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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've mentioned in other threads that Sophie is by no means a chow hound. She eats slowly and deliberately, tasting each bite as she goes.

I feed her Eagle Pack Holistic Chicken and Rice which has lower calories than many other kibbles out there, and I feed her 1 cup 3 times a day.

For the last 3 or 4 mornings she's been acting odd in terms of morning appetite. It started during camping, where one morning we got up too late for her tummy and she puked bile. She did this 2 mornings actually. This is not a new occurence, sometimes if her tummy is too empty from the night before, she will puke bile. We usually fix that by giving her about a dozen kibbles as a bedtime snack the night before.

For the past mornings, Sophie has been acting very differently. When we put her food dish down and say "OK", she takes a few bites, then comes to mommy or daddy for some pettings and lovings. We've been having to tell her to go back to her dish to eat, which she would do. At camp she always left a few kibbles behind (a dozen or so), which was ok with us.

For the first few days home, she would do the same thing as she did at camp... eat... loving and then eat again, leaving a bit behind.

Lunch time I put "Multi Oil" on their kibble, and they both love it. She still eats slowly, but she finishes it all, and sometimes even licks the bowl and Duke's bowl clean of the oil at the bottom. Dinner time she's fine again, which I figure is because they've had so much playtime together that she's actually hungry.

This morning she's concerning me though because she started out the same way as the last few days but she hasn't wanted to go back to her bowl at all. She comes to me and wants lovings and pets and sweet talking to instead of food. She's acting very normal, and had a nice firm poop, and is playful with Duke so I can't see that there's a problem there.

My Sophie has a quirk that I'm using to put a little bit of food into her. She will pick up bits of paper on the floor, or go outside and pick up a leaf and bring it to one of us for a treat. This is something we trained her to do when she was a pup so that she wouldn't eat things she wasn't supposed to. Every morning, after breakfast she goes through the "give it to mommy" phase.

This morning she started doing it even if she didn't have breakfast, so as her treat, I've been giving her 4 or 5 kibbles from her dish. Sometimes we give her Zukes or Cookie bits and sometimes it's kibbles on her "normal days". She's happy with whatever we give her.

I'm wondering, do you think she's getting too many calories through her daily treats and she's just balancing out her calorie intake? Why just in the mornings though, after such a long time without eating? I'd prefer she skipped her lunch because I do know her stomach is sensitive to being empty.

Her food is already naturally lower in calories, she does get lots of wild playtime with her brother so she's definitely using up the calories we give her. She looks really good, not too skinny and definitely not fat. Right now, I've put her bowl up because I don't want Duke getting an extra breakfast, I'll give it to her for lunch and see how she is with it.

I think that if it wasn't for Duke, I'd be leaving her food down all day because I suspect that she's one of those dogs who could nibble all day (although I haven't tried it) and be ok with it.

Has anyone got any suggestions? Any experience with this type of behaviour?
 

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Honestly, I'd move her to one or two meals a day, instead of three, and don't suggest free feeding. I have yet to see a dog come into the kennel who is fed three times a day/free fed and isn't either a picky eater and/or a coffee table! Usually they're all coffee tables!

Unless there is a medical reason to feed her that many times of course...

Quite often the 'picky eaters' start eating when they realize that while being boarded, their food isn't going to be left with them to much on for hours on end (between the kennel cats and possible mice, we don't leave food out, we give them up to 20 minutes the remove before it gets spilled everywhere). The only ones we'd leave food with are the very underwieght dogs who don't start eating after a day or two. But almost all of them decide they know how to finish their plate by the second or third day.

This also lets us make sure whe know when they've eaten and how much, and that they're going outside to play on an empty stomach (if they have breakfast, they go out for an hour first then come in for 3 after eating).

My guess is she's learning to be picky because you are paying attention to her not eating. And, she knows if she doesn't eat breakfast, well lunch will have oil on it and that's yummy... maybe she figures you've forgotten the oil for breakfast? I'd bet that if you switch to two meals a day, put the food down, take it away after ten minutes till next time, she'll start eating better within a week.

Lana
 

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what she said, 1000% agree....

Honestly, I'd move her to one or two meals a day, instead of three, and don't suggest free feeding. I have yet to see a dog come into the kennel who is fed three times a day/free fed and isn't either a picky eater and/or a coffee table! Usually they're all coffee tables!

Unless there is a medical reason to feed her that many times of course...

Quite often the 'picky eaters' start eating when they realize that while being boarded, their food isn't going to be left with them to much on for hours on end (between the kennel cats and possible mice, we don't leave food out, we give them up to 20 minutes the remove before it gets spilled everywhere). The only ones we'd leave food with are the very underwieght dogs who don't start eating after a day or two. But almost all of them decide they know how to finish their plate by the second or third day.

This also lets us make sure whe know when they've eaten and how much, and that they're going outside to play on an empty stomach (if they have breakfast, they go out for an hour first then come in for 3 after eating).

My guess is she's learning to be picky because you are paying attention to her not eating. And, she knows if she doesn't eat breakfast, well lunch will have oil on it and that's yummy... maybe she figures you've forgotten the oil for breakfast? I'd bet that if you switch to two meals a day, put the food down, take it away after ten minutes till next time, she'll start eating better within a week.

Lana
 

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Assuming that your dog has been checked out healthwise by the vet, I agree with going to 2 meals a day and cutting out the treats for the time-being. Leave the food down for 15 min.; then remove it. I had a picky Aussie in the past. We found that if we squirted something like Grizzly Salmon Oil on his kibble that he devoured his food.
 

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I agree about feeding less and not free feeding. My Bama is not a chow hound and there are mornings he doesnt eat all of his food.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ok, I need some guidance on going to 2 meals a day. I'm wondering what I can do to keep her belly from heaving from hunger in the morning? How do I work today's non eaten breakfast into the equation? Do you think I should oil both her meals? I

I'm so new at this. I knew that I would never be able to free feed for sure because Duke would take care of that LOL!

She's such a sweet, timid little thing, it's so hard to deny her, but I'll be strong.
 

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I agree with the others. 2 meals a day only, and she gets 10 minutes to eat and then will have to wait til the next meal. It may take a couple meals before she really gets it, but I bet she will quickly!

As for the oil, I would split the daily oil allotment into the 2 meals, yes.
 

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Either cut lunch in half for a day, then feed one cup for dinner, then the next morning she should be interested in breakfast. Or, just skip lunch and let her figure it out. She'll adjust quickly. If you want, put the oil on breakfast, that should help convince her to eat it.

Lana
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well, it's day 3 on a 2 meal a day program. I wish I could say things are going well but this pup of mine has me completely stumped. Even with 2 meals a day, she hasn't finished a meal yet.

The first morning, she ate about 1/3 of a cup and left her food, after about 20 minutes, I put it up. When lunchtime came around, she did her "I'm hungry routine" where she will come up to me and put her front paws on my lap and give me the most pathetic look. I resisted and waited until 5 o'clock for her dinner. That meal went quite well, she ate deliberately and it took her a good 5 minutes to finish up but she ate most everything although she left about 1/4 cup.

I figured everything was just going to be great and easy after all that. The morning after that... once again only about 1/3 of a cup and at dinner, she only ate about 1/2 cup. The morning after that it was the same thing. She's just not wanting to eat! Throughout the day, she'll give me the hungry look every once in a while, but we haven't given in to her.

Today I tried a different strategy, for breakfast she got her 1 1/2 cup, she ate about 1/3 cup (surprise surprise) and I put it up. I let the dogs out to play for a while, put her food back down on the floor and she ate about 1/2 a cup more. All in all, we let her have her breakfast (from 6:30 up until about noon) 3 different times. She's only got about 1/4 cup left in her bowl.

I just wish I knew what was going on with her. Her energy hasn't changed at all. She plays with Duke with as much enthusiasm as she always has. Her poops are the same as well. We don't give so many treats out lately especially because of her finickiness, hoping that she'd be hungry when we tell her she should be hungry ;) lol
 

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I am having the same problem with Buddy now.. he seems disinterested in his food only he used to be a chow hound and in the last month or so his eating habits slowly changed. Otherwise he has been acting normal
 

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I hope she is feeling better. How about some rice and chicken, and maybe a pepcid AC( the old fashioned one with just one ingredient not any of the new "complete" ones).

Do you think something is up with the Eagle Pack Holistic. Our new bag smelled funny( I usually kind of like the smell), and I didnt dare use it. I know they've been going through some ownership changes etc. . . Keep us udpated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You know what? Our bag smelled different as well. I'm almost sure though that she started her shananigans on the previous bag of food.... it started while we were camping.

The funny thing is, she acts almost embarrassed about not wanting to eat. She does a small shy smile and bows down her head, wags her tail, then comes to see me.
Supper has just been served, she ate most of it! all but that last of her 1/4 cup from breakfast, which is pretty good I think.

I'll see what holds tomorrow.

Oh PS: I was reading on the Eaglepack site that they are planning on changing the calorie count on the Select foods... making them higher calorie. That sounds to me like a formula change. I hope Sophie adapts to that easily because I still have 3 bags that I need to buy in order to get my free bag! I don't want it to go to waste.
 
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