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I didn't want to highjack a happy rescue thread but I had to ask... I've seen two news stories this week that claimed a rescued dog gained 15-20lbs in a week or 2's time.

Is this seriously possible? Has anyone actually seen it?

I think it is great these dogs were saved and are getting healthy. I just have a hard time believing it's possible to gain 15lbs in a week or that it's good for the dog to do so.
 

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I agree, I think it's odd when people claim that a rescued dog has gained 15 or 20 pounds in one or two weeks' time, and I agree that it would be unhealthy, especially if the dog has previously been starving. (I know that it's very dangerous for a starving person to suddenly go on a normal or high-calorie diet and gain weight fast, and I assume that it would be the same in dogs.)

As far as the article about the rescue dog is concerned, if the dog is 65lbs in the photos shown, I don't think he "should be 100lbs" as the article states. I think another five pounds and the dog seen in the photos would be at a good weight.
 

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I do see how an initial weight gain could be quite high. Assuming the dog is dehydrated and very hungry, the extra weight of water and food would add to the weight of the dog in the first couple of weeks.
 

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I had an emaciated doberman gain about 5 lbs in one week after pulling her from the shelter. She was extremely dehydrated and after getting the necessary fluids in her she gained the weight.

I don't buy 15-20 lbs and if that is so, I would think that would be dangerous if it were an emaciated dog.
 

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I have a 4 month old GSD pup and her weight gains were 8# in 4 weeks and 6# in 3 weeks. The vet said she is growing quick. So it took her 7 weeks to gain 14#. I find it hard to swallow 15-20# in even two weeks. Something is not right with that gain in such a short time.
 

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15-20 is too high but I could see a faster than normal initial gain.
 

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It seems to me that a weight gain that high and fast would not be good for their health either.
I know people can gain/lose 5+ pounds of "water weight" so I guess if the dog was very dehydrated they might gain quite a bit just from water, and if they weighed the dog when they'd just eaten and drank...but 15+ still seems unlikely.
 

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It is definitely not good for them. In fact, some of these animal rescue shows make me about have a stroke when they occasionally leave food behind for an emaciated dog. I've seen episodes where they left a bowl the size you would use for a salad at a large gathering, full of food, for the dog. Or torn open a 5 lb type bag and dumped the entire thing on the ground until they came back the next day awaiting contact from the owner.

Of all people, you would think they would know better. You can kill a truely emaciated dog by feeding it too much too fast. Audrey was 29 lbs as I remember and a healthy weight for her (with a little loin tuck) is 55 lbs. 60 and she's looks a little roundish. She gained that weight over MONTHS because I had to feed her so little at a time and so many small meals a day per the vet. Even after that, he didn't want her just packing on fat, but a healthy muscled weight as time went on.
 

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It's not physically possible to eat enough to gain that much fat or muscle weight in a week. 1lb = 3,500 calories so to gain 20lb in a week the dog would have to be eating 5000 calories per day over and above their maintenance calories.

That said, most people and larger dogs walk around with about 5 of food, water, and waste in our stomach and intestines, 10lb or so of water in the muscles and tissues, and several pounds of glycogen are stored in the muscle.

So yes, if a dog were severely depleted of water and food it's possible that they could be replenishing their body's water and glycogen as well as carrying around undigested food and waste up to 15lb or so if it's a large enough dog.
 
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