Just a light eater? Should I worry?

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Rednailz's picture
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Joined: 2008-07-16

Both of my 1-year old Dobes get 2 meals a day, a total of 4 cups of food.  One would love to eat more than that, but he looks perfect as he is and has plenty of energy, so I think we hit the right amount.  But the other Dobe varies how much he eats each day.  Some days it's 2.5 cups, some days it's 3 or 4.    Removing the dish after 10-20 minutes makes no difference.  For example, he may eat about 1 cup for breakfast and leave the rest.  So I put the dish up.  At supper, I add another 2 cups.  He eats, then goes to go do something else, like look out the window, check the toy basket, or take a nap.  Left in the dish will be 1 cup of food.  Or 6 pieces.  Or nothing because he ate it all.

It's not that he lacks an appetite, it's just that when he is done eating, he is DONE.  He is definitely smaller boned than his brother and about 10 lbs lighter, so I would say his food requirements are lower, BUT he is also more active.  (Very very bouncy!  He doesn't walk anywhere, he jogs!) 

Long story short, my concern is that he is thinner than he should be.  We are thinking of adding some wet food to the dry, just to get a few more calories.  Any other ideas or things I should be concerned about?

rgreen4's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-26

If you had my Red, you would not be worried about being too skinny or not eating. Red will eat anything, and as long as there is food in the bowl, he will eat it. Nine months ago, after a trip to the vet, who chewed me out for over feeding him (he was still gaining weight after we agreed to cut him back). His weight at the time 146 pounds. (That's no typo). I then informed the Doc that I was only feeding him 3 cups a day, 1 1/2 in the morning and 1 1/2 in the evening. After doing a blood test he was diagnosed with a thyroid problem, and has since dropped in weight to 118 (weighed two months ago)

Most dogs will eat as much as they need, and will not eat more. Just like people, some are a little thinner than others. The true questions is how does the dog look. Do his ribs stick out (should be no), can you see his ribs (should be no, although you may see hints depending on what he is doing), and is his coat glossy and smooth (when he is clean of course) should be yes. If these conditions are met, just leave him be and be thankful you do not have a problem.

Red will be on thyroid medications and restricted diet the rest of his life, but he now has more energy and Princess is wearing him out.

Rednailz's picture
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Joined: 2008-07-16

My other dog doesn't have any problem eating!  He prances around the kitchen at mealtime!

Just an update....  The last time we were at the vet, she mentioned that she would like to see about 5 more pounds on my red boy.  A longtime Dobe owner (whose red female has the same light eating habit) I talked to mentioned adding a liquid supplement to the food.  The vet said this would be fine.

So now he gets the dry food, some supplement, and canned food mixed in.  And he still gets days when he doesn't want to eat much!  We have accepted that he is rather quirky and we're just happy is in good health.

rgreen4's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-26

I am glad that you refreshed this discussion. Now that Princess is 10 months old she has become a bit picky. She started on Nutro Large Breed Puppy food as the breeder had used that when weaning her. However, she does not seem to like the large kibbles in Nutro Large Breed adult dog food, and does not seem to like Canadae All Stages which has small kibbles. I tried Pedigree large crunchy bits and she does not like that as well either. She will eat Pedigree small crunchy bits, so that is what she is being fed right now, but she also only eats about 4 cups a day.

She was weighed Friday when at the vets, and she weighs 69+ almost 70 pounds. She looks good and has good energy, so I will just feed her what she likes. She is a lot smaller than Red, but is not undersized. Nor is she the lightest Dobe I have ever owned, and at 10 months of age, she will still grow some more and gain some more weight. I expect her to peak out at about 75 pounds.