View Full Version : How do I get my Cav to eat?

6th May 2008, 02:17 AM

I'm new to the board, and I'm new to cavaliers! We've had our puppy for about 6 weeks, she's just turned 10 months. Everything is going great except we can't get her to eat her food consistently:(. Let me start from the begining...The breeder that we got her from was feeding her Purina Pro Plan Adult for sensitive skin and sensitive stomachs....when we took her to our vet, she said that she really needs to be on a puppy food...so, we've tried Wellness Puppy...Flint River Ranch...I have even mixed in canned Wellness and sometimes Wellness Jerky treats, but I still can't get her on a routine of eating twice a day...sometimes she won't eat at all for a day! So my last resort was to try one more brand...I bought some Royal Canin special #30...she really seemed to like it and she even ate it dry!! So she ate 1\2 cup last night and 1/2 cup this morning, but she would'nt touch it tonight:(...so my question is..what is the best method for me to teach her when she has to eat? I've heard a few things like only leaving it down for 15 minutes..but this site caught my eye because it's all about cavaliers...I look forward to hearing any suggestions! Thanks so much, Kristen

6th May 2008, 03:49 AM
Hi! If you search (orange bar across the top of the board) on puppies and eating, you'll find that this is a common issue that puppies have. What you've read about the 15 minute meal time is probably the best route. The more you change foods and offer special treats to coax a dog to eating, the more the dog learns that refusing to eat results in better and better options. You'll eventually find yourself mixing three course meals to spoon feed to your pup!! They are really, really good people trainers. ;)

Try putting the measured meal down for 15-20 minutes. Pick up the dish at the end of meal time regardless of how much was eaten. Do not treat between mealtimes. Soon, the puppy will realize that it has limited access to food. When it gets hungry, it will eat when food is available.

6th May 2008, 05:13 AM
Cindy, that was exactly what I thought as I read this post!!

You've got to train the puppy and not the other way around, although we all know how hard that is to do!!

I read the post at first because my oldest one is getting finicky now. Some of her meds cause anorexia and I thought maybe I could find out some more tricks. We've done chicken and rice, cottage cheese mixed w/food, and are now adding chicken stock.

Good luck with the baby! My youngest one is almost a year old and she'll eat anything! She's probably the only Cavalier I've ever seen with a cast iron stomach!

6th May 2008, 10:19 AM
Hi, good advice given so far.I too would try the 15-20 minute time span. I hope things work out soon,I know it can be very worrying when they won't eat but it usually resolves very quickly with this method.

Just wondering ,if your puppy was doing ok on the food the breeder had her on and she is almost 10 months,why did your vet want to change her,and also was there a reason your breeder had her on that food? Maybe you could call your breeder and find out. Best of luck with it all,let us know how it goes.

Bruce H
6th May 2008, 12:16 PM
Like others have said, search for the thread on the 15 minute rule for feeding. I have a feeling she will come around.

As far as feeding puppy food at 10 months old, there are a lot of breeders (but not all) out there who would disagree with your vet; myself included. I would have to check with my wife to be sure because she buys the food and feeds everyone here, but I think we switch to adult food at around 6 months. We have a 9 month old B & T that has been on adult for quite some time. If you do a little searching on this site, I think you will be able to find some in-depth discussions regarding this too.

6th May 2008, 12:42 PM
:lol:Lucky's appetite also slowed down a bit at 10 months and he missed a couple meals from time to time when he decided to get a little finicky.

If you're puppy is not underweight and the vet thinks he's healthy, I would not worry about it too much Cavaliers will rarely starve themselves.

You've gotten some great advice here. Just keep this mantra in mind: "who's training who ...???" :lol:

The 15 minute rule is a good one ... soon enough the puppy will realize that if he doesn't eat what you put down he won't eat. He'll eat then. ;-)

Just make sure to limit treats between meals too, or he won't be nearly as motivated to eat his dinner if he's missed his breakfast ....

6th May 2008, 01:18 PM
There's now a specific thread with the finicky eater advice (http://board.cavaliertalk.com/showthread.php?p=259418) in the Library section under Caring for your Cavalier :).

Basically your puppy is training you to pay lots of attention to her every day at mealtimes simply by ignoring her food.

If she is otherwise in good health she is fine not eating for a day or two. Yu need to NOT feed her all the varieties or pay any attention to her, and teach her that she eats when she is offered food, and she eats what is on offer or nothing else is going to be forthcoming.

For some reason, this particular game is practically endemic in the breed! I am not sure whether it is manipulative puppies to blame, or that a certain type of easy-to-manipulate person tends to get cavaliers... :lol: :lol:

I am sure this problem will end if you follow the advice in the Finicky Eater thread )or many other threads that will come up with the same advice on a search! :thmbsup:

Incidentally many if not most good breeders do not recommend puppy food. I never fed any of mine puppy food. At 10 months she *certainly* does not need puppy food. Also that may simply be too much food -- a cup daily is a lot of food for a cavalier especially if you are giving a few treats. I'd try giving 3/4ths a cup split between two meals. Bags tend to recommend way too much food. And BTW if she wants to skip a meal, that's fine. Puppies up to a year tend to eat what they want and need.

More info on feeding: http://www.roycroftcavaliers.com/manualfeeding.htm

7th May 2008, 03:58 PM
I know how you feel we went through the same with Sally when we brought her home. Luckily it only lasted a few weeks and we sorted it out. Basically we bought the food we wanted her to have and that was all we offered. She soon came round to the fact there wasn't a lot of options and she eats great now. We fed Sally puppy food until she was a year old but to be honest she started to gain weight too quickly after she was spayed at 6 months. Her weight is perfect now but we have had to cut back the adult food and she gets plenty of exercise. In future we will feed a puppy food until 6 months then swap to adult to try and prevent weight gain. I'm sure your puppy will learn what you expect and things will go great once you get the routine established. Good luck

7th May 2008, 07:57 PM
I've got an 8 year old (cavalier that is) that is still finicky. Often she doesn't eat for a couple days at a time. And I'm known for 'doctoring' up the dog food (Natural Balance) with some yogurt, pumpkin, occas. Cheerio cereal, or a dollop of canned food. I guess being a Diva is hard work and watching your figure even harder :)

sheri r.
nebraska - USA

8th May 2008, 01:35 AM
Hello Everybody,

I want to thank everyone for all of your suggestions, for how to get my "Bella" to eat. We started the putting the food down for 15 minutes and for the 1st day and 1/2 she didn't eat, but then it worked and she has eaten really well for the past 3 days!:thmbsup: I still have to be in the same room with her, but that's no problem...She also has to guard her food from our 2 cats,...for some reason they think it's theirs!! Once again, thanks so much...Bella is our first dog and it's great to know that I can come to this board and ask questions...Thanks again, Kristen:)

8th May 2008, 01:53 AM
I'm glad to hear progress is being made. :)

8th May 2008, 10:45 AM
Glad she is making progress!