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My wife and I just rescued a little guy. He is a Chihuahua and found out he was inbred. We are having some major problems getting him to gain weight. He is what we have done/are doing.
1)diet changed to high protein and fat content
2)we have his meals at 4 times a day
3)playing/exercise
4)maintained a book of weight per day
5)”good boy” treats are peanut butter for training

Any other tips would be greatly appreciated. He is VERY small. He is “full” grown and maybe 1/2 the size of the average breed. He shakes constantly, so we have increased the heat in the house a little, and that has seemed to help with that aspect a bit. If there is any information that I might have missed to give let me know. Thanks in advance for all you help!
 

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How inbred? Is he from multiple generations of breeding first and second degree relatives, like sire to daughter, littermate to littermate, granddam to grandson, and the like? Or is it just a few second or third degree related dogs a generation or two back? If it's really close, then yes, it could have an effect on physical health, especially if the dogs in his pedigree have known issues.

The maximum weight for Chihuahuas is 6 pounds according to the AKC standard, but a lot of people breed over-sized dogs that are double that. How long have you had him? How old is he? How much does he weigh? Has he had a complete vet exam, including blood work?

Multiple meals a day are good with all little dogs. What is the calorie count for his food? Have you tried a more calorie dense food?

I'd go easy on the peanut butter, as the high fat content can cause other problems, like acute pancreatitis.
 

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Has he had a complete vet check to rule out other medical problems? Does the vet think he is underweight? Unless the vet says he is underweight, I wouldn't worry about it. A "healthy weight" for a dog seems to be "too skinny" for many people, so make sure your dog isn't just lean! Is this something the shelter/rescue you got him from has discussed with you? I would start there before messing with his diet.

If medical is ruled out (other than the inbreeding, of course), then try switching to a higher calorie food. Protein and fat might be higher, but it needs to have higher calories, too. You might ask your vet for recommendations, but vets aren't always dog nutritionists, so they may not have a great answer.

What's his body condition like? Are all of his ribs and hip bones showing? Usually, a good body weight is maybe the last few ribs only slightly visible (or at least able to be felt easily beneath the skin) and a clearly defined "waist". Chihuahuas aren't supposed to be little barrels on legs! I'm more concerned about the look/feel/condition of the dog's body than what the number on the scale actually is. The shelter may have labeled him a chihuahua, but he may be mixed with something else!
 
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