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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-14-2010, 02:21 PM Thread Starter
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10 year old

Just wondering if anyone out there can give me some advice? I have a 10 year old male Golden Retriever. The last 6 months he has been experiencing some health problems. He developed a virus in his liver in July and needed introveinous treatment and antibiotics. I also had to start making his food at home at this time. He went back for his 4 month check up and the vet was thrilled with his progress. I am continuing to make his food at home and he loves it. My concern is that he is still slowly losing weight even though he eats double the amount now. The vet has completely checked him over and discussed his food with me but cannot explain this weight loss. I am feeding him cooked fish, eggs, chicken mixed with spinach, broccoli, yams, pears, bananas, and carrots. I also add in some rice. He gets vitamin E, milk thistle, and cod liver oil pills in his first meal of the day. All body functions are normal (I have checked) He did develop a bladder infection a few weeks ago and has just finished a round of oral anti-biotics for that. I also think I noticed this morning that he may have the first signs of arthritis.
Has anyone out there been through this kind of experience? I am so worried about him. He is still such an active dog for his age. People can't believe he is 10. I feel horrible because he can't tell me what is wrong and wonder if I am doing the right thing for him. Any advice would be of great help. Thanks
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-14-2010, 03:51 PM
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one thought....
have you added up the actual calories he is consuming compared to the calories he was eating before you started making it? homemade food can look like a lot of food,but not necessarily have as many calories..

What does he weigh...how tall at the shoulder....?
What does he look like? Doe she have a waist and a tuck?
Can you 'see' his ribs and hip bones?

Lean is not always bad...especially if arthritis is setting in..
But seeing and easily feeling bony hips and ribs surely can be a worry.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-14-2010, 04:15 PM
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Great suggestions already.

Maybe talk to your vet about probiotics? Or some sort of digestive aid (...there's another one someone here posts about on occasion?) He might not be digesting his food as well now that he's older.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-14-2010, 04:17 PM
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I will usually add pasta and/or potatoes to my dogs diet when they need to gain weight. Also, if his liver is doing well, perhaps you can start introducing red meats for more calories?

I have an almost 10 year old in addition to a 2 and 3 year old and they all do better maintaining weight on red meat.

Another thought - you have checked for parasites?


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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-14-2010, 04:19 PM
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One of my older gals many years ago had trouble with her spleen. She had what looked like an oversize spleen or growth on untrasound. She was 11 at the time. Her biggest health issue was her weight loss. Going back and forth of what to do we had to increase up to almost 10 cups a day to just maintain weight....it was very strange. We did opt to operate and remove the spleen scared to see what else was inside. To our wonderful surprise there was no cancer just a huge spleen maybe 3x's the size. The vet was so surprise he sent the complete spleen for testing....again no cancer. Once the spleen was removed she went back to her regular diet amont and she lived 3 more healthy years until she was 14. I really never got a true explanation but the spleen was burning some hard calories. Good Luck
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-14-2010, 04:29 PM
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To me, it sounds like you're doing a wonderful job taking care of him! I am sure he loves you all the more for it!
I agree with the advice already given. I do home-cooking for my Katie as well.
I know the general rule of thumb is to feed anywhere from 2-3% of a dogs ideal body weight daily. BUT if you are feeding a diet with 50% vegetables, then you would need to up that percentage considerably. That is why working with percentages, rather than calories per meal doesn't always translate well.

Do you know how many calories you are feeding at the moment or how many ounces per day? Or what the ratio of protein to grain to vegetable is currently? You might need to add more starchy veg like sweet potato or white potato (provided he can tolerate it)

What does he weigh now, and what is his ideal weight?

And as LibertyMe mentioned, if he is developing some arthritis, being on the leaner side will be beneficial. But at the same time, you don't want him losing too much weight - because usually the first place that weight is lost is on muscle mass. And that is not ideal.

I know when I feed Katie, I always use a digital scale as I try to ensure that she eats the same amount everyday. If she begins to lose weight, I always up the quantity of food given. Only by measuring daily, and keeping a daily journal do I know when adjustments need to be made.

Another thought, is that many dogs need extra calories in the winter months, as it takes a lot of calories to stay warm.

I hope some of my suggestions help.
And I am glad you got the liver issues under control. That would have been very scary!

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-14-2010, 08:03 PM
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If it's ok to add these ingredients to his diet this is a good recipe for putting weight on dogs.

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-14-2010, 08:31 PM
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Bumping

Bumping up for more suggestions for your 10 year old Golden Retriever.

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-15-2010, 12:00 AM
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You've had some excellent advice here. The only thing I can add, as an also-owner of a 10-year-old is to ask if he has had a full senior blood work up lately? Or had his thyroid checked? (I'm guessing yes to both as you referenced your vet).

I agree lean is good on an older body - perhaps he's losing because you're feeding him BETTER food now (this from someone who feeds store-bought). I'm sure what you're feeding is far more nutrient packed with no filler, so is it perhaps okay?

Curious too about his size and weight.

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-01-2011, 01:57 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for your helpful replies. You have confirmed my suspisions about Dakota's weight loss. Dakota was maintaining a steady weight of 72lbs. for all of his adult life. When I last weighed him about a month ago he was down to 59 lbs. The Vet. wanted him to get back up to no more than 65 lbs. because of his age and possible arthritis setting in.
I am now trying to slowly switch him back to dry kibble. I am trying a brand called Timberwolf. I am using the higher protein formula (elk and salmon). I have also found a recipe to make him some doggie muffins for treats. All are natural products with no added fillers or preservative. So far he loves it. I haven't weighed him again but he does look like he has gained a bit of weight.
Also he developed what the Vet thought was a bladder infection over the last few weeks. He had two rounds of anitbiotics and on the second test from the vet they discovered he actually had some form of a strep infection. So now round three of a new anitbiotic has just been finished. He seems to be doing really well and back to his old self.
The Vet wants to do another test to see of the antibiotics worked but we are not sure if this is the right thing to do. I think Dakota is telling us he had had enough of all this nonsense and is fine. I do not want to give him any more antibiotics. He has developed really bad dandruff which I am sure is a side effect from the antibiotics. We are adding vitamin E to his food as well as fish oil to help this. I think it is time for me to listen to what Dakota tells me.
Also bought him a brand new floor bed which is truly is own piece of heaven. He is really enjoying his comfortable warm place to sleep in front of the fire.
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