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Food to help your dog GAIN weight.

We are adopting a rescue dog who is extremely thin. He is an adult Treeing Walker Coonhound. We know that he had a collar on when he was picked up, but his owners did not want him. The poor guy has been so freaked out by being at a shelter that he is just wasting away. His ribs are clearly visible in his photos. The rescue group said he is depressed and doesn't wag his tail. He has been checked by a vet and is considered otherwise healthy.

We will be meeting him for the first time and want to do everything I can to get him healthy and happy ASAP. I'm planning on cooking some ground beef so that he smells that as soon as he walks in the house. (I was thinking that is the doggy equivalent of us smelling cinnamon buns or chocolate chip cookies)

I know from reading about this breed that they like to graze. So, I was thinking to try starting him off with dog food plus rice and lean ground beef in small quantities several times a day.

I'm wondering if you have any suggestions of how to add calories without upsetting his stomach. He is coming from the South and I can only imagine that the stress has had a big impact on his digestive system.

Thank you for any suggestions and Happy New Year

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  1. Aw, how great that you're giving him a new chance. I have two rescue dogs. One has no issues gaining weight but the other was sick and needed to put on a few pounds. I incorporated a tablespoon of cottage cheese in his meals, along with mashed butternut squash, fish oil, and chopped chicken liver. These all appealed to his doggie taste buds and he gobbled up his food happily. He also got an occasional cube of cheese when we were cooking.

    1 Reply
    1. re: tcamp

      Yes! Full fat cottage cheese if he loves it---great not. And chicken liver, little treaties of that. Heck, I love those too. Cheese cubes are great for hiding pills, too.

    2. Daisy! We have a Treeing Walking Coonhound too--he's a senior citizen now and lovin' life! He too was from the South. If dogs are unwanted or "don't hunt", they're often disposed of/maltreated.

      Walker Hounds have what our vet calls a "wasp waist" naturally, so they always look lean, even when the perfect weight (vet said she wanted Ben to be around 50 pounds, but individual builds vary, so yours might naturally run 5-10 lbs lighter or heavier).

      Your new boy might also have kennel/canine cough...Walkers are particularly susceptible. Watch for that, because even if vaccinated, symptoms can present weeks later. That surpresses appetite. Also, when he first goes to the vet, get a thorough dental exam. Hounds get cavities more than other breeds, though Ben's been good!

      Food: Ben is an omnivore. Introduce little bites to your guy. Ground beef/ rice is good for upset tummies or nervous tummies, but also try some plain chicken breast, too....they love it. Keep fresh water available in a place that will be "his" spot for water. Also, get some treats. No dog I've ever met doesn't love those freeze dried liver treats.

      You'll find, as he gets comfy in his new home, that he'll get curious about what you're eating! Ben likes berries, yams, carrots, apple...all meats, too.

      CONGRATULATIONS on the new baby! Walker hounds are cuddlers and lovers by nature, so if you have blankies/binkies he can burrow in, he'll like that, esp seeing as he's skin and bones now--a soft, warm surface will feel great!!!

      THANK YOU for saving his life!

      If you want to email me off the board, shoot me a line


      1. Scrambled eggs and rice.
        Most dogs love carrots as treats, but too many carrots at once may give your dog the trots.

        2 Replies
        1. re: prima

          our vet said to be careful with carrots, as they are also extremely high in sugar, and can aggravate blood-sugar issues.

          1. re: sunshine842

            Bruin loves them but, if given too many, they may come out the back end whole and undigested.

        2. I think your planned foods are good. Please don't go too far "fattening" him up. A Walker should be lean. The ones I had were extremely high drive dogs. i.e. when he gets back healthy he may roam a long, long, way if he gets loose.

          1. Good for you! Our rescue boy joins us in wishing you all much happiness and health.

            Our boy (a black lab) was skin and bones when we adopted him -- and he'd been on double rations at the shelter for a couple of months (no, I don't really want to know what he looked like when they took him in). He'd been pitched out on the street in February (during a very harsh winter) and had a raging headcold (I had to wipe his poor drippy nose for days)...that, with the obligatory sterilisation, meant we had a really pathetic pooch for a while.

            The vet told us to stick with the double rations...along with some egg, the odd bits of raw meat, and green beans (he loves his vegetables).

            His appetite began to return as his health improved...and most importantly, as he began to realize that this home was his forever and there were people here who loved him. Some of it will just take time, as it will take him time to trust you and to learn that this is his safe, warm, dry home, and you are his loving people.

            Today, that scrawny stray is a 52-kg (115-pound) hulk of a big black dog -- not fat, just a big, big boy -- with a thick silky coat, boundless energy, and an ornery streak a mile wide. We're not sure who's happier that he came into our lives.

            12 Replies
            1. re: sunshine842

              Im sorry this is so late but what exactly did you feed your dog to gain weight ? I adopted a black and white lab and she is skin and bones it hurts me to look at her and see her ribs and spine i really want her to live a healthy life. I tried giving her royal canine dry food (that the vet reccomended) from pet smart but she does not like it she only likes wet food but her vet said wet food/can food makes her teeth rot a lot more easier i dont know what to do please help me !!!!!

              1. re: jasminebxx

                how long have you had her? ask your vet to see if the wet food for now can be considered a 'stop-gap' measure until she's got a few pounds on her. or wet augmented with cheap uncooked beef soup bones or rawhide. (if she's indoor most of the day, rawhide or even rubber chew toys will give the jaw resistance that otherwise might be inflicted on chair legs).

                there's a difference between a temporary measure and a decision made forever. there will be a weaning process when you go to dry alone if she knows you'll crumble. get her to the good weight and then ease off until it's particular occasion I use extra cold weather as an excuse to bump up his bowl these days or if I've been torturing him by grilling meat outside. if they're hungry, they'll eat, our responsibility is to provide enough (more than enough for now?) too the best of our ability and knowledge. sure a child would eat ice cream all day if given the choice, but we don't do that.

                BTW it took me about 3 months of alternating meaty broth and rice in his kibble vs. regular before the ribs visually disappeared and about 6 before they weren't immediately palpable.

                and good for getting rescue!

                1. re: jasminebxx

                  actually, the shelter was feeding Royal Canin, and that's what we continued.

                  1. re: sunshine842

                    I'm not familiar with that brand (Royal Canine), but I do resort to the advice of vets, well, uhh except for this one guy around here who only likes cows (and he's very good with them but maybe it's a sly e.e. cummings joke - never underestimate hillbillies)

                    I just read the labels and go for high protein, low grain content. I get it at the regional farmer's cooperative and it has a better makeup than many regular commercials. now (retroactively) his coat is the topic of a 1982 song by Haysi Fantayzee.

                    1. re: hill food

                      Royal Canin is a French brand -- we were living in France when we rescued him, so it was kind of inevitable :)

                      It's a good-quality food, though.

                      He ended up on Hill's Light in France, and we continued with that when we returned...turns out that they're not the same formula, and it brought out a pretty gnarly grain sensitivity (losing a good portion of his coat, itchy seepy rash, nasty mess). We've switched him now to Rachel Ray Nutrish Zero Grain, which he seems to like and doesn't seem to irritate his skin. (it gets 4/5 stars on Dog Food Advisor, and it's available at the grocery, which makes life a little easier...)

                      Both he and his adopted brother (a mixed-breed we took when his family was transferred) seem to be doing well on it so far.

                      1. re: sunshine842

                        eww, double shame of lost coat and now a Rachel Ray feed? what's next? rain booties?

                        just kidding, hey if it works and the other dogs don't make fun of them, go with it!

                        I had no idea she'd branched into pet food but it makes sense.

                        1. re: hill food

                          Whatever your opinions on RR, one way or another, she does seem to be quite the dog lover and proceeds from the pet food line benefit animal rescue charities.

                          1. re: pamf

                            I only have issues with the media personality, not the person.

                          2. re: hill food

                            Oh, he was a mess -- his butt was completely naked last summer until we figured out what was going on and got it corrected. Poor guy.

                            The Rachel Ray Zero Grain actually gets really high marks (plus the price is reasonable and it's easy to find without finding a pet store...) so at least at this point, it seems to be a good thing.

                            Her personality on 30-Minute Meals (and her $30 a day series) was like nails on a chalkboard to me...but the couple of times I've caught her talk show, she's not nearly as annoying.

                            I have to give her full props -- she's not to my taste, but she has taught a hella lotta people how to cook real food from fresh ingredients, so I can't really fault her too much.

                        2. re: hill food

                          For weight gain, it's usually high fat content you'd want to look for.

                          Royal Canin is owned by M&M Mars, along with Nutro; they took it over about 5 or 6 years ago. I am sure there were changes in the recipe, since there also were in (75 year old family owned) Nutro.

                          1. re: coll

                            High fat might be too much for an emaciated dog. Plus, he'll likely get sick (really loose poop) from the fat. When I got my super skinny dog, dog food didn't help a lot. I fed him satin balls as meals 3x a day for two weeks. I also topped everything he ate with psyllium flakes to help gel the poops.

                            1. re: MsJoanne

                              Oatmeal or yogurt are also good for stomach issues, and a little easier to source.

                              As I said, there are dry foods especially formulated for this putting weight on, and I never heard about any stomach issues. They will run 20% fat as opposed to 5 or 10% in normal foods.

                  2. Thank you, everyone! I'm putting a shopping list together for him.

                    1. Some brands of dog food sell what they call High Energy, it's formulated to keep weight on for active dogs but probably would work in your case too.

                      1. One more question....I'm going with the assumption that Henry (that's what we are naming him) has never had table food. I've never given my dogs cottage cheese. Is it easy on the stomach for dogs? Is full fat okay or is it too fatty and might cause GI upset?

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: DaisyM

                          "He is coming from the South and I can only imagine that the stress has had a big impact on his digestive system."

                          Most Southern dogs do quite well on dog food. I fear that you are going to have a mess on your hands if you stuff him with rich food too quickly.

                          1. re: kengk

                            Exactly what I want to avoid, while still making sure that he gets the nourishment he needs. He weighs 40 lb and should be about 50. I can see his ribs in the photos.

                            1. re: DaisyM

                              Full fat cottage cheese is okay as long as it's not a permanent meal substitute... when my friend's Sheltie was ill, it was recommended to her, not as a substitute for regular meals, but as a supplement. If you decide to give Henry dog food, do your homework and choose a quality one (which of course you will!). The puppy food recommendation below is really good. We leave a small bowl/saucer of dry treats (high quality kibble) in for him and he does nibble throughout the day. He'll be ship shape in no time.

                              1. re: pinehurst

                                My dogs are not nibblers - they gobble up their meals quickly. See how Henry does. As for the cottage cheese, don't give him alot - a scant tablespoon mixed in with his food is fine. I wouldn't overload him with rich foods but he can probably tolerate a little bit to start if you want to put some pounds on him.

                          2. re: DaisyM

                            keep in mind, many dogs are lactose intolerant.

                            1. I have a super skinny golden retriever we adopted about 10 months ago. She wants to eat nonstop, but has a very sensitive stomach, and has lost approximately 20 lbs. She's 10.5 years old though, so determining the cause of her weight loss has been a struggle. Recently we were advised to put her on puppy food. (4health) Apparently puppy food is very high in fat and protein and hopefully won't wreck her tummy like rice, pumpkin, and other people food has.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: sunangelmb

                                Good idea about the puppy food. I'll speak to the vet.

                                1. re: DaisyM

                                  Best of luck. Adopting doggies that need love and spoiling is the best.

                                  1. re: sunangelmb

                                    Yes! We've recently lost our beloved dog and our other dog was so grief stricken that she became ill. We're adopting this boy as her new companion. I feel like it is an arranged marriage, because she is an older alpha dog. I think this boy is going to be just what she needs to feel real joy again. We're looking forward to having more paws in the house and another boy to spoil.

                              2. This advice is based on my experience of 10 years running a greyhound adoption program at a low-end track, where we got LOTS of dogs in bad shape. We placed more than 3,000 dogs in those 10 years, including nursing a bunch back to health.

                                If the dog is not a senior, is otherwise healthy and you plan to feed a kibble-based diet, it's probably best to just feed a high calorie kibble and do 3-4 small meals a day to start. The Blue Buffalo salmon food is one of the highest calorie foods out there and I've had really good luck with it. I've also used the Kirkland salmon grain-free food from Costco with good results (it is very similar to the Blue formula).

                                For senior or health-compromised dogs, I supplement with what we call Isaac Stew (fed to a very elderly greyhound with heart problems who survived nearly 3 years longer than any vet thought he might and was happy and active until osteo got him)...
                                Cook 5-6 chicken leg quarters with just a little bit of water in a slow cooker for 24 hours. Pull out the bones and smush them up with a fork, potato masher or just your fingers. Put the smushed bones back in the pot and add:
                                5 lbs ground beef (the cheapest fattest you can get)
                                1 bag each of frozen sliced squash, carrots, spinach or other greens
                                Cook until the meat is no longer pink.
                                Freeze in several 1-2 quart sized containers
                                For a greyhound, I'd feed 2 cups, twice a day, or mix one cup with one cup high calorie kibble.
                                If you don't feed kibble with it, be sure to also give multivitamins every day.

                                Don't feed rice. It can be very hard on the digestive system.

                                With very compromised dogs, I grind high calorie kibble in my food processor and mix with water to make a gruel. You can grind up a bunch of food at one time and keep it in a storage container. Mix with water or Isaac stew at each meal.

                                Hope this helps!

                                10 Replies
                                1. re: onrushpam

                                  Wow, so much great information! I did not know that white rice wasn't good. Is the salmon food something to use just until he gains weight or do you put your dogs on it long term?

                                  1. re: DaisyM

                                    You can feed it long-term, or switch to a lower calorie (and probably lower cost) food once the weight is gained. If I could afford it, I'd feed the Kirkland grain-free all the time. But, we have too many dogs to make that doable.

                                    White rice isn't terrible, but some dogs have a hard time digesting it, so don't get much from it and it can irritate the digestive tract.

                                    1. re: onrushpam

                                      I'll speak to the vet. We belong to Costco. I had no idea that their dog food was so good!

                                      1. re: DaisyM

                                        Yes, Kirkland dogfoods are all pretty good. The lamb and rice kibble is good quality and very inexpensive, and their canned foods (if you want to supplement the kibble) are good and reasonably priced as well. They also sell Beneful, which is garbage. I kills me to see people passing up the vastly superior Kirkland for the heavily advertised brand-name junk.

                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                          ruth, kirkland, the last i heard, was being manufactured for them by Diamond which makes a TON of what you call <<"brand name junk>> in the same factory with the same specs.

                                          Diamond was at the center of the 2007 pet food recalls involving melamine contamination that killed HUNDREDS of pets.

                                          in 2008 Diamond agreed to pay more than $3 million to settle a lawsuit over its aflatoxin-contaminated dog food.

                                          also, The use of corn in so many of Diamond's dog food formulas is also of some concern. Corn is a difficult grain for many dogs to digest.

                                          just sayin"

                                          1. re: westsidegal

                                            the Kirkland sitting in my pantry has no corn.

                                            The vet recommends the Kirkland, as do many, many dog-owner forums.

                                            1. re: westsidegal

                                              The fact that they are made in the same factory does not mean they are made to the same specs. There are only a few manufacturers of pet food, and they all make foods of varying specifications for multiple brands.

                                              I would never recommend feeding a dog food that contains corn. If you read my other posts on this thread, you'd see that. In fact, in this post I specifically recommended Costco's grain free food.

                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                i'll stipulate to this:
                                                <<The fact that they are made in the same factory does not mean they are made to the same specs>>
                                                but i'll also point out that when they were poisoning dogs with melamine and afllatoxin, the poisons ended up in several of the brands they were producing which is suggestive of how their manufacturing and distribution process works.

                                                1. re: westsidegal

                                                  but how many more years have to go buy before maybe they've put it behind them?

                                                  It was a tragedy, to be sure...but at some point the past has to be the past.

                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                    Im sorry, never. Trust is gone. I'd never buy Diamond or Diamond produced goods. Ever. I also look for info on a manufacturer's facility and whether they use Chinese products in their production. I don't want to eat it and I don't want my furry kids to, either.

                                  2. Here is a blurry picture of our two dogs. They had been boarded for a week and the look on my boy's face says " take me home". Daisy could give a shit. Both are Walker/Bulldog mixes we took in as strays. Found out where they came from after we had grown attached.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: kengk

                                      Cute. Your little one could be related to my mutts.

                                      1. re: kengk

                                        So sweet....I had a dog named Daisy. My husband always said that he married me because he wanted Daisy. Such a loyal friend.

                                      2. I've owned one, along with a few other breeds of coonhound and they tend to be pretty svelt naturally. Having said that, I'm a huge advocate of raw food for dogs, specifically raw meaty bones. I'd start reading up on prey model raw feeding. Has he been checked for heartworm? It's rampant down here.

                                        12 Replies
                                        1. re: rasputina

                                          For commercial kibble, check (Google) Whole Dog Journal's Top 10. Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover's Soul and Fromms works well for mine supplemented occasionally with eggs, pumpkin, plain yogurt, cottage cheese, sweet potato. 1 fish oil cap per day. Avoid wheat, wheat gluten, corn, & corn gluten in the ingredient list of any food. When introducing a new food, do it over the course of a few of days to avoid digestive distress ~ 1/4 - 1/3 -1/2 - 3/4...

                                          Toxic foods:
                                          - Alcoholic beverages
                                          - Avocado
                                          - Chocolate (all forms)
                                          - Coffee (all forms)
                                          - Fatty foods
                                          - Macadamia nuts (ONE nut can take a large dog down)
                                          - Moldy or spoiled foods
                                          - Onions, onion powder
                                          - Raisins and grapes
                                          - Salt
                                          - Yeast dough
                                          - Garlic
                                          - Products sweetened with xylitol

                                          Also, feeding more than 2X per day isn't recommended unless it's a puppy. Their digestive systems are different than ours. No exercise AT LEAST 45 min. after eating as it can have deadly consequences.

                                          1. re: Scoutmaster

                                            I've never heard that about exercise. Do you mean real exertion or just normal walking? We often walk the dogs after they eat breakfast, including some running off leash time.

                                            1. re: tcamp

                                              It is called gastric dilatation volvulus and it is and extremely painful way to go. It happened to my last dog. Unfortunately there was no clear cut reason for it to happen, but it did, The only saving grace was the fact that she was 19 and lived a good, long life.

                                              1. re: Scoutmaster

                                                This also happened to Marley in Marley and Me :'(

                                                1. re: Scoutmaster

                                                  This is also called bloat, or gastric torsion. Deep-chested dogs like Dobermans and Great Danes are more at risk than broader-bodied breeds but any dog can get it, in theory. Oddly, AKC Greyhounds, which have a small gene pool relative to racing hounds, have a fairly high bloat rate but low bone cancer rate, while the racing bloodlines have lots of bone cancer and almost no bloat. Genetics clearly has a role. Only very prompt surgery can save a dog with bloat.

                                                  Many vets suggest to pet owners of prone breeds that they tack the stomach in place during neuter/spay surgery, when no additional anesthesia and hospitalization are required. What happens in this condition is that the stomach flips over, so nothing can enter or leave it.

                                                2. re: tcamp

                                                  We don't exercise the dogs right after eating we have a German Shepherd and that breed is prone to bloat.

                                                3. re: Scoutmaster

                                                  To Scoutmaster: garlic will not hurt your dogs if you keep it in moderation. All of my 5 dogs, including one 9 year old, one 4 month old, all eat around 2 cloves per day and are super healthy! No intestinal parasites, and mosquitoes don't bother them either. The chemical that is in galic that is also in onions and can be toxic to dogs, is so minute in garlic that it will not cause problems, unless your dog is allergic to garlic. I've been feeding it daily to my 9 year old boy for 6 years now, just to let you know, and no bad reaction yet.

                                                  1. re: NewMexicoGlo

                                                    Since you have not mentioned the size of your dogs, your recommendation is difficult to evaluate. Alliums of all sorts cause Heinz-body anemia, in a range of species including humans. How much consumption is needed to cause it varies according to species and size. Since cows grazing on wild garlic can develop HBA, my own cat got it from baby food (meat varieties) and canned cat food, and vets routinely tell their clients not to feed alliums to their cats and dogs, I do not trust your assertions. That your dogs don't have parasites and aren't bothered by mosquitoes proves nothing. I could make the same claim, without feeding allium to my dogs and cats. This is not an appropriate venue for veterinary advice and I hope no one follows ANY recommendations on this thread without first discussing it with their vet.

                                                    1. re: greygarious

                                                      Greygarious: All but one of my dogs are pit bulls, ranging from puppy at around 20 pounds, to around 55 pounds on my adults. As for my statements/assertions, I would also recommend for all interested in holistic health for their dogs/cats, read the wonderful holistic health care guide by Richard H.Pitcairn. He also advocates the use of garlic for parasite control, as well as mosquito repellent, and he is a DVM for over 30 years. The name of the book is Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide To Natural Health for Dogs & Cats. Authors are Richard H. Pitcairn, DVM, PhD, and Susan Hubble Pitcairn.

                                                      Allium in garlic is negligible, and my vet is fully aware of what I feed my dogs and always comments on how healthy they are, and how they are at their proper weight, rather than over weight like so many dogs fed commercially prepared foods. Before I started feeding raw, both of my oldest dogs were bordering on fat, and even decreasing their rations to barely 2 cups a day each, they were still fatter than they should have been. Within a few weeks of eating raw/home cooked only with no processed foods, they both trimmed down and feel better, including no more arthritic stiffness in my 9 year old pit bull.

                                                      As for your cat having problems with some foods, cats and dogs are not the same, as I'm sure you are aware, and dogs can eat many things that could easily sicken or kill a cat. No comparison there.

                                                      As for garlic and parasite control, it is fairly well documented, and a simple Google search will yield plenty of results for your reading pleasure. For humans as well as dogs, by the way.

                                                      1. re: NewMexicoGlo

                                                        Pitcairn lost all credibility for me decades ago when he claimed that megadoses of Vitamin C would eradicate the feline leukemia virus from a cat, but that if the vitamin were to be discontinued, the virus would return. If it were in fact GONE, it would not recur unless there were another exposure. Believe what you want, but your beliefs are not supported by sound research or critical analysis.

                                                        1. re: greygarious

                                                          Seems we should simply agree to disagree. I go by results, and what I see at my home with 4 paws, glossy coats and vibrant health is good enough for me. I was only trying to get some answers from others who might have also had young, very active dogs that were hard to keep weight on that had come up with something that worked to pack on a few pounds. You seem, greygarious, to prefer to argue about life in general, and I do not have time, nor interest in waging a battle of words with you.

                                                          I wish you well, but in the future, please refrain from commenting directly to me. This is supposed to be a fun forum. We should try to respect the guidelines and have fun with it. Fair enough?

                                                4. re: rasputina

                                                  Great idea to check for heartworm. Can't mess around with that. Prior to Katrina, it was rarely seen in my area - I'm in the Pacific NW!

                                                5. Google "satin balls" -- they are an easy tasty weight gain.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: lstormont

                                                    Thanks! My sister actually just mentioned the same thing today and sent a link that had around 10 different recipe versions of them. Bet my babies will LOVE THEM! :-)

                                                  2. Whatever else you do, give your doggie some active-culture yogurt every day forever. It will quiet the rabid gas that rescue dogs (all dogs?) tend to have. The probiotics are good for the digestive system of a dog that hasn't had the best nutrition for however long, and I must say- I had three dogs at one point, they all got yogurt every day with their food, and NONE of them had gas. Yes, this is a brag, and a couple of times a year it happened, but I would never again have a pet that didn't get some kind of probiotic in their food. I gave them the yogurt for the health benefits, and the atmospheric benefits were quite a lovely aside. 8^D

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: EWSflash

                                                      My dog practically wept with joy when I was still making plain homemade kefir every day. She ate the sourest batches with utter joy. And any soured raw milk.

                                                      But I really think the gas is usually due to food dogs didn't evolve to eat. Grains in particular.

                                                      1. re: Vetter

                                                        Part of it is breed-related, some breeds have touchier digestive systems. Geman Shepherds are the one I'm most familiar with.
                                                        My dogs get premium dog foods and rarely if ever get people food. Probiotics are a form of health insurance to me.

                                                        I just thought of something else- add a little food-grade diatomaceous earth to your dog's food. It acts as a benign antiparasitic. I mixed it with my chickens' feed and also my dog's food when we adopted a stray Shepherd that had almost every GI parasite on earth. Of course we had her wormed too, but I didn't know if she was prone to parasites. She seemed to gain weight a little faster with it and never had GI parasites again.

                                                      2. re: EWSflash

                                                        Wanted to add that in my limited experience, everything that EWS and Vetter says is spot on. And the plus is that dogs *love* yogurt (Ben is partial to plain Greek style).
                                                        On a recent visit to the shelter where we adopted him, we met his initial "intake" person and were stunned to hear that Ben is going to turning sweet sixteen this year... we were off by a good couple of years, thinking him younger than he is. We greedily hope that we have him for another couple of years of health and happiness and pampering.

                                                        1. re: pinehurst

                                                          Aw.... I wish you more happy years together too!

                                                      3. Tons of great ideas here. My addition is that you could slip him little bits of unrefined coconut oil for lower fat meals. SMALL amounts at first - it can upset tummies of humans and pups if not used to it - but it's a great healthy fat, and has antifungal properties. You'd want to clear extra fats with your vet so you don't inadvertently lead to pancreatitis. I read about it in Whole Dog Journal (great mag) well before I ever started eating it myself as a primal/paleo eater. My pooch is an easy keeper but I think she looks best when she's getting plenty of healthy fats (salmon, other oily fish, coconut oil).

                                                        1. Talk to your vet when you take him in for the first time. We adopted, and one of the first things we did was to take him to the vet. I know he's been seen by a vet already, but, you will need to take to to your vet right away anyway. Your vet will be able to recommend the right food for that particular animal.
                                                          And, thanks so much for adopting a pet! Enjoy your new family member!

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: wyogal

                                                            I hate to say it, but most vets are not good sources of advice on what to feed your pets. Just like human doctors, nutrition is not emphasized in their training, and most of their training and training materials are sponsored by large petfood manufacturers. I've seen some terrible products advertised in vet offices and informational pamphlets specifically designed by companies like Hills to counter the movements towards grain-free and raw diets. It's a telling comment on foods like Hills "Science Diet" that they are now being reformulated (Hills website: "Very soon, even more Hill's® Science Diet® dog foods will feature quality protein as the first ingredient and will be made with natural ingredients, no chicken by-product and no artificial colors or flavors.") to compete with the better brands out there. If they were so good and "scientific" in the first place, why do they need to be reformulated?

                                                            You'll have to judge for yourself whether you think your vet is really knowledgeable and unbiased in the nutrition information s/he gives you.

                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                              I have to echo everything you've said regarding nutritional education and the promotion of "certain" foods. I know three different vets very well and when it comes to nutrition, the diet discussion has been an uphill battle (also in terms of human nutrition). Hills donates food to the vet school, sponsors and provides their nutritional education. What does that tell you! If it's being sold at your vet's office, they are receiving a HEFTY kickback!

                                                          2. You must be tired from transitioning him in, but how is Henry?

                                                            31 Replies
                                                            1. re: pinehurst

                                                              Thank you everyone! Henry arrived yesterday from South Carolina. He is absolutely adorable, but terribly underweight. His tail was between his legs until he met our dog and then he started to wag his tail like crazy. She had to growl at him a couple of times, but he walked right next to her and later cuddled up next to her and went to sleep.

                                                              We quickly figured out that he had never been in a home before. He doesn't know how to walk up steps and needed a lot of coaxing to touch his bed. Basically he's a 6 yo puppy.

                                                              His long hound ears are quite torn up. The shelter believes that he was a hunting dog that got lost and later got into a fight with an animal. When his owners were called they didn't bother to come for him.

                                                              So, Henry is off to the vet tomorrow. In the meantime, he is a man of leisure with two beds, many walks, a coat with his name embroidered on it and lots of love. I'm trying to give him 3 smaller meals....but he is gobbling them up. He is so hungry. Lots of wonderful suggestions and I'm going to discuss many with our vet tomorrow to make sure he is as healthy as can be.

                                                              1. re: DaisyM

                                                                Would love to see a picture of Henry.

                                                                From my experience hounds can be very bold with what they know, to the point of being willing and eager to fight a bear or hog, but timid of the unknown, shying away from a cardboard box in the floor that wasn't there yesterday.

                                                                1. re: DaisyM

                                                                  Daisy! Hooray for your family and Henry!
                                                                  Don't be surprised if he has stuff mentioned on the board (heartworm, kennel cough, etc)...nothing that some momma and daddy love and some meds won't cure. My heart broke when you described his strangeness with stairs. I *know* he will soon be curled up in every nook and cranny as comfy as can be.

                                                                  1. re: pinehurst

                                                                    it's interesting sorting out their issues...

                                                                    We think our big boy was raised in an apartment and was chucked out on the street when he was no longer a fuzzy sweet ball of puppy fluff -- he had no idea what a leash was about (walking him was like being tied to the bumper of a Mac truck for a while -- he's still not great, but it's at least no longer a painful experience) -- and he had no idea how to go up or down stairs, either...

                                                                    ...but he had obviously been raised in a home, as he never once tried to jump on or chew the furniture, and knew to go to the door to be let out.

                                                                    Good luck with Henry -- it's amazing how long it takes for them to get accustomed to a new home...but it's so rewarding.

                                                                  2. re: DaisyM

                                                                    Oh, YAY to you. I'm tearing up reading about sweet Henry and everyone else's doggies.

                                                                    His doggy dreams have come true!

                                                                    1. re: DaisyM

                                                                      Lucky Henry! He sounds like a great dog and I hope he continues to settle in to your household.

                                                                      One of my dogs came from a rescue org in Georgia and they'd had him for more than a year by the time I got him. He must have been a house dog at one point because the first night home, he marched straight up to the bedroom and stared at the bed til I lifted him up. He curled up and didn't budge for 12 hours.

                                                                      1. re: tcamp

                                                                        The vet wants Henry to gain 6lbs and suggested puppy food. Retest on heartworm and stool. Lots of hunting injuries that are healing. Henry is already use to the good life and will not get out of bed. He literally has to be carried to get him out of the house. I'm shocked to report that he found a dead raccoon on our property this am. Lots of howling

                                                                        1. re: DaisyM

                                                                          That is one peaceful slumber.

                                                                          What a good momma you are.
                                                                          XO to Henry

                                                                          PS Love the big houndie feets

                                                                          1. re: pinehurst

                                                                            I have a Chihuahua that I got when he was 13 weeks old. He was tiny, only 1.9 lbs. There were 2 other puppies in the litter. One was quite large and the other a little bigger than he was. He was darling, but so tiny and fragile. I know Chihuahuas shake a lot, but his skin literally crawled and he'd let out these pitiful whimpers. I took him to the vet when I noticed him scooting his bum across the floor. The vet found nothing. A day and a half later I found a piece of tapeworm in his feces. I rushed him to the vet and he was given a shot and a deworming pill. That took care of the problem. I opted to find a new vet after that. He only picked at his puppy kibble, though. I tried to transition him to holistic kibble, but he wouldn't eat it. Being so tiny I think the kibble seemed huge for his little teeth and mouth. I started home cooking for him and he took to it immediately. His fur started to look shiny and became softer. The goopy tears that were staining around his eyes went away. Today, he is a happy, healthy guy, but he still only weighs 3.3 lbs. Based on the size of the other 2 in the litter (9 lbs and 4 lbs), I suspect that the tapeworm deprived him of nutrition during a crucial growth spurt.

                                                                            I don't know what kind of kibble you're planning to feed your dog, but I personally would mix the puppy and adult kibble together during the weight gain phase, rather than feed only puppy food. It will be easier to lower and eventually eliminate the amounts of puppy kibble once he's gained the 6 lbs and no longer needs the high fat fare.

                                                                            I can't say enough about the benefits of kefir. My guy enjoys it immensely. I feed him a pretty varied diet and he handles most of it very well, despite being a finicky purebred Chihuahua. In the winter when it is cold outside, my guy doesn't go out for walks. The drop in exercise means he self regulates his food intake and eats very little. He will always take a bit of kefir, though, which satisfies me that his stomach is fine and that his blood sugar is stable. The billions of active cultures help promote healthy intestinal flora and can even stimulate a sluggish appetite, in my experience.

                                                                            Good luck with your newest child!

                                                                          2. re: DaisyM

                                                                            He's beautiful! What a sweetheart. You're both lucky!

                                                                            1. re: Violatp

                                                                              Thank you so much! Can you even imagine being called by a shelter that they have your dog and then not coming for him? I have no doubt that he has left his awful past behind him and just loving life. Wouldn't it be great if we could live in the moment like dogs?

                                                                              1. re: DaisyM

                                                                                There are definitely people who should never have pets. Never, ever, ever.

                                                                            2. re: DaisyM

                                                                              Aw, what a sweetie. Thanks for sharing!

                                                                              1. re: DaisyM

                                                                                ours did the same thing -- slept nonstop for the first week or so -- I just have to make myself not think very hard about what they've been through.

                                                                                Unfortunately, Henry's former owner saw him as a hunting dog, not a pet....and unfortunately not a great hunting dog, or he would have gone to get him.

                                                                                Your gain.(and Henry's)

                                                                                1. re: DaisyM

                                                                                  What a sweet baby boy face!

                                                                                  So nice to see him happy in bed!

                                                                                2. re: tcamp

                                                                                  If he's a hunting dog, I think a good game to play with him would be to hid a kong stuffed with peanut butter and frozen somewhere in the house. (Teach him the words "Find it.") Peanut butter is a great way to put weight on a dog and keep it entertained. I might also suggest "nosework" (a fairly new type of dog competition) as a way to keep him entertained. I have a dog from hunting lines and he LOVES it.

                                                                                  1. re: Heatherb

                                                                                    Excellent idea! He will love it. I had just read about taking an article of clothing that a member of the family has worn and hiding it. He's a major sniffer!

                                                                                    1. re: DaisyM


                                                                                      There's a coonhound named Hugh on here who has almost the same story as your Henry down to turning into a giant couch potato!

                                                                                      1. re: Violatp

                                                                                        Turns out it is a love match for Henry and Lucky. I can tell he is gaining weight. He is so happy. I've mixed in a little origin's puppy chow into his dog food.

                                                                                          1. re: DaisyM

                                                                                            Congrats. I'm kind of in love with Henry and Lucky.

                                                                                            1. re: sunangelmb

                                                                                              We've had Henry for less than a week and Lucky is so much happier. Henry thinks that Heaven is located in the Philly burbs. Nothing like having lots of paws in your life. I wish they would live forever.

                                                                                              1. re: DaisyM

                                                                                                Our vet re tested Henry for heartworms and it came back positive. The treatment begins on Friday. I feel so awful for him. This is going to be very unpleasant for him. He was just gaining weight and really enjoying life.

                                                                                                1. re: DaisyM

                                                                                                  Hopefully they've caught it early enough that there hasn't been any significant damage.

                                                                                                  Hugs all round.

                                                                                                  1. re: DaisyM

                                                                                                    You might want to discuss the alternative long-term heartworm treatment with your vet. We've done it successfully with several dogs that had other health issues (including very low weight). It can take a long time (months) to clear the heartworm, but it has the advantage of not requiring a period of very low/no activity. I don't recall the exact timing/dosages, but you essentially give Ivermectin frequently over an extended period of time. OTOH, the more typical treatment may have less impact on his weight/appetite. Give him some extra goodies from me!

                                                                                                    1. re: onrushpam

                                                                                                      It's nice to have an alternative. I'd say, though, that low activity does not seem to be a problem for this dog. <g>

                                                                                                    2. re: DaisyM

                                                                                                      Lucky is a lovely dog, and I love how Henry is touching her gently with his paw. They're beautiful!

                                                                                                      He will be okay, Daisy. He just can't do a lot of aerobic stuff, so keep him from running around (I am sure the vet told you this, you awesome Dog Momma). The heartworms have to clear outta there and not get stuck in the lungs, so easy does it!. The good thing about the intensive treatment is that it nips the heartworm activity in the bud, before there's more damage. He will be okay! How very very very lucky for him (no pun) that you found him.

                                                                                                      Hang in there, and when he's snoozing, give him a kiss and a belly rub from me.

                                                                                                      1. re: pinehurst

                                                                                                        There's a foster doggie in Dallas named Lovie (I follow her story on FB ever since she was rescued from the streets about a week from giving birth!) that just finished up her month of no-fun on heartworm treatment.

                                                                                                        She was mopey and sad at not being able to play with her best friend, Henry (the other dog in the household) but came through it with flying colors! It'll just be a long month.

                                                                                                        1. re: pinehurst

                                                                                                          Thank you so much for your kind words. It was rather heartbreaking to have him go through this today. The poor guy has been through so much. He is now sleeping on his bed with my husband massaging his leg and Lucky is right next to him. I'm writing a note to our neighbors so they understand that he can't play for the next two months and we need to avoid their dogs. Shame on his previous owners for how they treated this sweet soul.

                                                                                                  2. re: DaisyM

                                                                                                    Ha...is there any furniture left in your house for humans?

                                                                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                      what, the dog is chewing the furniture or the husband?

                                                                                                      I know, I know, I have a strong hunch mine had the shit beat out of him by someone. yet I couldn't imagine a sweeter dog.

                                                                                      2. I am also trying to get some weight on my 13 year old cockapoo. She has lost weight due to kidney issues and is now on a low protein diet (Merricks Senior). The vet suggested adding some boiled chicken but I'm wondering if there is anything else we can give her.

                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: ronojo

                                                                                          with that sort of additional factor, your best bet is to work with your vet so that her diet can be managed in conjunction with the kidney issues.

                                                                                          1. re: ronojo

                                                                                            ronojo, you may want to investigate this carefully. My best friend is a vet who has been researching animal nutrition quite a bit in the past few years. She said that often a vet prescribes a low-protein diet incorrectly, when they should be prescribing a low-phosphorous diet. When my 12-year-old dog had some irregular urine samples, we switched him to a home-cooked low-phosphorous diet that covered a range of meats and veggies, and the issues reversed themselves. My own vet said that she agreed with the approach we took.

                                                                                            I'm NOT saying a low-protein diet is necessarily incorrect, but depending on how recent your vet's knowledge is on this topic, you may want to consider a different approach. Low-protein diets have been the accepted wisdom with regard to kidney issues for a long time, but it's not necessarily the blanket solution. Depending on your dog's specific ailment, low-phosphorous may be the way to go.

                                                                                              1. re: ronojo

                                                                                                give glutinous rice that has been overcooked into sort of a soupy, watery, gruel.

                                                                                                chicken is high in protein and high in phosphorus, neither one of which is ok for kidney dogs

                                                                                              2. Thanks Heather. Sorry I left that out--she is on a low protein, low phosphorus diet.

                                                                                                1. I don't know if this thread has already overloaded you with info, but a couple of things that helped when I was taking care of my sister's very emotional great dane - live culture yogurt, as someone else recommended, but add a half teaspoon of turmeric powder to it and a teaspoon of fish oil to his regular food. If your dog has been and will be eating grain-based kibble anyway, add some white rice to the turmeric yogurt mixture. And, last, if you can get a bit of dulse seaweed from the health food store, drop a small piece (about the size of a postage stamp or two) on the ground and see if he eats it. (The smoked kind is what dogs like best) A dog will only eat seaweed if he really needs it, and I've noticed stressed out dogs will lap it up twice a day for about two days, then stop wanting it (probably once they've refreshed their thyroid glands.)

                                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: ninrn

                                                                                                    Henry update....he gained 1lb in the last 2 weeks. Doesn't sound like a lot, but I can see how much better he looks. I'm sure he's also better hydrated.

                                                                                                    1. re: DaisyM

                                                                                                      Thanks for the update. A pound is lot for a dog. So glad to hear he's doing better. If you can, please try the turmeric+live culture yogurt some time. You'll be amazed at how much dogs love it and how much it helps with digestion. Best to you and Henry, Ninrn

                                                                                                      1. re: ninrn

                                                                                                        Thank you! Vet told me to add white rice and probiotics to his food. I'm also giving him meds for lung worms. I'm amazed that this guy happily eats all of it. The site of his first injection is very sore. We hope that he will continue to gain wait and get through the treatment for heartworms. We gave letters to all the neighbors with dogs telling them that Henry has to avoid them for the next two months.

                                                                                                        1. re: DaisyM

                                                                                                          A vet should not be recommending white rice which is a grain. Dogs should not be fed grains. And a vet should know that. Also I am not sure if it would work the same way in dogs as humans but it converts to sugar in the human body. Not good for a dog

                                                                                                          1. re: Sassy75

                                                                                                            and your veterinary qualifications are.....?

                                                                                                        2. re: ninrn

                                                                                                          How much Yogurt and what kind of fish oil do You use, I'm assuming you buy in liquid form and not the pill form. Sorry for dumb question, but I'm a first time Dog owner of a German Shepard Lab Mix, more Shepard traits. I want to feed her healthy, so much un pronounce words in ingredients in store bought dog food, even the top brands recommended by Vets. I try to use common sense when feeding Her. She loves meat, rice and veggies,( of all kinds)so I always try to add it all to her diet. She will not eat regular dog food(Hills), so to get some nutrition from the Dog food I know she probably needs,I mix it in with the above and She loves it. I add a little coconut or olive oil once a day. And always cook the meat, never raw.She gets this mixture twice a day but oil only at am feeding. She seems to be doing very well on this. Very active, not under or over weight and shiny soft coat. Vet visit next week for spay, so anxious to see if I'm on right track. She just turned a year and is right at about 80 lbs.

                                                                                                          1. re: learningforZoey

                                                                                                            If you go to a good pet store they will have better quality foods than Hills. Look for ones that say "holistic" or "grain free." Costco sells a grain free dry dog food that's very reasonably priced, and their canned dog food is also pretty good. I don't see why you can't use either liquid or pill for for fish oil -- the pill form is just oil in a digestible capsule. You can also give your dog canned fish -- sardines or mackerel are good, because they have bones for extra calcium.

                                                                                                            I personally believe dogs should be fed a variety of foods. Dogs are scavengers after all. People will tell you that you should change foods gradually, and maybe you should if you've been feeding the same food for a long time, but if you change foods frequently that's not necessary: their digestive tract doesn't become habituated to a single food.

                                                                                                            1. re: learningforZoey

                                                                                                              Even my vet doesn't like feeding Hill's.

                                                                                                              There are lots of dog foods out now that are grain-free and/or limited ingredients -- a trip to your local pet store will leave your head spinning.

                                                                                                              Lots of folks feed their dogs the unfortunately-dubbed BARF diet -- Biologically Appropriate Raw Food -- raw meats, vegetables, bones, and fruit -- the stuff that dogs would be eating if they were on their own in the wild.

                                                                                                              Since dogs don't have stoves, they also don't need to eat cooked meats. It won't hurt them, but they don't need it.

                                                                                                      2. dogs are carnivores. they are designed to eat mostly RAW meat and bones. they should NOT be fed grains such as rice. their bodies are NOT designed to eat grains. nearly all commercial 'dog food' is based on grains and contains a whole lot of nasties to boot. raw wholefoods are best. and fat - why give a dog lean meat? they need the fat for energy and to feel satiated. mostly raw meat with a few veggies thrown into the mix for variety and coconut oil and raw eggs (including the shell as it contains a lot of calcium - some
                                                                                                        dogs will eat it, others not), whole organic chicken carcasses wholefoods. real food. fat. kefir. read about raw fed dogs on the internet. you'll never look back.

                                                                                                        17 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: Sassy75

                                                                                                          Actually dogs are omnivores. Cats are carnivores.

                                                                                                          1. re: Sassy75

                                                                                                            dogs are NOT carnivores, they are omnivorous.

                                                                                                            cats, on the other hand are obligate carnivores.

                                                                                                            1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                              DOGS ARE CARNIVORES.
                                                                                                              "A black bear is a true omnivore, as are we. We have nice, large, flat molars that can grind up veggies. Black bears, while having impressive canine teeth, also have large flat molars in the back of their mouth to assist in grinding up plant matter. Dogs and most canids lack these kinds of molars. Why? Because they don't eat plant matter. Teeth are highly specialized and are structured specifically for the diet the animal eats, and the difference between a bear's teeth and a dog's teeth (both species are in Order Carnivora) demonstrates how this can be" read more here;

                                                                                                              1. re: Sassy75

                                                                                                                It'd be nice to see a reference from a site not obviously slanted toward their own point of view.

                                                                                                                1. re: Sassy75

                                                                                                                  the link you provide argues that technically dogs are better suited to a carnivore diet, but aren't exclusive to it.

                                                                                                                  In practice all I know is that Mr. Bouncy-Ass will eat almost anything, not get sick, has thrived and continues to thrive on what carefully chosen things I slip into his bowl. yes he prefers meaty things, but happily accepts most anything.

                                                                                                                  He was so skinny when he got here, he must have been eating roadkill, trash, compost, other animals feces.... I figured as long as it was clean and fresh and nutritious (not salty, no sugar and sure a little fatty) it was better than he'd had for a very long time. but I probably ought to be more diligent about what I give him now that he's almost up to his proper weight.

                                                                                                                  I won't try to convince anyone to NOT keep them on a carnivorous diet but your mention upstream of whole chicken carcasses has me worried about those splintery bones (at the clinic last week during a spay the vet removed a small one wedged sideways below the hard palate that was starting to cause ulceration). I will allow that some keepers of dogs and cats by trying keep them vegetarian do those animals NO favors and I'd bet even harm, and yes I HAVE met some (can you see my protracted eye-roll, trying hard to not mutter "a V/V dog or cat? are you f-ing shitting me?" under my breath over the internet? trust me, I am)

                                                                                                                  1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                    My dog is a grass eater, so he will often enjoy some greens while we are walking in the park.

                                                                                                                    I worry a little bit about what has been on that grass, but he is OK so far.

                                                                                                                    1. re: pamf

                                                                                                                      pam - I was OK with that until he got into the Jimsonweed this summer and slobbered it on me. fun coupla days that was.

                                                                                                                      1. re: pamf

                                                                                                                        Mine not only eats grass, but actually begs for carrots (in great moderation, as their sugar content IS bad for dogs) and his absolute favorite, the stalks from raw broccoli and cauliflower (happily, they do not create the "after-effects" that might make some folks hesitate to offer such things...) -- he happily carries them off to his corner, where he happily gnaws and crunches them. He adores apple peels, too.

                                                                                                                        I've been told flat-out by three veterinarians on two continents to make sure we feed vegetables of some sort. Their recommended is green beans, but they were more than happy to give the broccoli and cauliflower their stamp of approval.

                                                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                          apple peels? really? a few weeks ago I was making a pork roast and cut up too many apples and slipped him a few unpeeled quarters, he loved them but very carefully ate only the inner flesh and left a pile of the skins behind. he also likes asparagus when offered (he's very well house-broken and gets let out regularly every 3-5 hours, so no, I didn't smell his pee)

                                                                                                                          1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                            Beware the asparagus pee smell! I wrote upthread about my little 3.5-lb Chihuahua. He likes steamed asparagus but holy smokes! During cold months, he does all business indoors, on pee pads. I almost have to chuck a whole pad after a single aspara-pee. That smell is gag-worthy. Pretty much the same as for humans.

                                                                                                                            I home cook for his entire diet. He won't touch kibble. Why would any dog if there's a fresh meal available? I do not feed him grains. He doesn't eat much, so I want his food to have no "fillers" and be 100% nutritious food that his body can use. I must be on the right track, because my vet (a Hill's Science Diet peddler) marvels at how shiny his coat is and how bright and clear his eyes are. His only health issue is his teeth, which don't get much of a workout chewing soft, wet food. He's not much of a chewer, either. He'll chew on plush toys and the odd rope toy, but no traditional chew toys. I'm loathe to put him under for teeth cleaning, but I think I have to. He has a lot of plaque buildup.

                                                                                                                            Yogurt or kefir with live bacteria is an excellent addition to dry kibble or wet food, or even on its own, as a snack. My dog is a dairy lover. He will drink milk. I wouldn't offer it, but he doesn't drink much water at all. If I think he has reason to be thirsty, I offer the milk and he nearly always polishes off the ounce (whew! a full ounce! lol). I'd rather give him kefir, but I don't always have it around.

                                                                                                                            1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                              Next time, try tossing all the fruit and veggie extras into the blender or food processor and freeze them in little dixie cups with a bit of plain yogurt, making sure that it has no artificial sweeteners or sugar, etc. Sweeten with fruit juice if needed, or a little honey. See how much your pup enjoys them! Much cheaper than the commercially sold doggie deserts, too. :-)

                                                                                                                              Dogs need a good variety of veggies, fruits and other foods to stay healthy, and a minimum amount of corn, if any, and same goes for soy and wheat. My babies all get whole foods exclusively, other than cookies, and rawhides and are very healthy.

                                                                                                                        2. re: hill food

                                                                                                                          hill food: you are completely correct.
                                                                                                                          here is the link to the study that describes the genetic sequencing that proves your information:

                                                                                                                          1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                            I have to redact a bit of my statement, I said "no sugar" when I meant no added sugar. obviously apples have natural sugar.

                                                                                                                            I was browsing the dog treats aisle a while back and a very well known brand's list of ingredients were in order of content (IIRC): 1. corn meal, 2. wheat middlings, 3. high fructose corn syrup and then dribbled off into chemical gibberish. - I thought heck any table scraps I come up with are better than that.

                                                                                                                        3. re: Sassy75

                                                                                                                          Sassy, the whole genome resequencing of dogs has been done.

                                                                                                                          the above site is a scientific site.

                                                                                                                          yours is an ideological site.
                                                                                                                          please stop shouting informationthat has been shown to be INCORRECT.

                                                                                                                          The investigators sequenced the entire genomes of dogs and wolves. They identified 3.8 million genetic variants, and used them to identify 36 genomic regions that appeared related to dog domestication. Many of these gene regions appear to be associated with the behavioral changes needed to domesticate wolves.

                                                                                                                          Ten of the genes turned out to have roles in starch digestion; three of these genes promote digestion.

                                                                                                                          The investigators identified mutations in key wolf genes that allowed this to happen. The study provides evidence that dogs “thrive on a diet rich in starch, relative to the carnivorous diet of wolves.”

                                                                                                                          1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                            wsg - before this link was posted I was musing that given how diverse the category of 'dog' has become in the company of humans over the years since the source species of 'wolf', that surely some change occurred beyond the visual.

                                                                                                                            I admit I do slip him raw meat sometimes, but the only bones given are beef, except for the deer carcasses he finds out in the woods and drags home: THREE skulls and haunches within a month! (we get a lot of out of season poachers). he is most definitely a hunter by nature. in his search of moles, voles and rabbits, his summer was spent turning the lawn into something only suitable for a game of croquet crossed with golf, or a broken ankle.

                                                                                                                            1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                              Oh, wow. I wonder what Kelpie would do if she found a deer carcass. Although, she's more like a cat: she's hunts for the chase and the kill and loses interest in her prey after it stops moving (fortunately for the possums!). She's never eaten any of the squirrels she kills, although she did eat a dead bird that had flown into the kitchen window (more catlike behavior).

                                                                                                                              I have to agree with jhill: soft tissue systems like the digestive system adapt much more quickly than bones and teeth. In fact, they change even during our lifetimes, becoming lactose intolerant, for example.

                                                                                                                              Finally, even wild wolves are not exclusively carnivorous, as they've been known to eat berries.

                                                                                                                      2. re: Sassy75

                                                                                                                        Sassy75, the entire dog genome has been mapped.
                                                                                                                        your information about dog nutrition is incorrect.
                                                                                                                        they have the enzymes to digest and utilize grains.

                                                                                                                        DNA doesn't lie.

                                                                                                                      3. 1) use google to get a recipe for SATIN BALLS

                                                                                                                        2) there is a preparation called Nutri Cal that can be obtained from vets, from pet stores, and online

                                                                                                                        3) if it were me, i'd treat for worms whether or not the dog tests positive for them. if you don't want to treat without testing, then double check that the dog does not have worms. (i'm been a dog rescuer for almost 20 years now, and have saved over 2500 dogs so far)

                                                                                                                        4) since the dog came from the south, double check about heartworms.

                                                                                                                        1. wish I'd seen this thread last summer when my boy-o showed up all skin and bones. on instinct and with a freezer of cow bones and rendered stock, every few days he got an extra special meal of either a honking big bone (with flesh attached) or a bowl of rice cooked in beef stock. I gave it to him in small amounts (I've read how malnourished people aren't immediately taken to an AYCE buffet) and mixed it in with his regular kibble, didn't seem to upset his system and got him eating again on a regular-ish basis (he grazes here and there, like me - maybe dogs really do find us, not vice versa).

                                                                                                                          he was last weighed at his neuter appointment in August at 45# and now I'd say he's up to at least 60# and lively as heck (he was pretty listless when he found us) weird thing is he's always had the opposite of food aggression with me, if anything he has to be convinced that the food in the bowl is indeed for him.

                                                                                                                          1. Have only had ONE dog who had a litter of puppies. A red Dobie and litter was "planned". Jenny, the momma of 8 red pups, decided when pups were a little more than 3-4 weeks old that she no longer wanted to nurse them? Vet said those little "suckers" were probably getting pretty painful with those sharp puppy claws. Said (unfortunately) NOT extremely unusual for momma to opt out of nursing or do something far WORSE!! She said pups were old enough to start on something other than milk, but not quite ready for puppy food. Gave me a "recipe" that the pups sometime LITERALLY dove into... Whole milk cottage cheese, hard boiled eggsnd canned puppy food (wanna say vet recommended Cadillac, WAY back then).

                                                                                                                            1. Have you tried vitamins? One of our hounds has always had fussy skin, and it became quite a problem this summer. In an effort to avoid a 1k vet bill, I started adding human grade vitamins designed to improve hair, skin, and nails. Within two weeks, he gained back weight he had lost due to "stress scratching," and his coat took on a shiny glow.

                                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: Dagney

                                                                                                                                These are our three Black and Tan beasts.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Dagney

                                                                                                                                  ah, so a grouping of dogs isn't a pack, it's a tangle! :)

                                                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                    sunshine - I am going to swipe that phrase y'know. but I think it only works for a small grouping.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                      I know! this photo was taken while they were keeping warm next to the fireplace on a cold night. Waaaaay too cute.

                                                                                                                                2. My little guy was getting very skinny, we (the vet and I) finally concluded that although he had no gum disease or rotten teeth, his deformed little push-faced jaw meant that his teeth are just not that solid. He's lost quite a few and with age has more and more trouble chewing kibble.

                                                                                                                                  So I put him on a diet of kibble plus one small meal a day of home-cooked ground or chopped meats of various kinds, cooked up with veggies - pumpkin, peas, a little grated carrot, green beans, eggplant, and so on, a little yogurt, and a little rice or barley. With some vitamin drops supplied by the vet. He immediately gained some much-needed weight and also became VERY interested in dinner. :o)

                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: Teague

                                                                                                                                      well yeah the little bugger's anticipation, curiosity and sense of (your) attention must have reached sky-high levels

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Teague

                                                                                                                                        If he has trouble chewing kibble, have you tried moistening it with a bit of gravy for dogs?

                                                                                                                                      2. Frodo has been doing great on home-made dinners. I put up a post in January about it here, and my little friend is doing so well and healthy, I won't ever stop feeding him this way. He gets kibble too, it's available all the time.

                                                                                                                                        I did not want to feed him canned dog food, don't trust the stuff, and with the blessing of the vet, here's the meal plan: I cook a half pound of ground meat, it varies according to what's on sale, with an equal amount of chopped frozen or fresh veggies, carrots broccoli cauliflower cabbage or whatever - lots of squash, usually turk's turban or butternut or something like that, yogurt also. I add a little grain, about 1/4 as much, normally rice or barley, occasionally other grain substances ( a little flour even). I cook this until soft and mushy. I add saved fat if I have it, or some unsalted butter. If nothing else fatty is around, vegetable or olive oil. I also add some vitamin drops that the vet recommended.

                                                                                                                                        Frodo gets about 1/4 cup most days, maybe a little less. He's a little guy, under 14 lbs. He loves it, has gained almost half a pound, and is clearly feeling better. Nose is wet again, just seems like he feels good.

                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                        1. re: Teague

                                                                                                                                          that he's acting happy is the best indicator. best one of all.

                                                                                                                                          but figure when to stop the bulking (and trust me once you start it is hard to stop, oh those looks when there's not a special treat in the bowl - you're not being sent off w/o dinner, just not a treat this time)

                                                                                                                                        2. One of my dogs quit eating. She lost a lot of weight, I could see her ribs and hip bones. Nothing would tempt her. She was constantly licking her perineum . My vet and I decided to remove all wheat from her diet. I read every label, wheat gets into almost everything. The licking issue made us think that there might be something causing irritation.

                                                                                                                                          Fast forward. We started preparing special food for her. One night scrambled eggs and she ate them with gusto. Next night she would not touch them. Vet finally decided to put her on prednisone. The evening we gave it to her she woke my husband demanding to go out and then came back in and ate every thing she could. So now, my girls both get wheat free kibble and right now their diet is that with sauteed pork, peas and squash. Their treats are Baconettes (fried pork rinds) . My husband did not read carefully enough and gave them Bil-Jac and the licking began again so we are being more careful. We'll try beef and chicken a little later.

                                                                                                                                          In my local Kroger they have a section of marked down meats, just reaching the sell by dates so it doesn't cost so much. We get pork butt steaks and cut them up and saute. They like it quite a bit.

                                                                                                                                          1. Has anyone mentioned ghee?
                                                                                                                                            We bought it from our holistic pet food store, for a senior dog who had trouble keeping weight on.

                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                              You need to be careful about feeding dogs -- especially senior dogs -- too much fat. It can cause pancreatitis.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                Right- it was not his main source of calories, rather, it enticed him to eat proper food for his age.

                                                                                                                                            2. Have only had ONE dog who ever had a litter of puppies... planned. Jenny, the red Dobie, had 8 red pups... a little unusual for all to be red, but that's another topic. The first few weeks, she would NOT leave them for a second. She usually use the backyard, but would just sit by the slider. We'd walk her on leash until she did what we KNEW she had to do. We'd unhook leash and she'd be glued to the front door by the time we got back.

                                                                                                                                              When pups were about 4-5 weeks old (fat, happy and moving around a lot), mamma decided she no longer wanted to be in contention for mother of the year and REFUSED to nurse them?? They were tearing her up with those little sharp claws. Breeder said not common, but sometimes mother would KILL an entire litter... YIKES!! He gave me a recipe that the pups devoured. Whole milk cottage cheese, chopped up boiled eggs and a "good" canned puppy food... can't remember brand.

                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                              1. re: kseiverd

                                                                                                                                                Puppy food will definitely put weight on them, and even more so an older dog (over one year old).

                                                                                                                                              2. I have a yellow lab that is 7 months old. He is so active that it is hard to keep weight on him. I have been giving him some chicken broth on his food but I was wondering if anyone could tell me what I could give him to help him keep weight on him.

                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: CHyso

                                                                                                                                                  I had a girl who was so skinny people gave me a hard time at the dog park. She was naturally skinny - bones showing skinny. When I talked with my vet he said to ignore people, she was healthy and that's all that mattered. Feed him well, talk with your vet and you'll be fine.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: CHyso

                                                                                                                                                    here's a thread specifically about older dogs, but lots of good ideas for getting them to gain some weight.


                                                                                                                                                    And...he's a Lab -- it will catch up with him, especially once he stops growing, and doubly so when you have him neutered.

                                                                                                                                                    If anything, you'll have to watch him -- Labs will eat until they bust, and once they've reached adulthood and being neutered, they pack on the pounds.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: CHyso

                                                                                                                                                      Assuming he has tested negative for intestinal parasites, give him puppy food until he is at least a year old, then mix gradually with active adult food until age 2, then slowly switch by the same method to ordinary adult food. Be aware that the extra calories translate into extra energy so don't worry if he gets less active once he's on a normal caloric ration.

                                                                                                                                                    2. We have a Catahoula Cur that was rescued wandering a rural road here in FL. The people who found her had her for a month before having to give her up. The problem is, she is not gaining weight and is still painful to look at she is so thin. However, she is interested in food and eats normally, but not ravenously (We can put a small meal down for her and she will eat part of it, and come back later for more.) We fear there might be some other reason she isn't gaining weight, and are going to take her to the vet for bloodwork, but what might be the issue? A worm or an inability to absorb would seem to me to result naturally in over eating to compensate. She's lethargic, but I would be too if I was that skinny, but she walks around, enjoys being outside and is fond of affection (though never licks) and she has yet to make any barking noise. She's the sweetest girl, but we are worried about her.

                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: schlacter

                                                                                                                                                        getting her to the vet **pronto** is going to be the best bet for her. She may have intestinal worms, heartworms or other parasites that are keeping her from absorbing her food. She's thin enough that it is life-threatening.

                                                                                                                                                        Some dogs will wolf down every meal, while others will choose to graze through the day.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: schlacter

                                                                                                                                                          vet vet vet and vet.

                                                                                                                                                          what county in FL? folks who give a crap know about the other groups and if available can locate the most affordable healthcare. 6 degrees of separation and all.

                                                                                                                                                          and I believe there are Catahoula rescues out there if it's all too much.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: schlacter

                                                                                                                                                            This dog is VERY dangerously thin. Having been involved in the rescue of racing greyhounds, I have seen a nnumber of emaciated dogs but if they have no underlying medical problems, they are ravenous and will quickly gain weight, even if they have parasites. Long-term starvation/malnutrition can result in permanent organ damage. The dog needs more than bloodwork. X-rays/ultrasound and/or hospitalization may be needed. She could be in pain from any number of causes including oral disease, which would be the first thing I'd check for. If she recovers, be prepared for big changes in personality, if her current behavior is because of her poor condition. Get some all-meat baby food - now! - and see if she will lap that up. Best of luck with her - but don't delay. If I found a dog in that shape, I'd be in the car, now, en route to the nearest emergency vet.