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Healthy weight for a puppy.

Species: Dog
Breed: Papipoo
Age: 6-12 months
My papipoo recently had a haircut and I was shocked at how skinny he is. What is a healthy weight for my 6 month old papipoo? What foods can I try to help him put some weight on?

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Thanks for your question. I fully understand how shocking it can be to see your dog after a drastic hair cut. My husband and I own a Persian cat and we had him shaved a few weeks ago. He went from being, "Mr. Fluffball" to "Mr. Skinny Minnie".

It's really hard to say what a healthy weight is for a papipoo because it can really vary.

According to my Dog Weight Chart an adult papillon should weigh between 7 and 10 pounds. An adult miniature poodle should weigh between 15 and 17 pounds. But, we don't know how much papillon and how much poodle is in your little guy. If I figure that at 6 months, Boomer is probably at about 65% of his full weight I could guestimate that anything between 5 and 10 pounds would be good.

But here's a better test. Have a feel of Boomer's ribs. You should be able to feel them with some covering of fat/muscle over them. In other words, you shouldn't be able to actually see them, but you shouldn't have to press really hard to feel them.

If you can see his ribs and feel his spine and hip bones, then he's likely too skinny. But if there is some covering over these bones then he's likely ok.

Regarding food, any good quality puppy food should be sufficient. I don't think you need to go adding supplements or anything like that. I like Iams, Royal Canin and Science diet. There are many other good ones out there as well. It's really hard to read a food label and determine if a food is a good one. I don't like inexpensive foods and I'm not a fan of Beneful.

I hope that helps!

Dr. Marie.

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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

My pup does weigh 8 pounds but I from feeling his ribs, hips and spine, I do feel like it's mostly what hair is left and skin between, not much of anything else. What might be the reason for my pup being underweight?

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

It does sound like he is quite thin. I have some questions for you:

How is his appetite? Really good? Ravenous? Not good?

What brand of food does he eat?

Does he vomit at all?

Does he have normal bowel movements?

Is he a bright and active little guy?

Customer reply:

His appetite seems to be light. He just picks at his food all dog. I am used to larger dogs whose food is gone in an instant, that is not the case with Boomer. He never eats at his dish for a long period of time but rather just picks at it throughout the day. He is eating Orijen Red. He doesn't ever vomit, and has regular bowel movements, although seems to be amazingly smelly. He is very bright and active.

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

OK thanks. So here are a few things that can cause a puppy to be thin.

First, I would recommend having your vet check his stool for parasites even though he does not have diarrhea. A parasite such as hookworms or giardia can cause problems with how the body absorbs nutrients.

Next, it may not be a bad idea to have some bloodwork done on him. Some animals can be very thin because of a serious problem with their liver called a liver shunt. This happens when the blood supply to the liver goes mostly around the liver rather than through it. If the shunt is mild many dogs can do well with medications and special food. But in some cases surgery is needed to fix it.

A heart condition can cause a lack of weight gain as well. Has he had a vet exam? If he was born with a heart condition then your vet would definitely have noticed a heart murmur during the exam.

I have seen some dogs though that are just thinner than's kind of like some people. It may be that there is nothing wrong.

One thing I should mention is that I am starting to wonder if Orijen is really a good food. I have seen several dogs with digestive problems that were on Orijen food. I don't have enough evidence to say that it was because of the food but I am suspicious. You may want to try a change to a different food just to see if this helps.

Ultimately the best thing would be to have your vet examine him though.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.