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Dog won't gain weight.

Species: Dog
Breed: Dogue de Bordeaux
Age: 1-2 years
Our boy, Zidane, was born May 19, 2009, which makes Zidane almost 18 months old. He has been a finicky eater since the day I brought him home but I was able to get him to eat kibble mixed with canned food. He got to the point where he just wouldn’t eat and would wait to see if there was anything better. I knew and everyone told me he was spoiled and finicky and I should put the food down and if he didn’t eat it just take it away till the next feeding. I did this and he’d sort of eat but only enough to not starve but certainly not enough for a dogue that is still growing. He got down to 108 lbs. and his spine, hip bones and bone on his head were protruding. Since he wouldn’t eat any kibble or canned food, I switched him to raw. He loved it for about 3 weeks and put weight on to 118 lbs. Now, he won’t eat that either. The only thing he eats is Natural Balance rolls, raw food but in freeze dried form, boiled chicken, hamburger patties, cheese and eggs. It all has protein but he is not putting on weight. He’s only 112 lbs. and I remember his breeder telling me his dad was 150 lbs. at 18 months old. Zidane is strong, full of energy, wants to play, and so on so I doubt he is “sick.” But I’m worried that he is not filling in and quite tired of having to play the "eating" game at each feeding.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Thanks for telling me about your experiences with Zidane. It sounds frustrating!

It sounds like you are doing all of the right things. However, I am concerned that perhaps there is another reason for his not wanting to eat than just not liking the food.

Is Zidane neutered? If not, having him neutered may make a difference. If a dog is not neutered and if there is a female in heat within miles of your house, the desire to breed can be so strong that it causes a dog to not have an appetite. It's like all they think about is breeding!

If he is neutered then I would highly advise you have a vet take a look at him and see if there is a medical reason for him to be not gaining weight and not wanting to eat. The first thing I would do is a general blood profile to see if there are any clues.

Does he have normal stools? If not, this could be a sign of a digestive problem such as a problem where the pancreas isn't digesting the food properly.

It's also a good idea to have a fecal exam done to look for parasites. Not all parasites are killed with regular dewormers.

Hopefully this helps. But let me know if you want to ask more about any of the points I have made above.

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. AskAVetQuestion.com 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.

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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.