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Feeding the finnicky, PITA dog

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  • Feeding the finnicky, PITA dog

    I know there was a thread about dog foods not too long ago, but I have specific issues. Maybe some of you all can help.

    I have been feeding Stella the Dog Nutro Natural Choice High Energy for pretty much as long as I've had her. http://www.nutroproducts.com/ncdry-he.shtml I selected this because A) She IS extremely high energy. Basically marathon fit. Very active, lots of running, lots of playing, very, very, very fit (just for reference, a 2 hour walk on a hot summer day barely phases her). and B) She is extremely finnicky and not much of an eater, so I figured what few calories she did consume should be dense.

    She's done pretty well on it. She's very healthy and fit (the vets who have taken care of her have RAVED about her health, good weight, and terrific fitness, often commenting that they wish the rest of their clients would try and keep their dogs even half as well as Stella is). Some people look at her and say she's skinny, but really, she is all muscle and no fat. http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pi...c&id=840606599
    In this day and age of fat, couch potato dogs, she is an oddity!

    Anyway, I'm starting to wonder if she actually really likes her food, and if maybe I found something that was more appealing, she'd eat a little better. She often times will steal doggy friends' and realitives' food if given the choice between her's and their's, and has to be watched like a hawk around the cats' food, which she'll suck down (then be sick for days).

    So, anyone have suggestions for different things to try? I like higher quality stuff, though I don't feel it has to be all organic, etc (I don't eat all organic, and do ok, so I'm figuring she can survive on not all organic). I also won't do RAW diet (just totally undoable for me). If I can pick it up at Petsmart, that'd be great, but I don't mind going a little out of my way.

    Today, while I was actually picking up some food for her, I looked at "Blue" and also Nutro Ultra. I liked the Blue adult as it had more fat and protein then most adult dog foods, though still not as much as what she's been getting. The Ultra is supposedly extra yummy and palatable.

    I don't know. Part of me is of the mind don't fix what I ain't broke, but just as I'm always thinking about what could make the horses better, I also think that for Stella, too.

    Any ideas/suggestions?

  • #2
    Personally, I wouldn't worry about it. It does sound like one of those, if it ain't broke, don't fix it situations.

    Dogs always try to steal cat food, people food, and other dogs' food.


    • #3
      I fed Nutro feeds for many, many years, and last year, they all started eating with less enthusiasm. Not sure if the formula changed or what it was, maybe they were just sick of eating the same food.

      So, I noticed the new Science Diet Natures Best dry food, and gave it a try, and all the dogs (I have 4) love it.
      There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


      • #4
        I do love Innova--the type in the regular dark green bag. It's just over 500 kcal/cup, which is quite high (most dog foods are in the 300 range) and makes it easier to keep weight on a dog. It looks like what you're feeding now is 396 kcal/cup.

        My dogs find it quite palatable, and their breed is known for being picky eaters. I've never had any food left over.


        • #5
          If we wanted a dog to gain weight, we used to feed them Gainesburgers. Dogs loved them, sugar inside seemed to help a lot with weight gain. Even a large dog, 2 burgers a day was plenty for weight gain.

          Perhaps she would like them as "special" treats, if you don't make them part of the meal. Fed after her daily meal or evening snack.

          I don't know if the recipe is still the same, but Gainesburgers worked for every skinny dog I ever knew.

          Do know that carrying more weight will be harder on bones, muscles and frame as she vigorously does her daily racing about. Might be more likely to pull or tear things with extra poundage, harder on her feet.

          I would not worry or change her diet, if Vets tell you she is doing well. Folks looking at her don't see her activity like you do. Very unused to seeing a working dog in good shape. Her metabolism is different than other dogs they see. She will probably last a lot longer, stay healthier, in the lean, muscled condition she is in now. Dogs seldom starve themselves pouting about the food. Will she clean up a larger portion? Does it come in other flavors? Maybe alternate bags for flavor change.


          • #6
            Blue Buffalo!

            My Aussie has been on the Blue Buffalo Lamb & Rice for over 4 years. I wanted something natural and holistic with no by-products, fillers, corn, or wheat. The Blue product fit the bill. Human grade ingredients, real meat, vegetables and fruit. And I like that the lifesource bits (vitamins, nutrients and anti-oxidants) are part of the food. He's healthy. He has a beautiful coat. I am very pleased with the product.

            They also make a high protein/low carb product called Wilderness which might be an option for you. It is supposed to be for the active dog who burns a lot of calories. Sounds like it might work for your dog.

            You might want to go to their website for more information. I get their newsletter which always has interesting articles. I think the site is www.bluebuff.com. If that's not right, then google it.

            Good luck!


            • #7
              Your dog sounds just like my shepherd. Just not all that interested in eating. I finally broke down and started adding a little canned food or cottage cheese to it. It seems like once he starts eating because of something "extra" in his dish, he'll finish (most of it). It's helped him quite a bit. People no longer come up to me with concern in their eyes and ask me what I feed my dog! (Implying that I really need to feed him either a better food or more of it)!


              • #8
                Just as a quick note, Nutro has been recently bought out by Mars (the chocolate bars). We carry it in our store, and we've had a lot of customers that are unhappy with it since the transfer. We've also had a lot of people that have had their allergic dogs be perfect on the Nutro for years, and they are all of a sudden allergic as heck to the food. That may be something to consider. They have also gone through ridiculous price increases ever since the transfer as well.

                Also, things like Innova are a lot higher in meat and a lot lower in grain which usually makes it more appetizing for dogs.


                • #9
                  Our finicky eater used to eat only 3 (we tried cheap, we tried expensive...most hated /nose totally turned up were Science Diet and Eukanuba....so definitely not worth the $ for us!): Nutro, Pro Plan and Purina One. The local pet store quit carrying Nutro so now we get the other 2!
                  Providence Farm


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by yellowbritches View Post
                    I don't know. Part of me is of the mind don't fix what I ain't broke, but just as I'm always thinking about what could make the horses better, I also think that for Stella, too.
                    Any ideas/suggestions?
                    I have had the best luck with digestion and maintenance on Innova in the green bag. Both my rescues came to me as skinny dogs, and I started them out on the same thing, Innova, mixed with some boiled chicken, broth and rice. My 'sloppy chicken soup', never seen a dog yet that will turn their nose up at that. I stew a chicken every couple of weeks, freeze it and gradually feed it out. Occasionally I'll add some Innova or Chicken Soup for the Soul canned, just for variety.


                    • #11
                      When you're feeding premium foods, IMHO, there is not a ton of difference in nutritional quality. Feed the best food you can.

                      I think the trick is to feed on a schedule. Most dogs are going to LOVE some food like oh...ol' roy or some Meow Mix. It's like crack. Or potato chips. Of COURSE that tastes better.

                      But for the finnicky eater (and really all of them)....being on a schedule helps the most.

                      Food down for 20 min then up. Twice a day.

                      Because not eating is one of the first clues we have to doggy sickness, it's really best to be on a schedule. It ALSO helps if you ever need to change foods due to illness.
                      A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                      Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                      • #12
                        PS: they're not THAT finnicky. They eat their own poo, horse poo and cat poo. It's mostly a training issue. Are YOU Trained or are they? lol
                        A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                        Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                        • #13
                          MOST aren't picky. Some really are that picky. I have one. My equine vet has one.


                          • #14
                            I have a picky eater too. She has major food allergies and is happy eating a raw diet.
                            University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine Class of 2012
                            Member of the Asthmatic Riders & "Someone Special To Me Serves In The Military" cliques


                            • #15
                              Yep allergies for us too! I cook.


                              • #16
                                I've never had a finicky dog. They've all been vultures, more prone to wolfing their food down and gagging on it than anything else. Other than the old Golden who had a choking problem, I figure this is natural canine behavior and just let them have at it.

                                Maybe I'm very old-fashioned and not with the times, but I figure no healthy dog will let itself die of starvation. Eventually, they'll eat. Of course I'd make a note of food they didn't like and avoid buying it, but then again, I've never had a dog who didn't light up and go crazy at the thought of DOG FOOD!

                                Maybe try a variety of samples from the pet store?
                                Click here before you buy.


                                • #17
                                  Agree with Deltawave and BuddyRoo. One of my dogs is not a big eater. I feed on a schedule, twice a day. He is required to start his meal before the other two finish (because one of the others gets stressed and bent out of shape if there is an extra bowl of food when she is finished eating). Sometimes he doesn't eat. We've had him 4.5 years now, and he has always been like this (except he ate well as a puppy). He hasn't starved yet!

                                  ETA: I feed Blue Buffalo. Dry only --- no canned.
                                  "We are all doing the best we can from our own level of consciousness.”
                                  ― Deepak Chopra


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Simkie View Post
                                    I do love Innova--the type in the regular dark green bag. It's just over 500 kcal/cup, which is quite high (most dog foods are in the 300 range) and makes it easier to keep weight on a dog. It looks like what you're feeding now is 396 kcal/cup.

                                    My dogs find it quite palatable, and their breed is known for being picky eaters. I've never had any food left over.
                                    That's really what you should look at...I just went through this with my dog, but for different reasons- she needs to lose weight. She is unfortunately very restricted right now because of an injury, and in two weeks gained 2 lbs. Her main diet is a flash frozen raw food- but I supplement at night with kibble. The kibble she was eating was 590kcals a cup (timberwolf Organic.) I switched her to Taste of the Wild- which is only 360 kcals a cup. That is lower than many of the "lite" dog foods.

                                    Blue buffalo orgaincs is a good food an high in calorie- and you can buy it at petsmart. I have a friend who manages a petsmart, and that is the only food she recommends that the sell. (She feeds Wellness Core.)

                                    There are lots of good foods on the market, just look for one that is higher in Kcals per cup and you can check out Dogfoodanalysis.com.


                                    • #19
                                      While it's certainly possible that there is an underlying medical issue like food allergy, in most cases, it's simply a behavioral thing.

                                      For example...I have a new roommate. New roommate has a dog. I have a dog. My dog can't have table scraps or foods other than his dog food. He is high risk for pancreatitis due to the meds he's on for epilepsy.

                                      Anyway...new roomie free feeds. Well, we can't leave that dog's food down or my dog will eat it. Roomie says, "I leave her food down because she's picky and won't eat."

                                      So we talk it over. The real deal is that dog is picky because dog gets table scraps, treats, etc and food is available to her all the time. Within less than a week, dog is now on a feeding schedule and eating her dog food. We eliminated snacks between meals, eliminated the people food, and set her food down twice a day for 20 min. She now knows that dinner time is time to eat.

                                      IME, the MAJORITY of dogs whose owners would call picky are really just being smart dogs and have their owners trained to cater to them.

                                      If you are happy with the food you're feeding, stick with it...but get on a schedule and don't allow her access to the other foods. Cats can be on a feeding schedule as well--no real need to leave it down all the time. Eliminate your dog's access to other foods and chances are, you'll be able to feed her this food or any other food you choose with no issues.

                                      Please do be careful though about switching foods. Do it gradually over the course of a few days to avoid loose stools, stomach upset and in some cases pancreatitis. That's no fun.
                                      A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                                      Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                                      • Original Poster

                                        See, the thing is, Stella IS that bad of an eater. I have tried, for a long time, the whole put the food down for X amount of time then take it back up. She won't eat it. She has no interest. She eats when she wants. No, she won't starve to death, she's not that bad. But she has on occasion NOT eaten for a day or two (she's had the same bowl of food down for 3 days at home and has barely touched it). She obviously gets enough calories, because she's not fainting from starvation...and actually, she doesn't eat her poop, or cat poop and eats very little horse poop.

                                        Anyway, thanks for the tips and advise. I'll look into some of this.

                                        One other thing I forgot to mention, and I'm now wondering if this has something to do with the change of ownership at Nutro...her waste is a LOT bigger in the last couple of months. This is another reason why I'm wondering if she'd do better on something else.