View Full Version : Eating problems . Please help

12th October 2007, 11:09 AM
Hi everyone ! Having searched and searched for months I finally managed to get my ruby cavalier . How I came to have her is a long story which I attribute to fate ..........and all I can say is that I now realise what you are all talking about ! She is called Lucy , nine months old and the sweetest ,most adorable little dog I have ever come across . Having no experience of the cavalier breed up to now I am overwhelmed with the adoration ,affection and utter devotion that is lavished upon me at every moment of every day . Never have I felt so worshipped ! I feel guilty just going to the bathroom as the pain of separation is so great . ........and the welcome I get on my return is ... well you all know what its like ! I have no worries about bonding with Lucy or her bonding with me . I know she is happy living with us and she gets lots of attention and exercise but I AM worried that she is not eating enough . She was on a diet of royal canin before she came to me and her previous owner told me that she liked it . However , since she came to me three weeks ago she will not touch it . I have tried mixing it with water , added tuna fish to it etc but no luck . I know that dry food is the best food for them but she just won't eat it . I was told never to give her chicken as it would upset her digestion. I have always given chicken to my other dogs ,particularly if they were sick or needed coaxing to eat . Can anyone advise me about this ? Iam really worried that she's not getting enough nourishment .

12th October 2007, 01:57 PM
Personally, I ve never head about chicken upsetting digestion...perhaps others could weigh in on that- but I do have a suggestion.

Here we take leftover steak and add it to their kibble ( small peices heated in the micro till just a touch warm 10 seconds or less...and make sure the inside isnt hot...micros heat from the inside out)

Ever since Ive started doing that they have always gobbled everything. On occasion I also sprinkle bits of freeze dried liver and stir.....if we have no leftover meat....HOPE this helps.....:flwr:

12th October 2007, 03:43 PM
I have been using chicken, fish, rice and certain veg along with dried biscuits on a Vets advise for years. When my doggies were not too well for one reason or another, the rice with small amount of boiled chicken was highly advised by German, French and Irish Vets. Eveyone has their own ideas on nutrition for their dogs, but if in doubt ask a Vet.

12th October 2007, 03:44 PM
We've worried about this too with Asta--she can hunger strike. Everyone we've talked to, and I mean everyone, has told us not to worry. Even if they go for days, as long as they're drinking water and the vet says they're not sick, there's nothing to worry about.

A healthy dog will not starve itself.

Asta absolutely turned her nose up at wet Royal Canin. As soon as I stopped wetting it, she started eating. We use it as training treats as well, and since we subtract it from her daily ration, we know that she's at least getting some of the nutrition we intend her to get when she's having one of those days.

Your Lucy could just be adjusting to all the new changes in her life and eating just isn't very interesting right now.

We've talked to the breeder as well as the owner of the other dog in our pup's litter (the breeder kept one as well). All of them aren't really fussy eaters, they just have days when they don't eat. As long as your dog isn't too thin, it's ok. Don't give in to those big brown eyes and start feeding her by hand--she'll have you right where she wants to then. We started going by the 15 minute rule (if she doesn't start eating in 15 minutes the plate comes up, and if she does start eating and then wanders off to play after 15 minutes, the plate comes up). We always point out to her that we're picking the plate up and putting the food away. Big brown eyes from her, a "sorry, that was your choice" from us. We also make a really big deal when she does clean her plate and tell her how wonderful she is--she's taken to trotting in to where we're sitting when she's done eating and leading us back to show us her plate--very cute. If she doesn't eat a meal, we don't give her a double size meal for the next one--we were advised against doing that because then she wouldn't be as hungry for the next meal after that. We were also advised against mixing in hamburger or liverwurst because then she might just refuse to eat plain kibble.

Good luck, and congratulations on finally getting your dog!

12th October 2007, 05:08 PM
A healthy dog will not starve itself.

Where it has already been three weeks with you I wonder how often you find some new food for her to eat. Dogs are very smart and if they know you will find something tastier than they will wait for that instead of eating plain ol' dog food.

My pup refused food at first too. I gave her plain chicken broth for the first day and then added kibble to the chicken broth the next day. She ate kibble wetted with chicken broth for two weeks then I switched the broth to water for one week then I stopped soaking the kibble all together. SHe is a very healthy eater now and I first thought I would have a picky eater.

12th October 2007, 07:49 PM
HI, BTW is the beautiful B&T doggie avetar your own dog? If so he/she is beautiful.

12th October 2007, 08:00 PM
You could also try mixing in some chicken broth with her food - sometimes I do that with Miles when he doesn't want to eat his veggies : )

12th October 2007, 08:03 PM
I have a little Ruby called Max and he is the apple of my eye. He used to have two beautiful companions; a Blenheim Toby and a TRI Loui who are sadly no longer with us, but am now ardently seeking a B&T as company for him and of course because I long for another, especially having been used to three around.

12th October 2007, 08:15 PM
Some dogs have severe allergies or problems digesting chicken -- it is one of the most common meat ingredients to cause problems -- so that may be why you were told this. Can you go back and talk to the owners or their original vet to find out why you were told this? So many treats and foods have chicken.

The eating problem is very unlikely to be anything other than a common behaviour problem. This is a GREAT way for dogs to get lots of extra attention! :lol: Often a dog will not care to eat the first day or even days it settles into a new home, out of simple anxiety. But almost always, naturally the new owner fusses over the dog and tries to tempt it to eat by offering all sorts of new things. A new dog or puppy arriving to a new home is almost always a bit anxious and needy. It will be soliciting extra attention -- and if you reward the unwanted behaviour of the dog not eating, the dog immediately realises not eating brings rewards of extra attention. Many dogs (just like children!) are happy to go a bit hungry in order to create all this extra drama and get all this extra attention.

So: this is what you need to do as this WILL become a continuous problem -- as you have found -- no one thing satisfies her for more than a few days then she goes on 'strike'.

1) put the Royal Canin in a dish.

2) put it on the floor.

3) do not make a fuss over this or talk to her or even look at her

4) give her 15 minutes to eat during which time you TOTALLY ignore her

5) after 15 minutes lift the food without a word or a glance and if she hasn't eaten, that is her problem. Put the food away til the next SCHEDULED meal (which at her age should only be once or twice a day) and then repeat this process.

6) Do NOT give her treats in between the meals.

I can guarantee you she will be eating normally within days though she may hold out for even up to a couple of days. This is NOT a concern -- dogs are physically designed to go without food for several days and she will not starve herself. But when she realises the extra attention ploy no longer works, she will eat.

Once her eating stabilises, have a look at the feeding suggestions in the Caring for your Cavalier section (in the Library) as there are lots of suggestions on what you can add to make a meal more interesting. However you do not want to do this NOW until she is well established in eating normally, when you put the food down, within the time given. I would wait two months or so before trying to vary her diet by very much.

This kind of holidng out can be especially bad with singleton dogs as they've no competition for their food and they can be very manipulative.

I'd also have a readof the document on separation anxiety if she is overly dependent on you -- you don't want to encourage excessive neediness and it is good to work to train your dog to be happy when left on its own (eg to stay alone in a room while you do some work, or when you go out). For example you don;t want to make a big deal of fussing over her simply because you've emerged from the toilet no matter how happy she is to see you return :lol: -- or you reinforce her anxiious behaviour for worrying when you aren;t there. Similarly you enever want to fuss over dogs right when you come in -- ignore them til all their fussing settles and they quickly learn that the faster they stop fussing, the quicker they get the reward of your attention. :)

13th October 2007, 12:38 AM
Hi Hillary

Congratulation on obtaining your little girl.

I think your questions have already been answered well by everyone, but I'll just add my 0.2c worth anyway.

As raw chicken necks are my dog's favourite, they get some every day & I've never had any problems with chicken.

As to the fussy eating, well lots of dogs go through this when they come to their new home. Partly they are a little unsettled, and partly they are testing you out to see what they can get away with.

Just stick to your guns & don't get roped into fiddling around with meals trying to get Lucy to eat. She will eat when she is hungry enough.

One thing that some people don't realise.... if you stand around watching your dog eating, she may well think you are challenging her for her food, so don't hover. Put her food down & leave her in peace to eat her meal.