puppy not eating kibble, but happy to eat treats
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Thread: puppy not eating kibble, but happy to eat treats

  1. #1
    Junior Member akklove's Avatar
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    puppy not eating kibble, but happy to eat treats

    i've trained my puppy to wait patiently for his food, and he is only allowed to eat his meals if I give him the release word "okay!" He's been responding to it well and I don't make him wait extremely long for his food now that he is able to wait nicely. He usually hoovers it up in under 1 minute. I also feed him on a regular schedule, 3 times a day at 9am, 1:30pm and 6pm. To keep his potty schedule regular. With a little bit of apple for snack at around 10pm.

    But all of a sudden, last week, its as if he doesn't quite understand when I say "okay!" anymore (though he does understand it when I release him from a stay command). He seems cautious about eating his meals and I've had to say "okay!" rattling the food, multiple times before he starts eating. One time, I had to hand feed every morsel to him to get him to eat his full meal. It doesn't seem to be changing though, he's started to put a kibble in his mouth, spit it out, put it in his mouth and spit it back out or jump at it, retreat, jump at it, retreat. But when it comes to giving him apples or any other kind of treat, he's more than willing to work for it - sit, roll over, shake a paw.

    He's a bit of a princess, so I'm hesitant to give him wet food/home cooked food in fear that he'll never go back to dry food (that and I don't want to transition food so quickly with sensitive puppy stomachs). Yesterday, I gave him a good 15 minutes to eat breakfast and he didn't finish it, so I took it away until lunch. (He needs to know that he can't be so picky with his food...right?) He did eat his lunch yesterday, hesitant at first, but hoovered it pretty quickly. But the same thing happened during dinner, so I took it away. No apple snack either because I know he'd eat that. He IS hungry, he's sniffing the floor scavenging for crumbs but not eating his kibble sitting right there in his bowl!

    It's morning now, and he should be EXTRA hungry after eating just one meal, no snacks yesterday. But the same thing is happening - he's taken a half hour so far to pick at his food (tethered him so he has no choice but to hang out with his food and can't play or run around) and still hasn't finished it. He's eaten a few kibbles but more than half of it is still there. I don't want to leave it there for him to eat as his leisure (for the sake of consistent pottying).

    He's 4.5 months old and I thought it might be a teething problem hurting with eating such crunchy kibble but he hasn't been chewing on my fingers/toys more than usual, so I don't think that is the problem.

    I don't want to mix apple into his food (he'd pick out the apple and leave the kibble) - again, his princess tendencies!! The food is fresh, doesn't expire until next year February. It seems like he's sick of his kibble, but I googled that and it doesn't seem like that is something that dogs get? But I could be wrong.

    What kind of a dog refuses food?? *sighhhh..please help!

    forgot to mention - he is on a pretty high quality dog food, 4 star, California Naturals
    Last edited by akklove; 11-21-2010 at 11:13 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

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  3. #2
    Member myahele's Avatar
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    Re: puppy not eating kibble, but happy to eat treats

    Have you tried changing his food to a different brand that he might like better?

    I sort of understand how you feel. My puppy never really ate much of his original dog food, only eating so that he won't starve himself, but he would be more than willing to eating anything else I offered him. One he was almost finished with the bag, I've decided to switch him to a different dog food brand and he gobbled it up the 1st time and after 1 month he's still gobbling his food. As a result, he's gain a healthy amount of weight.

    I suggest you buy/request samples of different dog food to see which one he'll like more. Being a puppy, it's important that he get the proper amount of nutrition, him starving himself because he doesn't like his kibble anymore may do him harm growth-wise.

    Have you asked the vet regarding his sudden change of behavior regarding his eating habits? I doubt its anything too serious, heck, it might even be the result of dog puberty for all I know.

    Anyways, I wish you best of luck!

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    Senior Member poodleholic's Avatar
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    Re: puppy not eating kibble, but happy to eat treats

    There's nothing wrong with adding a small amount of wet food to dry kibble. It certainly makes it more palitable for the dog, and is better for them than just dry kibble. I feed my adult dogs twice a day; once with fresh meat added to the kibble, once with just plain kibble. They also get foods like sardines, hard boiled eggs, plain yogurt, fruit, and cottage cheese for snacks. Feeding them home cooked hasn't "spoiled" them, because they eat what's put in front of them, "goodies" added or not. I make them pot roast with little new red potatoes and baby carrots, meat loaf, and more, and they get omelettes with spinach and French Mountain Cheese on the weekend. It doesn't replace the kibble, it simply supplements and enhances it.

    California Natural IS a good food . . . and . . . I never could get any of my 3 to eat it! lol

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    Senior Member Grish's Avatar
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    Re: puppy not eating kibble, but happy to eat treats

    Quote Originally Posted by poodleholic View Post
    ....I make them pot roast with little new red potatoes and baby carrots, meat loaf, and more, and they get omelettes with spinach and French Mountain Cheese...
    Can I come for a snack next time?

    It sounds great and your sure have some lucky dogs... but don't you think it's funny that a lot of dogs in America are eating better then people... and I am not talking "this poor family has no money" better, I mean healthy diet vs. burgers and fries.

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    Senior Member JustTess's Avatar
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    Re: puppy not eating kibble, but happy to eat treats

    Sophie, my pup, does not like her kibbles very much. If I mix their food with a little rice and chicken pieces, both George and she will lick off the food and leave the kibbles. Sometimes, I use other brands of kibbles for training treats and I'll throw those into their dinner. They can smell it but they can't find it, so I think they eat the kibbles until the smell is gone, LOL. Sophie can be a bit wierd though. She will eat carrots, apples, parsley, and melon. Ilya likes blueberries, though sometimes, I think he's trying to see if they bounce if he drops them.

    George, Lola, Sophie, Ilya

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    Re: puppy not eating kibble, but happy to eat treats

    I'm a lot tougher then all of you guys, I switched Izze twice because at the time we were trying to find a food that didn't agervate bear, my parents JRT's allergies & it took her forever to start eating it & it is a good food also.. perhaps not the BEST persay but its the best I can afford, plus I give her supplements that make up for any shortcomings the food may have.

    How I got her to eat it was just to put the food down & walk away for 20 min, if she doesn't eat it in that time (& she sometimes stil pulls this, but for no more then a day) then I would take the food up weather she ate, finished or what. A few good foods are orjjin, blue, & wellness also if your keen to try something else. But on the other hand you migt end up with a dog that eats a kibble for a little while then turns his nose because he knows you'll change it.

    If its his tender teeth & gums, which at 4 1/2 months it very well might be, then you might try soaking his food in hot water for a min, then adding some plain yogurt or cottage cheese to his kibble. Izze gets plain yogurt with hers.

    I'm a lot tougher then all of you guys, I switched Izze twice because at the time we were trying to find a food that didn't agervate bear, my parents JRT's allergies & it took her forever to start eating it & it is a good food also.. perhaps not the BEST persay but its the best I can afford, plus I give her supplements that make up for any shortcomings the food may have.

    How I got her to eat it was just to put the food down & walk away for 20 min, if she doesn't eat it in that time (& she sometimes stil pulls this, but for no more then a day) then I would take the food up weather she ate, finished or what. A few good foods are orjjin, blue, & wellness also if your keen to try something else. But on the other hand you migt end up with a dog that eats a kibble for a little while then turns his nose because he knows you'll change it.

    If its his tender teeth & gums, which at 4 1/2 months it very well might be, then you might try soaking his food in hot water for a min, then adding some plain yogurt or cottage cheese to his kibble. Izze gets plain yogurt with hers.
    Last edited by xxxxdogdragoness; 11-22-2010 at 09:50 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

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    Junior Member akklove's Avatar
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    Re: puppy not eating kibble, but happy to eat treats

    Thanks for your input guys!! I somehow didn't get the e-mail notices when more responses came through!

    So it's been about a month and a half now and he's still kind of weird with his meals - he is now 6 months old and still teething. There was a week or so where I literally held him like a baby and hand fed him every morsel in desperation to get him to eat (and for my own sanity for potty timing consistency's sake) - but I stopped doing this because it's just a bad habit if he gets used to it.

    I've tried mixing bits of stuff he loves to eat like banana or apple into the kibble, but he'd pick those out pretty easily. He already started picking out the California Naturals over the Eukanuba that he was fed by the breeder when I was transitioning him at 10-11 weeks old!

    So I spoke with my pet food store people and the nurse at my vet and both said that it was likely him being picky, which is apparently common among small dogs. You know, holding out for treats and not eating his real meals (who wouldn't want cheesecake for breakfast lunch and dinner?). I don't want to switch up foods just yet to discourage him from thinking that I'll just get a new bag if he doesn't eat what he is given. I've been adding water to his kibble for every meal to soften it up (sometimes he'll eat it quickly, sometimes he won't) - I've tried giving him complete dry kibble and he tried to eat it but couldn't really chew it, so I think its a partial teething issue as well. Strange though, once he starts eating, he'll lick the bowl entirely clean, so he can't absolutely hate the taste...

    So what I've been doing since I stopped babyfeeding him is pretty much what dogdragoness said. Putting the moist kibble down and giving him 15 minutes (all toys/distractions locked away... so easily distracted) and nothing to do but focus on eating. If he doesn't eat it in 15 minutes, then I take the bowl away. Some days he'll eat all 3 meals, some days he'll eat 1. No/very few treats until he gets the eating meals back on track. It was heartwrenching the days he only ate 1 of his meals, but I've also read somewhere online that it is very rare for dogs to not eat enough for their needs - so while I may be worried sick, he's probably doing okay? I still worry though, because he's growing and needs to eat!

    I just hope this is just a phase and passes soon!!

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    Senior Member Conard10's Avatar
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    Re: puppy not eating kibble, but happy to eat treats

    When Rudy was around 6 months old she also became a picky eater. I went through all the worries you're going through. I will say that when Rudy was a young pup we had to try several different types of kibble before finding one she liked. She actually refused to eat California Natural and like Blue the best.

    We also tried mixing in things like meat and bananas and she'd just end up picking out the goodies and leaving the kibble. It was suggest to us to try mixing in plain yogurt. We've been doing that quite a while and it works great!!! She gobbles up her food now. But, I think some dogs can't tolerate yogurt if they have a sensitive stomach.

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    Senior Member LazyGRanch713's Avatar
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    Re: puppy not eating kibble, but happy to eat treats

    Quote Originally Posted by Grish View Post
    Can I come for a snack next time?

    It sounds great and your sure have some lucky dogs... but don't you think it's funny that a lot of dogs in America are eating better then people... and I am not talking "this poor family has no money" better, I mean healthy diet vs. burgers and fries.
    Yes. And, Guilty As Charged here.
    And for the OP, you might see if the puppys tags are hitting the bowl as he goes to take a bite. I've known quite a few dogs who startle at that noise, and they're hesitant to eat out of bowls because of this.

  11. #10
    Junior Member akklove's Avatar
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    Re: puppy not eating kibble, but happy to eat treats

    Just wanted to update you guys on this issue with my pup =)

    LazyG, thanks for pointing out the tags clanging against the bowl, I can see that happening for some owners, but in my case it seems as though the tags aren't bothersome for him

    So it is now March and I seem to have outstubborned my puppy heh heh =) I still continue to wet his kibble but the issue seems to have gone away. He's still on California Naturals and eats every meal, walking away from the bowl occasionally to see whats going on, but will walk back to finish and lick the bowl clean. He doesn't respond to kibble as a treat though, he grew out of that pretty fast, but I'm okay with this. I think I now just have a slow eater on my hands and that is a-okay with me - just as long as he eats!

    I'm definitely going to consider the other brands mentioned (orijen etc) as he gets a little older to change things up a little and keep him interested in his food.

    Thanks so much all!! I'd be so lost without all the experience and knowledge here =)

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    Re: puppy not eating kibble, but happy to eat treats

    I am going thru this now & every once & a while but I just stick to my guns about their food because brands like orgin, blue & those are only at spec stores like Petco & PETsMART both of those are about 40 mi from us. I have tried a couple of times to raise Jo's food ration but it makes her not finish it lol lol so much for the best of intentions huh :P.

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