Great Dane Needs to Gain Weight

April 19, 2009
Sad looking Great Dane rests heads on paws with food dishes in the background

We have a German Shepherd called Tia who is 1 year old. We rescued Tia when she was around 5 months old. She had a terrible start to life and was badly mistreated.


Tia is also very skinny, showing her ribs and backbone even though she is extremely fit. We have visited the vets on numerous occasions, having blood tests done and she is now being treated for EPI (even though the tests were inconclusive). Her poo samples have improved (less smelly, better consistency, and normal in colour) but there isn't much change to her weight. Any advice will be grateful.

Many thanks.
Diane H


April 19, 20090 found this helpful
Best Answer

"Satin Ball" recipe for dogs who won't eat

This recipe is for dogs who desperately need calories and need to put on weight, but who have no appetite. It sounds yucky, but when these are done they are really appealing, even to me.
In my experience, this is a kind of "last resort and hope" food that many sick dogs will eat.

Mix all ingredients (like meatballs). I shape them like thick hamburgers rather than balls because they store easier in the freezer and thaw faster. Freeze in serving portion size. Nothing is cooked -- all ingredients are uncooked RAW and "Satin Balls" are served raw.


This recipe for Little Dogs (1/10 of full recipe) would be a good test to see if your dog will eat them before you make the substantial investment in ingredients of the half or full size recipe. See Notes below about the Total cereal, oats, wheat germ and vegetable oil.

Satin Balls for Little Dogs -- or to try out recipe on your dog to see if he will eat it.

1 lb cheap hamburger (for high fat %)
1 and 1/3 cups Total cereal
1 and 1/2 cups uncooked oatmeal
1 raw egg
6 Tablespoons wheat germ
1 package Knox unflavored gelatin
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons unsulphered molasses
Pinch of salt

Satin Balls Half Recipe -- recommended amount to mix up

5 lbs cheap hamburger (for high fat %)
1/2 large box Total cereal (about 6 cups cereal)
1/2 large box uncooked oatmeal (about 7.5 cups oats)
5 raw eggs
1/2 of 15oz jar wheat germ (about 2 cups)
5 packages Knox unflavored gelatin
5/8 cup vegetable oil (this is pretty close to 2/3 cup)


5/8 cup unsulphered molasses
pinch of salt

The half recipe, using hamburger that is 20% fat calories, has 12,400 calories. The last batch I made ended up making 22 patties, so each has about 560 calories. I have big dogs (Danes) so if your dog is smaller you might want to make your Satin Balls or patties smaller.

I find that making the half recipe is so much easier that it is worth doing even though you have half-boxes of things around for awhile and have to mix it up twice as often. The disadvantage of the full recipe is the need of a really BIG container and it is very hard work to mix it all up.

Satin Balls Full Recipe

10 lbs cheap hamburger (high fat %)
1 large box Total cereal (about 12 cups cereal)
1 large box uncooked oatmeal (about 15 cups oats)
10 raw eggs
1 15oz jar wheat germ
10 packages Knox unflavored gelatin


1 and 1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 and 1/4 cup unsulphered molasses
pinch of salt

"Whole Wheat Total" cereal (blue box) comes in large 1 lb 2 oz size (about 12 cups settled) and a smaller 12 oz size (about 8 cups cereal), which would work in Little Dog or Half Recipe. But in the long run, the large size is more economical. Don't get Raisin Total or Lo Carb Total.

Uncooked Oatmeal like "Quaker Old Fashioned Oats" and less expensive supermarket house brand, come in large 2 lb 10oz size (15 cups oats) or smaller 18 oz size (about 7 cups oats).

15oz jar of wheat germ is about 4 cups. Some stores only carry a 12oz jar of wheat germ, which contains about 3 and 1/4 cups of it.

Vegetable oil -- use a good one. I use grapeseed oil, olive oil would be next best.


Tip: I don't break the eggs directly into the pot of stuff. The first time I broke the eggs into a separate little bowl for some reason. One of the eggs was bad and it would have ruined the whole pot of stuff. I had never seen an egg like that and had no reason to expect it, but I never break eggs directly into anything anymore.

The Satin Ball patties were what Duke started eating when he wouldn't eat anything at all after his torsion surgery. He still gets one a day.

It is important to stick to the proportions. I gave the recipe to someone whose dog wouldn't eat, she told me she made them but he wouldn't eat them. Then she told me what she did to the recipe, changing it so much that it ended up something entirely different (no wonder her dog wouldn't eat it). You need to follow the recipe carefully if you are going to go to the trouble and expense of making it.

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April 19, 20090 found this helpful
Best Answer

I am an ICU vet nurse. Is your dog spayed? You don't need dog food recipes ... you need to see a veterinarian if you haven't. And if you have and they don't know what to do - then you need to see a specialist (like an internal medicine doctor).


You should be feeding a high quality dog food not food store foods. Good luck, let me know if you have questions!

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Silver Feedback Medal for All Time! 378 Feedbacks
April 23, 20090 found this helpful
Best Answer

Sounds like parasitism to me, see your vet. Call your local animal shelter if you have trouble affording the vet.

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2 More Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

October 9, 2018

My Dane just turned one year old and ever since we switched him to adult food he's not been eating much unless I hand feed him his food. He keeps getting skinnier. I've switched his food twice now to find something he likes and it hasn't worked. I tried adding broth, rice, warm water, and eggs and it didn't help either. Year Old Great Dane Losing Weight - skinny Dane


He's allergic to beef so right now I'm feeding him Pro Plan Focus for large breeds. Does anyone have any good recommendations? For treats I give him peanut butter cookies and sandwiches since they're high in protein and chicken treats for training.

Hes very playful and active, I take him on runs and walks at least 3 times a weeks to get him out the house and exersise

Year Old Great Dane Losing Weight


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 196 Feedbacks
October 9, 20180 found this helpful

What a sweet puppy face!!!

Sending up prayers! Any changes in eating habits ALWAYS warrant a call to the vet. Our gal had teeth problems and the vet got her squared away quickly. Our boy had food allergies, the vet got him fixed up.

As pup parents we want instant fixes, but I have learned from being a pet owner most of my life, the vet knows best and will get you on the right track!

Let me know what the vet says!!! Hope it is a simple fix!!! Hugs to the pup!!

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October 10, 20180 found this helpful

I would see about calling the vet first. My friends have found lamb helps when they aren't keeping the food down.

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October 10, 20180 found this helpful

I would leave the cookies and peanut butter sandwiches out of the mix. The contrast might be making the dog food taste pretty boring. Have you tried a good quality canned food? I agree with other posters that he needs to see a Vet right away.

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October 11, 20180 found this helpful

I would ask the vet if weight loss is a side effect of the meds and maybe he can adjust the dose. It could also be the allergies are causing malabsorption of the food. Can you keep him away from the grass and mold by setting indoor pee/poop pads inside. Not ideal but it may get him over the hump and break the cycle. Use an old shower curtain understand the pads for extra protection and treat the space as going out so when you say out he kit is to go potty in the new place. Healing prayers continue for the pup!!

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May 23, 20190 found this helpful

Hello I have a great dane also. Hell be one in June. I find that some pups are like this until they reach sometimes 2 years old. Our last Dane looked emancipated almost but when taken to the vet she said he was perfect. If your concerned i would give him a puppy wet food. Good luck with ur baby!!

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April 19, 2009

What should I feed my Great Dane for weight gain?

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