Doug and diet.

I gain two pounds if I drive by a restaurant.  I am honestly convinced that my body can consumer calories visually.  Weight has always been an issue for me.

Melvin and Jake shared this trait.  They were never once considered underweight and I had to work really hard (and often be the bad guy) to keep their weight in check.  In fact, Melvin came to me at 110 pounds and I had to get him to 83.  Never did a dog look at their new person with such disdain as when I would give him green beans for snack.

Enter Doug. Doug is constantly in motion.  Even when he’s asleep, I can see his body furiously burning calories.  When he’s awake, well when he’s awake I could feed him constantly and he would never gain a pound. Trust me, I’ve tried.

Doug came to me at 45 pounds.  He was a tad underweight and I could tell he was ‘active’ so he eats a 60 pound dog diet. At his last vet appointment, he’d lost two pounds.

WHAT THE??????

The thing is, the amount of times he poops a day (6) would suggest more meals is not the option.  I have looked into higher calorie food but the other issue with Doug is that his stomach is super sensitive. I have found one food that he can eat and not have the poops. Add this to the million and one ways he is exactly like Melvin.

I supplement him throughout the day with peanut butter Kongs and treats but even then I try to keep sugar to a minimum.  I get fresh ground peanut butter to help reduce sugar (he eats better than I do). I am also trying coconut oil added to his food for some added calories (but that is currently making him have the poops too).

Jake 100% sent Doug to me. (Jake: send her that one!  He’s crazy like Melvin used to be and I can tell he’s a pooper like me).

Have any of you faced this?  A dog that needs to gain but is so active you can’t keep weight on?  Any tricks?

Are you going to feed me woman? I’m burning calories just staring at you. 



Photo credit: Bev Hollis Photography

Here he is burning even more calories.  Yes, it makes me bitter.






39 thoughts on “Doug and diet.

      • Relic & Duke love Taste of the Wild High Prairie puppy formula with mozzarella sprinkled on top. They also like marrow bones (they DESTROY extreme kongs, so bones it is) filled with mozzarella chunks and peanut butter. Relic cannot have any chicken or turkey, it goes right through him. The Mr. is so not a fan of poop discussions! 🙂

  1. When we get a dog in rescue who needs to gain a few pounds we keep them on a quality puppy food.
    While my boys have never needed to add weight I found that the protein type in their food contributed more to the poop factor than anything else and I’m a fan of lamb for sensitive tummies. The Peaceabull boys get a spoonful of coconut oil and also a nice dollup of organic pumpkin on their kibble and they basically only poop twice a day.

    • Pumpkin worked great for M& J and for Doug, extra poops! He eats Grandma Lucy’s Lamb version and although plentiful, his poops are great. I even tried just adding some high calorie (high quality) kibble to his food (like 20 kibbles) and boom, butt explosion!

      • The only other reduced poop things I could think of would be to add some raw into his diet. Julius loves a mixed raw diet which included organs and ground up grossness but Ray only wanted things like frozen turkey necks so I always supplemented with kibble. Poop was nearly nonexistent and desiccated so quickly, but it was too messy for inside feeding. I have a great raw food resource though that ships quickly.

      • I actually started him on raw when he came to me. I am big believer in raw for both stomach and allergy issues. He didn’t do great at all. I thought he might be a tad young (not even sure if that is an issue) but do plan to try again in the future. I have a great holistic dog food store so now that I know how good he does on GL, i am hoping they can give me a raw diet that is similar in carb structure.

        Thank you so much for all your advice! I love you!

  2. Doodle was severely underweight when we got her. Her growth was also stunted; at a year she was maybe 20lbs. After a lot of experimenting, research, and time she’s now close to 40.

    I had luck with Nutri-Cal, which is a high calorie supplement meant for puppies. At the time I was still feeding dry food so I would alternate adding things like an egg, applesauce, yogurt, coconut oil, gravy, banana. Google a recipe for ‘satin balls’, they’re highly recommended but will put on weight quickly.

    • I was also going to say satin balls. They work magic if the dog can tolerate beef. I made mine with 80/20 beef, peanut butter, egg, and oats. Rolled into meatballs and frozen, then thawed as needed and fed raw. Best of luck!

  3. I have no idea how to make Doug put on MORE weight. But remember, he’s a puppy. Your first puppy. His metabolism will slow down naturally when he is able to chill a little more. Everything you’re feeding him goes into growing and learning. Be patient with yourself.

      • That was exactly what I was going to say. 🙂 Don’t worry, he’ll be fine. The last thing you want to do is overcompensate and make him a fat Douggy. Hugs!

  4. Those photos…love them! Sophie was that was as a puppy and young dog. I found Primal worked for her (kibble never worked her stomach was a mess on all kibble we tried) and I fed her the amount suggested for high activity dogs (and a little more some days). She finally started to put weight on and eventually her metabolism did slow down.

    • Love that there are success stories! This sounds exactly like Doug. I had tried Primal for him and I thought maybe it was just too young so I do plan to go back and re-try it. Thank you!

  5. We add a cup of rice to Atticus’ food (The Honest Kitchen), plus a little bit of olive oil. He’s pretty steady at 65 pounds.

  6. I had this problem with Koira for so long. At 40 lbs, it took 6 cups of high quality kibble to keep her from losing weight, and she pooped a ton (as I am sure you can imagine!). I switched over to raw feeding, and it was an amazing change. She gained muscle, and maintained her weight better than she ever had on any kibble I had tried. And she ate a reasonable amount for her size, and her poops were small and only once or twice a day, not huge, disgusting, and every time she went outside.

    • I am pro-raw. Both Melvin and Jake did raw but Doug did not do good on it. I have plans to try it again, I thought maybe his digestive track needed to mature a bit. I feel the same way about the # of poops he is having, it’s too much food and it would be one thing if he was gaining weight.

      Thank you!

  7. YES! Oh, my gosh. Cooper. A million times. He poops 5 or 6 times a day, too, and at 6-yrs-old I really thought he’d be slowing down, energy-wise, but we’re not quite there yet. For a while he was getting so sick because of his food allergies that putting weight on him was imperative. Ultimately, the solution was a huge heap of coconut oil with each meal and switching him to THK. He is SUCH a cutie, Tracey. Oh, my goodness… that face makes me swoon…

    • We love being like Cooper! I think Grandma Lucy’s and THK are about the same (in theory and composition). Doug throws up sometimes because I think he is getting too much food so it’s hard to know where the balance is or should be.

      Him being cute does not hurt!

  8. What about a calorie supplement? Something like Dyne? I’ve never used one in dogs (since all our dogs tended on the chunky side) – but we use the equivalent products in some of our horses that come to us super skinny and either can’t tolerate the amount of feed it takes to gain/maintain weight or they just simply can’t get through enough feed to keep their weight up…

  9. Does he have a thyroid problem maybe? I would also try boiling chicken and feed that once a week just to see if he’d gain.

  10. Tesla came to me at 25 lbs – she’s currently 45 lbs. I spent the first 2 years desperately trying to put on weight. She gained the first 10 lbs over the course of the first year, but the last 10 were excruciating to get to stick (and she was 2 at the time). She thankfully has a rock-solid stomach, so I was able to give her whatever worked. I also recommend nutri-cal – it’s gross, dogs love it.
    Eventually I decided her body was doing what it needed to and I was giving it plenty of opportunities to absorb calories. She was otherwise healthy, so I stopped worrying about it (and ignoring the “she’s-so-skinny” comments). She finally put on the last 10 lbs about 2 years ago (4 years after I got her!) at the age of 7.

    • This gives me hope! I feel like Tesla and Doug are going to be very similar! I’m fine with the ‘he’s so lean’ comments (it is def a first for my dogs!) but when he is eating so much and losing weight, I get anxiety! I will look into the nutri-cal. Thank you!

  11. My dog LURVES various canned fishes (sardines, salmon, tuna, mackerel), with no ill effects on the back end. Would be a good way to get him some healthy fat and protein.

  12. Adorable Doug. Really cute leggings too. =) My dogs have all been on the pudgy side so I have no idea what this is like. Our PBGV Maddee loved her green beans.

  13. One of my flat coats burned calories incredibly his entire life. my go tos when he dropped too much weight were cooked sweet potatoes and tapioca starch mixed with water. He had horrendous food allergies and those were 2 things that got his weight up without sending his allergies off the charts. More protein never helped with weight gain, carbs did. If Doug can handle grains, adding some cooked rice, wheat germ, or even just giving a couple of daily milk bone biscuits (really you want to put weight on a dog start giving them milk bone biscuits, those things pack the pounds so easily on so many dogs. I don’t really like what’s in them but if a goal is weight gain, and his guts can tolerate them, then they tend to work). Another way can be to do what you can to slow down his eating at meals if he is an inhaler, using a food puzzle toy, or his kibble in a muffin tin or even just scattering it over the floor can all help. Slowing down the eating can seem to help dog’s better maintain weight, as can feeding smaller more multiple meals over the course of the day instead of just 2 larger main meals. But as someone else wrote, for most dogs Doug’s age in my experience it is usually a short range concern as as they age and mature their metabolism shifts to more efficiently utilize calories. Good luck!

    • This is SO HELPFUL! Thank you! I can def try adding some carbs and he does INHALE so I can start feeding him more meals with the same amount of daily food. And if milk bones help, I will buy them for the very first time ever!

  14. Love your post. I make a bone broth weekly for my dog. I buy a whole chicken and bake in oven until well done, I remove skin and most of meat for me. I then add carcass with remaining scraps and much water and simmer for 3-4 hours on low. I strain the broth and place in refridgerater, when it cools layer of fat on top I skim most off, you could leave a bit. I go through the strained material and discard remaining bones and add the meat to the broth. It will gel in the fridge, I take a cup of this and add it to my dogs kibble, she loves it, it is filled with minerals and add the extra calories. I am now being told she should lose a few pounds. I also do it with beef as well. Good Luck beefing up Doug. There are many recipes on line.

    • I second Heather’s suggestions for canned fish! We adopted our Audrey about seven months ago. She does great on raw but lost some weight with various senior French bulldog health issues that concerned the vet. We added a can of sardines with her raw breakfast, and she quickly gained two pounds to 18.5, and now her leash and coats are very snug! She probably lost only half a pound when she had another health episode (fortunately bounced back with meds & supplements). Trader Joe’s has a good quality no oil & no salt sardines. Stinky for sure 😉 Love reading updates on the Doug! And yeah that boy channels Jake & Melvin in so many ways!! Thanks for the posts I always look forward to reading them!

      • You guys are the BEST! I have heard so much about bone broth (especially when Melvin and Jake had cancer). I am going to try that! And I do love the fish idea. It’s funny, I fed Melvin and Jake raw diets and never really gagged over them but the though of sardines makes me quiver! Thank you both so much!!!

  15. I have a dog with a sensitive stomach, and last summer after ER visit, vet and specialty vet visits, she was diagnosed with gastroenteritis. She now eats Royal Canin’s ultramino. Super expensive, but no more flare-ups. One purchases it at the vet. She also gets a probiotic that I buy on Amazon. I’ve never had the problem of any dog being underweight. He doesn’t look like he’s too thin!

  16. Maxi’s diet was restricted for the last 3 years of her life thanks to a severe bout of pancreatitis. She went from being 35 kilos to 29 and never regained the weight she lost however the vet was happy as long as her quality of life and vitals remained good. Maxi looked skinny even though we fed her as many chicken breast fillets and biscuits she would eat but she was happy and healthy for a dog of her age 🙂

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