Barbie? Hulk? Both?

To call Lollie’s waist “tiny” would be a vast understatement. The little lady is built like a cross between the incredible hulk, with his big rippling muscles on his shoulders, chest, and legs, and good ol Barbie, with her girlish charm and freakishly small waist.

Lolita's estranged parents?

At first, we thought her tiny waist was simply a result of obvious malnutrition from her unknown past. But after almost four weeks in our home eating high-quality food and plenty of peanut butter to supplement, her painfully visible ribs are retreating beneath her skin a little but her waist remains Barbiesque. Her post-spay bandage really accentuates the effect, but don’t think it’s an optical illusion: the bandage is not wrapped so tightly as to contort her waist into a small shape. That’s what it really looks like.

Have any of you cared for an under-nourished foster or rescue? How long did it take you to nurse it back to full weight?


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10 responses

  1. She’s so tiny! Nemo and Melanie both needing “bulking up” when we brought them home, but they added weight pretty quickly and easily (too easily in Melanie’s case…). I guess Nemo’s waist is pretty small too, but not nearly like Lollie’s. Some dogs are just built differently though.

  2. It can take forever…Stanley was with us for a couple of months and was still a rack of bones when he went to his new home. If you are feeding a good quality kibble it will come, slowly but surely. I think some people start to overfeed to try to bulk them up, but the best thing to do is for it to happen slowly and steady. Depending on how old she is you might be able to feed a puppy kibble, designed to help a dog grow, but you might want to check with a vet on that first.

    Having photos helps, because as the people who see her everyday you are less likely to notice the big difference, while she still looks thin, it is possible that she’s already gained lbs!

    Or, try switching to a different kibble. We had our first foster on the best money can buy, but it was almost too rich for his system and we had to tone it down a notch with great success.

    She looks SO much better already and her body is so busy doing ‘repairs’…soon she’ll be a little beefcake!

  3. Hi! Thanks for stopping by the blog. I haven’t fostered before but I often marvel at Stella’s “Barbie” waist; I can almost clasp my hands around it which is unbelievable since she’s almost sixty pounds. Of course that mighty chest accentuates the thing (just like Barbie!)

  4. I don’t know if Shiva was under-nourished when we brought her home or not. It’s hard to say. For one thing, I don’t know how long she was at the shelter, they do a pretty good job of taking care of the animals that come in. But she had been abandoned and she was pretty skinny so it’s possible.

    However, Shiva’s waist is miniscule, just like Lollie’s! She has these muscely shoulders and this giant butt but her waist is very thin. Since she eats a ton and has been living with us for a year and a half, I’ve just attributed it to whatever breeds are inside of her. Maybe she is part pit bull, who knows?

  5. When my dog was growing, he had trouble putting on weight. His nickname was “Ribby”. Anyway, my vet said to give him a hard boiled egg, mashed in his kibble once a day. He put on 8lbs within a month. Cottage cheese or plain yogurt would also work.

    • Thanks for the idea Laura, we will try that if she doesn’t start gaining soon. I had never heard that, about eggs or yogurt . . . we are mixing in a little wet food and plan to just give her some time. Since the vet said that she is skinny but not dangerously so, we are trying to take the slow road . . .

  6. It took us a couple of months to get both of our pups up to a reasonable weight. Toni came to us at 62 pounds, which sounds like a lot but she should really be closer to 75. Téa had been living in our doggie daycare for about six months, which is better than a shelter but still stressful after a long time. She was well-fed, but the stress kept her downright scrawny. We took the same approach you’re taking: generous helpings of high quality food and a lot of treats to reward all the good new behaviors they were learning.

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