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Hi everyone,

We took Ollie to the vets for his 1 year vaccinations and they checked him out as usual.  Good strong heartbeat, alert, lively (not to mention he erm peed up the vets table ahem! I was mortified!) - weighed him and he's 26.2kg.  I feel this is underweight for a dog but for love nor money we can't seem to get the boy to put on a couple of extra kilos.  The vet told me not to worry because he could see he's a livewire and he said he's constantly burning up his energy on all his runs.  It's not like Ollie ever presents as being hungry - he eats til he's full and then picks at it later on.  We feed him on adult James Wellbeloved and pedigree meat mixed together as we found this doesn't upset his stomach.  We give him chicken and rice on a sunday so that he gets a bit of a treat when we are having our roast dinner.  We don't want to encourage feeding him scraps or encourage a 'leftovers' diet purely because I don't believe this is good for him.  Is it something he will grow into over the next year?  Any tips for putting a few pounds on would be gratefully received.

As an aside - the vet tried to get me to agree to getting him castrated but I told him I don't want him to be as I understand it messes up their fur and he is not a nuisance with other dogs or marking.  What do other people think - was I right?

Nicky

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Finn it is okay she has been getting them for a wee while and I started off by bashing them so they were easier for her to chew. She chews them on her own now but I never leave her while she is eating her chicken wing.
Rio has the 'fussy eater' stage at 17 months old! - you'd think I was a 'bunny boiler!' there are some days I put the food down and he looks at me as if to say 'you expect me to eat THAT?'.

His diet has come around through 'trial and error' and reading comments and advice on here, it was suggested by a breeder that to keep weight on a possible solution is to 'up' the protein and to feed some meals raw.

At the moment breakfast is raw chicken and biscuits - he 'wolf's' that down, his dinner is tripe and biscuits - (occasional meals with eggs and sardines are also included), I put it down at 5.00 pm he will sniff at it and leave it but will usually eat it outside, after his last toilet trip of the evening! - I stand with him and encourage him, he savours every mouthful, looking around and listening to everything!, it may be that I have enforced this eating habit but if his food is left down in the house he will not go near it.

He weighs around 32 kilos, is slim, I can still feel his vertebra and ribs, he is well muscled, a kind farmer lets me 'free' run Rio in his fields, too much and runs his weight off, on the whole he is a very happy and well balanced dog.

Many years ago not knowing very much and on the 'advice' of my vet I had Jinty spayed, she went from having a superb conker colour and shine to something that looked like the stuffing from an old mattress and completely unrecognisable as an example of her breed, I will not be repeating this mistake with Rio!.

We all have advice and stories and I hope that you find your solution amongst them, in the end it's what works best for you and your dog!.

I would add that after trying a range of expensive named brands of biscuit, Rio is now on a supermarkets own brand!, I am not saying that at it will not change at some point in the future, it's just what he is eating 'TODAY'!.
we have had a weight problem with Oscar, who is three, we changed to Skinners duck and rice and hes put on weight and filled out, ours vets have never been worried about his weight and have said its better to be slim than fat, he his a typical setter in to everything ,why walk when you can run , that's Oscars attitude to life , don`t worry he will settle down and fill out.
On the subject of castration, at Whitby earlier this year ,we met a couple with what I thought was a old setter, when asked it turned out to be only 3 and castrated when young, its coat was ruined and a mess, stick to your guns and keep him whole.
I'm so relieved to hear other people have the same problems as I've been having with my 16 month old, Reuben. He is underweight - approx. 24kg - and is the worst eater on the planet!! It is worrying, especially as we are wanting to show him. His breeder has told us not to worry and that it is likely he will fill out and become less fussy with time, but we have had comments (usually from people with labrador type dogs, who seem to think setters should be of a similar build - I don't think so!) about his slimness. I personally think he looks better (and is healthier) as a slightly underweight dog than a slightly overweight dog, but I'm gathering that the show world might have different expectations than the working side of the breed!
At the moment, he's on tripe with biscuits, which he eats if hand-fed (or, eventually, he'll get round to eating it if it's been sat there for about 3 hours!!), but we have tried all manner of foods with little success. The vet recommended giving him pieces of very well cooked pasta to try and bulk him up, but I'm so afraid of bloat I don't like doing this too often.
Tempted to try the Royal Canin, after reading earlier comments.......
Hi ! I just found out a food that seems very good, from a company called naturediet, in UK only I guess.. Maybe is worth to have a try.. I am trying because Oberon seems to have a very sensitive stomach, and it looks that this food is really easy to absorb and with high quality ingredients.. Just be careful with the packaging: they seem to have problems, so if the package is blown up dont use it (they are happy to refund it)
best, s
Hi silvia...just to say I use Naturediet for 2 of mine (not Steo yet) and find it very good for sensitive digestive systems, depending on which variety...we use lamb and rice or fish and rice.
Nicky it can take Irish a while to fill out...one of ours reached his best weight aged 5...he's one of the boys we feed on naturediet as he has a very sensitive digestive system.Be patient and luckily Ollie sounds to be fit in all other respects.
You didn't say if Ollie was a fussy eater?
If not, you could just feed an extra small meal. If he is then try and add in calories ie Cheese, Oil, butter, lard- anything a normal person would try to avoid!
We don't feed much complete but in the morning they do have a couple of handfuls of Arden Grange (Salmon & Rice) plus goats milk.
Don't worry though, he'll catch up with himself (probably when he's three)
Hi Deb, no he's not fussy! Just eats at his own pace :-)
I think looking at the comments on here everyone has their own ideas and opinions but the common theme is that he's young enough not to worry yet and that he will fill out in time.
I would second this.. I found two different tables that give a range of 27-29 or 29-32kg as adult weight for a male setter, so more than the weight is about how he looks like.. I think that below 1 year there is nothing worrying if he's a bit lean :)
Thanks Sue

I am trying almost everything since apparently since the last few weeks Oberon had a very delicate belly. I hope is just a matter of age/finding the right food and not something more serious (as ibs).
I am wondering why you dont feed Steo yet with ND: is just by chance or do you think is not yet good for this age? I dont want to shift the discussion of this topic too much, so maybe you can just write to me, in case :)
best, silvia
silvia..have replied to you on your page.
Julie Wilkins said 'People say pandering to them makes them fussier, I haven't found that, I think just keep them eating as best as you can then one day a switch flicks and they start eating'. I agree absolutely. I think you have to keep them eating something and am convinced an Irish Setter would starve to death. My vet always told me a dog will not starve itself to death but I think she now agrees with me that perhaps an Irish Setter might. My 10 month old Irish Setter bitch has just 'flicked the switch'. I just tried for weeks getting anything down her I could, she had the competition of 3 others but that made no difference. I tried everything and she was very skinny but suddenly she is eating raw meat and Barking Heads puppy biscuits. I had loads of sample bags given to me and they were the only ones she liked. She also has raw chicken wings. Weight is going on now and she is looking to pinch food and begging when we eat our food which she wouldn't do before. She started to eat just as she started her first season so hormones may have played a part but she also had a couple of courses of anti biotics as her tonsils were red and swollen. She is not the first fussy eater I have had and I have learnt all the tricks of the trade over the years like throwing food around the garden and leaving them pick it up and swinging meat above their noses and feeding them like birds, in fact I had a mother and daughter that I called Birdie and Baby Birdie! By about 3 years old they have all started to eat well and only went off their food for about a week a couple of months after a season when puppies would have been due.

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