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Is she too skinny?

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I have been told that she is too skinny, I need to bulk her up. The vet has suggested 1 raw chicken thigh once a week then a good run so she will bulk up not have it go to fat.

 

Is she really that bad? 13 months old

 

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I have been told that she is too skinny, I need to bulk her up. The vet has suggested 1 raw chicken thigh once a week then a good run so she will bulk up not have it go to fat.

 

Is she really that bad? 13 months old

 

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This question comes up regularly and is a good example of when it's not a bad idea to do a search in the archives before posting. ;)

 

From the pictures, she looks fine, but it's almost impossible to tell from a photo unless the dog's emaciated. One reason is because the coat (even a smooth coat to a degree) can hide the ribs and other bones.

 

But the best way to tell is by feeling your dog anyway. You should be able to easily feel ribs (that is, without having to push in at all do find them) and the spinal protuberances. If you have to push at all to feel ribs, then the dog's probably at least a bit overweight. If the bones are really projecting, then the dog's probably too thin.

 

Here (again) is the body condition chart that vets use. IMO, border collies, especially young ones, should be on the thin side of moderate. You'll have to use your hands to show you what your eyes can't see beneath the fur.

 

http://vet.osu.edu/v...n-scoring-chart

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It doesn't look like her ribs are protruding out or anything, but it's hard to say from photos. This thread is pretty helpful, although a lot of the images are no longer there. Her body shape looks similar to Kieran's, and I think Kieran could actually stand to lose a pound or two. Do you have an aerial view of her?

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You definitely need to use your hands on her to know. She looks similar to my girl right now, and my girl right now needs to LOSE weight - but I know that I can't fee Molly's spine without digging a lot, and her ribs without using some pressure. She's also still got a tuck, because she has a deep chest, but she's losing her waist from above.

 

For me/her? That's OVER weight - by quite a bit. She probably needs to lose 5lbs and for her at her size, that's quite a bit. I like her so that if she's turning sharply or stretched out, I can see some ribs (because her fur hides nothing). Touch wise that means easy to feel ribs, loose skin movement over it and just enough padding that the ribs, spine, and top of her pelvis don't feel sharp.


So, really, where she is right now bothers me and is going to have to change.

 

But I'm going off topic big time - ie: Not calling your girl fat, just moaning about mine Just get your hands on her and judge. Odds are, though, your vet is either trying to suggest she gain muscle or has seen some really heavy dogs and gotten used to it.

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Hi,

 

I did this post a couple of weeks back without checking either :blink: My boy Django is 11 months old and medium coated and very skinny also but your girl looks fine to me on the photos. Its easier as she is smooth.

 

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Django gets a lot of exercise and is fed twice a day with treats in between whilst training and it goes knowhere. If he where smooth he would be skinnier than your girl and BC's are designed to be lean and its a good thing when still growing.

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She looks to be at the upper end of where I would want her weight wise. Unfortunately, some vets are biased by seeing so many obese pet dogs. They may have very little experience with fit working dogs and pets.

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Nthing that she is by no means too skinny. She's probably at the upper limit, weight-wise, of what I'd have my pet at. She might need more muscle.

 

Last winter, I found myself frustrated with my dog. She'd yoyo between too skinny and a bit chunky in the blink of an eye. Once spring hit I was able to exercise my dog again (finally!) and once she developed a bit more muscle over her ribs, her yoyoing ceased to be a problem. Perhaps work to condition your dog more, if you're having doubts about her weight?

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I would consider her slightly over weight, if she was my dog, too much padding on her hips. She could use a little more muscling, but she looks young, and I don't press young dogs to work harder.

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She looks far from thin, to my eyes! I agree with those above who suggest putting your hands on her and checking the weight chart.

But to my eyes, she actually looks on the \top end of where I'd like a border collie to be. Here are my two, who are ages 5 and 6. (You'll have to click the thumbnail to see full size.)

 


That scoring chart is an excellent measure. But visually, I think your girl looks fine. Your vet is probably used to fat town dogs. I know my vet always seems to have to rein herself in, when remarking on my dogs' weight, because she knows they are athletes and I don't have a "pet dog" standard for their weight. ;)

~ Gloria

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I'm very surprised your vet wants more weight on her! Like others have said, I wouldn't consider her overweight, but I would like to see her with more muscle and less "fluff". But that's from the pictures, I might say differently if I felt her!

 

I like my dogs at the spot where they're very well muscled, and the skin flows loosely over their ribs. Nothing too prominent, but I like to be able to feel everything very easily. Muscles included.

 

But, I prefer "athletic" weight, rather than "pet" weight.

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I agree with eveyone else. From the photo, she doesn't look too skinny. She does look like she could have more muscle development, At her age you should be able to exercize her more, but she's still growing so don't overdo it.

 

Gloria's pics are what my Tess looks like, a pronounced tummy tuck and well defined muscles, and I think she looks just right.

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I agree with the above. I examine my dogs everyday so that they get used to being prodded and I can check for anything unusual. Maple (my border collie) is rough coated, so what I do/see may differ slightly from you. I'll take some pictures to aid my explanation when I get a chance.

 

When looking down on Maple I like to be able to see somewhat of an hourglass transition to her hips. I like to be able to feel her ribs through her coat. From the side I always make sure her tummy lifts into a neat little tuck just before her hind legs. I also should be able to feel her spine through her fur. While a bit of fat isn't bad, I prefer muscle. You can tell muscle apart from fat because it gives a dog a more toned appearance (this sounds obvious).

 

In general, I think a big indicator of weight is the coat. I've seen dogs at both extremes. With overweight dogs I've found that frequently the coat is grossly oily. For some reason I've found the fur on chunky dogs doesn't lie right against the body but tends to be less tidy than usual. On underweight dogs, normally the coat is dry and dull. Many times the bones are uncomfortably prominent. All underweight dogs that I've met/owned came from abusive situations. They slept A LOT and like their coats, their eyes were dull and sleepy.

 

Judging by the photo alone, I would never say your girl is too skinny. I wouldn't call her overweight, but she looks like she could use some more muscle and less fat. If anything, I'd suggest losing some weight. Her tummy tuck isn't as defined as I think it should be. Her weight might be fine, but I think it would definitely be worth it to convert some of that fluff to muscle. She's young, but she's not young enough to have the little potbelly a puppy has. I'd consider some more muscle building, but don't push her at this age.

 

Did your vet explain why she needed to gain weight?

 

P.S. Remember, it's a lot easier to feed your dog too much.

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What an interesting observation about the fur on overweight dogs. Now that I think about it, I think I have seen that fairly often without noticing it.

 

I made Trooper get up and he exhibits the same untidiness. He's overweight, a result of him arriving overweight, prednisone, and "thank you for not dying" treats.

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With regard to the correlation (suggested above) between overweight/underweight and untidy/dry and dull: coat type can also be affected by genetics (ratio of primary hair follicles to secondary hair follicles) and nutrition. Often, dogs from abuse/neglect situations are not only underweight due to lack of calories, but may also have very suboptimal nutrition in the calories that they do eat.

 

My two dogs are both on the same diet (which I like to think is very nutritious), and yet one has a dullish coat (and he is fit and trim) and the younger one has a glossy coat (and he could stand to gain a few pounds - bones are a little too prominent). My older dog's dam had a 'grizzled' (for lack of a better term) type of coat, and it is expressed (although less strong) in this son.

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With regard to the correlation (suggested above) between overweight/underweight and untidy/dry and dull: coat type can also be affected by genetics (ratio of primary hair follicles to secondary hair follicles) and nutrition. Often, dogs from abuse/neglect situations are not only underweight due to lack of calories, but may also have very suboptimal nutrition in the calories that they do eat.

 

Of course. I wasn't trying to say that coat was necessarily always a correct indicator. Oily doesn't always equate to fat and dull doesn't always equate to skinny.

 

I've met a fair amount of overweight dogs who were, at one point in their lives, a healthy weight. In every dog I've met whose body shape/weight went from fit to unfit, I've noticed the majority's coats also went from what was normal to oily and untidy (perhaps from sleeping all day!).

 

But I agree with you, coat condition depends on more than one factor. Know what's normal for your dog and perhaps take my observations with a grain of salt. ;)

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They also cannot clean themselves as well or easily. My obsessively self-cleaning dog needed to 'work' at it a lot less and take less time once she was no longer obese.

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Thank you everyone,she does get a great deal of exercise, i have noticed over the past few weeks that she is starting to bulk up more getting more muscle mass about her. i have decided to just keep an eye on her not going to worry about her being too thin, even though i get asked often from well meaning dog owners at the new dog park we have been going to about her being so as they say "tiny and too skinny" i just smile and point to her and say I wish i could run along with her, Id be skinny too... That seems to drop the discussion lol.

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Nope looks healthy to me! My Effie looks about the same if not skinnier when her poofy fur is wet. We like to call Effie "chicken legs" she looks so scrawny when she takes a bath! I grew up with more active breed dogs my whole life and they do tend to be more lean. I think some people just tend to overfeed their non-active dogs a little too much and judge other breeds. We would always get ignorant remarks about one of our boxers who was always lean and muscular...he's age 9 now and still healthy!

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how old is she? Young dogs can go through phases where keeping weight on them can be quite difficult. If her muscling is good then skinny is OK. if she has no muscle, then skinny is bad is my rule of thumb.

 

I remember visiting a sled dog kennel just before the Iditarod once. The guy was very defensive about the ' skinny' dogs. We laughed and said we got the same comments all the time with the working dogs.

 

Far too often vets do see obese pets and when they see a well conditioned working dog it looks so skinny compared to the majority it can't be 'right'

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I wish I had people near me who were used to seeing skinny dogs who could actually put their hands on the dog and tell me. I wonder if photos can be deceptive. It's a hard balance.

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