How To Add Weight To Your Working Dog

Keeping weight on a working dog can be difficult, especially as the shooting seasons start. 

A dogs weight will vary on a number of factors. Some are hereditary, its type, its age, and its lifestyle.  It’s common for people to believe if you can feel a dogs rib cage, its too skinny but this is not always the case. 

It’s sensible to keep a diary of your dogs weight so that you are able to track any weight loss through the working season, and weight gain during their off season. By monitoring you can adjust appropriately. 

At Afonfelin we use to record our dogs weights. I’m terrible with paper so an online system suits me. You can also use the LWDG free printable health log.  

What Should My Working Dog Weigh?

On the James Wellbeloved site they have a sliding scale that you can match to how your dog looks and feels, to give you an approximate idea of whats appropriate for your dog. Alongside weight, think about the dogs fitness levels. A very fit dog can look skinny but be in incredibly good shape and condition. 

We have also included at the bottom of this post a list of most dog breeds and their suggested weight in KG for both dogs and bitches. 

Ruling Out Disease

Before we make changes to our dogs diet to increase weight, the possibility that disease or injury may be present and affecting their condition,  must always be considered. 

If your adult dog normally has no issue holding weight, and suddenly loses condition for no obvious reason, such as a large increase in exercises levels, seek veterinary advice before looking at adjusting their diet. 

Parasitic infestations can also affect a dogs weight. All dogs need to receive regular worming and check for ticks, fleas and other parasites as an infected dog can and will lose condition rapidly. 

Frequency Of Feeding

When trying to add weight to a working dog it is a good idea to provide additional little amounts of food often. Large meals with smaller frequency, can be passed through without getting the optimum nutrition absorption. If your commitments such as work make it hard to add more meals, you could ask a neighbour or friend to pop food in for them, or pay a dog sitter or walker. There are also automatic feeders available on the market to help you.  

Different Types Of Food

Working Dogs tend to have a variety of diets depending on what their owners have found to give them the most success. 

For your dog work out what suits them best , and what suits your lifestyle the best. There isn’t one answer to increasing a working dogs weight through feeding, so don’t be scared to make gradual changes and see what gives them the best results. 

Raw Feeding

When you mention raw feeding , people naturally think about raw meat. Whilst this plays a part there are also many other raw ingredients you can use in your dogs diet. Oily fish, berries, eggs, cheese and veg can all be included to add calories to your dogs daily intake. 

Raw Food can be purchased from many canine raw food providers, or can be sourced from your local supermarket. If you are looking for suggestions for companies to use, head over to the Ladies Working Dog Group – Free Community and type ‘Feeding’ into the group search bar.  

Green Tripe

The History of Tripe  recipe book explains tripe as “the edible lining from the stomachs of various farm animals”.

Green Tripe, is the most natural form of tripe that has not been bleached or dressed in any way. It has all the goodness of tripe including additional calories from the fat and protein, the good bacteria and other good stuff to benefit your dog. 

Depending on from where, and in what state you receive the tripe can massively affect its smell and how you feed it, but there’s no doubting it can be a great way to add weight to your dog. 

Additional Complete Dog Food Meals

Most canine food companies have weight loss products, but less have bespoke weight gain products. 

Speak to the company you are using for your dogs normal feeds and ask if there’s a product they suggest. Sometimes just adding an additional meal into the day, and after a long days work can be enough to hold or increase their weight. 

High Fat and High Protein Treats

When you’re trying to put weight on a dog, high fat and high protein treats can be an excellent source of additional calories. Natural peanut butter is loved by most dogs and is a great addition to a skinny dog’s diet as are sardines, and fat off your steak. 

Canine Weight Chart

This table gives a general idea of the weight your dog should be. Keep in mind that a fit dog carrying muscle may show as being overweight due to muscle mass. Make sure to take into account your dogs appearance as well as weight. 

Average Adult Weight (kg)
Afghan Hound25-3020-25Large
Alaskan Malamute38-4035Large
Anatolian Shepherd Dog40-70Large
Australian Cattle Dog15-20Medium
Australian Shepherd20-3020-25Medium
Australian Silky Terrier3-5Small
Australian Terrier5-7Small
Basset Hound20-25Medium
Bavarian Mountain Hound20-25Medium
Bedlington Terrier7-10Small
Belgian Shepherd Dog25-3020-25Medium
Bernese Mountain Dog40-5530-45Large
Bichon Frise5-74-7Small
Black and Tan Coonhound25-35Large
Border Terrier5-7Small
Boston Terrier4-11Small
Bracco Italiano25-40Large
Bull Terrier28-3220-28Medium
Cairn Terrier5-7Small
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel5-9Small
Cesky Terrier7-10Small
Chinese Crested2-6Small
Chow Chow20-30Medium
Coton De Tulears4-63.5-5Small
Dachshund (Miniature)5Small
Dachshund (Standard)7-14Medium
Dandie Dinmont Terrier8-11Small
Dogue de Bordeaux5045Large
English Setter27-3022-25Large
English Toy Terrier3.5-6.5Small
Entlebucher Mountain Dog20-30Medium
Estrela Mountain Dog40-5030-40Large
Finish Lapphund15-24Medium
Fox Terrier7.5-8.56.5-7.5Small
French Bulldog12.5 or lessSmall
German Longhaired Pointer27-32Large
German Pinscher11-16Medium
German Shepherd35-45Large
German Shorthaired Pointer25-3020-25Medium
Giant Schnauzer27-4825-35Large
Gordon Setter25-3520-30Large
Great Dane60-8050-70Large
Great Swiss Mountain Dog50-6540-50Large
Greenland Dog30-32Large
Griffon Bruxellois4-5Small
Hungarian Kuvasz45-5235-40Large
Hungarian Puli13-1510-13Medium
Ibizan Hound2320Medium
Irish Red & White Setter25-34Large
Irish Setter3227Medium
Irish Terrier1211Small
Irish Wolfhound54 or more47 or moreLarge
Italian Greyhound3-7Small
Italian Spinone34-3929-34Large
Jack Russell Terrier7-8Small
Japanese Akita Inu34-5432-45Large
King Charles Spaniel4-7Small
Korean Jindo18-2315-19Medium
Korthals Griffon23-27Medium
Lagotto Romagnolo13-1611-14Small
Lakeland Terrier7.5Small
Lancashire Heeler2.5-6Small
Lhasa Apso6-7Small
Manchester Terrier3-3.5Small
Maremma Sheepdog30-45Large
Miniature Schnauzer6-6.5Small
Munsterlander (Large)23-32Large
Munsterlander (Small)18-27Medium
Neapolitan Mastiff60-6550Large
Norfolk Terrier5-5.5Small
Norwegian Buhund14-1811.5-15.5Medium
Norwegian Elkhound2522Medium
Norwich Terrier5.5Small
Old English Sheepdog32-4028-35Large
Parson Russell Terrier6-7Small
Pekingese6 or lessSmall
Pharaoh Hound20-25Medium
Portuguese Podengo4-6Small
Portuguese Pointer20-2716-22Medium
Portuguese Water Dog20-2716-22.5Medium
Pyrenean Mastiff80-100Large
Pyrenean Mountain Dog50-5436-41Large
Pyrenean Sheepdog20-2514-20Medium
Retriever (Golden)30-3425-32Large
Retriever (Labrador)29-3625-32Large
Rhodesian Ridgeback3832Large
Russian Toy2.5 or lessSmall
Saint Bernard63-81Large
Scottish Terrier8.5-108.5-9.5Small
Sealyham Terrier10.58-10Small
Segugio Italiano18-27Large
Shar Pei25-3018-25Medium
Shetland Sheepdog9Small
Shih Tzu4-7Small
Siberian Husky20-2516-22Medium
Skye Terrier16-1812-13.5Medium
Slovakian Rough Haired Pointer25-35Large
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier16-1813.5-15Medium
Spaniel (Clumber)32-3925-32Large
Spaniel (Cocker)13-1612-15Small
Spaniel (English Springer)20-2518-23Medium
Staffordshire Bull Terrier16-1813.5-15Medium
Swedish Lapphund19-21Medium
Tibetan Mastiff40-7035-50Large
Welsh Corgi10-1410-13Small
Welsh Terrier9-10Small
West Highland White Terrier7-9.5Small
White Swiss Shepherd Dog30-4025-35Large
Xoloitzcuintle (Toy)2.5-6.5Small
Xoloitzcuintle (Miniature)7-13.5Small
Xoloitzcuintle (Standard)11.5-18Medium
Yorkshire Terrier3 or lessSmall

Question Of The Week

What do you find works best for putting weight onto your working dog? Pop your comments below. 

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