually meat-based, not cookies. I stopped buying her cheap treats and now only buy the grain-free meat-based treats that are made in the USA, no junk from China. She will even turn her nose up at human food. She loves steak. Maybe to start, give him the fatty bits off your steak whenever you make that for dinner, and pour any juices from cooking over his dry food? That worked with Cairo to get her to start eating.

              Custom Painted Saddle Pads and Ornaments


              • Original Poster

                Thanks, all!

                I will see if I can order a small bag of the Fromm you suggested, Starhouse. The treats aren't an issue since he will absolutely not eat anything but the Pumpkin (and cranberry...IIRC) bars from Blue Buffalo. I also refuse to give anything from China. I'll gladly try the trimmings from our next steak!

                He won't touch the raw foods of any kind...even Natural Balance. That's actually the one he won't even put near his mouth. I've tried other dry foods, and every wet food at our feed store. He only likes the salmon blend from Taste of the Wild. As snooty as it makes me sound, I won't give the low quality supermarket foods (after having an animal who had serious health issues from it, no more!). If he were in dire straights, that would be different.

                OveroHunter, I will also see if I can get a bit of the food you posted, too!

                He definitely isn't unhealthy, but 3-4lbs more would be good. He is bony. Not "OMG, emaciated and in danger dog!" bony, but enough that if he were short-haired people would notice and ask. Too bad the cat can't just give about 2lbs of her weight! About 1 cup PER DAY is all he'll eat (some days a fee bites more, often it's a little less than a cup). Not per sitting, but per day.

                Maybe he WILL grow out of being so blooming picky...I hope! I've never dealt with this in my animals (or child), so it's new territory! I'm usually the one who measures and works to keep them from eating too much!
                "IT'S NOT THE MOUNTAIN WE CONQUER, BUT OURSELVES." SIR EDMUND HILLARYMember of the "Someone Special To Me Serves In The Military" Clique


                • #9
                  Sounds good. My dog runs about 5 miles a day so I still worry a bit about her weight, but like yours, at worst, she's just a bit bony. She does have very short hair, unfortunately, and when she was younger we did get some questions. All people had to do was come over to our house and see her bowl full to the top of food! We tried about ten different dry foods before we found this one. Grain free really seems to help. She is not ever interested in any bread, human cookies, etc. The dog cookies at Petco that look like sandwich creams? REFUSES to eat them. I almost wonder if she has an aversion to wheat products, though I've never seen any outward signs of allergies. She probably doesn't feel well when she eats that stuff. I stopped trying to give it to her long ago. I did try pumpkin with her a while back and she turned her nose up at it, also. When she eats, she will take a few bites, lose interest, go outside and play for a while, and then eat some more. I figure that's healthier than her gorging herself, especially since bloat is a prevalent issue for her breed.

                  Custom Painted Saddle Pads and Ornaments


                  • Original Poster

                    He is also my running partner, up to six miles, BUT he hasn't gone with me for a few months because I've been concerned about his weight (he had the go-ahead from my vet, also a runner, and was conditioned up to it...usually I keep him to 3-4 miles).

                    And another who could be prone to bloat (BIG barrel, GSD...ugh), so I love that he takes his time when he eats.

                    That is a good, interesting thought about the wheat sensitivity/allergy. I have a gluten allergy, and it sucks when it sneaks in. I was so malnourished before diagnosis that my hair was falling out (handfuls, like a chemo patent!) and my nails stopped growing. My whole body was painful and miserable! I wonder if the dogs (and some cats) who STRONGLY prefer grain-free diets do so because the grains actually do bother them and make digestion painful?

                    For now I will start by ordering the two foods linked, and trying some of the other suggestions. Most important is that the doofus stays happy and healthy.
                    "IT'S NOT THE MOUNTAIN WE CONQUER, BUT OURSELVES." SIR EDMUND HILLARYMember of the "Someone Special To Me Serves In The Military" Clique


                    • #11
                      Carbs will put weight on. Add white rice or cooked pasts with some chicken stock.
                      Also check out the calories per 8 oz.cup for different brands where you will get more bang per cup. If I remember correctly, working or sport formulas are considerably higher in calories.


                      • #12
                        One other suggestion is to have him work for a handful of his food, for whatever reason, many picky eaters will eat better if they do a few sits for a portion of their food.


                        • #13
                          Have you tried Satin Balls? Or Green Tripe?


                          • #14
                            This article by Sue Ailsby wight be helpful:

                            TEACHING YOUR DOG TO EAT

                            There are many unpleasant consequences to having a "fussy" eater - you basically have no control over when the dog eats (I'm not hungry right now), what he eats (I don't like this!), how much he eats (three kernels was plenty, thanks), or when he ate last (an important question when you're prepping for emergency surgery). You have no control over how much he weighs - and HE is busy playing mind games with you over control of the food. We've done a lot of experimenting with changing a dog's performance and behaviour with how much and when we feed as well - for instance, dogs with a shy tendency, and dogs who tend to put too much pressure on themselves in competition are fed as close to ringtime as possible to change their body chemistry and calm them down. Dogs who tend to be a bit lethargic are fed three hours before ringtime to give them energy to perform. You can't do this with a "fussy" eater. Many people habitually starve their "fussy" eaters every show weekend, hoping they'll perform better because they're hungry. Try telling THAT to a football player! In order to perform, an athlete must be properly fed and properly rested - to achieve that, the dog must understand the rules of his universe. When he understands the rules, he can relax in a coherent universe. So here's the training "method" to teach your dog to eat "on cue":

                            Decide how much food the dog should be getting in a day (let's say one cup, as an example). Divide that amount into two meals. Develop a ritual - say "Are you hungry? Where's your dish? Where's the food? Alright! Get in the kennel (or on your mat, or whatever)!" Put down the half cup of food and COUNT TO FIVE.

                            If, as you get to five, the dog is eating, fine.

                            If, at any time after you've counted to five and the dog is eating, he turns away from the dish before he gets to the bottom and polishes the bowl, say NOTHING, pick up the dish, and put the food away.

                            If you get to five and the dog isn't eating, say NOTHING, pick up the dish, and put it away.

                            Give him nothing until his next scheduled meal, 12 hours later (for adult dogs).
                            If the dog either doesn't approach the dish, or turns away from the food before it's all gone, and you got to take the dish away, measure what's left. At the next scheduled meal, give him HALF WHAT HE ATE at the previous meal. If he ate 6 kernels of food and wandered off, he'll have 3 kernels of food in his dish at the next meal. If he eats two of those three kernels and wanders off, give him 1 kernel at the next meal.

                            When he eats ALL the food in his dish, polishes the bowl and wishes there was more, you can give him slightly more at his next scheduled meal (don't give him more at THIS meal), and more at the next one, etc, until he's back to getting - and eating - the appropriate amount of food.

                            If at any time he doesn't eat all the food you give him before turning away, take the dish away and give him half what he ate for his next meal.

                            Of course you CARE what he eats, and whether he's healthy or not, but it's very important that you don't take responsibility for whether he chooses to eat or not.

                            People who worry that the dog will starve to death don't get healthy dogs. They get dogs who hold out for days without eating, who "demand" to have their food changed every few days. Remember, you're NOT withholding food from the dog. You're offering him food twice a day. You're giving him the same window of opportunity you give him in any training situation. If the dog is healthy and just "fussy", all he has to do is choose to eat. HIS choice.

                            Sue Eh?


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Kenike View Post
                              Here's the kicker: he is stupidly picky. He absolutely refuses to even mouth raw foods (after he tried and spit out multiple varieties). He won't eat eggs, rice, yogurt, cheese, peanut butter. He won't touch treats or biscuits...except for the pumpkin bars from Blue Buffalo. If it isn't Fromm large breed gold (dry food), he won't touch it (admittedly, I haven't tried any of their grain-free recipes, but he even turns his nose up at the senior gold blend). I have found one, only one wet food from Taste of the Wild that he'll eat, so I've started mixing it with his dry food. He'll only eat about a cup each day...no matter how much I put in front of him.
                              Wow, my rat terrier mix is half that size, and eating the same amount of kibble per day. She's on the Fromm grain-free and loves it (though she's also a canine vacuum cleaner, and will eat pretty much anything from steak to a cardboard coaster )--maybe get a small bag of the grain-free Game Bird to try, since it's got duck/chicken protein base like the Gold, but is slightly higher in calories per cup? Though I don't actually see anything wrong with mixing a bit of canned in with the dry food either, if he's happy eating that.

                              Have you tried adding some warm water or salt-free chicken/beef stock to the dry kibble?
                              A Year In the Saddle


                              • #16
                                Meh. OP I am in the same boat. I've tried well over two dozen kibble, raw, canned, and home cooked combinations. I usually get 3-14 days out of a combination before he quits cold turkey. I don't really have any advice but just wanted to let you know that you are not alone. I am still struggling to put on and maintain the last 2 pounds on my 16 lb boy who is 18 months. It seems like a simple amount but when stressed or asked to eat the "wrong" food combination he will go 72 hours without eating and drop weight like crazy.

                                Feel free to look through some of my past threads on this issue. I received some helpful advice about diets, ulcers, etc. Ultimately it didn't help me much but it might contain something that is helpful for another skinny dog owner. I am praying that age and settling hormones will eventually solve our weight dilemma.


                                • #17
                                  I'm a fan of the Royal Canin foods.

                                  My intact male has to be on their HE (diet for dogs who don't digest well) because he just won't eat enough volume of the adult or puppy food to be a good weight. He won't starve himself, but it seems like he literally cannot eat enough to hold weight. He's actually not picky, but seems to just burn calories insanely fast.

                                  The spayed females just eat their adult formula and tend toward the plump side.


                                  • #18
                                    Have you tried salmon oil?