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Boney, skinny, well fed, and vet checked dog! Tips for fattening her up?

Isabel is a huge lab,rot,shepherd,etc. mix. We have had her since she was about 5- 6 weeks old. She appeared too young at the time we got her (I think she was more like 5 weeks or less and shouldn't have been weaned yet.) I gave her baby formula along with puppy chow for the first month that we had her. She is now 5 years old and she has NEVER gained enough weight to where her bones aren't showing. She has been to the vet regularly for shots and worming. She gets fed twice a day: Three cups of dry (Atta Boy) mixed with canned (Skippy) Once mid-morning and once right around 5:30. She eats all of her food. She is a VERY wired dog. Always chasing shadows butterflies, falling leaves, etc. What else can I do about this? I am surprised that someone hasn't called the ASPCA on me because she looks so bad! Any fattening food ideas?


Asked by mygirlscome1st at 11:54 AM on Dec. 1, 2009 in Pets

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Answers (13)
  • Assuming that your vet has ruled out problems like Cushings disease, diabetes, kidney disease, or other medical issues that can cause weight loss through thorough blood workups, I would say change foods. I'm not familiar with what your food is on currently (I'm a pet nutrition counselor and try to stay on top, but some brands escape my radar) but most foods are made for the average neutered pet. You may need to find a food that is formulated for performance or very active dogs. These foods typically will have higher levels of protein and fat and can facilitate weight gain in those dogs that tend to burn calories quickly. You should always be able to feel your dog's ribs though, so don't go overboard on feeding amounts. Always start on the low end of the feeding recommendations and increase if needed. PM me for more detail.

    Answer by Tuzyae at 11:10 PM on Dec. 1, 2009

  • My mother's vet is always telling her that her dogs are too fat. Her vet says that she should be able to see some ribs... so maybe your dog is just healthy? My mother fattens up her dogs by feeding them table foods and after dinner scraps. I don't think it's that healthy though... My mom can fatten anything up! She even has a fat turtle!

    Answer by beckcorc at 12:01 PM on Dec. 1, 2009

  • hi just wanted to say we had to change dog foods to get our rottie to gain. try something with more meat based that really helped mine.

    Answer by abcisme at 12:02 PM on Dec. 1, 2009

  • Have you ever had a full panel of blood work run on her? There is a possibilty that there is a medical issue causing her to be skinny. Another possiblity is that because she is such an active dog she is burning the calories. I personally would get her on a better quality diet because those foods are empty calories and she may need more that what it is providing. You might try increase the amount she eats first but i would seriously think about getting her on a better diet.
    Here is a link to a site that can help you decide on a diet.

    Answer by KyliesMom5 at 12:04 PM on Dec. 1, 2009

  • ...go to petsmart ot petco and get bil-jac its made for pit bulls.. we have to feed our dog this or they get skin and so crazy how we can feed them twice a day and yet they look like they havent ate in months with regular pedigree or chow...

    Answer by swaney06 at 12:06 PM on Dec. 1, 2009

  • When I say her bones are showing I mean her ribs, her knobby hip bones and her backbone. It's ugly. I'm not satisfied with the vets explanation that its "just the way she is." If there was another vet less than 120 miles away I would get a second opinion.

    Answer by mygirlscome1st at 12:08 PM on Dec. 1, 2009

  • My moms vet recommended when she boils chicken to use the broth and cook a cup of rice and poor it over the rice. It helped out tremendously. Shes a cockerspanial and she has a hard time keeping the weight on and you can see her ribs and back bone, it looked horrible.

    Answer by angieluv at 12:18 PM on Dec. 1, 2009

  • Go to- The home page has a couple of recipes for "Satin Balls" designed specifically for canine weight gain.

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:35 PM on Dec. 1, 2009

  • The satin ball recipe a pp mentioned is a good one. I'd also switch to a better dog food, if you don't want to do all homemade. Most commercial dog food is garbage. We feed Taste of the Wild, a grain-free food, with some additional raw meat. It appears pricey, but it's so full of good stuff, no fillers, so they eat less. The best brands will be at feed stores and some pet stores - everything at grocery stores, Target, Walmart is garbage. I don't think the best brands are even at Petco or Petsmart. Look for a defined meat source as the 1st, 2nd, even 3rd ingredient. You don't want any by-products, but meal may be okay. If there are several grains listed after the meat(s), that means there's more grain than meat. Look for natural preservatives, vitamin E usually. Eythoxyquin is cancer-causing and banned in all human food, but in most pet food. Good luck!

    Answer by Tauna1208 at 1:03 PM on Dec. 1, 2009

  • Ask your vet. Science Diet makes all kinds of specialized dog food and cat food. Maybe they have something that will have a higher fat content then what you are feeding now. It's worth a try.

    Answer by crazycatlady66 at 6:15 PM on Dec. 1, 2009