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Hannah The Italian Mastiff – From Underweight Dog to Happy Hound

Today we have a really great story so please feel free to share this heartwarming story with your friends and family. We want to tell you the story of Hannah the Italian Mastiff (aka Cane Corso) and how Canine Caviar has helped her from a difficult situation. Hannah came to her new owner, Julie severely underweight which no pet parent wants to go through but after 6 months, Hannah’s health has greatly improved. Hannah has transformed from and underweight dog to a lively and resilient addition to Julie’s family.

Julie Meets Hannah

underweight dog cane corso puppy

Julie was looking for a new family member after one of her previous dogs, Kaylee passed away months prior. She arranged to receive a 10-week-old Cane Corso puppy from a local family. She was left in a shock though when she finally came face to face with the young pup to see that it was severely underweight. Her ribs showed prominently, her hip bones protruded out of her body and you could see the ridges of her spine sticking out. But she was endearing and full of love. Julie along with the Canine Caviar crew were determined to take care of this sweet underweight dog.

At 10 weeks, Hannah weighed 9.3 pounds; typically dogs of this breed and age should weigh 20-25 pounds. That is to say Hannah at best, was half of what she was supposed to weigh.

We asked Julie to describe Hannah’s behavior when she first got her:

She didn’t have much energy and acted like each meal was her one and only chance to eat in life. She startled easily with loud or unfamiliar noises. But from the very beginning, she loved to be with people. Anybody that got near her and wanted to hold a puppy had her in their arms within seconds. 

The Challenge of an Underweight Dog

The challenge for Julie was to bring an underweight dog back to its healthy weight. The answer may seem obvious and easy but that’s not the case. An underweight dog is a more delicate matter than some may believe and recovery is a long patient process.

You might think that all you have to do is feed your dog more food so that they gain more weight. This is the wrong approach to take, in fact, it can have the opposite effect. Overfeeding can lead to a loss of weight.

The reason why is because a dog’s body won’t be able to quickly process all the food you give it. A dog’s digestive system can only process so much. That means all the food is just going to go through the digestive system without the dog utilizing the calories, nutrients, fats, and proteins it needs. The end result is a lot of excrement and an underweight dog that hasn’t improved.

Gaining Weight The Right Way

underweight dog eating out of puzzle bowl

Even as an underweight dog, Hannah still requires a slow and steady growth. A slow growth rate is extremely important for giant breed dogs like Hannah to ensure optimal health as adults. Not doing so can lead to health issues, especially in the hip and legs.

So how do we help an underweight dog gain pounds? Well, instead of feeding more per meal, one should incorporate more meals during the day. That’s exactly what Julie did as she explains here.

Initially I fed her 6 small meals of Canine Caviar Special Needs a day.  Now she enjoys 4 meals a day. When she continued to eat very fast, I slowed her down with a puzzle bowl. In the beginning she was frustrated with it, but now she enjoys it.

Most owners feed their dogs 2-3 times a day. Considering Hannah’s situation, 6 smaller meals was a good approach. What’s also great is that Julie was feeding Canine Caviar Special Needs formula. Special Needs is the formula we recommend for large breed puppies. It’s lower calorie than the other formulas allowing for the slow growth that large breed dogs need. Hannah is now nearing 6 months and she looks like a completely different dog.

Underweight Dog to Happy Hound

At 7 months old she is a very rambunctious puppy and is so full of energy. Hannah is responding very well to training. She seems to thrive on the structure, discipline and of course the attention she gets! She loves to cuddle and wants to be with people all the time. Hannah has learned to play well with other dogs. She is still a bit on the small size for her age and breed but she is consistently gaining 1 ½ to 2 pounds per week.

This is great news to hear! She’s no longer lethargic and displaying qualities more fitting for a puppy. 1.5-2 pounds per week is also great news; it’s the recommended growth for large breed puppies. Hannah isn’t at her preferred weight yet but with time and love from her owner Julie, she’ll reach her target goal.

12 Month Update

After a ruff start, Hannah has reached her 1st Birthday and is a very happy and healthy pup. She loves to play with her toys and her German Shepherd old man. She enjoys training exercises especially when treats are involved.  (That’s how we got the birthday pictures). She is a tall, lanky and petite girl, but is steadily growing. Due to COVID19 and practicing social distancing she has not been weighed recently, but she has learned that she is too big to run under the dining room table. 

Hannah started her Canine Caviar journey on Special Needs until she was 9 months old. She then moved to Free Spirit and is now on Open Meadow. She LOVES buffalo treats and sweet potato. And since today is her birthday she will get her favorite for dinner, canned turkey and synergy vegetable mix.

We hoped you enjoyed this inspiring story. Please feel free to share with your friends and family. If you want to read more great articles, visit the Canine Caviar Blog. Learn Where You Can Buy Canine Caviar in 2020 or read about Brewster the Golden Retriever and how he grew up on Canine Caviar.