View Full Version : Refusing to Eat Dog Food

20th November 2007, 06:06 PM
Bella has completely gone off her dog food. She has been a picky eater since her teething started and we haven't be able to find a solution yet. Everything we try might work for a day or two and then she refuses to eat again. We tried raw, canned mixed (Merricks, Innova, etc) with her dry, chicken broth mixed with her dry, different toppings like cheese, etc. The only thing that is consistently working is mixing her dry food (Innova Evo) with chicken - she will actually go to the bowl and eat but mostly only picks out the chicken pieces no matter how hard i try to hide them. I have tried to be stern with her and not give in to constantly changing the "goodies" to make it more appealing but she has gone 2 days many of times before without eating anything - she can be very stubborn!! She is very skinny and I don't feel like she is getting the balance of food she needs by just eating chicken now. I have decided its time to make her home cooked meals as human food is the only thing that she seems to want to eat. I have heard before that homecooked meals often don't have the balance necessary for a dog but I'm wondering if anyone has any good recipes or recommendations of what I could make. I was thinking chicken, rice, carrots, peas, and broccoli mixed together. Does that sound like a good idea? I'm at a loss at this point and any help would be great. Otherwise she is very healthy, playful, active and normal pup - she's just a very stubborn and picky eater!!

20th November 2007, 06:21 PM
Sally was also like this when she was a few months old and we had all kinds of dog foods. Eventually someone on here recommended James Wellbeloved dry food mixed with Naturediet (moist food) and she loves it! We just buy different flavours for variety. I'm happy about this because its a good quality food and she's getting the nutrients she needs. Perhaps Bella would eat this. Have you already tried this? I'm not much help when it comes to home cooked as I have never tried this myself so i'd be interested to see what others say on this. Hope you have some luck with her soon. I understand it can be very frustrating.

20th November 2007, 06:31 PM
My Molly is the same. You must only feed for 20 minutes at a time and monitor treats. I have consistent luck with Blue Dry and Caesars canned. I have also tried the silk balls many recommend and Molly wouldn't eat those consistently either. Try the Blue and Caesars.

20th November 2007, 06:46 PM
Chloe was the same. She was a really picky eater and we were always trying her on different foods. Then we found James Wellbeloved and she loves it. She usually has it dry, sometimes she has a day where she is not ineterested in it so we just add a little cheese, tuna or a spoon of scrambled egg which she will then eat.
The problem with home cooked meals is once you start with them they will never want to go back to dog food. Dont think even my 2 would eat my cooking its terrible:)

20th November 2007, 06:48 PM
I'd stop rotating around foods and stick to one, or mix a dry and a wet food very well -- not great to feed only soft foods unless she gets lots of hard chews as well. Unless the vet thinks she is too skinny she is probably fine -- some pups are skinny. Right now she is doing classic problem behaviour that you are inadvertently *rewarding* by rotating her thru all these foods (we have probably all been there at some point! :))! The fact that she will eat them for a day or two demonstrates they are perfectly fine and I've no doubt she will eat them long term if you stop offering something new as soon as she holds out. Are you also trying to cajole her or paying extra attention, talking to her, watching her as she eats? These are things we often do out of concern but in dog terms we are gloriously and copiously rewarding this unwanted behaviour by TONS of extra attention and socialising. They quickly learn a minimal amount of fuss generates all this rewarding behaviour that many dogs will prefer to food!! The problem in other words is rarely one of the dog eating -- it is of our behaviour around feeding time and how we accidently reward the dog.

So: do the 15-20 minute rule of feeding ONE thing consistently, ignoring her beforehand, while eating, and after. No fussing,. no attention, do not even LOOK at her while she eats. When the 15-20 minutes is up, take away the food without a word and ignore her another 10 minutes. No food, no treats, NOTHING til next scheduled feeding.

In the Library section there are lots of links on homefeeding with lots of recipes. It is not difficult to get the right balance of nutrition but if this worries you stick with commercial foods and either way, stick to the plan above. :thmbsup:

I feed a huge range of food, dry and some tinned and about 50% homecooked or fresh foods, different things different days. They will all eat anything. :lol:

21st November 2007, 12:04 AM
The main thing with all of this is not to fret & fuss. Provided Bella is not sick, she will eat when she is hungry and you do not have to pander to her wants (as opposed to her needs).

Personally I like to give my guys variety, but if you want her to eat kibble, then you just put it down for 15 - 20 minutes. Walk alway... go to a different room, then come back & without a word remove any uneaten food. If she hasn't eaten all of her food then do not give snack between meals. At the next meal, do exactly the same thing. She may turn her nose up for days, but eventually she will get hungry and she will eat.

When we adopted Sonny, he was a fussy little eater, but you ought to see him go now. I actually have quite an evil strategy. If he hasn't eaten all of his dinner within his allotted time, I let Sam (the Boxer) in to polish off. You should see Sonny scarf his food when I go to the door to let Sam in. :D

no attention, do not even LOOK at her while she eats.

This is extremely important and most people overlook it. There are two reasons why you don't look:

1 - You are not falling into the attention seeking trap;

2 - In the dog world, a dog looking at another eating is a challenge to give up the food to them. If the dog is subservient to you (as it should be, because you are the alpha bitch), then she may not eat as she thinks you want the food.

Cathy T
21st November 2007, 12:17 AM
We totally fell into this trap with Jake. But did as advised above...and have never had a problem since. Now...dinner time is over in about 15 seconds....Shelby is a snarfer :D

21st November 2007, 03:02 PM
My Molly is the same. You must only feed for 20 minutes at a time and monitor treats. I have consistent luck with Blue Dry and Caesars canned. I have also tried the silk balls many recommend and Molly wouldn't eat those consistently either. Try the Blue and Caesars.

Sometimes when a dog is being picky- it could be the temperature or consistancy of the satin ball-- you can try microwaving it a bit and then mixing the warmer mess into the food.

Blue Buffalo was giving out free samples via the internet. I don't know if they still are.

21st November 2007, 06:01 PM
Good point; Jaspar doesn't like some foods when they are really cold and some of my cats don't either -- microwave it to room temp or slightly warm and it is devoured. :)