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Anyone got any advise for putting weight on a setter?

I've booked an appointment at the vets tomorrow as I am sick to death of people commenting on how 'skinny' she is on our walks. I even had someone, the otherday, asking for my details to pass on to the RSPCA because 'clearly she's being neglected'!


I have been taking her to the vets every 8 weeks or so, just to set my mind at rest as she has always been a slender dog but I'm starting to get panicky because of the constant comments.


She'll be 1 on the 21st January and still only weighs 17.4kgs. She does put weight but very slowly. We've increased her food - introducing lunch aagin - but the problem is, whatever goes in just gets burnt off on her run.


I've tried not letting her run for as long but when I bring her home she just harrasses me to go out again because she hasn't got rid of the extra energy.


My vet said, back in October - she weighed 16.4kgs - that ideally she would like to see another kilo on her but said we'd struggle because she's such an athletic dog. Well we've slowly got that on her but she looks no different.


She's a very healthy, bouncy dog, with a lovely glossy coat and bright eyes, so otherwise I have no concerns but I think the constant barrage of comments is making me paranoid.


Our behaviourist - she is also the head nurse at our vetinary hospital - has suggested giving her a daily dose of 'Zylkene', apparently it's a natural product containing lactium, idea being it just settles her a little as she's constantly on the go, thus not burning as many calories.


They have no worries over her at all and have assured me that if anyone does report us, they have a full record showing regular check ups to prove she is far from neglected. They said the problem is with the society we live in and the fact that so many dogs now are actually overweight so when people see a dog that is as it should be people assume it's underweight...still, doesn't make me feel any better when people can't keep their opinions to themselves - normally people who are standing there with their Labradors who are struggling to walk under the huge body!!:D


Any advise will be greatfully received, she's on the BARF diet so I like to keep things as natural as poosible.


Many thanks in advance :)


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Have you wormed her recently??     You can try minced lamb with pasta  or tripe  both are fatty meats   another good one is naturediet  with proplan performance   Definitely restrict exercise  if none of this works ask your vet about malabsorption  it may be she has a pancreas deficiency   hope this helps

Oh dear! Yes been there with a couple of our boys in the past and one now. Generally speaking they've got to a reasonable weight at maturity, which for this line is around 4 to 5 years of age! Worth the wait (weight!) though!! Kiefer at age 9 is still a bit on the ribby side, and he's been castrated due to severe prostate problem so in a way I'm thankful he hasn't piled on the weight. He has a problem with what he can and can't eat too, still with patience and common sense and a bit of trial and error it all comes right in the end.

I know its a pain having people 'point the finger' and threaten RSPCA, but at least there's an element of concern that means that one day they may actually help a dog truly in need.

I'm sure your girl will get there in the end.

While no one has threatened to report me to the authorities, I hear the "he is very skinny" comment all the time.  And Cash is well built to me.  I don't see him as thin but just right although he hasn't put any weight on in several months now.  He actually lost a couple lbs.  I think for us it is because most people don't see Setters around enough but they do see tons of overweight labs and goldens.  Most of the time the person who comments on my dog's thinness has an overweight dog.

I have learned to just smile and say "thank you, that is music to my ears", easier to put it on than to take it off.



HI Emma I had a boy who would not gain weight when he came to shows with me I kept a coat on him so no one would say anything he was healthy as can be and his brother was solid so it was just easier to cover him most show people understand, it's usually the idiotic public tell them they could loose a few pound themselves or if your more brash like me f*** off

Emma, don't worry too much about her weight. Most young setters look like - what was one comment on this forum - like a toast rack.

Plus, in general, dogs that are on raw meat instead of commercial food are skinnier than the rest of the canine population.


How much exercise does she get?

Gina was very skinny, and the fact that she shares my passion for long distance runs didn't help her put on weight - we are out and about for 2 - 3 hours a day)


Gina is on raw meat as well - so I simply added some carbs to her food, two tablespoons of mashed chick peas to her daily meal. But you can also use cooked oat. Just be careful with wheat products. Lots of dogs have adverse reactions to wheat.


And Peter has a good point. It is the idotic public. I get that here in Australia where a lot of dogs (and humans) are oebese. They simply have no comparison to what healthy dogs - and humans - should look like :))


Thanks to all of you for your replies, I feel so much better now :)


I have had her to the vets this morning and she has put on 200g since christmas eve so it is going on slowly. She also came into season a couple of days ago so hopefully she'll gain a bit of weight from that.


The vetinary nurse we see has known Darcey from being a tiny puppy - as she also is a behaviourist, so does the classes - and she's happy with her. She mentioned the possibility of her having a pancriatic deficiancy but she thinks it's unlikely as she is slowly putting weight on. She has said we'll monitor the situation and I take her in every 4 weeks or so, this way we can keep an eye on her.


She also given me some Zylkyne to try and settle her a little because a a few of you have rightly said, the extra excercise doesn't help but at present she need it to burn her energy so hopefully they will help to just settle her a little.


I've also bought some Hill Natures Harvest, just to add to her meat. I'll soak it first to reduce the risk of bloat but it might just give her the initial boost she needs. I've tried the other natural products before - natures diet, natures menu etc - but she just turns her nose up so I'm hoping this will be a sneaky way of doing it. This way, she's still getting the proper meat and veg she should be having but with an extra boost.


Again, thank you all for your reassuring words and I'll update you in after the next weigh in! :)

Sorry to say this but.....lets hope that after her season her hormones don't kick her out of kilta, as far as eating is concerned, one of my bitches stops eating when she is having one of her 'huge' phantom pregnancies... you would think that I was trying to poison her, so she decides discretion is the better part, and won't eat anything at all, and that lasts for about two months, then finally she will start to take a little bit of food, then everything that crosses her path is hooverd up, so her weight yo yo's and then we start all over again next time she comes into season..... 

sorry ladies............



get over yourself! The bitch is barely 1- a puppy! She has a behaviourist! She is in and out of the vet and you are worrying about her


The vet says she is fine. Let the dog be a dog for goodness sake.


Is it just setter people that get mangled up with treating their dogs like they are some kinf of sicky child

Please stop doing this to your dogs!


They are for loving for running for playing - they are not really a devise for manifesting human anxieties on!

There is no need to be so rude!


When you have people constantly coming upto you commenting on her weight, it is concerning.


Clearly you have never heard the saying...


'If you having don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all!'


If you have an issue with, how do you put it, 'setter people', then why on earth on you a member?

When you have these dogs yes stress levels are high, and bank balances are low...I know I would be a lot richer in pocket, but very much poorer of heat, if I didn't have these wonderful dogs, thin or fat. it is difficult when your dog is thin, and especially when strangers come and ask why the dog is so thin. Most will get over it and put weight on, I always used to tell new puppy owners, 'if your dog won't eat its food, then just take it up, and give it to it on the next meal,'' but after having Saffy I know that some dogs will actually starve themselves to death, I know that she would have done so, personally I will hand feed, I know that there are many things to say against this method, but, if it saves their lives, then it is a no brainer....
Thanks Sue :)
It's the Royal Society 'for the' Protection 'of' Cruelty 'to' Animals....there are versions in the UK for Birds etc and we also have similar societies here in Australia, don't know about the rest of Europe tho'......Leisa x




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