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Skinny dog--doesn't gain weight?

Health, Medical or behavior problems with all animals.

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Ash
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Skinny dog--doesn't gain weight?

Postby Ash » Wed Oct 14, 2015 3:32 am

The dog I'm long-term boarding (senior chocolate lab) is super skinny and does not seem capable of putting on weight. You can see her spine and ribs clearly, and her waist is very narrow...

I free-feed her. So she has as much food as she could ever want. Sometimes it goes empty, but usually there is always food for her to eat. I also give her treats.

I'm worried about her. I haven't seen any signs of worms, but I have been worming her anyway, just in case that could be why she's so skinny.

When I had to take her to the vet for her seizures, they told me she was a good weight. She was 65 lbs. But I don't know... she is just SO skinny. It doesn't look good, in my opinion... I know that as a society we are very used to seeing overweight dogs, so a healthy, thin dog looks emaciated to us--but I know what she should look like... I think...

What could be the cause of her being so thin and not gaining weight? She's around 15 years old. Is this a sign of age or something else?

Maybe I could try weighing her again and see if she's lost any weight since the vet visit... It's just difficult since I don't have a big scale, and it's not like I can hold her to weigh her anyway since she's too big.

Thoughts? I will try to get a picture of her from above so you can see why I am so concerned. The only reason why I've delayed worrying about it is because the vet told me she looked good about 1.5 months ago...
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Re: Skinny dog--doesn't gain weight?

Postby CitricPrincess » Wed Oct 14, 2015 5:03 am

It could just be a sign of age. My family used to have a dog who was somewhere around 15 years when we lost her. She looked like skin and bones as her age got up there, ended up completely blind, nearly deaf, and going senile on top of it. But she was eating fine, and healthy other than the decline old age brings.
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Re: Skinny dog--doesn't gain weight?

Postby pat » Wed Oct 14, 2015 6:34 am

what type of food are you feeding her?
when you say senior, do you know her age?

how long has it been since you had her?
usually, it takes awhile for dogs to gain or even lose weight.
but, if she is continuing to lose, then there might be some type of problem.

sometimes thyroid issues could cause people and dogs to lose or gain weight.
blood work is the only way to know that I know of.

on another note, an older dog with some type of illness, would cause weight loss.

when you get a chance, can you post a picture.
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Re: Skinny dog--doesn't gain weight?

Postby hecate » Wed Oct 14, 2015 9:02 am

If I see symptoms like that in one of mine I get a urinalysis as well as bloodwork. UA can reveal renal disease earlier than blood values.
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Re: Skinny dog--doesn't gain weight?

Postby minervasden » Wed Oct 14, 2015 9:47 am

Muscle and fat loss will make a dog look thin and bony. Some of this may be a natural effect of the aging process and some may be part of a disease process. I don't know your arrangement with the owner regarding veterinary care, but as mentioned a lab workup is a good idea.

Is she still eating normally? Things such as dental issues or a diminishing sense of smell can cause a lack of appetite. Is she eating a senior or diet type of food? If so, the food may not be meeting her needs. Pets don't automatically need a *special* food once they reach a certain age. If you have lab work performed, that would be a good time to discuss her nutritional needs.
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Re: Skinny dog--doesn't gain weight?

Postby GitaBooks » Wed Oct 14, 2015 10:24 am

I agree with the above comments. Skinny dogs aren't healthy, but old dogs are naturally thin. Our older dog has hip problems, and so being thin is healthy for him or his hips get worse with the weight. Make sure the food is easy to digest and full of good nutrition so that your dog is getting everything it needs.
It may have an issue that makes it not digest correctly. Odd question, but what do the dogs droppings look like? Do they look normal?

I'm glad you are giving this lab a chance. Best of luck!
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Re: Skinny dog--doesn't gain weight?

Postby Ash » Wed Oct 14, 2015 12:41 pm

Thank you for all the replies in such a short time, everyone.

She is 15 years old.

She eats all that is given to her, and I give her tons of food. So there's no loss of appetite.

Her feces look good and normal. Nothing out of the ordinary there at all.

*She had bloodwork done a month and a half ago when she had a few minor seizures. And other than two values being on the low side, but still within the normal range, everything was stellar according to the vet.

She has lost a LOT of muscle tone. The vet told me this was particularly common in senior labradors.

I'm feeding her Natural Balance Ultra, the dry variety. It has a 3.5 out of 5 star rating on Dog Food Advisor. So it is a good product. She's not eating anything "senior" or "diet."

She has been in my care off and on this year as I've been boarding her (usually for weeks at a time). But as of the middle of July, she has been with me while the owner is sorting out her move and trying to find a suitable home for her. So I'd been around her quite a bit before she came here to "stay." And she's been with me for the past three months.
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Re: Skinny dog--doesn't gain weight?

Postby TamanduaGirl » Wed Oct 14, 2015 1:28 pm

If the blood work is clear it's probably just old age. You could maybe try supplementing some canned food to add in something a bit richer but if the vet thought her weight was okay and she's not declining you ma not want to fiddle. Hyzzie will stand on the scale for me but she's not big but heavy enough to get a weight by herself. If your vets nice they may let you come in just to get a weight for free.
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Re: Skinny dog--doesn't gain weight?

Postby pat » Wed Oct 14, 2015 7:58 pm

15 is really up there in age. did the vet say anything about her heart?
most of my dogs that lived to their full life lost weight.
my yellow lab use to be overweight. but, as he got older, he started having heart problems, he lost a lot of weight.
my other dogs that had health issues also lost weight, they ate OK, maybe a less as they got older.Actually, he lived to be almost 15. I had to have him put down due to his heart issues.

as TG mentioned, a vet should let you weigh her at at not charge. my vet even told me if I ever wanted to weigh my dogs,
I can bring them in at no cost. good idea that TG mentioned adding more richer foods.

at 15, she might have something wrong where the vet didn't do a complete test. a complete test of everything can get pretty costly.

on the blood work, there are many health issues that can be tested, however, that too can be more costly.
(at least at my vet anyway)
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Re: Skinny dog--doesn't gain weight?

Postby TamanduaGirl » Wed Oct 14, 2015 8:42 pm

Quasi lost weight with his heart failure but it was really advanced by then, with lots of coughing and lose of energy and appetite. It would probably have been obvious to the vet, but if he lost since being seen last it's something to check as it can happen pretty fast. Quasi didn't last long once he was in heart failure but on average they last longer than he did with treatment.
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Re: Skinny dog--doesn't gain weight?

Postby pat » Thu Oct 15, 2015 7:13 am

TG, sounds similar to what jed had as Quasi. can't remember. but, he did start to lose some weight before I knew he had heart problems. toward the end, he got really bad. I took him to the vet to have him put down.

one of my coonhounds from the past had a heart murmur didn't know till the vet checked him. not that it would have killed him, I think I gave him meds for it, can't remember.this was when he was 9,he lived to be 13. he died of a heart attack at home.

do you think some dogs can have heart issues without the vet knowing?

but, the ribs showing on ash's dog, don't sound too good.
ash, can you post a picture when you get time. I know how frustrating and upsetting it is when our kids have health issues,
and we are not sure what is wrong. however, as they reach their golden years, some type of health problem is expected :cry:
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