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Is my Henry underweight and what do you recommend to support him gaining it?

Hi Everyone,

My Henry is almost 11 months and since he came to me with 4 months he seems to have trouble gaining and keeping his weight. He is the sweetest dog, happy and lively, has great recall and can run for hours in the field. But I am concerned about his weight: Since he was 5 months (19 kg) he gained only one kilo until 9 months to 20 kg, then my vets said it is ok ,i should simply offer him variety and meals more often in a day (he got 4 meals a day). At 10 months he was up to 21kg and looked much better. After a flu he is now back to 19 kg...after feeding him with care he is back to 20 kg....

What do you recommend is the right weight and how can he gain it? My vets say that he seems to be a fuzzy eater and since he is fit and his coat shines i shoud not be so worried.
I wonder if there is any other reason/ illness behind it I should have him tested on...?
What are your experiences?
Any advice you can give would be helpful.

P.S.Even though the vets independently say there is no need, i am thinking to have a blood test done and one on this pancreas insufficiency to see if he can digest his food...
For his diet I have tried all kinds if food dry food with 70% meat, canned food and i cook him meals on top ( chicken and rice, beefsteak Sometimes he has agood appetite sometimes he even leaves coocked chicken or beef...
Please share some experience on weight and diet of your setter and how you managed to keep their weight
Thank you
Henry's Mom

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OMG.. a very common problem with these fussy eaters.. Oberon eventually became a bit more stable with growing (he's 3yrs now), but in order to have him eating we went through so many tricks when he was a puppy.. fortunately never been underweight, but, to my eyes, it seems that Henry needs a bit of fattening up;)

read the blog above, is plenty of tips.. and , if this helps, you are not alone, is not uncommon at all for them to leave *meat* if they decide that what was super yesterday is disgusting today ;)


Hi. I just looked up Callum's weight chart for his first year to see if that helps you.

I consider Callum to be one of the more lightweight of builds of the 16 Irish setters that we have had over the years.

At 5 months he was 21.0 kgs. At 10months he weighed in at 25.6 kgs. which was much the same as he weighed at 7 months. This coincided with the time he was being very picky with his food. Its quite common for Irish to go through this phase, but so hard to accept as an owner who wants to see them eating well and putting on weight.

His brother is a lot heavier build, and I put a photo on my page of them aged nearly 1 year so you can see.

Callum is now 21 months and eats quite well, though food will never be very  important to him. I don't weigh him anymore as my eye tells me he looks about right for his build... no ribs showing nor hip bones protruding.

As a picky eater and running a lot, your boy is going to have a problem putting on weight. What about his parents and siblings? Are they the same build and so on?

I think I would probably have the blood tests done for peace of mind.

But its good that he seems so fit and well regardless:)


Hi Silvia and Sue
Thank yo very much for you feedback and tipps, especiallysharing your experiences, good advice and weight chart.
Henry is from the a smaller gundog breed,a french/german line ( kapellenpfad kennel) He is now 60 cm high. Perhaps taking a look at the recent pictures gives a better idea. ( i uploaded some yesterday) In most of the older pictures he seems fine but recently his ribs and spine are sticking out so he needs to put on weight : )
I called the breeder and he sais that 20 kg is fine. I do not believe in heavy dogs but Henry is very skinny. I ordered high energy/calory food today and will have the test done on friday. Hope he is fine!
Thank you again for your help
I will have the tests done on Friday to be on the safe side

You may be over exercising him too.  As well as looking at energy going in you need to look at the amount of energy he is expending during the day.  A good rule of thumb is 5 mins exercise for each month of life so if he is 10 months old, he should have no more than 50 mins of exercise per day.  Running too much is also not good for their joints so vary between road walking and having fun in the fields.

All the best


Just logged in to this link.  Have you had his thyroid levels checked. ?? 

Just a thought..


Hi Henrys mum, we had skinny Irish girls at seven months 21kg and slight build. Bothered me too! After they turned one and on advice of there breeder I increased there food intake added leftovers...yes leftovers and I chose to include organic apple cider and raw food. They gained seven kilos, coats grew beautifully as well. I also need to admit my girls excercise was cut back as we are in the hills they had lovely places to run and were atfending obedience and agility. They are now two and half and seem to maintain the 26-27kg with no problem. I read often on ES that our setters can be fussy eaters and I think they are correct! Let us know how you go with Henry, I've learned so much on here as I hadn't had setters for anywhere near as long as some of the other ES members....lucky them :0)) take care.

Hi Henry's mum.....yes seems to be a very common problem from what I have read on here and also personal experience!! I have only had 4 irish boys in total....the first one was a terrible eater for a long long time, I couldn't get weight on him and a diet to suit him, the second one wasn't so bad and the third has always been quite a good eater but prone to coitis so I changed all their diets over to raw and have had much better success, the dogs love it!! The baby, now just over a year weighs 27.60kgs and looks fit and healthy...he was weaned onto raw so I was expecting no problems.....as soon as we got him home he decided it was poison and wouldn't touch it, or dried food, or tinned food..It has taken me quite a while to get the weight back on him and on a diet he will eat but even now, although he has raw he is one of those who likes it one day and then the next day wants something different....I now know this is the way with setters...I just fed him anything he would eat for a while,including tripe which fortunately he loves...and chicken wings and we got through it...he also races around like a mad thing when we are out but he only has an hour a day.

Great to hear Christine you have had a fussy eater at some stage too! I guess it's a setter thing :0))




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