View Full Version : Feeding and elimination?

19th May 2006, 05:59 PM
Zack has been changing about food, gradually over time, and just in the past few days i haven't seen any poop and he isn't peeing the same.

About food, when i first got him he was on Innova Puppy kibble and he ate it, no objections. He had diarrhea, chronic, so i didn't change his diet, not sure what was going on, after 3 weeks, he started vomiting and i worried because they gave him canned food at the ER. but in the following week i put him on canned ID diet on vet's instruction, and ID kibble. At first he seemed to like the ID diet but only for a couple of days. Less than a week after that, i started giving him just boiled chicken and rice, which he clearly loved.

i gave him boiled chicken and rice for about three weeks, gradually adding in Natural Balance duck and potato kibble,then i switched him to NB duck and potato canned along with the kibble and phased out the boiled chicken and rice, i always warm up the canned food in the microwave. For a while he seemed to eat it eagerly, then he acted ambivalent. then one day he just refused it. so i thought he just didn't like that particular food. i gave him NB Lamb and rice. He ate that ok for a while, but eventually he acted like he didn't want it and didn't eat much. I tried a couple of other brands, other flavors. gradually over time, he is eating less and less. because he was eating so little, i've been leaving kibble in the bowl for him to eat if he gets hungry enough because i throw away the canned food after a short while, in case it might spoil. He used to eat the kibble when he got really hungry but for a while, he doesn't seem to touch the kibble at all. Every now and then, he has a loose stool and i give him boiled chicken and rice for a couple of days. He always eats that happily.

So, by now, it seems the only thing he will really eat is boiled chicken and rice. I wish i knew a convenient commercial food that had a flavor he would like.

i was mixing the canned food with the kibble, and he was eating that, but then when he started walking away from it without eating it, i started just putting the canned food on top of the kibble without mixing it, thinking he'd like it better. but no change.

About elimination, just in the past several days, i'm not seeing ANY poop. One day, i didn't think much of it. but then another day and another. He may have gone at the dog park and i didn't see him, but i doubt it, they're in plain view and we try to stay on top of it. but it could've happened. but we haven't been to dog park since early day before yesterday. Before this, he always pooped in the backyard, usually at least a couple of times a day. It's possible that there's some hidden in the ivy, but that would be new, not his usually choice of terrain. He had a loose stool last week a few times, so i made chicken and rice and also gave him Tylan with it, like he had when he was sick before. Maybe the Tylan is constipating him? but i think this stool-lessness started before i started the Tylan. not sure. i have a bad memory. maybe i need to write this stuff down.

About peeing, he has always gone outside in the morning and right away had a nice long pee, and other pees during the day. About a week ago, he really seemed to get into the swing of lifting his leg, copying another dog at the dog park, it was cute, like ducks patterning after their mother. he watched the other dog. then he went and lifted his leg on the same place. i know he would do this anyway, it comes naturally, but it looked like there was a modelling component involved there. anyway, so he seems to have begun to do marking, peeing here and there. What seems to have gone along with this, i think, is, he is no longer taking those big long pees, it seems like he wants to save it up to spread it around. Yesterday morning, there was pee on a washable pad i have on the floor in the kitchen in front of his crate. That is extraordinary, he never pees in the house and could always hold his pee for long periods. I'm thinking it may have happened because he wasn't emptying his bladder like he used to.

Anyway, he's supposed to be neutered tomorrow and i'm afraid i might have to cancel it again, if he has some kind of problem going on. i don't know what's going on with him. It's unfolding day by day. but he is barely eating and he's not pooping, it seems. i don't think he's becoming thinner. i'll weigh him again tonight and compare to when i weighed him a week ago. he was 15 pounds and one or two ounces. His butt doesn't feel bony, the way it did back when he was vomiting for a week. he looks ok but, i don't know.

19th May 2006, 07:04 PM
On poops:

If you haven;t seem him eliminate in this long I'd get advice from the vet immediately. This can mean a blockage and could get very serious as the toxins build in the gut. If his behaviour is fine then this probably is not the issue. I would start putting him on the lead to eliminate from this day on and stay with him til he goes as you need to know if he has gone. This is very, very important to verify. If he has eaten absolutely nothing then he will not have needed to go perhaps but if more than two days pass without a bowel movement I'd be calling the vet for advice. The vet can advise, you shouldn;t cancel the neuter unless the vet says to. But see the note at the very end before getting too worried.

On pees: he is just maturing; this is what happens with males, they often go from one long wee to lots of small ones as they mark their territory. I'd remove that pad in front of his crate unless you want him to have that as an option for peeing! he also may have started marking in the house and the neuter should help that.


This is a problem only inasmuch as he has manipulated you into it. :) These are highly manipulative dogs! :lol: He has very conveniently got you jumping through hoops in order to see if you will keep offering more interesting food.

Step 1:

Go back to something he ate happily before, that is convenient for you, like the lamb kibble.

Step 2:

Fill his dish with that and set it down. After 15 minutes if he hasn't eaten it, with absolutely NO comment or big deal, you pick it up and put it away til the next meal.

Step 3:

You absolutely do not give in to feeding him a single treat and under no circumstances keep bringing out the bowl to see if maybe he'll eat a bit a little later... etc etc etc NO TREATS, nothing!

Step 4:

At the next SCHEDULED meal time, you again with no big deal put the food dish down.

Repeat all the above steps as necessary.

You do not praise or fuss over him when he eats, either. Either he eats, or he doesn;t eat. If he chooses not to eat, he waits til his next feeding time on YOUR scehdule for him.

It does not matter if he refuses to eat even for three days. Dogs easily adapt to going hungry for a few days and indeed their digestive systems are designed for this.

Once he starts eating, then you keep him on that food or try giving a variety of foods as you wish. But if he doesn;t eat a meal do NOT then offer him something esle at that meal. Just remove the dish and try again. Or return to what he normally eats. I'd also not switch him to chicken and rice with a single loose stool. Try not feeding at all for 24 hours if he has the runs rather than feeding him new meals. Or try adding a tablespoon of canned plain pumpkin daily with his meal or when he has the runs.

A lot of dogs will play these games and if you give in you end up with an extremely finicky dog. You have resolved his GI problems so you do not need to be worried about what to feed -- just go back to the lamb diet or whatever you want to feed. Add in a bit of chicken sometimes for a treat if you wish, mixing in *throughly* to his dry food so he can;t pick out what he likes best.

Again, dogs easily pick up on your anxiety and this can be enough to get some to stop eating etc. I'd really, really work to not worry about or respond to him when he doesn't eat. Just ignore it. It;sd very similar to what you would do with a child who is going on strike over food. The more you make a deal out of it and try new things, the more attention you are giving him and training him that his fussiness gets ample rewards! It is hard but you need to be calm and firm and even indifferent to him and let hjim make the decision to eat when he wants to and gets hungry enough.

19th May 2006, 08:04 PM
oh thanks--that's a big help, about the feeding. I can definitely do that.
I feed him twice a day, so i'm guessing that will be enough. i see what you mean, i have about 5 or more brands of kibble in the pantry, Innova, Organix, Royal Canin, Canadae, Natural Balance duckand potato, NB lamb and rice, California Natural Chicken and Rice---geez. my cat just gets whatever's there and seems to enjoy it. i was getting to the point where i thought maybe i should give him the old fashioned kind of kibble that is not healthy but is soaked in things that make it taste good. i do not want to go there.

as long as he isn't losing weight or getting scrawny, i'm not anxious about him not eating, but the thing that has given me anxiety is, i'm afraid if he's hungry from not eating, he may chew things like wires and furniture, and this is right at a time when i've been transitioning him to being free to run the house during the day while i'm at work. He's done fine so far, just played with his toys and chewed his bully sticks. I leave him for 4 hours at a time. I'm starting to envision letting him sleep in my room.

I guess i will take the bully sticks away because ever since i let him have them again, he would rather chew those than eat food and it seems to be a food substitute for him. Is that considered a treat? I wasn't thinking of it as a treat but as a chew item that would satisfy chewing. he barely is able to eat any of it, just little bits. All of his bully sticks, including the small 4 inch ones, are almost as big as when he got them months ago, and he chews them every day. but i've been afraid that he will chew more aggressively if his appetite isn't satisfied and he may be more at risk for getting pieces from things like bully sticks that are too large into his GI tract. so those two things, biting off bigger pieces of bully sticks or edible nylabones, and chewing my stuff when i'm not home, have given me anxiety about him not eating enough.

I can always backtrack on leaving him free in the house if necessary.
and i can stop giving the bully sticks and nylabones until he starts eating like a normal person again. He doesn't really get many treats. i only have given him tiny pieces of small treats when trying to get him to learn to come. i take seriously the risk of obesity. so it's no problem to not give him treats.

thanks for shining the light on how i am helping zack to create this pattern. I do not want a high maintenance dog!!!!! i like how my cat is, and all the other dogs i ever had. they were never sick and they ate what they got and they were nice happy animals. zack being sick traumatized me in many ways, and now i need to somehow get into a place where i'm not overanxious about "trying to keep him healthy." That's probably the root of some of what's happening.

i sure hope this nonappearance of poop doesn't turn into something bad.
I'm not sure how it's going to work as far as him pooping while on lead goes because since i've had him, almost 4 months, he's never pooped while on lead. He's always pooped in the backyard, and it was always easy to find, and he also pooped at the dog park one day. I walk him once or twice every day and he has never pooped while on the leash. Does this mean i will have to not let him go in the backyard anymore unless i'm watching him? As it is, i leave the sliding door open and he comes and goes as he pleases.

i hope things are not going to get really complicated...things were going well, he was house trained, he used the backyard, he used to eat :? , and finally i was able to leave him free in the house unsupervised, and we found the dog park, which meant a lot more exercise and fun. Life was good. :|

19th May 2006, 08:52 PM

Everything Karlin has told you about feeding is SOOoooooo right.

I have always followed this method and have never had a fussy eater.
Be firm but kind, and try your very hardest not to give in. the rewards will be worth it. they can be crafty little monkies these Cavaliers!

The only time I have made any allowance is with illness when I have hand fed a little with an extra nice piece of food, but I think we can make a compromise without undoing all the good work now and again in those special circumstances.

Alison, Wilts, UK.

19th May 2006, 08:57 PM
i have about 5 or more brands of kibble in the pantry, Innova, Organix, Royal Canin, Canadae, Natural Balance duckand potato, NB lamb and rice, California Natural Chicken and Rice--

Jaspar and Leo say: "Can we PLEASE come over and clean out your cupboard of spare bags of that lovely premium kibble?! We know this is a tough job but some cavalier has to do it." When last seen they were trying to book a flight on Aer Lingus over the internet.


Jaspar came back in to say, "I started some of those food games too but I'll tell you what put an end to them REAL fast. A second cavalier in the house! As soon as that darn food vacuum cleaner Leo showed up, I got so worried that he'd eat my food that I showed HIM and started wolfing mine down as fast as he eats his. SO maybe you need another dog!"


19th May 2006, 09:05 PM
On the serious stuff -- Go out with him in the morning and after his meals and wait and see if he goes. You really need to just verify that he is going somewhere.

If he's hungry he won;t chew furniture; that 's a different need for chewing. Try him with some nylabones and booda bones (my guys really like booda bones and they take them a really long time to chew down) or other chews. My guys like the hooves too and are not hard chewers so I don;t worry about their cracking a tooth with these (they are WEIRD but the dogs really like them). Leo loves loves loves to chew but he never touches furniture and as Zack is maturing he will be less and less interested in this kind of puppy chewing. In general it is good to tack down wires along the walls when the dogs are young or even generally; if they are exposed otherwise; any hardware store carries these little thingies that will let you pin wires to the wall or floor. They come in a bag or box. They are like little plastic 'U's with small nails on either side for fixing them.

I'd give the bully sticks as special treats. Like one a week and when he finishes a chewing session, pick it up and put it away. If he doesn;t eat them down they are really more chew treat than food for him anyway, but try taking them up for now until you get him eating regularly.

Some dogs can be picky eaters -- they just don't eat a lot (Nicki has confessed to having a small eater in Jack!! :) ). I am betting though that all this will stop 1) if you hold firm and 2) as Zack grows up a bit. Jaspar did this food game stuff until about 6 months then it pretty much went away.

PS But a SECOND dog really makes the food games end! :lol:

PPS if you do decide to clear out all the varieties of kibble (you could just slowly work your way through them if they are tightly closed and kept fresh) give a local rescue group a call -- they will be only too delighted to use the unwanted food. :)

19th May 2006, 09:24 PM
....they can be crafty little monkies these Cavaliers!

haha. i see what you mean. they are so cute, i guess, hard as it is for me to see it, they must use that as part of their survival skill. Zack seems so ingenuous, so innocent. and that seeming innocence is powerful stuff. easy for me to get wrapped around his little finger...or his tail. I guess they are so tuned in to the physical/emotional level, they pick up on our every signal, ones that we ourselves may be unaware of. they read us and they act accordingly, by instinct. I am resolved. I am going to let Jaspar have all the kibbles except one and just give that to Zack. He'll get the message soon enough. but (!) :lol: first i want him to get through the neutering tomorrow, so i'm planning to make a bunch of boiled chicken to give him for two or three days. Then, it's the new world order. cold turkey. I mean, kibble.

19th May 2006, 11:26 PM

20th May 2006, 06:46 AM
On poops:
If you haven;t seem him eliminate in this long I'd get advice from the vet immediately....

The vet said if all of a sudden i'm not seeing any poop, he might be eating it.

:yuk: :eek:

the good news is, when i came home from work at lunch, i did a really thorough poop search and found one that probably wasn't more than a day old, and also an older one. Then, after i came home, he did a right decent one.

what a relief.

zack's breath did get really foul a couple of days ago....i don't even want to think about it.

in the days ahead, i'm going to be alert to this barbaric possibility. :dgwlk:

20th May 2006, 10:17 PM
Don't worry Judy, it's quite a normal behaviour - although repulsive to us. :yuk:

Especially if you've been feeding him chicken and rice, that would make the poop extra yummy!!!

If he is eating it, then put him inside before you clear up, as otherwise he will percieve it as being even higher value - you want it too!!

You could also try giving him half a slice of pineapple a day, or some courgette, as both these make the poo taste horrid {in multiple dog households, you give it to the dog whose poo is being eaten}. There are also commercial products available, DETER is one, the proper name for the behaviour is coprophagia

This might be helpful


It's often a phase in pups and most of them seem to grow out of it anyway.

Karlin is right, I have one who doesn't eat very well and doesn't hold his weight, it's actually Teddy - he has just managed to get back up to 20lb, but could easily carry about another 5lb. I have got him eating twice a day at the moment...but I know it won't last!!

21st May 2006, 05:56 AM
If he is eating it, then put him inside before you clear up, as otherwise he will percieve it as being even higher value - you want it too!!

:lol: thanks. i needed that.
ok. good point. I will not clean it up in front of him anymore. :lol:

Thanks for telling me about pineapple and Deter. Good to know about. he is a fast kisser and it's inevitable that i will get poopy kisses if i don't act.

Thanks for that great link. That article on coprophagia in dogs will make perfect bedtime reading for tonight! sweet dreams...

How do you know tedbear should weigh 5 pounds more? Do his bones stick out a little too much?

21st May 2006, 10:27 AM
Yes he's just really quite skinny - even to me and I like them skinny.

My vet - who is brilliant and understands me!! - even very subtley asked what I was feeding him...his delicate way of saying I think this dog looks STARVED :lol:

You should be able to feel the ribs and spine and chest bone [which I think is a good indicator in a Cavalier, as they don't all carry the weight on their ribs], they should be lightly covered.

Have a look on Laura's site, this is very good for all sorts of things:


about half way down this page, there are some good photos.

22nd May 2006, 03:57 PM
It is so interesting to see how many of us struggle with the eating issues in our puppies. Both of my girls were very picky eaters initially and often had runny, yucky stools. I went through all the panic of "OMG! what is wrong with them?!" It seems that with time, and experimentation with their food, they have both settled into enjoying their food and have fewer bouts with loose stools; their overall body weight is now really good. I wonder if it isn't just an "age" or maturation thing. The food that seems to work best for them is a combination of Canidae and Merrick's Granny's Chicken Pot Pie. I think the Pot Pie is the reason they like their food so well now and it does seem like a very healthy addition to their "regular" chow.

The poop eating :yikes (Flora) has also stopped. Thank goodness! I know it can be normal puppy behavior but it does go against one's sensibilites. :yuk: Hang in there with Zack, this too shall pass. Hope he is feeling better now that a bit more time has passed since his surgery. Hugs around his furry little neck from the three of us. :hug:


23rd May 2006, 08:08 AM
jane, how old are the girls now?
thanks for the perspective, and thanks for telling me about Grammy's Chicken Pot Pie--i read up on it today and found a local store that has it in stock. It sounds like what i've been looking for, something appetizing. Do you use both the canned and the kibble, or which one?

24th May 2006, 07:23 AM
.....if you do decide to clear out all the varieties of kibble (you could just slowly work your way through them if they are tightly closed and kept fresh) give a local rescue group a call -- they will be only too delighted to use the unwanted food. :)

How long should kibble be used before it should be thrown away if it's not in an air tight container? How long can it be used if it is in an airtight container?

I have more bags of food than i have containers and i would be happy to give most of that kibble to rescue groups, but some of it has been just in the open bag for 3 and 4 months. The premium kibbles all seem to say 'no preservatives' on them. If this food is too old, i need to throw it away.

I have some kibble in air tight containers that's been there several weeks to a couple of months at least. How long should that be used before throwing it away?

I also would like to ask a question about pumpkin. I've often heard the advice to feed a bit of canned pumpkin when there's diarrhea. When the diarrhea stops, is it ok to continue to give the pumpkin until it's gone? How long would the pumpkin be good in an air tight container, after removing it from the can? how much pumpkin a day would not be too much?

1st June 2006, 12:05 AM
i would like to report that since last Saturday which was one week after neutering, i started feeding Zack only kibble (Royal Canin because it has the smallest pieces which are easiest for him to chew), i removed the bully sticks, the pressed hooves, the booda bones, the edible nylan bones, and stopped giving canned food. For all my pets before i got Zack, i always fed only kibble and life was simple, poop was simple. now Zack is on the program. On the first day of the new regime, he cleaned his plate of all the kibble upon return from a rousing trip to the dog park. Previously, he would just nibble the expensive fancy canned food and leave it in the bowl long enough that i had to throw it away.

needless to say, i'm very pleased. He eats one cup twice a day of kibble and i can pick his poop up without it smearing all over the grass. this is how life should be.

Because i have such a poor memory, i have not been following the instruction about picking up the bowl and taking the food away if he doesn't eat it in 15 minutes. It gets left there until he eats it. I mean to pick it up after 15 minutes but i completely forget to do it. That's the habit I'm in with the cat and previous dogs i had.

I know this is something to be discouraged, leaving dogs' food for them to eat at leisure, "free feeding." Why is this practice to be discouraged? What problems does it cause?

As for his elimination, there have been no missing poops with smelly breath since that one episode just before he was neutered. :rah:

thanks for all the guidance and info and encouragement. Thank you for making a difference.

1st June 2006, 12:14 AM
We do the same with Cedar: measure out her food and it sits in her bowl til she eats it. She's older so we only feed her once a day, though.

I'm under the impression that true "free feeding" is when an uncontrolled amount of food is made available and the dog can eat as much as he or she wants. This often leads a dog to over eating (very much like it leads to over eating in humans!!) I could be wrong about this, but this is what I understand. Someone could correct me.

1st June 2006, 03:48 PM
The girls are 7 and 9 months old. They both love the kibble. In fact, Fauna lays on top of her empty bowl, just in case Flora makes a run at it. Silly girl, you should see her asleep with her head in it. It is so funny.

I tend to stay away from the canned variety as both Flora and Fauna tend to love it too much and snarf it up way too fast. I've been told by the Merrick rep that many people use the canned Grammy's food to entice very picky eaters. I can certainly see how that would help. I got a sample bag to try before I bought a bag of it. Most of the petfood dealers around here carry them and offer them free of charge.

Hope this finds Zack feeling better. Let me know how he likes Grammy's.


1st June 2006, 04:34 PM
..Hope this finds Zack feeling better. Let me know how he likes Grammy's.JaneB

:lol: that's so funny about Fauna guarding her EMPTY bowl.

Zack is feeling fine. At first he liked Grammys canned food. It certainly looked appetizing. I put it on top of kibble and mixed it. He ate it right away the first time, and then, as with every other food except boiled chicken and rice, he became more and more hesitant about eating it, taking only a few bites and leaving the rest. Finally, he didn't touch it at all when i put it down there. I was experimenting with not mixing it with the kibble but just placing it on top of the kibble. No dice. I think the biggest cause of the problem was his bully sticks and other slowly edible chew things, booda bone, pressed hoof, lamb and rice nylabone. He would walk away from his food bowl and pick up one of those chewing things and just happily chew and gnaw away at it, but more aggressively than he would if he ate a meal. He would pull pieces off and eat them and wear them down faster than he had been. finally i figured out that this was substituting for eating for him. I guess the flavor of them must be more appealing, even than Grammys. I just switched to kibble alone and took away all those chew things, and the first day, he cleaned his plate of the kibble, and has continued to do so, although not always when i put it out. It depends on if i put it out at a time when he's hungry. I'm really pleased to know he's getting the nutrients in the food and life is so much simpler. Later when this has become a firmly established habit, of eating only kibble, for a treat, a couple of times a week, i'll try giving him a half can of Grammys or other canned that i have now in my cabinet. I will start allowing him to have edible chews on certain occasions, such as after he's eaten his food. But not every day. i gave him a Kong with a treat inside that he can't eat but can lick and he puts a lot of time into that. The thing is, h e's not a picky eater. He'll eat anything if i structure it right. His symptoms of pickiness were just the way I was setting things up, without realizing it. To not be picky, he just needed me to make changes. :thmbsup: