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Great Dane Needs to Gain Weight

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

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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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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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April 19, 20090 found this helpful

Your dog can eat some of the same things your family eats like meat with the fat trimmed off. High carbohydrate foods such as carrots and rice will also help.

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April 19, 20090 found this helpful

Has your dog been tested for all types of worms separately? this would be a good thing to ask considering all the things out there a dog can get. there is also dog leukemia, and something else to consider. Is your dog anemic? Some dogs just stay skinny. I would agree with knewton, in getting your dog spayed or neutered. my friend has a block head lab (very large lab) and he is 4 years old and not neutered, but under his coat he is rather skinny for my taste and for his breed. my 2 dogs are neutered and started putting on the weight right away. my one is 4 (boxer mix) the other is not even a year old possibly akita mix) and is already 90 lbs. He didn't start putting on the weight though until he got fixed.

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April 23, 20090 found this helpful

Make sure to feed many small meals a day to get her use to eatting. If her mistreatment was starvation then she will not be able to eat a lot in one setting. I would give her a cup of food at a time 4 times aday. I hope all goes well and she starts to get more healthy.

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April 23, 20090 found this helpful

Most definitely buy animal acidophiles (I buy from Whole Foods refrigerator section) because it will help any acidic condition, illnesses for after antibiotics, and has no side effects but has great results. Just sprinkle proper amt. and mix into foods. It tastes like milk and is not at all harmful, only beneficial, and can be given daily to check all sorts of imbalances. If you can afford to worm the dog first, you will be better off. Give no canned dog food or dry cereals, only canned chicken/ tuna/ raw egg/ small amt. cooked oatmeal, organic cheerios, and LOTS of fresh clean water, checking often.

Keep the dog isolated until well, on clean bedding of rags, not to be washed in washer where you wash your clothing, linens or dish towels, until you know exactly what is the problem and the dog is well. If you can also mix in a small amt. of canned unsweetened pumpkin into the food combo, it will help with digestive problems. If the dog is not going outdoors, don't worry about vitamins/minerals until much later, when well.

God bless and help you. : )

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