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How to make a dog gain weight?


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What can you add to a dog's food that is easy on the stomach and calorie dense (small in bulk but has lots of calories)? Also, it must be cheap.

When I volunteer at my animal shelter, I always see a few skinny dogs. People never want to adopt them. I have asked the staff there if they do anything to help the skinny dogs gain weight. They say that they try giving them more food, but they usually can't even stomach it.

I know there are dry foods that are higher in calories, but they are pretty expensive. Can you add something high in fat, like oil or peanut butter? Or will that be hard on their stomach?

I hope you all have ideas, because I would buy it and bring it in myself. I hate seeing this. :/

55 Replies (last)

Um, I strongly disagree with you myvalentinesquest, about salmonella poisoning and raw bones. Dogs stomach PH is much higher than a humans and can therefore destroy bacteria better than ours (that's why we get sick).

Both my dogs have had raw eggs, raw bones, raw chicken meat, raw beef, porkchops... everything and have never gotten sick. If you look at the food on the side of the "premium foods formulated for dogs" you will notice there are foods on their that humans eat too (eggs, meat, sweet potatoes, brown rice...).

You may be a vet tech but it doesn't mean you know everything (you're human like everyone else). There is a lot of research out there that other licensed vets and vet techs have written that disprove what you just said... I suggest you do some research yourself.

I hope I didn't come off as offensive or rude or anything... cause I didn't mean to. Yell

I do cook the egg yolks before I give them to Wally, just as a precaution.  I'm not convinced it's really necessary for either dogs or people.  Testing finds salmonella in one of every 20,000 eggs in the US.  I'm pretty comfortable with those odds, myself.

As for the raw bones, that just ... idiotic.  Sorry, but it is.  A dog is far more likely to die from choking or a blockage resulting from eating something like a bottle cap or a plastic bag than a raw bone.  Raw bones are good for their teeth and jaws, they're highly digestible, and they keep the dog mentally stimulated. 

Ultimately, it's all a question of risk assessment.  Personally, I err on the side of exposing my dog to some manageable risks so that he can have an interesting life.  I can hardly imagine a life more boring than one spent always on-leash, eating nothing but kibble.  But, to each their own.

Original Post by myvalentinesquest:

    if they are underweight, it DOES need to be addressed. clinical and medical problems need to be ruled out, and if the dog is foud to be healthy, a dietary plan can be ade up at that point. im glad you are trying to help them, believe me, i am only trying to steer you in the direction BEST for the animal. PLEASE do NOT take any of the so called "advice" you have found here about cheap things to feed dogs. a cheap diet only leads to expensive medical problems in the future.

I understand your concern. I would never feed the animals anything without asking the volunteer coordinators first. They would know if the vets would approve or not.

I don't know if human food is good for dogs or not. I was asking how to quickly and cheaply put weight on a dog. The skinny dogs at the shelter rarely get adopted or even a second look, so they will most likely end up being euthanized.

All animals that are taken into the shelter are checked over by a vet before being put up for adoption. The employees and volunteers are also good at reporting bloody or odd looking poop as well as vomit.

Original Post by lysistrata:

I do cook the egg yolks before I give them to Wally, just as a precaution.  I'm not convinced it's really necessary for either dogs or people.  Testing finds salmonella in one of every 20,000 eggs in the US.  I'm pretty comfortable with those odds, myself.

I also cook eggs and egg yolks for my dog mostly because it grosses me out to watch them eat it raw. lol But I agree, better to be safe than have a sick doggie. My last beagle ate raw chicken legs and feet and never had any issues with salmonella so... I don't know.

Hmm, funny that our highly qualified vet who obtained Honours at the University of Sydney recommended rice, potatoes, chicken skins, raw chicken necks and chicken wings, raw lamb shanks etc for weight gain.

Seriously dude. Aside from the rice and potatoes (unless they opportunistically stumbled upon them), think about what they'd be eating if they were hunting in the wild. Dogs are generally pretty damned hardy and will eat almost anything without prejudice. God, when we go horse riding the dogs on the agistment property chase the horses around so they can eat their manure! And they're well fed, so they certainly don't need to be doing that... I think sometimes we can be a little too precious about these things (thank God that dogs aren't - we could stand to learn a lot from them).

Original Post by ninafish:

Hmm, funny that our highly qualified vet who obtained Honours at the University of Sydney recommended rice, potatoes, chicken skins, raw chicken necks and chicken wings, raw lamb shanks etc for weight gain.

Seriously dude. Aside from the rice and potatoes (unless they opportunistically stumbled upon it), think about what they'd be eating if they were hunting in the wild. Dogs are generally pretty damned hardy and will eat almost anything without prejudice. God, when we go horse riding the dogs on the agistment property chase the horses around so they can eat their manure! And they're well fed, so they certainly don't need to be doing that... I think sometimes we can be a little too precious about these things (thank God that dogs aren't - we could stand to learn a lot from them).

Yeah, I can confirm this one too.  :-/

Peanut butter is good.  I also recommend cottage cheese -full fat kind.  I saved my best friend's dog with it.  Her white shepherd pup had severe diarrhea and lost lots of weight.  She recovered quickly and lived to be 16 years old.

Hey Mutt! I volunteer at a shelter as well, and a few of our dogs are on the skinny side currently. A lot of it can have to do with the stress they are under in the shelter environment. Does a number on them. I think it's fair for you to express your concerns to the person in charge of vet care at the shelter, but you'll mostly like find they they are aware of the issues and are attempting to fix them. I can't really imagine them asking you to bring in food to fatten up the dogs. Also, suddenly adding high fat foods to a dogs diet can also do a number on their digestive tract.

Myvalentinesquest, I've fed my dog raw beef marrow bones his entire life, and he's healthy as a horse. Eggs too. And you say "rice and potatoes" aren't good carb sources for dogs? a huge amount of dog foods that are "formulated for dogs" contain one or both of those things. I'd be interested to know what type of high quality food you recommend.

 

I have been involved in the training of German Shorthaired Pointers for quite a while now and one of the most difficult issues for owners is how to keep weight on these extremely active dogs.  First, assuming that the dogs are in good health other wise, I would suggest Satin Balls (don't laugh at the name -- that's what they are called).  Recipe below:

5 pounds ground meat
5 cups Total whole grain cereal
5 cups oats (slow cooking type)
2½ cups raw wheat germ
¾ cup oil
¾ cup molasses
6 egg yolks
5 packets gelatin
2 ½ tablespoons Solid Gold Seameal supplement

Mix up, form balls, freeze, feed as treats or food supplement.

Myvalentine, I am not sure why you singled me out in particular, but my dogs are extremely healthy.  My 8 year old just had a vet check up and was given an excellent bill of health - vet said she has never seen a dog his age with such clean, white teeth, and he's at a perfect weight.  With that said, I (obviously) do not feed my dogs road kill.  I just said that dogs can eat a lot of things - dead animals, poop, etc. that would make humans sick, but do not make dogs sick.  What do you think wild animals eat? 

Save your prayers for a more worthy cause.

So, in one semester of vet tech school (since in May you said you were starting vet tech school in the fall...), you have the authority (and audacity) to come on here and ridicule someone like fuzzy_a, who is notorious for always having wonderful advice on caring for dogs, valentine?  I'd personally take her advice over yours any day of the week.  But perhaps I'm just a sucker for literacy and educated responses.  I digress.

Fuzzy never said she feeds her dogs dead animals - she simply said that they can and stomach them in a manner that humans could not.  I've given bones to both my current and previous dog, without issue.  Not chicken bones, mind you, and we had no qualms whatsoever.  As she already pointed out, her dogs are in a high quality of health.  Pray all you want for her dogs, but they're already dandy.

As for Mutt, she said that she would be simply presenting ideas to the shelter, in order to help the skinnier dogs gain.  She wants suggestions to see if the shelter would permit for her to do this.  I'm sure if she suggested something they viewed as unhealthy, they would tell her that and she would adhere to their encouragements and discouragements.  She never said she was going to slip in and sneak food to the animals.  So hop down from your high horse, because she's not an idiot.  Just because she is not in school for vet tech does not mean she is a moron.  She was asking opinions on higher fat options, because the shelter likely can not pay for better quality foods for their dogs. 

As others have said, what do dogs eat when they're feral?  What have they eaten for years upon years before dog food?  Sure, there are certain dogs with food sensitivities - mine has one.  But if she consults someone first then they should be able to help make those decisions with her on how to help the dogs in need without compromising their health otherwise.

But since you said to ignore Internet advice, I'm going to assume that means she can ignore yours and carry on with her original plan, yes?

Original Post by myvalentinesquest:
<snip>

  dog food (especially high quality premium foods) are FORMULATED FOR DOGS!!!!

 I take it you have never volunteered at a shelter. Most shelters are strapped for cash. They accept donations of all kinds of dog food and get a lot of cheap food donated which is full of crap. But it does keep the dogs alive until they can be adopted out into better circumstances.

I'm notorious!    Embarassed

Thanks xfruitbat!!!

LOL!  In an entirely good manner, a.  And you're welcome!  :D

Original Post by lysistrata:

Original Post by ninafish:

Hmm, funny that our highly qualified vet who obtained Honours at the University of Sydney recommended rice, potatoes, chicken skins, raw chicken necks and chicken wings, raw lamb shanks etc for weight gain.

Seriously dude. Aside from the rice and potatoes (unless they opportunistically stumbled upon it), think about what they'd be eating if they were hunting in the wild. Dogs are generally pretty damned hardy and will eat almost anything without prejudice. God, when we go horse riding the dogs on the agistment property chase the horses around so they can eat their manure! And they're well fed, so they certainly don't need to be doing that... I think sometimes we can be a little too precious about these things (thank God that dogs aren't - we could stand to learn a lot from them).

Yeah, I can confirm this one too.  :-/

 I have a 95 lb labrador that sneaks into the litter box every chance she gets. She craves cat feces. In the winter she'll eat frozen dog poo, her own and the neighbor's dog if she goes out front.

We were at a dog park recently and when both of my dogs went, there was a German shepherd there that eagerly gobbled it up shortly after it hit the ground.  Ummmm.... thanks?  At least I don't have to clean it up now...  But I am kinda gagging just thinking about it...  Yurp.

secondly, consider the REASON the dogs are underweight. if they are not being fed enough, this should be pointed out to the mangerial staff and the problem corrected. if the dog has a medical condition (such as Giardia, Parvo, etc) it MUST BE TAKEN CARE OF ASAP!

myvalentinequest, um do you think that maybe they were underweight WHEN they were brought in, seriously have you ever been in a shelter? They were stray and/or abused by their owners. 

eta: my dog has eaten everything under the sun, they often visit the compost mound and don't vomit or squit. Books are great but any real experience?

 

Original Post by pvstks:

I have been involved in the training of German Shorthaired Pointers for quite a while now and one of the most difficult issues for owners is how to keep weight on these extremely active dogs.  First, assuming that the dogs are in good health other wise, I would suggest Satin Balls (don't laugh at the name -- that's what they are called).  Recipe below:

5 pounds ground meat
5 cups Total whole grain cereal
5 cups oats (slow cooking type)
2½ cups raw wheat germ
¾ cup oil
¾ cup molasses
6 egg yolks
5 packets gelatin
2 ½ tablespoons Solid Gold Seameal supplement

Mix up, form balls, freeze, feed as treats or food supplement.

I'm tagging this.  I've had some issues getting Wally to eat enough to keep the weight on (he's a vizsla).  Thanks!

Original Post by jules817:

Hey Mutt! I volunteer at a shelter as well, and a few of our dogs are on the skinny side currently. A lot of it can have to do with the stress they are under in the shelter environment. Does a number on them.

If any of the dogs are skinny, they are always brought in that way. No dog is there long enough to lose weight anyway, unfortunately. :/ My shelter is always lacking space. There is never an empty cage.

 

my dog was pretty skinny when she came out of the shelter. she'd been a stray for who-knows-how-long. even after 5 weeks in the shelter, you could still see her ribs. after i brought her home it didn't take me long to figure out she had a tapeworm (the spca treated dogs for worms, but not for all types), but even after we'd dealt with that, she remained skinny and i fed her loads.

she didn't start to chunk up until she became a city dog, and then i started limiting her to 2 cups of kibble per day. she gets a little extra when we have an especially active day. i swear, i can see her caloric demands go up and down within hours just by looking at her.

55 Replies (last)
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