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Old 01-14-2008, 10:07 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Help my skinny dog....

My older boy just turned a year. I got him about 3 months ago and I've battled with his weight. He eats, he's very active, but I can count his ribs. I tried all raw, raw and kibble, all kibble, mixing in eggs....I am running out of ideas. I know GSD pups are usually pretty lean but he's too lean. How do I get some weight on him? Or what is something that is sooo good he won't refuse it? He will only eat at night.....and doesn't eat as much as he should. Took him to the vet, perfectly healthy, "needs to put on a little weight", no worms (and on Interceptor). I'm really stumped...usually I have opposite problem and have to limit how much my dogs eat, but this boy just doesn't eat well and isn't putting on weight He is still growing. Any suggestions?
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Old 01-14-2008, 10:22 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help my skinny dog....

How much does he weigh? What kibble are you feeding? I got Kacie in April, started a quality kibble switched to RAW and then found a tapeworm on her fuzzybutt, had her wormed with a script from the vet(she was on revolution for heartworm, fleas,ticks), and she picked up ten # in the next six weeks, she was skin and large bones before that, she is long coat so it only showed if she was wet or if you ran your hands down her. AND her doggie smell went away, I don't know if it was a coinsidence or not....
One other thing that could be a factor- is he under stress/anxiety? sometimes that keeps them from gaining weight as they are always pacing, higher attention, ect...exuding more energy.
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Old 01-14-2008, 10:23 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help my skinny dog....

Can you post a picture? Can you see the ribs, or just feel them easily? Some vets don't realize how thin young GSDs normally are and may think they're underweight while they are actually pretty typical. What kind of kibble do you feed?

Nico only eats at night, too. Never has been a good eater, so I try to feed super-rich foods like EVO, Solid Gold Barking at the Moon, CA Natural Lamb&Rice puppy,etc. with can food or meat mixed in. It's really helped keep his interest to rotate every bag or two, and to mix up what I add. It's always been a struggle to get him to eat, but I think he sensed my anxiety about that and it made it worse. Once I backed off and just accepted his skinny figure, he started to eat a little better.

One thing he never refuses is raw meat or Satin Balls (raw), which did help put some weight on him.

I would ask the vet to do a blood test to rule out EPI or a thyroid condition, just in case. Also, how did they rule out worms? Sometimes they can be missed in a stool check, or simply not be present in the sample.

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Old 01-14-2008, 10:25 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help my skinny dog....

If your vet says he's healthy, I wouldn't worry. You're right, he's still growing and some pups take longer to 'fill out.'

I know, easy to say but it's better too lean than too fat.

Best cure.. competition.. another pup. Just kidding, well - sort of - LOL

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Old 01-14-2008, 10:29 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help my skinny dog....

Maybe add low fat cottage cheese? Not alot weekly as it is high in salt.
Also, plain yogurt is good for dogs. Also, a tbsp of honey is a great tonic for dogs. Twice a week see if you can get your dog to eat honey. Good for the heart also.
Maybe try another good kibble, such as Innova, Canadie, Flint River Ranch, etc.?
My one male came from Germany and would not eat at all, just drank. Had him to vets, nothing wrong, just not an eater. So, brought him home and forced down a can of chicken noodle soup, from that very day he has ate. I had really given up on him offering raw steak, hambuger, u name it I tried it.
He is yet somewhat finicky but eats his kibble with some canned Merricks meat with warm water and stirred to bring up flavor.
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Old 01-14-2008, 10:38 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help my skinny dog....

Ok I had the same problem with my said she needed more weight...She was about one and a half years at that time...She looked fine to me anyways...I put her on California Natural Lamb and Rice puppy
it did the job and put weight on her.....I still give her the same food and she holds her weight beautifully.. Hope that helps
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Old 01-14-2008, 11:21 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help my skinny dog....

My 16 month old is on the thin side too. It seems like a constant struggle, one month he is fine, the next his entire rib cage is showing.

I just switched food again to EVO and have been adding Merrick's wet food to his kibble. I think a high quality wet food added to their kibble can keep their interest and add some weight. Good luck
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Old 01-14-2008, 11:37 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help my skinny dog....

Vitamin of B complex sometimes help to increase metabolism and hunger. You could ask your vet about.
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Old 01-15-2008, 05:52 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help my skinny dog....

What's this Merricks and where can I get it? I've been around enough GSDs to know he is one of those picky eaters and he's in a growing stage. It is just driving me nuts because my other two are normal...well, my other puppy is a little chunky but he is lean looking every few days (you know that growth phase where he's my fat little puppy, then he's my lean awkward looking puppy, and so on). Haven't tried cottage cheese yet. Do they seem to like that is this going to be a challenge of how I can get him to eat it? Oh yeah, he's not wormy....that would be way to easy....he is however, picky. My other two woof down raw food like it's the best thing in the whole wide world and Meiko (the thin one) sometimes just nibbles on it. He's the biggest of the three and eats the least and is the most picky. Thanks for all the help guys. I will try more brands and see if we can get it right.
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Old 01-15-2008, 08:22 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help my skinny dog....

If he's really active and really lean, he probably just needs to eat a LOT. Make sure you do the proper bloodwork and worm checks (I think you already checked for worms), but if the vet says he's healthy, I'd stick with raw and throw him more animal parts! Mine seems to have a very high metabolism despite not being active enough to justify the amount he eats for his size, but it's what works for him. I increased his portions and about every other day or so he gets an egg. I make sure each meal has plenty of fat. If the day's rations are extremely lean, I picked up some pork skin with fat on it and cut up very small bits (about 1" x 2" and a centimeter thick, give or take), just enough to add a shot of fat to a fatless meal. I feed him in his crate and leave him plenty of time to lick, crunch, swallow, and clean up his bowl and crate. It's mostly covered with a blanket so he feels really safe and secure. Make sure you're feeding your dog in a place where he'll feel secure enough to spend time eating.

For what it's worth, even in people, we can eat our brains out and still count all our ribs. I remember plenty boys back from adolescence and early teen years who've always looked skin and bones, especially at the local pools, but they eat enough to put sumo wrestlers to shame. I eat insane amounts for my tiny size and you can count every single one of my ribs, but I have weight elsewhere in my body. Does your dog have lots of muscle? He could just be a really awkward and gangly teen. I'd keep up the vet checks, keep a close eye on his overall health and behavior, and just offer lots of goodies and things to eat. Try variety- if chicken doesn't do it for him, try beef, lamb, turkey, etc. Renji usually prefers his meats with some sort of canned fish or canned veggie on top or some olive oil for flavor/coat. If the "sauce" isn't there, he'll take a little longer to tuck in. If your dog is doing great on raw (shiny and healthy coat, low or no odor, small poops, great vigor), I really suggest sticking to that! I do agree with posting a photo. Maybe he's really not so bad.

Check this dog out: See how beefy and solid he looks? Well scroll all the way down and see the second photo from the bottom. I remember when this was posted, he was in the teenage stage at the time, and you can see every last detail on him. Apparently it was just another "gangly growing boy" stage because he definitely filled out!
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