View Full Version : more queries on weight gain

25th February 2007, 08:40 PM
Our puppy is 5 months. I gradually transferred her from the fresh meat/tinned food given by the breeder, to James Wellbeloved about 2 months ago. She was fine on it for ages, then she seemed to get a bit fussy and I was wondering whether to go down to 1 meal a day. At this point she went back to the breeder for 48 hrs (while I was away) where she mucked in with the other 20 dogs there and was apparently ravenous for the fresh meat/tripe etc given by the breeder.

The breeder felt she was underweight and strongly disapproves of any of the dried foods, and sent me away with my tail between my legs and a packet of tripe! Disgusting though it was I dutifully dished it up - only to find that it gave Scampi the runs (to my delight because now I have an excuse not to give it to her!).

In an effort still to put weight on her, I have been giving her the Wellbeloved as before (the runs have stopped), but sometimes adding Nature's Menu complete moist food. She has turned her nose up completely at both offerings for 3 whole days. Yesterday she got the cat food, and she has been given miniscule training treats when we've been working with her on walks.

I will take her to the vet on Tues to double check, though she seems well in herself, but I am worried about two things. Firstly, although I tell myself she won't starve herself - she is looking thin. Secondly, I have been so pleased to be able to take her back to the breeder if we are away, who is wonderful, but am now worried about the fact that whatever food I eventually get her to eat will be rejected after each time she is exposed to what she gets there. The alternative would be kennels...

I have read the other post today on the subject and followed the link to the article on diet. Do you think we should stop even the tiny training treats until she starts to eat properly?

My feeling is that she is trying to be quite manipulative and I am determined not to have a fusspot on my hands, but equally I am worried by her not eating!

Cathy Moon
25th February 2007, 09:24 PM
In my opinion, if the breeder says she is too thin, she's too thin. She is also in a very heavy teething stage, so her mouth doesn't feel very good - that may explain the fussiness. I would feed her both the JWB (softened) and the tripe or fresh meat, and I'd offer her 3 meals a day rather than 2 until she fills out a bit. If she doesn't eat the JWB, maybe you could soften it with warm water, then let it cool before you feed it to her.

I would forget the treats for now, as your puppy needs the best nutrition possible, and treats aren't as good as a balanced food. You can always offer JWB kibble as a treat.

Whenever you change a pup's food suddenly, he/she will most likely get the runs. So it's better to mix the regular food with the new food for a period of time.

Some breeders feel puppies should be kept on the plump side so that if they get sick they will have some reserves to draw on to get them through the illness.

Boarding her at the breeders as a puppy is probably preferable to boarding at a kennel until she is full grown.

26th February 2007, 07:55 PM
I'd feed what YOU want to feed and works with your lifestyle and what you can manage with your dog, not what the breeder prefers unless it also works for you -- that is her choice for her dogs, and she is fine and probably, very welcome to advise, but your dog is now your dog, and you are entitled to make your own healthy choices. In my experience dogs fed a nice range of foods rather than just kibble day in and out will easily adapt to something new when boarding then go back to their old food. My dogs can get softer stools when fed a different (especially poorer quality) food or something really unusual (hence I give their food to the kennel for them) but generally they get different things all the time and don't have problems. Tripe is really good for dogs and they love it -- especially its stinkiness I think! But you shouldn't feel you have to feed it. I prefer dried tripe treats and goive those regularly as extra special treats.

Foods can be an area where people have very strong opinions by the way. There's no law against having someone's opinion go in one ear and out the other (politely, of course).

A healthy choice of food -- eg a kibble like James Wellbeloved -- is a fine choice and a dog is not going to be deprived of needed nutrients fed this. She may or may not be underweight -- if you are concerned I'd talk to your vet. Most breeders will note puppies can be thin or plump and often vary in between depending on what growth stage they are in. I personally wouldn't want to keep a puppy plump just as I wouldn't want to keep a child plump -- most generally don't get illnesses and will not need to live off of a fat reserve -- but as Cathy notes some breeders may make that choice and recommend it. Yet another perspective to consider! :lol:

Breeders vary quite a bit in perspective as well so it is worth weighing up all the variables here -- what you are comfortable with, what is convenient, what your vet says regarding weight, what level of authority your breeders speaks from (eg does she show? Or does she breed for a pet market? A reputable show breeder's opinion I'd give more weight to. Some breeders' idea of thin would be my idea of normal weight. :lol:

This is my recommended page for anyone feeding a cavalier to read:


Then consider where your pup fits in and what choices you wish to make.

One thing to consider: why not use kibble as the base for meals but consider using the tinned or fresh meat your breeder recommends mixed in, either a couple times a week or daily, or alternating with something like tinned sardines, cooked chicken, ground beef.. . many ideas on recipes or additions in previous threads and the Caring for your Cavalier section.

27th February 2007, 07:29 AM
Thanks Karlin - all very sensible and useful advice.

The breeder not only shows but judges and I really respect her opinion. Given that she is of an older generation who doesn't have truck with the whole kibble idea - and of course it is her life...

I suppose I will keep on going with the JWB and Nature's Menu combo, buy some dried tripe treats to add to it and see how we go. I am throwing a lot away, but I will reduce the amount I give her for a while. If I keep offering both kibble and something softer, presumably I am right that she won't starve? I really don't want to go down the route of stuffing her full of tinned dog food (which I am certain she would eat) to fatten her up, only to have to get her back on to kibble at a later stage.

Thanks a lot!

27th February 2007, 05:22 PM
When Zack was that age, if i gave him anything other than kibble, he didn't eat kibble. i got into the habit of almost never giving treats. He's just as happy with toys anyway. i never had to go through the ordeal of him not eating for days. He would go all day without eating, and then at night would eat all the kibble, as he finally got hungry enough. I couldn't give him chews like bully sticks because he would treat those as a meal. To my surprise, Zack would not even eat canned dog food. He'd like it for about one day, and then after a day, he'd turn up his nose at it. So that was good in a way because i preferred not to feed it, i just wanted to feed kibble.

When i first got him, he ate only kibble. then he was sick and i had him on boiled chicken and white rice which he was absolutely thrilled with, but when i went to put him back on dog food, he showed no interest in any of it except for a day or so. I tried lots of different canned and kibble foods. Eventually I got what Karlin is saying about, just feed him what i want to feed him and when he gets hungry enough, he'll eat it. He was always a good size and never got thin.

My daughter's cavalier, Belle, is a few months older than Zack. She has a smaller frame and is a smaller dog. She has always been very thin. The first time i saw her i was worried she had cancer. She was about 6 months old then. I insisted they take her right to the vet, although their breeder said it was good for them to be on the thin side, that is, it was normal for a cavalier to be trim. Their vet said she was fine.

Still a few months ago, my daughter and boyfriend said they thought she had lost some weight, she lived with Lisa and Joe and their cat Aurora. They always said she didn't seem very interested in dog food, but they gave her rawhides a lot.

For maybe a month and a half now, Belle is living temporarily with me. She is still very thin, after a bath it was really dramatic. But i've stopped worrying about it because she is so full of life, so playful and happy, she has a good appetite, about the same as Zack. I feed them twice a day and i can't say for sure how much each one is eating because they eat together, but she does eat and she sometimes initiates the eating ritual that they have. Neither one is 'dominant' or 'submissive' and they just take turns at the bowls' til the food is gone.

Other than that, i give them a half carrot stick a day, and either a Sams Yam or a Pegetable chew treat, or a Kong with their kibble in it, and sometimes some Merricks lamb filet square bits, about a quarter of a square. I don't think she has gained weight while she's here. Her coat looks good, her eyes are bright and beautiful. She is quite thin.
But she's been seen by vets throughout her life and they have not seen a problem.