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I just "inherited" a 7-yr. old male border collie. He was thin when I got him but over the summer he has become skin and bones. I gave him worming medicine but that didn't help. The previous owner says that he always does this and other people have told me that this is common in border collies. Another lady told me to feed him by hand, but even then he doesn't eat enough. Is this normal? If not, what should I do?

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Some BCs are naturally skinnier than others. When you say he is skin and bones, does he have good muscle structure? Is he active and otherwise healthy? And most importantly, what does the vet say? I would definitely bring him to the vet if you haven't already.

 

What does he weigh and what is his height at the shoulders? Mine is 21 inches at the shoulders and weighs 44 pounds, but he could stand to lose a few pounds - ideally, I would like to see him at 40 pounds.

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I haven't taken him to the vet but I definately plan to! He is 23.5 inches and weighs 53 pounds. He's pretty active still. I live out in the country and he and my other dog like to go on long runs, often at night. I'll post a picture of him. I've never seen a dog this skinny, but again I'm not familiar with border collies.

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Many border collies are on the lean side. If he has good muscle tone and appears otherwise healthy I wouldn't worry.

 

I have a 7yr old male also. He is 23in. at the shoulder and weighs 43lbs. To me he looks very under weight, but he isn't b/c that's the way the breed "tends" to be~on the lean side. All BC's are different, but if you want to be sure he doesn't have an internal problem or anything take him to the vet to be sure.....it never hurts and it will stop you from worrying so much.

 

We must see pics of your pretty boy!!

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When I measured and weight Odin last week he was just around 23" at the shoulders(hard to really tell with him squirming around :rolleyes: ) and he weighed 47lbs.

 

He hasn't been eating very well lately either and he looks a bit too skinny to me as well =

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23" is pretty tall. I had a 22" bitch and she seemed gigantic to people. But I've seen bigger Border collies than her, on the other hand.

 

She weighed right around 47 pounds most of the time, though females average slightly lighter for the same size than males.

 

Unhealthy condition is fairly easy to determine. If you can cup your fingers lightly around the pelvic bone at the top right in front of the loin, (forget what that's called), that's too skinny for sure. If you can actually lay a finger between ribs (not pressing) - that's not healthy.

 

People say, don't worry, your dog won't starve itself - uh, uh, I've got a dog that would starve herself. Ok, maybe not starve literally, but she gets so thin without careful management - ande sometimes WITH - that it affects her muscle tone and stamina.

 

My vet recommended Satin Balls, which worked nicely but the amount it took to maintain her weight on it was much more expensive than the best dog foods, not to mention many fresh meats. She burns cals at an unbelieveable rate and finds eating very boring, I guess.

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Rebecca - I sure wish I was that dog. Eating's fun and I darn sure don't burn cals that fast!

 

Anywho. I have the hardest time keeping weight on my dogs. It's like they look at food and lose weight.

 

To keep weight on Combat and Recon, when I was feeding them kibble, I had to give them half to 3/4 portions of dry adult kibble combined with half to 1/4 portions of puppy kibble. PLUS salmon oil. It didn't matter what brand of food it was - though they did best on Chicken Soup.

 

Recon will forever and always look skeletal to me - but my vet tells me that she's at her ideal weight.

 

Get to a vet, have him checked out, and then it's trial and error, really. You have to find what works for your particular dog. I know the amount of food I feed Recon would make most 'normal' dogs truly obese in a very short time - and she has no worm issues, no health problems, etc - she's just a very atheletic, very active girl with a high metabolism. Oh..to be her!

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Originally posted by Rebecca, Brook Cove Farm:

My vet recommended Satin Balls, which worked nicely but the amount it took to maintain her weight on it was much more expensive than the best dog foods, not to mention many fresh meats.

My border collie loses a pound or two after an agility weekend (quivering in the ex-pen, straining for the sound of tunnels) so giving her a satin ball or two after the trial seems to help her put the weight back. The balls are in addition to her regular meals of some kind of meat on bone.

 

While expensive if you were to feed them as the 'meal', I find they're not too pricey if you use them as a supplement to their regular meal. BTW, my border collie is 19.75" and 35 pounds.

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My Jack is big for a border at 23 1/2 inches and we have to work to keep him at 40 lbs. He is a smooth coat and you can see his ribs a bit, but also his muscles. I have had the RSPCA called on me after my well intentioned neighbors called thinking I didn't feed him. They came and agreed with my vet he is a nice example of a fit and healthy border collie. He runs five-ten miles a day with me, does SAR training for about 30 min at least a day, along with at least an hour of ball,agility and basic training. If he was straving I would think his legs would fail him and he would lay down and quit at some point, to date he has never stopped. At only 18 months I hope he will fill out to about 45 with added muscle mass, but if he doesn't that's fine with me.

 

If I were you I could consult your vet, if you dog is at 50 something pounds sounds fine to me. Sounds like he has a nice home with you though!

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Buddy is 23" at shoulder and 50lbs. Right where he should be. I can clearly and easily feel every rib, bone and spine. He's got muscle mass and a nice long back. I think 10 lbs of it is hair!

 

Don't fall into the "fat lab" mind-set that most companion animal owners fall into. Keep the dog lean with plenty of muscle and you will have a happy dog that will be healthy.

 

Denise

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Originally posted by heather &sam:

forgive my ignorance, wth is a satin ball?

It's a really shiny ball that ... no, just kidding. This is the recipe that I use for Wick. Sometimes I add more egg, or oil, or some chopped garlic, or parsley. She gets this in addition to her regular meal.

 

Satin Balls

5 lbs regular hamburger

1/2 large box cereal (original recipe calls for Total but I can't find it so use Verve)

6 cups quick cooking oats

2 cups wheat germ

5 packages unflavored gelatin (like Knox)

4 raw eggs

3/4 cup vegetable or olive oil

1/2 cup molasses

 

Mix in bowl, roll into 1/2 lb balls. Um, serve. Freeze what you don't need for the next few days.

 

They're really easy to take to trials, where my dog tends to lose weight with the aforementioned quivering. If your dog doesn't eat a raw diet, I'm not sure if these will produce 'bad bottom' so maybe try it out at home before taking it on the road.

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I've heard the transition from kibble is very easy - I think it's the gelatin and wheat germ. I like to use sunflower oil rather than cooking oil - I think it digests a bit better and yields better results. Olive is good too but isn't as palatable and goes rancid faster.

 

When I tried supplementing Jen's food with this she'd eat this and nothing else. and still lose weight. She's weird. So I just gave in and gave her a couple pounds a day.

 

Now I just feed EVO in the morning and RMBs in the PM - works great for everyone and everyone looks great.

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A lot of wormers have pyrantel pamoate and they won't treat hook worms or tape worms. I'd be sure to have the vet check him for worms and maybe get some safeguard.

That being said most of my dogs seem thin to people but the vet always says that the dogs I bring in are some of the few she has seen that aren't over weight. Almost all the dogs I have sold (mostly to working homes) are in my opinion overweight when I go to visit them.

 

Kevin

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