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Trying To Put Weight Back On


Guest cwholsin
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Guest cwholsin

Hey GTers,

 

Looking for some food advice.

Hermes came to live with us this summer, he just got off the track this past spring. When we brought him home, he had massive muscles and weighed 74lbs.

 

2.5 months later, he's lost a total of 10-11 lbs. At his tooth cleaning apt about a month and change, he had lost 7 lbs and at a follow-up for shots a few weeks later he had lost another 3-4 lbs for a weight of 63.5. I know he's lost a lot of muscle tone from being a retired athlete, it's visible on him and the bloodwork showed similar evidence.

 

I was a little more concerned when he had lost an additional 3 or 4 pounds in just the two/three weeks afterwards. He thin, but not emaciated. His last three ribs show, hip bones show and I was advised for him to put on some weight (not by the vet, by another greyhound owner)

 

He's a young dude still (just turned 3 this summer) and is fairly active. Daily walks and park trips 3 times a week or so instead of a walk to run about with other dogs for an hour. He's was getting 4 cups of Wellness Core kibble a day but we increased it to 5 cups a month ago, but still lost weight when weighed at the vet. The vet hasn't expressed a concern since we told them he was a retired racer and was losing muscle he no longer needed at the time of the first observed weight loss. Obviously we'll keep an eye on him, but I'm a little concerned that his weight keeps dropping.

 

Is that much weight loss pretty typical? Is he just going to stay skinny until his metabolism slows down no matter how much we're feeding him? What are your experiences with dogs newly retired?

Edited by cwholsin
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I think most ex-racers put on weight since they don't work out as much and fat weighs more than muscle.

 

4-5 cups a day sounds like a sufficient amount of food. How many times a day do you feed? I don't know much about Wellness Core. So I don't know if it's going right thru him. Does he get any treats? Anything else?

 

If he had been sickly, I would have recommended Ensure Plus or eggnog. But it sounds like he's not getting enough now.

 

I've only had girls but some of them have had up to 6 cups a day (3 twice a day)

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Guest avadogner

Hi Hermes Proud Mom,

I'm sorry he's worrying you so. I don't have much to offer in advise. Augie is packing on lbs since he came home (up to 88 lbs now). He needs about 2 more to be just right. Ava on the other hand has gone on a hunger strike. She's about to be 11 and has lost her interest in food. I've tried doing baked chicken and ground sirloin. she just pushes it around her bowl thinking I won't notice she has only eaten about a 1/8 of it. I wish there was an ensure plus for greys. I will follow this thread and try out some of the tips with Ava. She has me worried to death. I can't bear the thought of losing her. She's lost about 5 lbs over the last 2 months. All checked out with the vet but her arthritis is getting worse and now the weather is getting cold. Hang in there and keep stuffing your pup.

-ava and augie's mum

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Guest cwholsin

I think most ex-racers put on weight since they don't work out as much and fat weighs more than muscle.

 

4-5 cups a day sounds like a sufficient amount of food. How many times a day do you feed? I don't know much about Wellness Core. So I don't know if it's going right thru him. Does he get any treats? Anything else?

 

If he had been sickly, I would have recommended Ensure Plus or eggnog. But it sounds like he's not getting enough now.

 

I've only had girls but some of them have had up to 6 cups a day (3 twice a day)

 

He's getting 2-2.5 cups twice a day with extra treats before meals for training. His body hasn't changed since feeding 1 cup more per day, but all his worm tests came back negative and he's on preventative treatment. The extra cup doesn't seem to have done anything to put a bit more on :P

 

He has very nice bm's 2 or 3x a day that aren't too hard or too soft. He seems to be healthy in all other respects. Wellness Core is a grain free, 34% protein, 14% fat so it's a high calorie food. wink.gif

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Guest argolola

I have 2 special needs greys and they both get vanilla Ensure. Our boy was so thin last year, but the Ensure has made a world of difference. God bless your little sweetie.

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I think you're right to be concerned about that much weight loss, given the circumstances. It is unusual. Has Hermes had a blood chemistry panel done? It might be worth a look. I'm guessing that his bloodwork was a limited pre-op variety to assess suitability for anesthesia, that it showed elevated creatinine (and BUN?), and that this was attributed to muscle loss. Fair enough, except there's no obvious reason why he should be losing muscle. How many miles a day is he covering with his walks?

Mary with Jumper Jack (2/17/11) and angels Shane (PA's Busta Rime, 12/10/02 - 10/14/16) and Spencer (Dutch Laser, 11/25/00 - 3/29/13).

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Guest cwholsin

I think you're right to be concerned about that much weight loss, given the circumstances. It is unusual. Has Hermes had a blood chemistry panel done? It might be worth a look. I'm guessing that his bloodwork was a limited pre-op variety to assess suitability for anesthesia, that it showed elevated creatinine (and BUN?), and that this was attributed to muscle loss. Fair enough, except there's no obvious reason why he should be losing muscle. How many miles a day is he covering with his walks?

 

Walks are between 1 and 2 miles. When we first got him, he still had huge racing muscles (couldn't sit comfortably until he'd lost some of it). His overall condition hasn't seem to have changed apart from less shoulder and butt/thigh muscle. His ribs aren't showing more than they were when we first brought him home, but his hipbones are more noticeable.

 

We requested to have his blood sent out for the full workup before his teeth cleaning, so when the vet told us that everything else was normal but slightly elevated creatine he should've had the full panel. It's possible they didn't run the full bloodwork and I'll definitely ask when I get a call back from the vet about housetraining concerns. The techs didn't comment on his further weight loss at the follow-up visit. What values should we be asking about?

 

I appreciate the advice. I asked the hubby to pick up a bottle or two of Ensure on his way home tonight to see if Hermes likes that.

Edited by cwholsin
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Walks are between 1 and 2 miles. When we first got him, he still had huge racing muscles (couldn't sit comfortably until he'd lost some of it). His overall condition hasn't seem to have changed apart from less shoulder and butt/thigh muscle. His ribs aren't showing more than they were when we first brought him home, but his hipbones are more noticeable.

 

We requested to have his blood sent out for the full workup before his teeth cleaning, so when the vet told us that everything else was normal but slightly elevated creatine he should've had the full panel. It's possible they didn't run the full bloodwork and I'll definitely ask when I get a call back from the vet about housetraining concerns. The techs didn't comment on his further weight loss at the follow-up visit. What values should we be asking about?

 

I appreciate the advice. I asked the hubby to pick up a bottle or two of Ensure on his way home tonight to see if Hermes likes that.

Okay, those walks aren't excessive. But until this is resolved, I'd stay closer to one mile than to two.

 

You know, it occurs to me that tapeworm causes weight loss, and tape worm isn't usually diagnosed through fecal exams. (Long story, which I'll skip.) It's most reliably found in/on the poop, as white wiggly segments when fresh or as "grains of rice" thingys when 1/2 hour old. It would be worth it to observe his pooping first-hand for a while. I'm not sure how often they shed segments; but I know it's a lot more frequently than they shed eggs (twice a year).

 

As to complete blood chemistry, it's not usually done unless a problem is suspected. I think your vet is mistaken to say he's losing muscles he doesn't need anymore; but his thinking so explains why he isn't suspecting a problem. I can't suggest exactly which values need to be looked at. Rather, I think they all need to be examined to see what value(s) is out of whack and see if there's a pattern suggestive of a disorder. It could be diabetes, which isn't limited to the aged and overweight but can also be genetically based. It could be hyperthyroidism or another metabolic disorder. It could be other things I'm not even aware of, especially since I don't know that much!! It's interesting that he doesn't seem to have any other symptoms. Okay, wait, what are the housebreaking concerns? That could suggest kidney trouble, a UTI, diabetes, or something else.

 

If you are allowed to edit your original post, I kind of wish you'd rename this thread. Something like "unexplained weight loss" or something that will seem less casual, for lack of a better word, than your current title. Then perhaps people that know a lot more than I do will read this thread and chime in with their information and advice. (I think you just need to have more than 25 posts or something, to have the privilege of revising your title by editing. I hope it's not that you have to be a GT supporter.) Really, most people who title a thread that way are just looking for high-calorie recipes and don't need the kind of input that you're actually seeking.

 

In the time I've taken to write this, maybe someone who knows something will have already replied to you! In any event, please keep us posted on how things develop, okay? :bighug

Edited by greyhead
Mary with Jumper Jack (2/17/11) and angels Shane (PA's Busta Rime, 12/10/02 - 10/14/16) and Spencer (Dutch Laser, 11/25/00 - 3/29/13).

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Forgot to add that it's best to start slow with the Ensure because at least some of us have found that it tends to make the poop a bit too loose. I have an IBD dog and started with 1/3 of a bottle at a time, because IBD dogs are especially sensitive that way. A half bottle might be a good start for Hermes, for the first couple days.

Mary with Jumper Jack (2/17/11) and angels Shane (PA's Busta Rime, 12/10/02 - 10/14/16) and Spencer (Dutch Laser, 11/25/00 - 3/29/13).

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Robin lost 12 pounds through his recent ordeal and when he was most ill he just didn't want to eat kibble. So we started giving him canned I/D food, mixed up with chunks of steak or chunks of chicken breast,with some mashed potatoes or rice thrown in. Then I started adding some canned Pedigree 'stew' type foods...the meat chunks in gravy with veggies, etc.

And as his appetite's gotten better and he's gained more weight--he's put on 5 of the 12 he lost, so far--I've been adding more kibble to the food mixture and a little less of the add-ins. It is amazing how quickly greyhounds can lose weight. Hope you find answers for Hermes soon. Please give him a hug for me!

Rita, mom to Dakota (Dakotas Dream) & Wish (Kiowa Wish Wish) and my angels

Toby (Sol Marcus) and Robin (Greys Robin Hood)

Forever missing our beloved Robin and Toby

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." Anatole France

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Guest cwholsin

Gosh! I would've talked to the vet about this much sooner if I had realized just how atypical his weight loss was! We figured that losing weight and muscle made sense since he went from racing to retired. Our vet has been wonderful thus far and I guess they haven't pushed the issue because we haven't been concerned about it.

 

Definitely going to talk to the vet tomorrow and probably go in for a fecal and to find out if the vet did the full panel for bloodwork or not. Tapeworms are a definite possibility as he's got a voracious appetite (maybe from worms taking his nutrients from him). We haven't seen anything unusual in the poo, but that doesn't necessarily mean there isn't anything.

 

The housetraining issue is that he keeps having accidents every few weeks (when we start to trust him again) and we still can't trust him in the house unattended because he won't hesitate to eliminate inside, but the consensus on that seems to be that 2 and a half months isn't very long for a dog who wasn't fostered. It never hurts to bring it up with the vet and get a second opinion!

 

Thank you so much for the support! Hermes is a lucky boy to have such a great support system already! Your experiences with your dogs are so valuable even if you may not feel like you know a lot ;) I've spent a lot of time with other people's dogs, but Hermie is my first dog of my own--so this is the first time I've been involved in every aspect of his life!

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Well, I could be wrong, but I think 2-1/2 months is more than long enough to be house-trained. Our "slow" dog took two weeks, for instance, IIRC. Our "fast" dog was our first, and he never had an accident. Neither of them were fostered. And we hadn't had a dog in 30 years when we got our first, so it's not like we were top-drawer dog trainers.:lol Have you consulted with anyone in your adoption group about it? I'd be interested to know if they'd consider 10 weeks to be within normal limits. I wonder if having accidents is related to whatever is causing the weight loss.

 

Btw, I totally feel like Debbie Downer :sad1 for pointing this out, but... A lot of us don't realize that a negative fecal exam does not mean that the dog doesn't have worms. (We found this out the hard way, involving hookworms.) A fecal looks for eggs in the poop, and all a negative fecal means is that there aren't any eggs, which may just mean that the worms aren't in the egg-shedding part of their cycle just then. This is just something I feel that all of us dog parents should know. For some reason, the vets don't seem to make a point of it. What we can do is request that fecals be repeated at shorter intervals if we're suspicious.

On a brighter note, it's all going to work out fine, cuz Hermes has you asking questions and looking out for him! :clap And I'm sure GT is going to be as solid a resource for you as it has been for our family.:wubsite

Mary with Jumper Jack (2/17/11) and angels Shane (PA's Busta Rime, 12/10/02 - 10/14/16) and Spencer (Dutch Laser, 11/25/00 - 3/29/13).

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Guest cwholsin

Well, I could be wrong, but I think 2-1/2 months is more than long enough to be house-trained. Our "slow" dog took two weeks, for instance, IIRC. Our "fast" dog was our first, and he never had an accident. Neither of them were fostered. And we hadn't had a dog in 30 years when we got our first, so it's not like we were top-drawer dog trainers.:lol Have you consulted with anyone in your adoption group about it? I'd be interested to know if they'd consider 10 weeks to be within normal limits. I wonder if having accidents is related to whatever is causing the weight loss.

 

Btw, I totally feel like Debbie Downer :sad1 for pointing this out, but... A lot of us don't realize that a negative fecal exam does not mean that the dog doesn't have worms. (We found this out the hard way, involving hookworms.) A fecal looks for eggs in the poop, and all a negative fecal means is that there aren't any eggs, which may just mean that the worms aren't in the egg-shedding part of their cycle just then. This is just something I feel that all of us dog parents should know. For some reason, the vets don't seem to make a point of it. What we can do is request that fecals be repeated at shorter intervals if we're suspicious.

On a brighter note, it's all going to work out fine, cuz Hermes has you asking questions and looking out for him! :clap And I'm sure GT is going to be as solid a resource for you as it has been for our family.:wubsite

 

 

Don't worry, we're not panicking! We just know now that this isn't normal, and should do something about it!

 

 

Hmmm.. wanna take a look at my post in Training and Behavior? It's labeled "Again?! What are we doing wrong??" and maybe you can give us some pointers? Hermes knows that going potty outside is good, but he hasn't made the connection that inside is bad and he needs to hold it when he's inside. We've tried the standard praise like crazy when he goes outside and correcting when accidents happen inside, setting a routine to teach him to rely on having x number of turnouts... and he keeps peeing in the house! We clean very well afterwards but he just pees in the house when it's not convenient to go outside (when we don't notice that he needs to go out, or when it rains--because he hates going potty in the rain). I sent an email to the adoption volunteer in my area and haven't heard back from her yet, but what I've been hearing from others is that it can take longer since he's never had to learn anything like this before.

 

Maybe you just got lucky with two easy ones ^_^ Maybe he's got a mild UTI or something that's been preventing him for learning. I'd -really- like to be able to trust him in the house soon. It sucks having to crate him anytime we can't keep an eye on him!

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Even with tapeworms, you wouldn't see that kind of weight loss in so short a time. How much does he poop every day? I would start out with getting a complete blood panel and changing his food.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Protein and fat do not put weight on, that's why the Atkin's diet works so well on humans. Carbs put on the weight. Maybe your boy needs some grain in his diet? Some carbs. Is there any reason he's grain free?

 

Also, a protein that high all the time can stress the kidneys. 28% protein is considered high in prepared kibble.

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Grain free does not mean carb free! And the idea of protein stressing healthy kidneys is a giant myth for humans and dogs. (Human low-carber speaking here.) But I agree that protein/fat levels have nothing to do with calories, and adding carbs might help with the weight (but I think non-grain carbs would be healthier).

 

It's not just racing to retired that causes weight loss via the exercise issue, though; doesn't neutering also have a significant or greater effect on muscle mass (especially for those super-muscly male dogs, as apparently Hermes was)? But if others think that's too much weight loss too fast, I'm sure they're right.

With Cocoa (DC Chocolatedrop), missing B for Beth (2006-2015)
And kitties C.J., Klara, Bernadette, John-Boy, & Sinbad

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Guest Greyt_dog_lover

Just a "typical" ideal weight for retired racers is usually 2-4 lbs from their race weight. If your boy raced at say 80lbs, you don't want to see 85 or 75. Of course you know your current situation is a bit on the odd side. I just wanted to give you a general idea of where you want to see your boy when you figure out what is going on. Nothing looks worse than a fat greyhound, or emaciated for that matter. I would also suggest you monitor his excrement every day about 15 minutes after he does his business and check for what looks like rice, this will be the tell-tale sign of tapeworm. Tapeworm is very difficult to diagnose from a regular stool sample unless you actually get lucky and take the sample with the "rice" in it. If you do see said perpetrator, put it in a plastic baggie and take immediately to your vet. Tapeworms are a pain to deal with, but not terribly life threatening.

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Lots of good leads to follow above. I would be very alarmed if he was mine. NEVER had one lose any significant weight after adoption off track or foster off track. 99.9% of them gained about 10% and then looked perfect for pet greyts. I think there is something wrong that hasn't been identified yet. Good Luck! (Also, IMHO probably not the best idea to depend on the vet or especially the techs to alert you to anything or even care enough to investigate further-just sharing my experience. Seems like a lot of times if they don't know-and they often don't- they really are not motivated to go to the trouble to find out until it becomes very serious-when they can get more money for treating it. He'll need YOU to speak for him and push the issue to find out what if anything is wrong in a timely fashion.)

Edited by racindog
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Guest cwholsin

Got an apt at 3 today! I'll update when I know more from the vet.

 

Thanks a bunch, guys! His racing weight was 75lbs, so he should be low 70's for ideal. Assuming he's not dipped below his 63-64 of the last visist (and we can figure out why this is going on) it shouldn't be too hard to put on some pounds. Would cooking up some rice and adding it to his food help for more carbs and more weight? The food he's on is grain-free, but does have other forms of carbs (sweet potatoes, etc) but not a high level of them. We went grain free because dogs don't process carbohydrates that come from grains very well, so it's really just filler in most dog foods.

 

He WAS neutered this summer. I'll ask the vet today if neutering can have an effect on weight through changing hormones. Even if not related to Hermes' issues, it's still kind of an interesting question on its own.

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Guest Swifthounds

Muscle being more dense than fat will make a dog heavier when carrying bulk muscle than when carrying leaner muscle or having the couch potato effect (the tendency for retired greyhounds to be fattened up by well-meaning owners. The walks in place of hard sprinting should lead to lean muscle rather than bulk, so that would make a hound weigh somewhat less and look substantially slimmer than right off the track.

 

Counting calories is junk science carried over from human neuorsis. When feeding a dog you look at the fat content and the protein. More protein will promote a leaner dog. Fat, unless fed to excess, is used immediately as fuel. More carbs will put on fat, which is not what you want on a sighhound, even when you want weight. Carbs are in kibble because they are required to extrude the material to make kibble, not because they are good for dogs.

 

That said, the weight loss sounds like quite a lot. Can you get a copy of the bloodwork you had done? Whether levels of BUN/creatinine are truly elevated depends on the lab and what ranges they use as normal. Greyhound tend to run higher in both than the average dog. Raw fed dogs also run higher. Both of those elevations occur where there's no loss of kidney function. What concerns me is, IIRC you posted in another thread about having issues with house training. Peeing excessively and/or indoors can be a sign of kidney issues. Protein does not stress kidneys and should not be limited in a sight hound with kidney/renal failure, except in the very late stages. Restricting protein in kidney failure dogs was the conventional thinking back when I lost my first greyhound to kidney failure more than 12 years ago, but it has long since been debunked.

 

To put weight on a dog, I would add meat (cooked or raw), rather than junk calories. That said, I would want to be sure I wasn't dealing with a kidney issue or another medical concern first.

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So glad you were able to get an appt today at 3:00! Please keep us posted.

Rita, mom to Dakota (Dakotas Dream) & Wish (Kiowa Wish Wish) and my angels

Toby (Sol Marcus) and Robin (Greys Robin Hood)

Forever missing our beloved Robin and Toby

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." Anatole France

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Guest cwholsin

Muscle being more dense than fat will make a dog heavier when carrying bulk muscle than when carrying leaner muscle or having the couch potato effect (the tendency for retired greyhounds to be fattened up by well-meaning owners. The walks in place of hard sprinting should lead to lean muscle rather than bulk, so that would make a hound weigh somewhat less and look substantially slimmer than right off the track.

 

Counting calories is junk science carried over from human neuorsis. When feeding a dog you look at the fat content and the protein. More protein will promote a leaner dog. Fat, unless fed to excess, is used immediately as fuel. More carbs will put on fat, which is not what you want on a sighhound, even when you want weight. Carbs are in kibble because they are required to extrude the material to make kibble, not because they are good for dogs.

 

That said, the weight loss sounds like quite a lot. Can you get a copy of the bloodwork you had done? Whether levels of BUN/creatinine are truly elevated depends on the lab and what ranges they use as normal. Greyhound tend to run higher in both than the average dog. Raw fed dogs also run higher. Both of those elevations occur where there's no loss of kidney function. What concerns me is, IIRC you posted in another thread about having issues with house training. Peeing excessively and/or indoors can be a sign of kidney issues. Protein does not stress kidneys and should not be limited in a sight hound with kidney/renal failure, except in the very late stages. Restricting protein in kidney failure dogs was the conventional thinking back when I lost my first greyhound to kidney failure more than 12 years ago, but it has long since been debunked.

 

To put weight on a dog, I would add meat (cooked or raw), rather than junk calories. That said, I would want to be sure I wasn't dealing with a kidney issue or another medical concern first.

 

We may do that. Fortunately, he had gained a little weight at best--and at worst the loss of weight has stopped. His creatine was a point or two outside of a normal range for, what I assume, a greyhound (since he didn't mention any of the other values that greyhounds tend to run high). So not a big difference.

 

He's running his bloodwork again to see if there have been any changes, we're testing his urine and feces for any problems in either of those areas and we'll see how things turn out tomorrow! If we do find something, it might explain why Hermes, on a food that should make him pretty energetic, sleeps all the time. (Protein and fat being the highest percentage at 34 and 14%)

 

Thanks for the tips for putting on some weight. I'll update when we know more tomorrow about what, if anything, is going on with the bloodwork, urine, and digestive tract.

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Hello there. I don't know how much of a nutritional purist you are :) but perhaps you might consider mixing in some canned food?

 

After reading Whole Dog Journal's list of recommended foods and adopting a virtually toothless old hound, I started to incorporate more canned food into my hounds' diet.

 

For example, some of the Merrick canned stew-like products -- Brats and Tots (definitely popular with my senior crowd!), Campfire Trout Feast, etc. I have also served some Wellness and Avoderm canned products. The hounds clearly like some better than others (I can tell by how much they try to lick the stainless steel off the bowl! :lol ), but they never turn their noses up at anything! No picky eaters in my house!

 

I also mix in some cooked vegetables with the kibble and canned food. Makes a nice stew.

 

I hope it's not a medical or parasite issue but rather simply adjusting the food portions.

 

Good luck! Hope Hermes starts packin' on a few pounds soon!

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