View Full Version : Skinny Minnie

6th March 2012, 12:37 AM
My cavalier, Reagan will be one year in just under a month now, and he is so skinny! All the cavaliers I see are rather plump, and it makes me worried. He eats fine, and goes on at least one thirty minute walk a day. He is happy as a clam and shows no signs of any health problems, he is just skinny. What do you guys suggest I do to plumpen him up a bit?

6th March 2012, 03:01 AM
Keep him on puppy food a little longer, maybe add extra treats. Has he had a fecal test or been wormed lately? Winston loves freeze dried chicken livers.

6th March 2012, 03:30 AM
I will check out the liver treats! Although, he has some the vet gave him that he refuses to eat. I guess he just works off everything he eats. He plays out in the yard everyday with my boyfriend and will run for hours straight if we didn't make him come back inside! I'm just hoping as he gets a little older his metabolism will slow down and he will get a little huskier. I just don't want people to think I don't feed my dog, because he is the most spoiled little guy I know.

6th March 2012, 03:42 AM
The most important thing is to get him to his vet before you try to do anything as there most likely is no reason to do anything. :) Your vet can tell you if he is actually too thin or not. Sadly these days so many dogs are overweight -- cavaliers are one of a handful of breeds with an actual genetic predisposition to being overweight (very dangerous in a breed with endemic heart issues!) that those cavaliers you are seeing may simply be too heavy -- this sounds like the case if they are 'plump'. According to a chart at my vets, a single pound overweight for an average size cavalier would be like 20-30 lbs overweight for a human. So absolutely avoid having a plump cavalier! It will take several years off the typical cavalier's life to be overweight. :(

Now: if your vet believes he is seriously underweight, then the vet needs to determine why. If he has a good appetite and eats normally, then common causes of low weight would be worms, other intestinal parasites, or less likely, possibly a wide variety of potential medical issues which it would be very important to determine now. Your vet needs to work to eliminate the potential causes.

I would guess your dog is probably in fine weight -- the majority of cavaliers I see every week are overweight! And therefore the dogs you meet are probably never a good point of comparison.

Personally I don't recommend feeding puppy foods at all --including to puppies -- unless a dog is seriously underweight. But people all feel differently and there's lots of discussions on that topic on the board elsewhere! :)

6th March 2012, 04:06 AM
One additional point: cavaliers like all dogs really are often a bit gangly still at this age. Males take up to two years to fill out and he will still have some filling out to do. There's a big difference between a healthy and fit, mature male and a fat male! So getting a vet's opinion on whether there is actually anything wrong with him is important -- if he is just gangly and slim I'd leave him be. :)

6th March 2012, 06:36 AM
Brooklyn is always called "thin" but I think it is better described as long and lean. Some cavs are stalky, some are longer and leaner. Plus, Brooklyn is super active so she is toned vs. sickly looking...and when she was a pup, SUPER gangly ;) She is just now filling out...a little! He mama was just like her though.

6th March 2012, 09:10 AM
I agree that the "norm" is to see overweight Cav's. People comment on how skinny Howard is. .....we just don't overfeed him! ;) He has a really good coverage and isn't wasting a way, so we, and the vet, are happy with what we feed him.

He went to stay with a friend for 5 days as I was away and Tom would have been at work too long each day, and when he came back he was noticeably plumper. I have no idea how much they fed him, but it was obviously not what I wrote down. Their dogs are overweight and it drives me insane.

6th March 2012, 10:25 AM
Oh to have a cavalier who doesnt eat everything ,lol as I have charlies who are known for being picky you can end up with one very fat smug cavalier sat amongst 7 empty bowls.

If the vet thinks he is fine dont worry , they live longer if they are thinner. My 3 year old is very skinny but he's happy and healthy so when i'm tempted to fatten him up so he looks better i have to remind myself he wont be healthier for it, its just cosmetic.

6th March 2012, 12:17 PM
It can be surprising what is actually overweight in this breed. For Butters' 6-month check-up, the vet told us he was overweight. Butters had in fact turned into a "Butter Ball!" It was shocking to my husband and I, because he looked to us like the perfect weight. Our vet indicated that you should be able to feel the last 2 ribs in a dog of ideal weight. With careful monitoring of his food intake (he was already getting enough exercise), it was quite a bit of work getting him to that ideal weight! I agree with Karlin about getting the vet's opinion, and with the norm being overweight cavaliers, it can sometimes be surprising what the ideal really is.

6th March 2012, 01:25 PM
It also seems to be the norm in labs. All too often you see a waddling barrel plodding down the street looking more akin to a sausage dog than a Labrador. Somehow people think this is how they should look.

Our old dog, Mia was half Rhodesian Ridgeback and half lab. She had such a beautiful shape to her, and had long legs. She looked like a black lab, for the most part. I had people yelling at me that my dog was underweight and that I was obviously starving her. I had to calmly point out that most dogs should have defined waists. Thankfully the abusive few were in a minority and most people commented on how beautiful she looked....being all muscle, rather than fat and my vet always commented on how refreshing it was to see a "lab" that wasn't grossly overweight.

Howard might be 25odd pounds lighter but I will treat him the same as Mia. I don't give "treats". When training we use his food. (he doesn't have much breakfast because I use it throughout the day when training. He sometimes gets a bit of cooked chicken or raw mince, but gets less dry food as a result!

6th March 2012, 01:38 PM
Keep him on puppy food a little longer, maybe add extra treats. Has he had a fecal test or been wormed lately? Winston loves freeze dried chicken livers.

I agree, check check may be in order as Leo got worms aged 2 years and he starteed to loose weight but over a period of about 5 months quite slowly, it was hard to notice in fact.

Good luck! :)

6th March 2012, 04:25 PM
My cavvy didn't fill out till well after a year! My dog groomer says barking heads is good as her dog filled out on that x

6th March 2012, 04:59 PM
Lola was a little skinny minnie and a nightmare to get to eat, but since we got her spayed at the start of December she now eats like a horse and has piled the pounds on, shes now a nice healthy weight. Dont know if this would be an option for you though..

6th March 2012, 05:21 PM
as I have charlies who are known for being picky you can end up with one very fat smug cavalier sat amongst 7 empty bowls.


Yes isn't that just it! They are also devils for getting at any food source -- I had to point out to my partner Chris that one of my dogs... (LILY are you listening?!) had chewed through the bottom of the huge food bag he keeps in the utility room and she and Leo were helping themselves. Mine will lunge at any scrap of food or even rocks that could possibly be food (they leave them when they find they are not :rolleyes: on walks, while other breeds and mixes that I walk -- Chris' GSD, my neighbours' dogs -- never even look at stuff on the road.

Labs are def another breed with a genetic predisposition to get fat -- that's why it is also rare to see fit labs and common to see pudgy labs. There are about seven breeds I think that seem to lack the 'appetite turn off switch' gene and will eat and eat. Cavalier puppies generally are very good at self regulating what they eat but once they hit around 1 that often changes. One reason this breed in particular should never be free-fed!

Neutered dogs all generally need about 20% fewer calories (or more exercise!). The metabolism slows slightly. I wish vets were clearer with people about this as there's no need for neutered dogs to gain weight at all. :) Also: in my experience most feeding recommendations on bags and tins of food are way, WAY over what a dog should be eating and treats like Bonios and dog biscuits are definitely ridiculously high on "recommended daily amounts." (also people forget to calculate in the daily treats and feed the full food amount that is recommended on bags or tins, which would be total daily calories if NO other treats are going to be feed). I feed about a third less than what is suggested on bags. On dog biscuits -- typical recommendation for a cavalier sized dog is 3-4 bone biscuits a DAY which for a cavalier would be twice the total amount of daily food -- just in biscuits!!! Items like Dentastix and pigs ears are really, really high in calories. A single pig ear for a cavalier is about two days' total calories so they should be given sparingly.

The last two rib advice is very helpful!

Anyway sorry, the thread has gone off on a 'too much weight' tangent... :)

Karen and Ruby
6th March 2012, 05:24 PM
Boys do tend to stay thinner for longer! I have a skinny mini myself but it's just the way he is. And I'm glad he is lean! He burns of calories as he eats them!

7th March 2012, 04:11 AM
Thanks for everyone's responses! We know Reagan is in perfect health due to recent vet check ups, so no worries there, and thanks to everyone else for all of their encouragement of reagan being at a healthy weight!!

9th March 2012, 04:44 PM
Oh good, you agree that his health is fine, so I wouldn't worry about the skinny body. My Claire is very petite and I keep her very slim. She has a nice shape, and it wouldn't take much for her to look fat.

But, I do get comments about her being 'skinny'. I just ignore them since people are just too use to seeing overweight dogs any more. I have two friends who have obese dogs and it drives me crazy. They are sooo lazy because of their extra weight and I can't imagine the issues it's putting on their hearts.

Keeping your dog slim has been a discussion here a lot.

I think most breeds of Spaniels are chow hounds. I've had several Cocker Spaniels, and I use to always say they would eat cardboard with gravy on it. I kept them slim also, and one of them people use to ask me what she was because she was slim and small boned. Sad that people are use to fat dogs.

10th March 2012, 10:48 PM
Fully agree - I often get asked if Maddie and Pippin aren't a bit skinny (only when its raining and they arent so fluffy so that you can see their true shape), but it is just that they aren't fat. Rosie at 6 months old is at the leggy skinny stage, but you can't see her ribs and she has a good appetite and plenty of energy so I'm not worried. A breed that often is overweight can often look "wrong" when they are the correct weight.