When we switched Zara over to adult kibble in November (she turned one in October), we noticed after a few weeks that she appeared more muscular and defined. When we switched Zara over to adult kibble in November (she turned one in October), we noticed after a few weeks that she appeared more muscular and defined. This made sense, because puppy food has a higher fat content than adult food and it seemed like she was filling out and solidifying into her adult body. We’ve fed her Taste of Wild High Prairie since day one, because that’s what our breeder used. When it was time to switch to the adult food, I did some research (Dog Food Advisor is a great resource) and the Taste of Wild adult version seemed just as good (grain free, 5 stars on the Dog Food Advisor) and the price was the same as we’d be paying for the puppy food. She’s never been a picky eater, either, so the switch went over easily.

Then about a month or so ago, we started noticing that she seemed to be looking even more lean but not the good kind of lean – you could start to see her ribs. I increased her food a little bit from 3 cups to 3.5 cups. The upper limit of the suggested amount for her weight range is 3 cups. That didn’t seem to work and if anything, she was getting skinnier and just pooping more.

Then she had a bout of diarrhea a few weeks into this and I changed to feeding her chicken, rice and pumpkin for a few days. That obviously didn’t help the weight loss. We went to the vet just in case she had parasites or something but the fecal test can back negative. The vet was concerned that she’d lost 5 pounds since her last visit a month ago. Even our dog walker commented on how thin she looked and I knew we needed to do something.

Here is a photo of her looking skinny. See also image at the top. She looks like she’s in prime field trial condition, except she’s not ready for a field trial. I think she may have lost weight just from all the activity lately. Even though it’s winter, she’s been running with us and going on a lot of off-leash hikes with other vizslas.


Anyway, I had read about a recipe for “satin balls” on the vizsla forum a while ago for fattening up skinny dogs. I never thought I’d have to use it but the kibble alone didn’t seem to be working. So I bought all the ingredients and made up a batch of satin balls last weekend. (The guy at the meat counter at the grocery counter definitely looked at me weird when I requested 10 pounds of ground beef). The recipe, below, consists of a mish-mash of random things that result in sort of a dog meatball. I thought it all sounded disgusting until I sent the recipe to Chris. His response? Yum, save some for me!

Satin balls recipe

(from another vizsla blog, Redbirddog)

10 pounds hamburger meat [the cheapest kind]
1 lg. box of Total cereal (or other no-sugar cereal. I used Cornflakes because I couldn’t find Total. And believe it or not, Cornflakes, to my dismay, actually has sugar in it. Only 2g per serving, but still. I could not find a cereal without any sugar.)
1 lg. box oatmeal
1 jar of wheat germ
A 1/4 cup veg oil
A 1/4 cup of unsulfured molasses
10 raw eggs AND shells
10 envelopes of unflavored gelatin
A pinch of salt
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Some photos from the satin ball making process. Basically, I threw all the liquid ingredients (including eggs) in the blender and blended them together. Then I combined the liquid mixture with all the dry ingredients, plus the ground beef.

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I was a little concerned about feeding her raw ground beef since I’ve never fed her anything raw before but I know a lot of people do it. I was very careful about washing my hands and cleaning everything thoroughly after I made the batch. I also bagged up the balls into ziploc bags of 4-5 balls each and put the rest immediately into the freezer. Now, I have one bag in the refrigerator at a time and it will only take me 2-3 days to go through it. I also sniff the ball before feeding to make sure it hasn’t gone bad.

Zara, of course, loves the satin balls. I’ve been feeding her two per day, one at each meal, in addition to her regular kibble/pumpkin/coconut oil mixture. Just a tip, if you make these, you probably want to break up the ball into smaller pieces before feeding. The first time I just put the whole ball into her ball and she plucked out the whole thing and carted it off to her bed where she ate it in about three bites. Lesson learned!

I’ve actually also been switching her food over to Orijen Adult, which is more calorie-dense than Taste of the Wild. After doing some research, I saw that TOTW had about 370 calories per cup whereas Orijen has 478. Orijen has a higher protein content.

So after nine days on satin balls and Orijen, I can already see a difference in her body. She’s still thin, but has lost that unhealthy skinny look. I’m going to continue with the satin balls probably until I run out. I will likely decrease to one per day once she fills out a bit more. The image below at left is before I started feeding the satin balls and Orijen, and the right is after only 5 days on both. You can definitely see less hip bone and ribs.