Exclusively Setters

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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?


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I think the problem with Setters and weight gain or loss is more worrying than in most other dog breeds because they are such a lithe and athletic build anyway. It seems that every pound counts and it is true that when they stop eating, it can be very hard work to get them eating properly again. Harley was like this in his first Summer with us. He went off his food because of the heat and it took us a good two weeks to get him back in to a relatively normal eating pattern again. I did find tempting him with bits of cooked chicken added to his meal helped and he also now loves rice so on his off days, he does have a serving of chicken and rice and then goes back on to kibbles when his appetite is back to normal :).
Having had setters with very sensitive stomach's we had found nothing worked as well as Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach. No corn, wheat or any other funky stuff in the other foods in the line. Just salmon and rice. I have many friends who feed this. My dog seems to not want breakfast anymore. I leave him alone about it since he makes up for it later in the day. Once he is exercised he is starving. He still eats three to four meals only small portions since it seems to work for him right now. I don't like feeding large meals. Bloat concerns and spacing it out seems to keep a dog more sated. I have to use canned food as a topper for variety also. I stick to only non-gravy canned and only a tablespoon mixed in the kibble.
Gravy can cause the runs in many dogs.


We have the same problem with Harley during the Summer months. When it gets particularly humid or hot, his appetite disappears. He will pick at his food or accept a piece of ham but just does not seem bothered by food. In the three years we have had him he has been like this every Summer. He always has fresh food, clean bowls and always has free access to clean, fresh water so it's none of those causing the problem. We've come to the conclusion that if he is hungry, he will eat. During these periods he's always been alert and playful and the same old Harley but just doesn't seem to be bothered by food. The only time I would worry is if he lost interest in walks and lost his 'spark' and in my limited experience, I would say the same to you about yours.

They do seem to have sensitive digestion as well as being sensitive dogs.


As for the neutering issue, I am the same and I completely agree with you. Harley is not a nuisance with other dogs (apart from mounting our poor Spaniel when Harley gets a bit overexcited at the letterbox or door bell!). It does ruin their coat and according to the breeder Harley came from, it can also affect their growing in that they lose all their grace and presence and turn in to over-grown donkeys. I have met a neutered Setter and he didn't look as good have done. Of course, if I were neutering to prevent something hereditary being passed on or neutering for the good of the dog then I would of course have the operation done but if it doesn't affect your dog's behaviour and he is a healthy boy then I don't see why he should have the operation done.

After months of trying to get Rigsby to eat, I've now put him on a raw diet.  This morning, he ate his first chicken carcass, after a few minutes hesitation, and he's having tripe and veggie mix for tea.  he seemed to relish it so I'm hoping this is a new chapter for us and I can stop worrying about his weight. 




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