Tuesday, 10 October 2017

How to put weight on a sick, skinny or underweight dog with no appetite

If you're looking for a superior alternative to kennels, and you've been Googling 'pet sitting' 'pet minding' 'dog sitting' or 'dog minding' and you've found your way here - you're come to the right place! You're a short step away from the most exceptional 24/7 care for your dog! Just head on over to my 'Hound Dog Hotel'. On the Central Coast just 75 mins from Sydney you'll find my unique and exclusive Boutique Hotel. Set up for only 4 VIPs (Very Important Pooches) at a time, it could be perfect for your perfect pet! The link:-


This Blog has valuable and practical advise for those with an ill or sick dog (or even those with a dog that is fit but skinny and cannot put on weight). 

I've written many blogs and a number related to dogs’ health and also about obesity in dogs. Overweight dogs are far more prevalent than those that are too thin (my blog: When a Pooch has a Paunch Problem) But what can you do to help underweight dogs? Read on to find out.

From a health perspective a skinny, fit dog would be far less of a concern to a Vet than a Pooch like a Porker! But a dog can be too thin, and if this condition is related to ill health, it can be very challenging to turn it around and you end up with a negative spiral. Your dogs health goes rapidly down hill when they can no longer tolerate or get benefit from normal food.

Past a certain point, with their become so system compromised and they may be so ill that they have no appetite and can’t be tempted to eat at all.

We had exactly this situation with my daughter’s wonderful boxer, Elly who was about 4 when she started to get unwell. We were constantly taking her for tests yet our vet could not find what was causing her to be so ill. As days turned to weeks Elly’s deterioration was distressing to see.

Not eating and barely drinking, Elly had to be carried outside to go to the toilet. She was becoming weaker and weaker,  could barely move, and all her sparkle had gone. She wasn’t even able to raise a tail wag.

Elly went from her normal healthy weight of around 25 kgs to barely 19kgs – skin & bone . She was wasting away before our eyes and still we did not have a diagnosis.

Looking at her one night it hit me she was so ill, thin and frail she was actually going to die of starvation if we did not get find out what the problem was, and turn it round – fast.

So I said to my daughter she should get a referral to SASH (Australia’s world famous Small Animal Specialist Hospital)

Arriving at SASH we were fortunate to see Vet Dr Justin Wimpole. Justin has a wonderful approach to both dogs and their owners. He scooped up Elly’s by now tiny body into his arms and as he held her there she didn’t move. She was all legs and angles with bones jutting out of her head. He said very simply “this is a very sick little girl”.

At last Justin had put into words what we seen over the weeks and my daughter and I were crying with relief and worry all in one.

After that Justin’s investigations found the problem very quickly. (It was found to be a digestive problem, rare for dogs in general, but found in certain breeds, including boxers).

With a definitive diagnosis finally Elly was prescribed the right drug to treat her condition. But her recovery was far from certain because by now our darling girl could barely stand. Even on the medicine she still had no interest in eating anything. A  drip might have kept her alive, but was not realistic as it wouldn’t have built her up.

Elly desperately needed energy  - yet how could we get energy into her? We'd tried every food recommended. In fact every conceivable variation of protein based dog foods and human foods, yet she had no interest, would sniff and walk away – nothing could tempt her.

Then I suddenly had my stroke of genius – tempting her was the answer because she was sniffing food – but with what? I realised she needed something tasty, easy to eat and in a way that was almost predigested calories - and that was what I came up with.

When I first made my concoction and Elly lapped it all up  – we all cheered and cried at once. It had been so long she would touch anything – and she kept it down and wanted more.

The food that worked the magic was a home made Carb & Protein Mash. It had the effect of stimulating her appetite and within a few days bit by bit we were able to introduce normal food and we gained time which allowed the medicine time to do its work.

Now I fully admit this will not win prizes for nutrition! But it does answer as a short term method of getting calories - and thus energy -  into a dog when normal foods aren’t working.

Clearly my Carb & Protein Mash it is not a substitute for normal protein dog foods – just keep  in mind what the intention is. It is for an acute period to give your dog concentrated calories to build them up and help them recover.


  • 7-8  plain biscuits, I usually used Rich Tea but 6 Digestives would be OK
  • 2 Wheatabix or Oat Brits
  • Cup of hot milky tea with 2 teaspoons sugar
  • An egg

Optional extra: 1 tsp powdered Brewer’s Yeast*
Optional extra: small amount cooked basmati rice (I didn’t add this to my mix but you could)

  1. Crunch up the biscuits & Wheatabix (or Oat Brits) into a bowl
  2. Make the tea put a couple of sugars in then add an amount of milk to make it milky
  3. Pour the tea over the biscuits & Wheatabix
  4. Mash it until no obvious biscuit is seen into a smooth, warm mash
  5. Break a raw egg into this and stir in
  6. Mix in a teaspoon of powdered Brewers Yeast (not essential)
  7. Offer a portion* of this to your dog whilst it's still warm

The above mix is around 900 calories consisting mainly of carbs and sugar. There is some easily digested protein in the form of the milk and egg. Fat content is low deliberately.

If you don’t have fresh milk pour on black tea but then sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of skimmed milk into the mixture.
*Some dogs are allergic to yeast, and the symptoms seen can be itchy skin and upset, bloated, gaseous stomachs. Overall, for most dogs, brewer's yeast is safe and beneficial. With a dog that is thin through illness then give this Mash without this and you could add it in later and then you would know if it has any negative effects

*This is a large amount of food and may overload your sick dog’s system if given all at once.

In which case if this is for a dog that is ill with little appetite make the full amount but give little and often through the day-  some every hour or even 45 mins – you need to assess and see how it goes.

For maximum temptation offer this to your dog when it’s warm.  If giving it throughout the day gently reheat a portion in the microwave (be careful not to let it get too hot). A sick dog might get runny poo if this is all they are eating. Though because so much of this is easily digested there is not too much waste.


Keep in mind my CARB & PROTEIN MASH is very useful for a fit skinny dog. Case in point GSP Pepper. She is exceptionally fit but underweight – ribs protruding and sharp bones in her shoulders/chest. The owners struggled to get her to gain weight as whenever they increased her normal food by giving her  an extra third meal she always ended up with diarrhea.

When Pepper came and stayed with me and I gave her the mash mix in the middle of the day – the result was a noticeable improvement and weight gain in just 10 days.

If you make the amount above for a fit dog which happens to be skinny you might be able to feed it all at once. I would give it all to Pepper in the middle of the day between her two normal meals and she didn’t get diarrhea. But you would monitor your dog as tolerations to large amounts varies.

Foot note re Vet Dr Justin Wimpole of SASH

After Justin’s help in finding the root problem of  Elly’s illness she recovered and my daughter, her sister and I were blessed with some more wonderful years with her.

However in 2016 when she was coming up to her 10th birthday again she was ill. This time symptoms were different but despite lots of tests the local vets could not diagnose the problem. So we asked for a referral and again took her to Justin at SASH. Astonishingly Justin remembered Elly, but not only that, he took one look at her and believed  -  and was subsequently proved correct by blood tests and investigations – that she had a malignant tumour of the brain.

We made her last days as comfortable as we could as sadly no magic mixture was able to save our darling girl this time.

Our adored Elly in happier times....

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Beware budget dog care! WARNING distressing pictures!!

Before this worrying Blog, if you have come to Perfect Pet Sitter and are looking for the very finest 24/7 dog care anywhere - be sure to head on over to my new website - Hound Dog Hotel www.hounddoghotel.net



Recently Facebook was buzzing with a horror story of a dog ‘Carer’ a Mr John Walsh, who not only didn’t care – but has been reported to the RSPCA and will be prosecuted for cruelty if there is any justice.

What happened to a Pug he was supposed to be looking after in the owner’s absence was so shocking it was published in the national press & You Tube  (lots of links at the end of this blog), but here is the story:

Poor Otis looks really unhappy. No surprise when he was ill with
a large wound -  at this point already so bad it was life threatening.

Going away to Brazil for 6 weeks, Jackson Millan, of Sydney, Australia, left his Pug & Boxer with a man he found  on Mad Paws - an on-line company that puts owners in touch with those willing to look after their dogs. Yet within a few weeks the mans monstrous treatment of Jackson's Pug, Otis, means the dog was left with a life threatening six-inch wound.

Mad Paws has a varied mix of people offering their services. There are a few professionals such as my Hound Dog Hotel www.hounddoghotel.net – However, the majority of those offering to take dogs do so in their spare time so fees vary as you would expect. 

My Hound Dog Hotel is professional, my service unique, and my clients come back again and again because although my fees are not the cheapest, they know they can totally rely on the very best holiday for their dog - and peace of mind for themselves.

Caring for a dog properly and meeting all its needs takes effort and devotion and is much more than just a walk in the park! If someone is asking just a few dollars you have to ask what time they intend to devote to your dog. Is your dog going to be one of many staying? Will s/he get taken for proper exercise? Will there be any ‘care’ at all?

In this case the owner had thought the guy was well recommended but became worried as after a few days he no longer received any updates or pictures - just excuses. Eventually he received ONE photo of his Pug from a side view (with harness on) yet even from so far away Jackson Millan could see something was seriously wrong (the first photograph shows this as a bulge under Otis harness).

It turns out the ‘Carer’ had left the harness on the Pug continuously for three weeks. During that time it had sawed into the Pug’s skin causing a truly horrific 6” gaping wound right across the chest from left to right. The wound was so hideous it looked as if the poor dog had been slashed open with a carving knife.

The ‘Carer’ was forced to take the Pug to the vet who remarked that the dog’s wound was so infected he could smell it from across the room.

This case does not mean every non-professional (which I have to assume the ‘Carer’ was) is cruel and unfeeling.

But before you consider leaving your dog with anyone it is vital to find out all about them. What are their standards of care – do they even have any?!

When prospective clients visit my Hound Dog Hotel I am proud to show off everything - inside and out - relating to the stay of their VIP (Very Important Pooch!)

We do a tour of the outside area and the inside. The client sees everything -  the air conditioned TV room where the dogs live with me, the garden and outside doggie shower. We agree where their dog will sleep, they get debriefed on how security works, learn where we go walking (and we can go on a walk together if they wish). They are given a very detailed Checklist in which everything I need to know about their dog is recorded. 

But first and foremost – at the Hound Dog Hotel I don’t take dogs then leave them! My motto is 'Your Dog is My Job' and my care is 24/7.  

I believe round the clock company is so important when I need to go out for anything more than an hour or two I bring in one of my sitters to ‘Pup Sit’ my doggie guests so they are not left alone.

Make sure you visit the the place where you propose to leave your dog. Ask questions! Don’t be embarrassed to quiz people! Anyone not forthcoming with answers to all of your questions (or willing to show you everything) should be given a wide birth. 

Here are the essential questions you should ask anyone offering to take care of your VIP: 

Experience what experience do they have? Have they been a dog owner or worked with dogs (fyi the man called John Walsh who was caring for the Otis advertised by saying he had bred dogs - sounded OK didn't it?)

Company:  Are they going to be with your dog day and night? - or do they leave them alone as they go out all day to employed work elsewhere?

Other dogs:  How many guest dogs do they take? Do they have dogs of their own? 

Who else is in the house:  Do they have young children around? (Not all dogs like children and their play can be too intense for your dog to relax).

Exercise:  Will your dog be exercised every day without fail? Where will they take your dog to be walked? How long will they we out? E.g. will it be a 10 minute stroll around block or will your dog be taken to a leash free beach or grass walk and able to run unrestricted? (My clients get daily reports plus GPS data showing a Map which recorded the exercise session).

References:  What references do they have? Ask to see evidence of them having looked after other peoples dogs. Ask to see references - which should match with texts or emails they have sent to clients whilst looking after their dogs.

Living arrangements:  Where will your dog live and exactly what sort of area is for your dog? e.g. are they allowed in the house, if so where?

Sleeping:  Where will your dog sleep? 

Air con:  Do they have aircon to cope with our hot weather?

Outside Access:  Does your dog have access to the outside

Safety & security:  How secure are their premises? Are their any dangers in the outside area?

Their own dog tags:  Do they have dog tags to identify them as the carer whilst you are away.

Inoculations:  Do they ask you about proof of innoculations and flea treatments? You don’t want your dog coming back with fleas as they have not been selective about dogs they have previously taken on. Proof of innoculations from each dog is imperative so as not to spread diseases.


I am rightly proud of my My Hound Dog Hotel service - but it is an Elite Option – not a cheap option. My fees are not within everyone’s budget,  but taken in its totality my service is extraordinarily good value.

You must be sure the person you choose will have expertise. This means skill and experience, having a genuine interest in dogs, and above all willing to devote time and give care and affection to meet your dog’s individual needs.

I subsequently got in touch with the owner of Otis (Jackson Millan) and discovered he had paid $30 per night for both his dogs. My charge is double that for one dog let alone two! The fact is whilst I love what I do, caring for a dog's welfare and safety 24 hours a day and ensuring they are happy is a huge responsibility and you need to be completely dedicated to your doggie guests needs. 

SO BEWARE BOOKING YOUR DOG ACCOMMODATION BASED ON WHAT SEEMS A CHEAP COST. Cheap dog care is going to be cheap for a reason - and you are almost certainly going to get what you pay for. 

Ultimately it could cost you - and your dog - so much more if they end up like poor Otis.

Poor Otis. He must have been neglected and deprived not just of basic care but of any kindness. A terrible trauma for him. 



Just a few pics of some of my recent happy guests.....
Below, Asha (Pointer x) regular guest Leo (Labradoodle) and staying for six weeks Miss Coconut (Cavoodle)

Leo loves trying out all the beds (go see a video of Leo by clicking here

Soli 2 year old Border Collie, amazing reference by his owner click here

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Is Anything Cuter than a Cavoodle?!

Hi Dear Readers!

There are many blogs existing still on this site, however, my more recent Blogs are on my new website. As you will see below these include topics such as recall training and dog obedience, dog beds (and why they are so important) and useful hints on your dogs safety, even how to make dogs toys for free (well almost) and overweight dogs plus much more besides:


My Hound Dog Hotel provides exclusive and elite  24/7 care for dogs. To find out more and read the Blog all about adorable Cavoodles (and to reveal the answer to the question, Is anything Cuter than a Cavoodle?) head on over  by this link:-


Here are links other blogs you might like to read. The two on recall are essential reading for those who need to get their dogs to return reliably.







Labradoole and regular Leo with Miss Coconut

Kuro at 7 months old

Coconut and litter sister


Millie helping me with my crossword

Sparky like all Cavoodles loves playing with big boys

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Tick Collars or Chews - what's the best protection for my dog?

Just a quick reminder, Perfect Pet Sitter (me!) still exists, except now your dog can come to me at my exclusive Boutique Doggie Hotel!

At the Hound Dog Hotel all doggie guests have to show they are up to date with their inoculations - this works for the safety of each guest and all my clients have no trouble producing their dog's certificates.

It is also a requirement that dogs must have protection against fleas and ticks. 

This area can be quite contentious and I do understand that some people worry about the effects of tablets and medicines upon their dog. But in the case of ticks - being resistant to the idea of dosing your dog with an efficacious treatment could cost your dog their life.

In my opinion and experience, Flea collars are simply not adequate. According to quality they vary in how effective they are, and whilst some might be Ok in areas of low incidents of ticks, where dogs are being walked in summer in grassy areas, the chances of ticks escalate. And when dogs also like to swim - a collar will not cut it. Plus if the collar gets wet, it can take up to 24 hours to 'recharge' back to full protection.

Personally I recommend Nexgard which provides very high protection with a monthly dose.

There are other products which promise longer (3 month) protection. I have personal feedback from a vets I know that last year during Spring they had a number of ticks from dogs actively taking protection. In each case the dogs were on the product offering 3 months - not one of the cases was on a dog taking Nexgard.

Having said that - nothing is guaranteed to give 100% protection - so always check you dog very carefully, especially when warmer weather comes.

Meanwhile, to see the fun and games dogs are having at the Hound Dog Hotel, take a trip to our videos page!


Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Fantastic French Bulldogs!

At the Hound Dog Hotel, exclusive dog accommodation on the Central Coast, I've had many different breeds of come to reside as pampered guests. (Just to explain, I started out as the Perfect Pet Sitter but these days my elite specialist pet minding service is for your dog and VIP (Very Important Pet) at my Hound Dog Hotel).

Over the years I’ve cared for a great variety of different breeds. But recently young Douglas arrived who was the first French Bulldog who’s been to stay – and what a character! Just to look at him made me smile - and he blew away any preconceived ideas I had about Frenchies!

I’ve written a blog about French Bulldogs which you can find by heading over to my main website :

To see a long, long list of the variety of breeds of dog I've cared for see further below.  

Meanwhile you might want to read a few of my most popular blogs (over 50 published) that you can still find on this site. 

  • Is anything cuter than a Cavoodle?
  • Unique 3 step check to finding the best breed for you
  • Battle of the breeds! Which is the best dog? 
  • Is your canine a Diva or Miva? (male Diva!) TAKE OUR QUIZ!
  • Cavoodles & Labradoodles - protected or pampered?
  • Perfect Pet Sitters Perfect Home Made Dog Treats!
  • When dogs go bad - Part I who's driving who mad?
  • When dogs go bad - Part II A.K.A. A very important behavioural Blog
  • 10 top tips to find the PERFECT PET SITTER or PET MINDER
  • Want to live forever – get a dog?!
  • Laughing Labradors and an Avalanche of Afghan Hounds 
  • Help! My puppy won't come back!  
  • Two Dogs – Twice the Fun or Double Trouble?
  • Are dogs really just ingratiating parasites?
  • Rhodesian Ridgebacks - looks can be deceiving!
  • Cattle dogs, Kelpies & Ginger Toms
  • Puppy Power! Rare & gorgeous black Spaniel
  • "But anyone can pet sit"
  • Avoiding puppy problems with small children
  • A Two Canoe doggie rescue
  • Mucky Pups - mayhem on the Mudflats! 
  • 10 reasons we’re the best of the best
  • See why Perfect Pet Sitter is the best dog care anywhere
  • The 4 worst Dog Walker Scams – are you being duped?

Here are the breeds I've cared for:
(The list is so long I couldn't even add all of them in Tags!!)

French Bulldog
English Bulldog
Dogue de Bordeaux
German Shepherd Dog
German Shorthaired Pointers
Wirehaired German Pointers
(Cream, Chocolate and Black Labradors)
Golden Retreivers
Moodles (aka Maltipoo Maltese x Poodle)
Springer Spaniels
Border Collies
Old English Sheepdog
Rhodesian Ridgebacks
Jack Russells
Lagotto Ramango
West Highland White
Toy Poodle
Wheaten Terrier
Miniature Schnauzer.
Cavalier King Charles
Beagalier  (Beagle x Cavalier)
Shitzue x Maltese
Lab x Boxer
Lab x unknown!

How to put weight on a sick, skinny or underweight dog with no appetite

If you're looking for a superior alternative to kennels, and you've been Googling 'pet sitting' 'pet minding' ...