Tuesday, September 17, 2013

When your Dog Needs to Gain Weight

We've just encountered a problem new to us...certainly not one I, myself, have ever dealt with. Ike is a dog who is too skinny. He's a smaller-size golden retriever to begin with-- when we adopted Ike he was 57lbs.


But recently, we'd been thinking Ike looked like he'd lost weight...he looked too skinny. We could feel his ribs and spine easily. So we took him to the vet's today.  And that's when we discovered that he's lost 4 lbs since we got him a month and a half ago.





















So we need to work to help him gain weight. He presently gets 4 cups of good quality food--up from the 2 cups/day we started out giving him. We are going to look into different food that may have more calories.

After blood tests, fecal tests, etc there were no parasites found or other factors known that might contribute to the weight loss, except for mild anemia.
One other thing, he has a slow heart rate, but we don't know enough about that yet and he'll be getting more testing.
Lots of hugs for Ike!




















Have you had to help a dog gain weight? What worked for you?
Has your dog every been diagnosed with a slow heart rate?
How do you handle the stress/worry when your dog has health issues?



Want more positive pet tips, good news, and special offers? Fetch my free newsletter, Pawsitively Pets. Kelly and Ike hope to see you there!
 

16 comments:

  1. Needs to gain weight huh? That should be pretty easy - I'll have jack send him some tips. The heart issue is stressful - I know the few times it's happened to us (potential bad news from the vet) you worry a lot. I found getting lots of information and becoming knowledgeable about the issue and our options helped me feel more in control. A 2nd opinion from an expert or specialist is always a good idea. You have to be your dog's advocate.

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  2. I have fattened up a couple of greyhounds - puppy kibble with extras like a bit of cream cheese or peanut butter.... there is a side effect though, feeding more calories means more energy, but some of it stays on em :)

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  3. Ike is a great dog. He can eat more and gain some weight. Is the heart rate really low. Maybe because he is a laid back dog his rate is normally slow.

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  4. Have the same issue. Increasing food is not always the best thing especially if Ike has a slow heart rate. Will be sharing our view on this topic soon on a blog post. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

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  5. Due to my liver cancer and a little weight loss, mom gives me a little cooked ground beef mixed with my Natural Balance Duck and Potatoe or a scrambled egg mixed in. My weight is now back to normal. If I drop a bit, she does the same thing again
    Benny & Lily

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  6. I'd be happy to give him some of my weight for sure!! Thank you for your comfort and wisdom about the heart issue. SlimDoggys are great pals :)

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  7. Greyhounds always look so slim and fragile to me. I'm glad you've had success in putting some weight on yours, cheese and peanut butter are good suggestions.

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  8. Really? I wonder if it is one of those health issues goldens tend to get? Oh these goldens, they are so perfect but have some health issues. I look forward to your blog post.

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  9. more meals in a day?... and more home cooked food :) i used to give my Dom only 1 meal a day but since he is getting older and am a very senior dog, i break his meal up to 2 a day and snacks in between. Same portion of food but doing it 2 times a day so its easier for him to digest. Boiled chicken breasts with some carrots and potatoes.. and a brinjal... its all good. He loves them especially the chicken soup.

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  10. We've been on the needing to lose end of the scale at our house, but my friend has two dogs that needed to gain a little. She feeds raw and switched to all ground food which did help. Perhaps it's all the exercising you all are doing, Ike's just not had it before?

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  11. With all the focus on canine obesity this year yours is a unique issue but one that a healthy diet and some treats (healthy of course) should fix in no time

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  12. Maybe. I guess it is something we'll have to observe for a while to get some clues. The weird thing is that Kelly has lost weight too. She's not tooo skinny but she is down to 30 lbs from 34.

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  13. His weight loss might be as simple as stress (not necessarily bad stress) from the change of environment. I hope that all it is. I had to help Pierson gain weight. He was really skinny when I found him. I got him up from 45lbs to 50 easily just by feeding him. But when summer came and we got more active, he lost weight again. I recently had to increase his food intake again.

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  14. First off, make sure you listen to your vet's suggestions first. But some ideas... though tempting, I wouldn't try to make up the difference with treats and table scraps- no matter what Ike tells you =) The weight should come from healthy sources obviously. Increasing food may or may not be the answer (vet would know more)- same with feeding a different food- whether puppy food or another brand, etc. I would especially consult a veterinarian here as mine gave me some things to consider that I hadn't thought about with my own dog. For one, watch the amount of protein in the food (or treat, or whatever you add to the food). Too much protein can tax the kidneys in an older dog! I think puppy food has a large amount of protein, so watch out. My older girl has lost a lot of weight recently, with no medical reason found for it (other than being 11+ yo, and a very taxing summer with surgery and trips to Cornell due to cancer). But we've realized it's not so much weight she needs as muscle mass. Her front end is more normal, but her back end you touch her and easily feel every detail of her bones- no padding at all there. So my non-professional thought is that since muscle weighs more than fat, the "weight loss" is probably actually "muscle loss". Rather than continuing to increase food, I've been doing my best to find low impact exercises to help her gain muscle and therefore weight.
    As for the heart, I know even less in that aspect. At a recent Cornell visit they discovered a heart murmur in Cheyenne that hadn't been there before. More testing revealed it to be a heart disease very common in older dogs- their arteries just harden as they age and it can cause the murmur. (they're not worried at this point). I have no idea if this shows with a low heart rate as well, or if this could be related to what Ike is going through (maybe beginning stages?) They couldn't get an accurate resting heart rate for Cheyenne since she's so stressed when she's there... Please keep us updated!

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  15. Thank you for all this information and wonderful points to consider. The food issue is tricky and you are right to suggest that I make sure that whatever he gets is good quality and the right amount. I will ask the vet if it appears to be muscle or fat loss. For the heart, we could get to Cornell if the vet wanted us to. I will definitely keep you posted. Thank you.

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  16. Jan K, Wag N Woof PetsSeptember 19, 2013 at 5:08 PM

    We haven't had to deal with those issues specifically, so I can't be any help there. I don't take it well when my dogs have health issues, I am such a worrier. I have to do research. My hubby says that makes me worry more, but I have to feel like I'm doing something. Besides, I can come up with worse case scenarios in my mind without any help from the internet. :) Good luck....I'm sure you will get things figured out. Ike is such a cutie!

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Kelly and Ike say thank you for your comments!

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