Is my dog underweight? How can I get her to add a few pounds to her body weight?

I adopted an 8 year old Sheltie mix from the Humane Society (Foster Program) 2 months ago. She is a well-mannered, happy dog. Her weight at adoption was 23 lbs. She still weighs in at 23 lbs.
We have tried different food for her and she favors the "Moist and Meaty" brand food and eats 1 to 1-1/2 pouches a day.
I almost cringe when I pet her and feel her backbone and ribs. Other than feeling her skeleton, she shows no signs of ill health and she is a happy, well adjusted dog that still has a good playing streak in her.
I've heard that Shelties are not the breed of dog that hangs on to weight and she should be lean, as she is now.
I'm looking for a second opinion here, I guess.

Thanks for the help,

Kat :-)

Asked by Member 697214 on Aug 17th 2008 Tagged underweight, thin in Food & Nutrition
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I adopted a 13 pound Beagle/Border Collie from the shelter 3 weeks ago. She has gained 6 pounds. She is still very lean, but her hip bones no longer feel razor sharp & her backbone is a little less prominent.

She eats Canidae Chicken & Rice- very high calorie, meat #1 ingredient, no corn, no wheat, no soy, no pesticides - all those things that are found in grocery store food that contribute to a dog being less than healthy.

There are other good foods out there. This just happens to be the one that agrees with my other dog. IMO, it is the best priced of the better foods.

Your dog should be slim - America is a country of overweight dogs - but should have a decent covering on her hips, backbone & ribs. No more than 2 ribs should be visible. (That doesn't apply to your Sheltie & my BC. The ribs aren't visible because of the coat.) I guess we go by feel.

She should do well on some better food.

It sounds like she has has found a very nice home with you.

Moira answered on 8/17/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Here is some information about dog body condition:

My dog was overweight at adoption, so I asked my veterinarian for advice on providing good nutrition for my dog. Your vet should also be able to tell you what a healthy rate of weight gain should be for your dog. From what I've seen, many shelter dogs tend to be either underweight or overweight, probably because their past experiences have taught them poor eating habits.

I agree with the previous poster - you should look for a high-quality diet that is also high in calories. You can ask your vet for recommendations.

Good Luck with your new dog - I also adopted an older dog from a Humane Society and he has been wonderful!

Zack answered on 8/18/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Take this from one who KNOWS skinny dogs -- I foster retired racing greyhounds.

When I have an unusually skinny foster, I mix some puppy chow with the regular food for a little while. Don't give it all puppy food because that way too many calories, but a little helps them put on some weight.

Greyhound foster mom

Member 297481 answered on 8/19/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer