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Wet food for an underweight dog

Discuss ways to improve the quality of your dog's life and longevity through proper nutrition; a place for all of your questions and answers about feeding your pooch!

Please keep discussions fun, friendly, and helpful at all times. Non-informative posts criticizing a particular brand or another poster’s choice of food are not allowed in this Forum. References to any brand of food as "junk," "garbage," or other harsh names will be removed.

  
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Kodiak

The cheese ninja
 
 
Barked: Sat Jun 30, '12 7:44pm PST 
After all the bad storms we've had, we had the power go out at the boarding facility of a nearby rescue. It's been over 100 degrees also, so they sent out emails asking for emergency fosters to get the dogs into air conditioning. Ours is doing great so far, but he is very underweight. If he weren't so furry, you'd be able to see every rib and every vertebra. Unfortunately, he seems to be a picky eater. It may be that settling in will help his appetite, since he went through a lot of heat and upheaval, but I'm not positive. The rescue suggested kibble with chicken and sweet potatoes. He inhaled one chicken breast, but that was it. I had even mixed the sweet potatoes with a teaspoon of sour cream and a pinch of salt. They also thought mixing wet food into the kibble might help. Some wet food looks really unappetizing to me. Is there a kind that your dog seems to like? Or a simple homemade recipe that works? I tried chopping the chicken up really small and stirring it in, but he spit out the pieces of kibble that got into his mouth. We need to avoid going too crazy with stuff like peanut butter and dairy, since we don't want to get him addicted to people food, so mainly looking for meat type stuff. I guess I could just make a simple gravy with pureed meat. Has anyone tried something like that? It would be helpful to know what the good kinds are, so I can check out the ingredients.
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Barney,- friend of- Lennox

Bad to the Bone
 
 
Barked: Sat Jun 30, '12 8:42pm PST 
The heat and stress can really "subdue" an appetite...

If you're trying to get weight on, puppy formulas have more calories, more fat...and tend to smell a bit more appetizing as well. Go try some canned puppy, maybe a chicken, or chicken/rice formula since he seems to like poultry.

If you can afford it, and if the dog's a large breed (over 50 lbs as an adult), Ultra Large Breed Puppy's a big hit with the folks Cindy knows. But it is a bit higher priced as a premium food...so you could try comething like Max Puppy or another puppy canned formula.

Also, soaking the kibble in homemade chicken broth can make it smell and taste better. Here's hoping the poor dogs appetite improves as some of the stress settles a little. Keep us posted please.
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Kodiak

The cheese ninja
 
 
Barked: Sun Jul 1, '12 6:09am PST 
Thanks for your response. He is doing remarkably well, overall. He and Kody sprawled out in the cool spot in the kitchen, slept all night, and woke us up by mutual agreement with wagging butts at 8:30. His anxiety about not having all of us in sight makes me so sad. He lays at my feet and gets up to follow me wherever I go. I am so tempted to just never leave, but the shelter recommends frequent, short absences to help him get used to coming and going. But he is playing with Kody, being calm and quiet in the house, pooping outside, learning to sit and walk on a loose leash, and letting strangers pet him.

I think he won't be as big as 50 pounds even when he gets to his right size. The puppy food is a good idea. They think he is under a year old, actually. I'll pick some up in a little bit when the store opens.
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Tanuk CGC

Sherpa Tanuk of- Everest
 
 
Barked: Sun Jul 1, '12 8:24am PST 
Puppy food or maybe mixing in cat food? I hesitate to suggest anything more exotic since you don't want him getting hooked, and it does sound like he's holding out for the good stuff. Has he had a thorough health check? Is he just skinny from lack of food? It's odd that he'd refuse food if that were the case. I wonder if he's skinny because he's always been a butt about feeding and his previous home just couldn't deal? Just speculating.
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Kodiak

The cheese ninja
 
 
Barked: Sun Jul 1, '12 9:02am PST 
Well, he rejected Verus puppy kibble mixed with Nature's Variety wet chicken food :-(. If he were normal sized, I would say it was better for his adoption possibilities not to be babied, and that he'd start eating when he got hungry enough, but I think he's at least 20 or 30% underweight by normal standards, so I'm cooking some more chicken.

We don't know too much about his history. I fired off an email yesterday to the foster coordinator asking if he has any health problems, but I think they are just so busy dealing with everything. Since so many volunteers are local, a lot of them don't have AC and are trying to keep pets cool, only have intermittent cell and email due to no power, etc. So it may be a few days before we get a thorough report from his adoption coordinator. So we are just trying to do our best in the meantime. His Petfinder page said that his previous owners couldn't afford to take care of him, so I assumed they just didn't feed him enough, but it could also be that boarding was just stressful for him. He had great looking poop and isn't lethargic or vomiting, so at least there aren't any health problems obvious enough for me to recognize.

Edited by author Sun Jul 1, '12 9:10am PST

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Dexter

1249805
 
 
Barked: Sun Jul 1, '12 11:12am PST 
My puppy is exceptionally picky but so far *furiously knocking on wood* he liked wellness 05% meat mixed in with his kibble. I can get away with adding 3-4 TB to his 1 cup of kibble and then I mix mix mix mix until each pieces is lightly covered.

Best of luck. Picky eaters can be very stressful.
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Tessie

Which way did- they go?
 
 
Barked: Sun Jul 1, '12 12:03pm PST 
I've had great luck with both of my extremely picky Saint Bernards using Weruva canned and Orijen dry. Another Saint I fostered that was very underweight did good and put on 20 lbs feeding her 3 cans of Merrick Working Dog Stew and kibble.

I actually started putting peanut butter on the bottom of Tessie's bowl (smearing it all around) and putting her food on top. It worked!

Picky dogs can be a pain but once you figure out what works it gets easier and easier way to go
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Kodiak

The cheese ninja
 
 
Barked: Sun Jul 1, '12 12:30pm PST 
Dang. This guy is a tough nut to crack. I simmered some chicken thighs, then made a thick, rich gravy from the rendered fat and stock, put it in the food processor with the chicken meat, and mixed it with kibble. "Hah!" I thought. "No dog will be able to resist this!" He'd been sitting pertly in the kitchen the whole time I was cooking, staring up and sniff sniff sniffing. Well, no luck. When he ignored the bowl of food, I hand fed him pieces of chicken closer and closer to the bowl, then tried half-submerging them, but he ignored them unless they were fully sitting on top with no extraction required. I hand fed him a couple bites of the kibble/gravy, thinking he'd catch onto how good it was, but that didn't work either. Then I gave up and just fed him chicken. He ate about 3 or 4 thighs worth, so that was good, and he started learning to down and touch in the process. I guess since I am not willing to let him get hungry enough to eat the kibble, he will just have to not be nutritionally balanced for now. I think lack of calories would be the bigger evil. Once the rescue people get their feet under them, I'll ask what to do next. I really do think it's stress as much as pickiness.
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Maxwell

I'm triple- superior MAD- now!
 
 
Barked: Sun Jul 1, '12 3:02pm PST 
He may need to be fed more often. Sassy could put weight on if I fed her more often. Her system couldn't hold and process the amount of food it used to handle just fine. He could have a shrunken gut from not enough food.

I would feed him to his ideal weight and not try to stuff him. You don't know what he had been getting, it is very possible you are feeding many times more calories than he had been getting. And the rich food could well be giving him a tummy ache since he isn't used to it, watch the poop situation carefully!
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Kodiak

The cheese ninja
 
 
Barked: Sun Jul 1, '12 3:28pm PST 
Well, I don't actually know his ideal weight- or his current weight, but he only ate about half a mouthful of rich food- the rest was chicken with the bone and skin removed. So I think his system will be ok, even if it's more calories than usual. Since I have him temporarily, they said the most important thing right now is weight gain. If he goes back to boarding, he may not get good quality food, and if we are able to keep him until he gets adopted, he will have another stressful adjustment. So while we don't want to overdo it so much that he vomits or has intestinal pain, we do want to get as many calories in as we can.
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