Hi Everyone, I am posting for one of my friends who has an extremely lean lab. I realize that most labs don't ever seem to have a problem gaining weight, it is taking it off that is a problem, but I have a friend with a somewhat unusual situation. Her female lab is 1.5 years old and is so skinny that she looks more like a grey hound than a lab. She is a purebred and other siblings weight is normal. She is a SUPER high energy dog that needs so much exercise each day that if you don't physically put her in her kennel, sometimes she will play till she drops and can't move. My friend is feeding her lab 6 cups of Natural Balance Duck and potato (she was on NB Venison and Brown Rice until the recall) per day and lots of treats including apple, carrots, banana and peanut butter in the Kong. If we did a test to calculate how much fat Cali had on her body I am guessing it would be almost nothing. They have tried lots of things to get her to gain weight like giving extra treats, but they don't really want to feed her more than 6 cups based on her age she shouldn't really be getting that much. Her thyroid check out fine and they ran her blood and she is completely healthy otherwise so there is no medical explanation.
So, I come to the knowledgeable forums here for some help. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get her to gain some weight? I believe her weight right now is about 64 lbs but she is a bit larger than the breed standard as far as size, actually Cali is about the same height and length as my male.....judging by that she should be in the 70-80 lb range. Since she is considered healthy they are just worried that she may not be getting enough nutrition and feel she would also look better with some more meat on her bones.
Maybe feed her a performance food, but a lot of the holistic/natural foods don't make those. Also, a lot of people use Satin Balls to help put weight on their dogs. Google/Yahoo Satin Balls for dogs and the recipes should come up.
Sorry to hear of your friends problems. I know it can be hard to keep weight on them sometimes -- the opposite problem that most Lab owners have! I struggle to keep weight on my 4 year old boy. He is just naturally very lean.
You say she is 'super' high energy. How much activity do they do with their dog? I know that sometimes when people say their dog is "super high energy" that means around the house and yard and the dog is actually getting little in the form of structured exercise.
I agree with kiddsmom suggestion of a performance food and satin balls. Performance foods are for very active dogs -- working dogs, performance dogs and super high energy dogs that burn off more calories than they consume. These foods usually contain 30% protein and 20% fat, give or take.
thats exactly what our lab was til she hit 7 she was nicm named eely cause she was so slim and grey hound looking she hit 7 and suddenly she put on all the breadth and depth and even her head structually matured at this age and now has no problems keeping weight on. we just fed her a food designed for sporting/working dogs and that put the weight on but naturally she was lean. our golden lab pup is also a very lean dog and at times shes looks great depth and other like a grey hound but once they mature they will full out in their own time.
Thanks for the suggestions, I will give her the recipe for satin balls and suggest she feeds a "performance diet" food. Hopefully this will help a bit because my friend hates that she can feel all her ribs and backbone. I will post later on how this has helped.
Your friends could also consider changing to a grain-free formula. Dogs get what they need from protein, not poor protein substitues like excessive grains or even potato. Not saying that the food that they feed is bad, but grain-free formulas tend to run in the 40% for protein and all of the protein is from meat.