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Why Is My Vizsla So Skinny? 5 Reasons Why & What To Do

If you are worried that your vizsla is skinny or underweight you aren’t alone. As vizslas are bred to be lean and athletic, it can be hard for owners to gauge the correct weight.

This article will run through what your vizsla should weigh, why he or she may be skinny, and what you can do about it.

5 Reasons why your Vizsla is skinny

  1. Refusing food
  2. Not eating enough calories
  3. Burning too many calories
  4. Low-quality food
  5. Underlying health concerns

All of these will be explained in full detail below, along with the appropriate solutions.


How Much Should a Vizsla Weigh?

Before we get into the reasons why your vizsla may be skinny, it helps to know what skinny is! right?

Vizslas are bred to be lean with a slightly muscular athletic build. This is what’s most suitable for their overall health as well as their performance as working dogs.

The average weight range for an adult vizsla:

Male average: 45-65 Pounds (20-29 Kilograms)
Female average: 40-55 Pounds (18-25 Kilograms)

These are the breed standard average weight ranges.

Despite the averages, it’s still more than possible that your vizsla falls slightly outside of these ranges and is still healthy.

The truth is, all vizslas are going to be different and will have different builds, some being naturally bulkier and bigger than others, and that’s okay.

This is a great chart that perfectly demonstrates what is skinny, what’s ideal, and what’s overweight. Source

Aside from the scales, it’s important to look and feel your vizsla. If you can easily see multiple ribs protruding, then this tells you that your vizsla is underweight. Vizslas are naturally lean, but you should not be able to see their ribs.

Psst. A word on Vizsla training! Brain Training For Dogs could be the best training approach we’ve seen for Vizslas. Results show improvement in obedience and behavior quicker than we thought possible! It’s seriously worth checking out.

5 Reasons Why Your Vizsla Is Skinny

If the previous section confirmed that your vizsla is on the skinny side, let’s find out why.

Below are the 5 most common reasons why a vizsla may end up skinny.

1. Refusing Food

It’s essential your vizsla is eating all of his meals. If he has any bad eating habits where he refuses to eat his food, it will affect his weight quickly.

Calories in versus calories out is what equals either weight gain or weight loss. By not eating his food, he’ll be missing out on valuable calories that go towards his daily intake.

2. Not Eating Enough Calories

It could be that he is eating all of his meals, but it just isn’t enough in terms of calories. Getting his portions correct is actually a lot harder than you first think, and it’s very normal to have it slightly off.

If his portions are not sufficient for him, then he’ll be burning more calories than he’s consuming, leading to weight loss. The quality of the food also impacts the number of calories in it.

One cup of low-quality kibble will have fewer calories than the same cup of high-quality kibble.

3. Burning Too Many Calories

Vizslas are an energetic breed that LOVES to run, play, chase their ball, and be outside. And that’s great. In fact, a healthy vizsla in his prime should be receiving around 2 hours of solid exercise per day aside from any playing at home.

But, there does come a limit… If you are going for long runs with your vizsla or hikes lasting 3 or 4 hours, it will certainly affect his metabolism and his body will burn more calories. Not that this is bad, but it will mean his diet needs adjusting.

4. Low-Quality Food

Unfortunately, dog food isn’t made equal, and the quality ranges from very bad to very good and everything in between.

The quality of the kibble you are using has a huge impact on the amount of nutrition that your vizsla actually receives from it.

Low-quality kibbles are bulked out with cheap carbohydrates to make volume, but this means you have a lot of food, but only a little nutrition inside of it.

5. Underlying Health Concerns

And lastly, there is a wide range of health conditions that can lead to being underweight. To start with, the loss of appetite is a typical symptom of many standard health issues.

If I were to try and list all of the possible health issues that could be associated with weight then this article wouldn’t end.

Most of the time, this won’t be an issue, but as always, the best advice is to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian anyway, to rule out health conditions. Once health conditions are ruled out, you can focus on everything else.

This is original content produced and published by The Puppy Mag | 

6 Healthy Ways To Help Your Vizsla Gain Weight

Let’s run through the ways you can help your vizsla gain some healthy weight. I say “healthy” because it’s not about feeding him a bunch of table scraps! Too much weight gain too quickly will result in unhealthy fat gain. Slow and steady is key.

One thing before we start. It’s always recommended to rule out health issues with your veterinarian first. The following tips will only be of use if your vizsla is healthy.

Remember to make changes slowly and record his weight progress as you go.

1. Check Your Kibble Has a Quality Macro Nutrient Breakdown

This means the kibble should be high protein (25-40%), medium to high in fat (20-25%), and low in carbs relative to the fat and protein. This kind of ratio best mimics that of a wild diet and is the most appropriate for strong working dogs like vizslas.

According to the National Research Council, carbohydrates are quite literally “not needed” to sustain a healthy canine diet. High protein and fat will provide high-quality calories and nutrients that your vizsla’s body will use effectively.

It’s also important to know you are using a high-quality brand in the first place. Our favorite brands are Taste of The Wild, Wellness, Orijen, Acana, and Merricks.

2. Check Portion Sizes

Admittedly, It can be difficult to know just how much food to give, and also very hard to recommend how much food to give. It’s always best to follow the food packaging label, to begin with, and go from there.

  • For an adult vizsla, the standard amount of food per day is 3-4 cups of high-quality kibble formulated for adults, split into two meals, one in the morning and the evening. This should be around 1500 calories, give or take 100-200.

Another time this becomes important is if you have recently changed kibbles. All kibbles have different calories per cup, meaning 2 cups of your old kibble won’t be the same as 2 cups of a new one.

3. Check Your Vizsla’s Activity Level

Consider how much exercise your vizsla receives per day. If your vizsla is receiving more than 2 hours of solid activity per day, it could be time to increase his overall daily calories just a little bit.

This will certainly be the case if he’s going on hikes for many hours at a time or joining you on daily runs.

You can either reduce the activity levels (although your vizsla may not appreciate that), or bump up his cup size in the morning. If you do opt to increase his mealtime food, start in small amounts and monitor his weight over the course of 1-2 weeks.

4. Consider a Wet Food / Dry Food Combination

Often recommended by veterinarians is the wet food dry food combination. This involves making mealtimes 80% dry kibble and 20% wet dog food. Many brands make the same equivalent kibble in the wet food version.

Benefits of wet dog food:

  • Tastier & more appetizing (fixing food refusal)
  • Far more nutritious than dry kibble
  • Protein content is high
  • Meat is closer to it’s natural state
  • Contains fewer additives, preservatives and chemicals
  • Contains a lot of calories

The reason it’s not advised to feed a 100% wet food diet is that it’s actually too rich for most dogs.

As well as other issues. But adding in a small amount can give the dry kibble a great nutritional boost and increase calories.

5. Tablespoon Of Peanut Butter In Dinner

Peanut butter has been regarded as safe for dogs by PetMD, so long as it doesn’t contain Xylitol and high levels of salt.

You should always test peanut butter first in a small amount to ensure your vizsla doesn’t have a peanut allergy. or just ask your veterinarian for assistance.

A tablespoon of peanut butter added to his kibble will make his dinners irresistible, as well as adding in some healthy calories. This is a good alternative if you don’t want to try the wet dog food option (but don’t do both together).

6. Stick To Proper Feeding Times

Many of you will already be doing this and that’s great. But if you aren’t, you must start right away. By setting strict mealtimes, you are preparing your vizsla’s digestive system and priming his appetite.

Many “day grazers” who just have their food bowl topped up throughout the day whenever it’s empty, often become bored of their food quickly.

If you do need to do this, then stick times you know you will keep, like the morning time when your household wakes up, usually 7am or 8am, then again at around 6pm.

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Is Your Vizsla Healthy and Happy?

At the end of the day, as long as your vizsla is both healthy and happy, his size must be working for him.

Remember, unless your vizsla is drastically underweight (where something obviously needs to be done) he may just be on the leaner side of the spectrum. And that’s okay.

Some vizslas will naturally be leaner than others.

If you consider your vizsla to be too skinny, the first thing to do is rule out health concerns with your veterinarian. It’s no good trying tips and tricks or adjusting his diet if it’s in fact being caused by an underlying health condition.

Key Points Summarized

For your convenience, I have summarized the key points taken throughout this article here.

First, check if your vizsla is actually underweight. If you can see multiple ribs, he likely is.

The average weight range for an adult male is 45-65 lbs, and for a female, it’s 40-55 lbs.

The top 5 reasons why your vizsla is underweight include:

  1. Refusing food.
  2. Not consuming enough food.
  3. Over-exercise.
  4. Low-quality food.
  5. Underlying health concerns.

● First rule out health concerns with your veterinarian.

● Then take the next steps to help your vizsla gain weight:

  1. Check the quality of the kibble and its macronutrient breakdown. You want protein and fat to be fairly higher than carbs.
  2. Check the portion sizes you are giving are suitable and adjust them if you think you need to.
  3. Reevaluate how active your vizsla is, if he’s receiving more than 2 hours of intensive exercise then either increase his morning meal size (a little) or lower his activity levels.
  4. Consider wet dog food. Follow an 80% dry kibble with a 20% wet dog food split. Wet dog food is incredibly nutritious, contains real meat, high in calories, and more palatable than kibble. This will help to remove any fussy eating and give him a boost of nutrition.
  5. Add a spoon of peanut butter to his meals for an extra boost of calories and nutrition. Ensure peanut butter is free from Xylitol, salt, and confirm your vizsla doesn’t have a peanut allergy first. (don’t do this as well as adding wet dog food)
  6. Stick to rigid mealtimes. This will stop fussy eating and prepare his body and appetite to eat his full meals every day.

Remember that as long as your vizsla is not drastically out of the healthy weight ranges, he has no underlying issues and he’s happy, then there’s nothing to worry about! Some vizslas are naturally leaner than others. And that’s okay.

Whatever changes you do decide to make, do them slowly and record weight progress over 1-2 weeks.

Thank YOU! for reading this article. I really hope I have managed to help you with your questions. Please let me know if I have missed something, and I will be happy to add relevant sections. Kind regards, Harry 🙂

Most Recommended For Vizslas

Best Online Training Program

Brain Training For Dogs has become increasingly popular in the last few years and is now recognized as one of the best ways to train dogs in the most stress-free, positive way.

Best Low-Calorie Treats

Keep your Vizsla lean and agile by switching out the high-calorie treats and opting for something healthier. Zuke’s Mini Naturals contain only 2 calories per treat and are made from natural ingredients, making these some of the healthiest treats on the market.

Best Harness

The best harness we have found for vizslas is without a doubt the Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness. It’s not only lightweight, but it’s strong and has adequate padding.


Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.