Not food motivated - keeping weight on?
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Thread: Not food motivated - keeping weight on?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Canyx's Avatar
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    Not food motivated - keeping weight on?

    In the last month or two Brae has really started to lose motivation for food. He still loves treats! And he does eat. But he already wasn't the most food motivated dog, and it seems that motivation has decreased even more. Here are some examples:
    -Used to love pork skin rolls, eat them immediately, and finish them in one sitting (albeit slowly). Then used to eat them if I played with him first. Now won't touch them at all.
    -Loves raw bones. Now will leave even more gristle and marrow on them than before.
    -Used to love playing with his food toys (we have a variety). Now will only work on them with a lot of coaxing, and inconsistently finish his kibble.

    I'm pretty sure some of it, like the kibble situation, is partly my fault since he probably wants me to goad him into eating. But I'm worried about him losing weight since he's already very trim. Here are some photos that show his current body condition:





    You can sort of see that his last rib or two is already visible. I LIKE keeping him in peak condition and I don't want him to get fat. But I don't want him dropping below what he is now either. He's 75# and I used to feed him 5 to 5.5 cups of food a day, pretty much his whole life. When he dropped to 73# (which could have been a just-that-day thing, admittedly), I increased it to 5.5 to 6 cups. Maybe that's what's causing him to be off, and he doesn't need that much? Maybe now that he's 2.5 yrs his body doesn't need the same amount of calories to maintain?

    I'm sure I can get him to eat if I mixed kibble with wet or fed out of a bowl instead (maybe... I've seen him turn his nose up to that), but I really like the enrichment provided by food toys. Then again, it's not enriching if he's not enjoying them... But I guess he's at a point in his life where he's settling quite nicely. Whereas in the past I really, really appreciated the food toys making him work a little harder.

    Anyways, I'm not super worried as if it's a medical problem. It's not, as everything else about him (stool, coat, energy, etc.) is exactly the same. But I'd love to hear anecdotes if you've had/have a dog who is not super food motivated too.
    Soro - 4.22.06 - retriever/X
    Braeburn - 1.29.17 - Dutch shepherd

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  3. #2
    Senior Member CptJack's Avatar
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    Re: Not food motivated - keeping weight on?

    I would give him a fair shot at maintaining where he is now before you start turning it into a thing. He is an age when his metabolism will be slowing down and it would make sense for him to be less interested in putting effort into getting food/eating for the sake of eating. Unless he drops much more weight or loses muscle mass, I'd just leave it alone.

    Jack was absolutely not food motivated. At all. Ever. He started actively turned off by food (he was force fed to a higher weight than he wanted) but most of his life he maintained a good weight just fine. Lighter than the show ring would have wanted, some visible ribs and hips, but lots of muscle and fine. No big deal. Stressed me out then, but in retrospect he was fine and knew what he was doing.
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    Senior Member Jen2010's Avatar
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    Re: Not food motivated - keeping weight on?

    I would give him a fair shot at maintaining where he is now before you start turning it into a thing. He is an age when his metabolism will be slowing down and it would make sense for him to be less interested in putting effort into getting food/eating for the sake of eating. Unless he drops much more weight or loses muscle mass, I'd just leave it alone.
    Agreed. Wait and see what happens. He just might not need as many calories anymore.
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  6. #4
    Senior Member Canyx's Avatar
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    Re: Not food motivated - keeping weight on?

    Thank you both for your input! You're right; I shouldn't worry about it just yet. I'll keep on weighing him and seeing where he's at. I am not going to complain if he can maintain on less food which means +$$ for me

    I left him with 3c in two toys this morning and let him start before I went to work. The other thing is, he spontaneously hunger pukes too. Like, once every month or two? So it's not significant, but I try to head it off and he was doing a little bit of that 'swallowing' action this morning. Anyways, he got maybe 1 cup of the food, then went and took a nap. He didn't touch the food toys at all over my 10 hour work day - I could tell because the little pile of stray kibble I stacked on the floor next to the food toys was still there. When I got home, he immediately started foraging and ate all of the morning amount, plus one more cup in a different food toy that I gave him when I came home. Now he won't eat the last cup left in the last food toy. But I'm glad he ate ~3 cups at once!

    @CptJack, I totally remember your posts about Jack. We've been here a while, haven't we? But funny how the tables have turned on me to be asking these questions!
    Soro - 4.22.06 - retriever/X
    Braeburn - 1.29.17 - Dutch shepherd

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    Re: Not food motivated - keeping weight on?

    We have a couple of dogs that are hard to put weight on and keep it on in our club. Mine is one of those. Malinois are the most difficult and getting a Mal to just eat can be a challenge.

    It is not so much the rib showing as it is the covering over the hips and spine. Seeing a rib or two as the dog turns or stands is not a concern as much as being able to feel hips and spine through the lumbar region. Another thing to be concerned about is a dog that carries himself "tucked up" from the last rib back to the stifles. Taking a "tucked up" stance can mean pain or discomfort in the lumbar spine and the need to see a chiropractor. This is especially worth noting if you throw a frisbee or another toy and the dog frequently jumps and twists in the air. That discomfort can lead to a loss of desire to eat as the dog reaching down for the dish stretches the lumbar spine.

    In the case of one dog in the club a combination of raw and kibble actually brought his weight up and, after he turned 4, he went back to just raw. In the case of my dog (who should weigh around 82 pounds) I had to increase the fat content of the food and increase the pounds overall but he is a German Shepherd and don't get between him and his food! I had to increase his food to just over 3 pounds a day which is a LOT. It is just his metabolism at age 2 where he is building mass.

    I am thinking Brae is more like a Malinois with food. Maybe you should try feeding raw one meal and kibble the other. I would suggest that you buy a raw mix to be sure the right nutrients are in there until you get a handle on feeding raw by ingredient if you go that route. He might WANT the food more if you feed raw. The other thing to consider feeding kibble is the fat and calorie content. Back when I fed kibble I used Evo (not even sure you can get that now) because it was VERY high in digestible calories. I also have fed Abady Maintenance and stress Granular which is also very high in fat and digestible nutrients (I fed a 90 pound dog 1 and 3/4 cup a day and she was in find weight!).

    I have found that when a dog backs up on food there is often a reason that goes beyond "I don't like this." I had one dog (now almost 13) that could not tolerate Abady and actually acted like Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency. It was not. It was simply a digestive intolerance to that food. She did amazing well on Purina Dog Chow (yeah.. I know.. I got her off of it after awhile).

    I am certain you are not feeding a low end diet to Brae, but be cautious (and you know this) because some of the high end stuff has been making the news as being not what you think it is.

    It may be all you need to do is change the product you are feeding to a lower volume product with greater calories per pound.

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    Re: Not food motivated - keeping weight on?

    One other thing. All the dogs I am talking about here with the exception of the Purina Dog Chow dog were intact males.

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    Senior Member Canyx's Avatar
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    Re: Not food motivated - keeping weight on?

    Thanks, I've considered a lot of these points! He is an intact male so I imagine that affects his metabolism to some degree. Though I've heard anecdotes of no changes in weight or feeding amount after altering.

    Incidentally, Brae was just at the chiropractor a few days ago. There was nothing wrong; I just want him to go 2-3 times a year for maintenance. But he only received two minor adjustments and the chiropractor said Brae was in excellent condition.
    Soro - 4.22.06 - retriever/X
    Braeburn - 1.29.17 - Dutch shepherd

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    Re: Not food motivated - keeping weight on?

    I have an intact whippet/greyhound mix who has always been a fussy feeder and self limits his intake. I have now succeeded in keeping him at a decent weight by feeding only kibble with a fat content of 17% or over and an over 80% named meat content. This is mixed with some fatty raw mince and some warm water. As he loves eggs he also gets a raw one mixed in from time to time. He is the kind of dog who will refuse to eat if he has not been exercised beforehand too and if there are other dogs in the vicinity it can sometimes prompt him to eat up but it does not always work. I now put the food down and walk away as I felt at one point he was starting to use food refusal as a means of getting my attention.

    I forgot to say mine will not touch any raw mince if it has been mixed with any other ingredients either.
    Last edited by planete; 06-21-2019 at 01:30 AM.

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    Re: Not food motivated - keeping weight on?

    Quote Originally Posted by Canyx View Post
    Thanks, I've considered a lot of these points! He is an intact male so I imagine that affects his metabolism to some degree. Though I've heard anecdotes of no changes in weight or feeding amount after altering.

    Incidentally, Brae was just at the chiropractor a few days ago. There was nothing wrong; I just want him to go 2-3 times a year for maintenance. But he only received two minor adjustments and the chiropractor said Brae was in excellent condition.
    I figured you had. I too take my dog in for maintenance with the Chiro. I do not believe in neutering intact male dogs UNLESS they run into a problem. Females not until age 3 UNLESS there is a problem and certainly by age 7 or 8 due to possible pyometra. Females tend to have metabolism changes after spay but the males I have seen after neutering stay pretty much the same.. maybe slightly more efficient at converting calories and maybe slightly better appetite.

    One thing I DO do is take the food up. Dog hasn't eaten it in 20 minutes? Well the dog may find it more valuable to eat at the next meal which will also be taken up after 20 minutes. Three meals in a row sometimes fixes this UNLESS the dog has an aversion to what you are feeding. So far I have not seen a dog turn its nose up at Raw food. You might try a raw chicken thigh (bone, skin and all) or Raw chicken breast (bone, skin and all) and see if it generates some interest. I buy these on sale and they are the morning meal (a pound or a little more.. 3 thighs or a chicken breast and one thigh). I actually feed them frozen (but not when being introduced to a dog that has never had this 'new" food). Gives the dog something to do for awhile and their teeth stay spotless.

  12. #10
    Senior Member Canyx's Avatar
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    Re: Not food motivated - keeping weight on?

    Just wanted to update and say that his appetite has fully returned! He even dug out the old pork skin roll from his toy box (been sitting in there for 2 months or more) and ate it. He now will work food toys till empty again, and even scrounge the kitchen floor and sniff the carpet for crumbs... that's new!

    I think I was feeding him too much. I dropped it down to 5 cups and he was hungry again. I've been weighing him every week and there's been no change in weight in the last month.

    Thanks again for the input!
    Soro - 4.22.06 - retriever/X
    Braeburn - 1.29.17 - Dutch shepherd

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