Need help fattening up my old guy

My 15+ male Alex has always battled to keep on weight. For the past few months I've really had to battle to get him to eat. His teeth are in good condition for his age. He willingly chews hard biscuits so I don't think that is a factor.

He has ALWAYS been a finicky eater. I can't get him to touch anyting out of a bag or can, and for the past few months (since his running buddy of 15 years died) all I've been able to get him to eat is home-cooked venison/turkey or beef. He's gotten pretty scrawny looking (ribs and hip bones showing) but he just won't eat enough to put on any additonal weight. I've started giving him Nutri-Cal to try and bump his caloric intake, but wonder if there is something else that would help to bulk him up?

Any ideas?

Satin Balls work great (for weight gaining and as random treats):

5 pounds ground meat
5 cups Total whole grain cereal
5 cups oats (slow cooking type)
2½ cups raw wheat germ
¾ cup oil
¾ cup molasses
6 egg yolks
5 packets gelatin
2 ½ tablespoons Solid Gold Seameal supplement
Mix all ingredients together thoroughly like you would a meatloaf.
Roll into balls no larger than 1 inch diameter.
Divide into at least 6 separate containers or bags. Freeze. Thaw as needed for feeding

here's a link that describes them
http://www.holisticdog.org/Nutrition…atinballs.html

and a link for different variations of Satin Ball Receipies
http://www.holisticdog.org/Nutrition…tinballs2.html

It is hard sometimes to get them to gain weight with advanced age… You can try cottage cheese, that is always great for bitches with pups when they need extra calories... and also you can try mashed sweet potatoes... Have you tried the EVO specialty cans? Rabbit, Duck? My 16+ that I was having a very hard time getting to eat loves it... also Mac and Cheese.. she was pretty fond of Stoffers brand..ggg (of course the most expensive)... but it does have lots of salt...

And as far as teeth, trust me, just because he will eat a hard cookie doesn't mean that his doesn't have tooth problems. My Maggii who just had a dental at 16+ lost 6 teeth total.. but she would eat her duck treats with no complaints… and they are harder then cookies... I would still make sure that the teeth are not a problem by your Vet.

I think I'll make him an appt with the vet. He's due his annual checkup anyways.

I've tried the specialty EVO, and almost every other canned food out there. Probably spent several hundred dollars trying this and that and having to have all of it mail ordered due to my location. He won't eat any of it, but the local shelter loves all the food donations they've been getting.

I've been mixing sweet potatoes and green beans in his cooked meat, but will try some cottage cheese as well.

And you know, whatever he wants and will eat at his age, IMO is fine as the most important thing is that he eats…. at least that is how I feel about my 16 1/2 year old....

When my niece was a baby, my sister-in-law used to pour the leftover baby formula over Senji's dog food. He loved it!!! He also put on a lot of weight too, but his coat was especially soft and shiny.
My neighbor had 2 beagles, and the female died recently. The male lost so much weight that I didn't recognize him. Dogs feel so many of the same emotions that we do. Hopefully your dog's appetite will come back soon.

When Max was almost 16 and his kidneys were in decline, it was very hard to get him to eat–but the one thing he always liked was the chicken baby food in the little jars--you need to be careful with the brand because some have garlic or onion which isn't good for them.

@MaxBooBooBear:

When Max was almost 16 and his kidneys were in decline, it was very hard to get him to eat–but the one thing he always liked was the chicken baby food in the little jars--you need to be careful with the brand because some have garlic or onion which isn't good for them.

too funny… cause with Maggii in renal failure.. she "hates" baby food... :rolleyes: Go figure.... again when in their senior years... whatever makes them happy to eat... makes me happy...

I agree, whatever they will eat when they get older. Mine like ricotta (whole milk) and I use that as a special treat when giving pills, etc. Humans lose some sense of taste as we age, why many older people have the same issues, nothing tastes good anymore so they don't eat. You may need to 'kick it up a notch' for awhile, use some real cheese,oatmeal or ricotta in a mush with the cooked meat. Whatever he seems to like. I had a couple of old basenjis in the past that got to be skin and bones, even though they ate reasonably well. One only liked cheap canned food, wouldn't touch the good stuff, heaven only knows what was in that food!

Good luck with you boy.
Anne in Tampa

@tanza:

Go figure…. again when in their senior years... whatever makes them happy to eat... makes me happy...

When our last two dogs (a basset hound and a chocolate lab) became old and frail and were obviously in a lot of discomfort, we finally had to make the excrutiating decision that they had to be euthanized. The week before they died, we fed them anything and everything they had ever wanted and were denied. We even served them ice cream garnished with cut up hot dogs and M & Ms!!! My son declared it to be the grossest thing he'd ever seen. But I can't even describe the look in our dogs' eyes when they saw that in their bowls! While I don't advocate giving old dogs ice cream, etc on a regular basis, I agree with Tanza!!

Pat

I am fairly new to owning a basenji, my boo is going to be one. I just recently he was not eating so i changed his food to something all natural. I was worried to death about him. He is now eating lots and healthier. But maybe if you have a friend with another basenji or even adopting an older one might cheer him up. i hope your basenji gets better.

It may be a temporary thing, but the whole milk ricotta cheese trick worked like a charm! I've been giving him a tablespoon stirred in with his food both morning and night, and he practically attacks the food bowl. He'd usually pick at it for 5-10 minutes and walk away after eating 1/3 of it. Now he wolfs down the entire bowl in 2-3 minutes.

I even tried mixing it with a can of Merricks that he previously wouldn't eat at all, and he wolfed that down as well. I'll report back in a week or so as to whether there is any weight gain.

@Craigh:

It may be a temporary thing, but the whole milk ricotta cheese trick worked like a charm! I've been giving him a tablespoon stirred in with his food both morning and night, and he practically attacks the food bowl. He'd usually pick at it for 5-10 minutes and walk away after eating 1/3 of it. Now he wolfs down the entire bowl in 2-3 minutes.

I even tried mixing it with a can of Merricks that he previously wouldn't eat at all, and he wolfed that down as well. I'll report back in a week or so as to whether there is any weight gain.

That is great… and again.. whatever works...

Wonderful! Fingers crossed for some weight gain for him. At least he is eating now, congratulations for being so persistent.

Anne in Tampa

Got Alex into the vet yesterday, and am having a blood work-up done. Should know something next week. He's eating pretty well, but still not putting on much weight if any. Weighed 20lbs yesterday. His weight during his 2006 annual checkup was 23.5lbs. Most he's ever weighed was 28lbs. . . a long time ago.

Feeding him a mixture of home cooked venison, ricotta cheese and Merrick's canned food with some NutriCal thrown in as a treat.

@Craigh:

Got Alex into the vet yesterday, and am having a blood work-up done. Should know something next week. He's eating pretty well, but still not putting on much weight if any. Weighed 20lbs yesterday. His weight during his 2006 annual checkup was 23.5lbs. Most he's ever weighed was 28lbs. . . a long time ago.

Feeding him a mixture of home cooked venison, ricotta cheese and Merrick's canned food with some NutriCal thrown in as a treat.

Sounds like you are doing well…. and you know, it is really difficult to put weight on sometimes.. but the fact that he is eating says that he is doing OK.....

All this talk about dogs weight is starting to bother me. My B only weighs just about 15lbs and is just over 1 year old. I believe he was the runt of the litter, because he was smaller than even his sisters, and his dad is almost 35lbs. I feed him two cups of royal canin 25 because I was originally worried about him being too large, because my parents dog is much overweight. I am going to start feeding him as much as he will eat in 10 minutes twice a day instead of just letting him eat his two cups over a matter of 20 minutes around 8 in the morning. My dog is only about 16 inches to the shoulders and i have never owned a dog before and my parents have only owned mountain working breeds so I am not sure when a dog is not of healthy weight. Sorry to steal the thread.

Cassi, my female, was a small dog herself. Even when she looked a little plump, she never weighted over 18lbs. If your dog is small framed and no bones/ribs are protruding I wouldn't worry.

@etzbseder:

All this talk about dogs weight is starting to bother me. My B only weighs just about 15lbs and is just over 1 year old. I believe he was the runt of the litter, because he was smaller than even his sisters, and his dad is almost 35lbs. I feed him two cups of royal canin 25 because I was originally worried about him being too large, because my parents dog is much overweight. I am going to start feeding him as much as he will eat in 10 minutes twice a day instead of just letting him eat his two cups over a matter of 20 minutes around 8 in the morning. My dog is only about 16 inches to the shoulders and i have never owned a dog before and my parents have only owned mountain working breeds so I am not sure when a dog is not of healthy weight. Sorry to steal the thread.

15lbs for 16" is pretty light, but then again he is still a pup… and sounds like he was the smallest as typical male size is 17", 16" for bitches. And if he is very lightly built then he will not carry weight either. Has he been neutered yet? That might help if he is just burning calories.... and he should be neutered anyway by this age. Feeding twice a day is a better option for a young dog (and old dog for that matter). I prefer two meals....

I would NOT just give him as much as he wants... if you are going to increase the food then you need to add a little with each feeding and see how it goes... to let him "gorge" himself is not a good idea... IMO

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