Staff member
I have run across a problem with two of my dogs, my Boxer and my Bull Mastiff, concerning their weight. One is overweight and the other underweight.

With my Boxer Isis I for some reason can't fatten her up. She is extremely skinny literally you can see hip bones, every rib and the bones in her butt. Yet everything I seem to give her won't put weight on her. I have tried cooking mac and cheese for her on the advice of a friend, giving her more food, more treats and nothing is working. Right now she is eating 4 cups of dog food per day but it doesn't make any difference.

My Bull Mastiff Moose is on the other end of the scale. Since he was pulling so much I couldn't take him on walks now he goes on 2 walks a day and it hasn't made a difference. He only eats about 3 1/2 cups per day before he leaves it alone.

I was wondering if there is anything you guys can think of to get weight on one dog and weight off the other. I am willing to fix up anything that might do the trick. The two things I can't do at least til I move is give them raw food or change dog foods. BTW they eat Taste of the Wild. Hope you guys can help.


Honored Member
Staff member
As for the Mastiff, I've been told that dogs' metabolism slows down during the winter. Mud gets really chunky during the winter despite daily mile jogs plus extra walks, lots of training, etc. She won't lose it at all until summer rolls around, and then she's back to her svelt self. I'd check with your vet just in case though.

For the Boxer, when they're young I know they tend to have a lot of trouble putting weight on, and many of them are skinny minnies until about 2. What does her stool look like? If she's having any digestive upset, you could add Probios to her food--a probiotic available at Petsmart and at your vet. It's a probiotic that helps balance everything out in the digestive system. It's good for any dog, but for dogs with digestion issues it's really good and will also give them a bit more appetite as well. It wouldn't hurt to give all your pups Probios if you wanted. You can also add EVOO, which is good for the skin and coat too. Canola oil and vegetable oils are high in fat as well. That's all I can give you, but I'd give your vet a call and see what he/she has to tell you. :) Good luck!

Jean Cote

Staff member
Is your Boxer eating all of her food? Are you there when they eat?

I'm asking because sometimes dogs like to go eat other dog's food. I've noticed that with my husky, as soon as I would leave the room she would go eat my timid border collie's food. Perhaps this could also be the case?


Honored Member
Slightly off topic, but, If you are interested, you could probably post another thread for advice on that pulling, and the folks here can probably hook you up with some great advice on this. They are ALWAYS teaching me stuff here!! I betcha they could help you with this. They are probably the ones who helped me with Buddy's pulling!!

My dog, (although up to 50 lbs now,:msngrin: but very atheltic and strong,) was a puller, cuz he had never seen a leash before, near as i can tell. It didnt' take Mr. Buddy too too long to figure out: every time he pulls= i stop. :dogblink: Just flat out stop walking. I had tried changing direction every time he pulled, that didn't seem to help him much, HA, Mr. Buddy probably just figured i was lost!!:msngiggle:

So i switched to just stopping.
Yeah, it did take 40 minutes to go around the block..... And yeah, he still pulls every once in while, if he gets too focused on a great scent.
I was still having a lil pullling, Buddy reeeeeally loves tracking stuff...forgets everything else if he gets on a great scent.... so i brought a clicker along, and whenever i could catch him walking nicely, i'd click and treat. (i use super tiny treats, btw!)
Weirdly, that seemed to help Mr. Buddy learn what it was he should do even faster than anything else i tried. :dogbiggrin:He also seems to walk better for me if he knows i have a treat in my pocket....

Every dog is different, this might not work for your dog. Sometimes things are a lil more complicated for some dogs than others, but if you are interested in more specific advice for your puller-- post it-- they WILL help you find out just what to do for your specific dog!!! But being able to walk your dog is so nice...so nice...well worth the effort to help the dog figure out how to have nice, non-neck-straining walk with a human.:msnohyes:


Honored Member
Also, in the beginning, i'd play with Buddy and wear him out in the yard before the walk, so he'd be LIL bit worn out to pull as much...


Staff member
Well I know Isis is eating all her food as everybody is seperated. Isis is in the Kitchen with my brother, Moose is with me, Jinx is with my mother and Kratos is with my other brother. So that can't be it. And I decided not to take Isis for her walk today instead giving her a kong filled with goodies to keep her entertained til dinner which is in 20 minutes. Maybe this will help her eating more.

And with Moose my brother took him out in the field by his friends house. Had him out there for a hour chasing rabbits even though he can't catch them. But he came home and fell a sleep. Now its peaceful til dinner time where everybody will be awake.


Experienced Member
What food are you feeding?? How old are these guys? And are you free feeding or twice a day (recommended) with a larger meal at morning for the overweight dog so he has a chance to burn it off better.

There are several medical disorers that could cause both, some severe and life threatening but very treatable. Hormone imbalance like thyroid, cortisol, adrenal issues, Addisons Disease, Cushings Disase, Celiac Disease, (dietary allergies can cause anorexia, weight loss, and obesity). There is also diabetes, various toxins in floor cleaners that are dangerous like swiffer that not everyone knows about, protein allergies, dairy sensitivity, gluten allergies, grain and corn issues. Have you done any allergy testing or diet changes? Are both dogs eating the same food?

Based on what you say if bony prominences are obvious on the boxer I would def have a vet check as her bone mass and organ health can be compromised. On the mastiff obesity can be rather painful and also cause skeletal and cardiopulmonary health issues. You can get weight healthily off a dog that isn't as active by feeding less and feeding a more bio-available better quality food.

Give me your brand and I can give you opinions and some published opinions on it too. When you go to the vet explain your concern and ask for a full blood work up and check fecal too. Most vets are not nutritionists so a holistic vet might be a better choice. Most vets sell science diet which is just one of the worst foods there is out there. So get a clean bill of health first and get some more info here and let's see if we can help get you to the right people.

As for the pulling have you tried a head harness like a Halti or Gentle leader? This is a positive way to stop the pulling without hurting your dog. I'm a positive trainer and I used Halti's for a while on both my dogs, some people always use them, some don't. Very important you watch the videos to positively desensitize your dogs to the head harness since it's a new thing for them you don't want them to see it negatively.

Great videos on ARBI's site on this. My dogs both clearly preferred the Halti but depending on your dogs muzzle shape the Gentle leader may be better. It's vital they be properly fitted and the videos explain that too. Go to http://abrionline.org/videos.php and page down and look for the titles below-the subjects may not all be your issue but they are great on learning how to use the halter properly and there are two on the easy walk harness which also might help with pulling.

Using a gentle leader for pulling on a leash
conditioning an emotional response
working with on leash aggression
helping a student with ms
two videos on the easy walk harness

Hope this helps. :dogblush:


Staff member
All Right!!!

I am proud to report that Isis has gained 5lbs since our last up date.:msnhugegrin:You can still see her bones a little but they are slowly being hid. She now weighs 45lbs or around there. She is also happy to go on her walk because when she gets back she gets her kong, which I think is the reason she might be gaining her weight but I'm not taking it away to find out.

Also Moose has lost 3lbs by the vet's scale. I took him in to get their heart pills and decided to have him weighed. I see his waist starting to come back but my mom doesn't...I should of took a picture of him before and compared the two.