View Full Version : Sick or Just doesn't like food? Not sure how to handle...

Gracie's Mommy
15th January 2007, 04:50 PM
Well, Gracie is a bit of a finicky eater when it comes to her dog food, but she never turns away a treat! However, it seems to have been getting worse over the past week or so. She doesn't like to eat out of her bowl (seems scared of it). Will usually eat off the floor or someone's hand and eats a little out of the bowl. We're working on finding a bowl that she will accept. But, lately its like she doesn't want her actual food. I put pumpkin in with it Saturday night and she ate around the food to get to the pumpkin. This morning she hardly touched the food whether it was in the new bowl or on the floor....but she will still eat her treats.

So, I'm not sure if she doesn't like the food anymore or if she is getting sick. Unfortunately, it didn't occur to us that she might decide she didn't like the food, so we've already bought a big bag of it. Any suggestions on how to help her like it more?

But, I'm also concerned that she might be getting sick. She's been sneezing for a few weeks, but the vet said not to worry about it unless there was also a cough and a colored discharge. This morning she seemed considerably more lethargic than usual...took her a very long time to wake up. Between that, the not touching food, and the gooey stuff in her eyes, I'm a bit concerned. She is going to the bathroom fine and did eat her treats when we took her outside.

Any thoughts or suggestions? Thanks!

Harley & Carley
15th January 2007, 06:38 PM
I had the same problem with my girls being picky eaters. They ate anything offered out of my hand, but would not eat at meal time. We put it on the floor with some improvement, but it kept getting worse. I was worried sick about it.
I finally was convinced (by this forum) that they would not starve themselves and that I should stick to the 15 minute rule for several feedings.
I fretted and they did not eat well for a meal or two, but finally were hungry enough that they gobbled down a meal in 5 minutes flat!!
I think they had been able to tell I was worried about them eating, and could sense my anxiousness over it. Once they saw that there were no more hand feedings and that I showed no emotion about their eating ( at least they didnt see it), they got over it and began to eat.
I also thought about them being afraid of the bowl, but realized that they drank water from an identical bowl, so that wasnt the problem. Also, if they were able to eat the kibble from my hand, they didnt have a problem with not liking the food either. They were just trying to take advantage of me and they were really good at it.
They eat well now.
good luck!

Barbara Nixon
15th January 2007, 07:53 PM
Try putting her food on a small plate. It's not enclosing like a bowl.

15th January 2007, 07:59 PM
Gracie likes being hand fed but needs to learn to eat from her bowl.

First, I'd stop giving her treats, til she eats her doggie food.

Not sure how many calories are in the treats but they aren't a well balanced meal & she may be filling up on treats...lol

When they are so small and so cute, it's hard to realize that you need to be the boss, but you need to let her that she has 15 minutes to eat or you take it away.

No treats in between meals, place the second meal down for 15 minutes, take away...etc.

Guaranteed that Gracie won't starve and that she'll be eating in no time at all.

When our Charley was a pup, I always gave in....he was so little after all...but now, I know better. He was always a finicky eater but we encouraged it, unknowingly.

With Mary Alice, I've followed the 15 minute thing...now, she eats right away and never leaves any food behind!!

Good luck....Gracie is very cute!! :flwr: :flwr:

murphy's mum
15th January 2007, 08:11 PM
I had the same problem with my boy, he's 10 months now and we're only now getting him eating regularly. We too we're trying all sorts hand feeding, putting it on the floor, even had him eating wet food off a fork :sl*p:
We tried changing food when he stopped eating the one he was on, with many bags going in the bin still half full :roll:
However, once we realised we were being manipulated we got tough. No treats what-so-ever! Leaving food for just 15 minutes. We now put a small amount of meat or fish in with his dried food, and he loves it. He can't wait till feeding time, he jumps up and down until you put his bowl down and then doesn't lift his head until its all gone :D
If he eats all his food he will get a treat but if he turns his nose up he gets nothing. He never ever used to eat in the morings but he's been a star lately, although this morning he just sat and looked at it. But as 15 minutes came he suddenly started into it :lol:

15th January 2007, 10:46 PM
You do need to be tough, but be aware that Cavalier bitches in particular can develop a near phobia about steel bowls! Having said that, while she's so tiny and if she seems not quite right get her straight to the vet. You can't mess around with little puppies.

15th January 2007, 11:47 PM
As you can see, this is a game cavaliers seem to particularly enjoy playing. You don't need to find any particular bowl. Just use a plate if you really feel she doesn't like bowls full stop. But most dogs do not care: I'd just get a bowl and stick with it. I've never had any problems with steel bowls myself, but I use ceramic cat bowls. Some dogs don't like the sound of their tags on steel bowls.

Do a search on feeding in this section or the general section and you'll see all this advice offered many times. :)

NO hand feeding. NO forks. NO food on floor. NO tempting her with different things. Feed without making a big deal out of it. Food goes in bowl, bowl on floor, ignore dog TOTALLY for next 15 min. If she eats, fine, remove the bowl with no comment, no fuss, after 15 minutes. Repeat at next mealtime. If dog eats nothing, also no fuss, no comments, just lift the bowl and put it away til next feeding time then repeat. Do NOT offer treats, do NOT feed anything else, do NOT cajole, beg, try various foods, ways of feeding etc. Once she is eating normally for at least a week, then you can reintroduce treats but not before!

She will be wolfing her food down within 15 minutes from any receptacle you care to feed from. within a couple days. :lol:

If she refuses food a few times, that is her choice. She will not starve herself. But she will find the VERY interesting and enjoyable (to her!)game of getting all sorts of attention and new foods from you simply by not eating, will come to an end and it will make more sense for her to actually eat what is on offer before it disappears. :)

Gracie's Mommy
16th January 2007, 02:56 PM
Well with a plate and a less fussing from me, she's managed to eat all of her food last night and this morning. Clever little things, aren't they! At least now I feel better that it's not something wrong with her and I will be firmer! :sl*p:

Thanks for all of the advice and support!