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My aussie was born last may. My breeder fed him a purina large breed puppy food. When he was about 3 months old, I switched him to Natural Balance Ultra Premium dog food. He seemed to do well with this food for a while. Last November, when he was 6 months old, we left him at his vet's kennel for a week while on vacation (eating their food). He came home sick with diarrhea that lasted about a month. We ran a bunch of tests on him, but the vet ended up recommending a hypoallergenic food (I think from Purina) for him because she could find nothing else wrong. He did okay on that for about 1.5 months. I decided to buy him Natural Balance Vegetarian food instead of the prescription food after that. He did okay on that for about a month but for a few days he wasn't that interested in eating. I started mixing the vegetarian and the ultra premium together about a week ago and he was very excited to eat. But yesterday and this morning, he turned up his nose at food.

How many meals can my dog skip before I should really start to worry about him. Am I doing okay with my decisions about his food. He's 10 months old now, is this an adolescence thing? Advice would be very much appreciated.

Alan
 

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If your dog is healthy, he will not starve himself. My dog is a very picky eater, she will skip a meal or two once a week or so. She went for her annual check-up and the vet said she looked great. So, don't worry about it. Offer her food, then take it up after 15 mins. She will eventually gobble every last bit of it, once she understands that she either eats it, or loses it.
 

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It could be the age. Growth is slowing down right now and adolescence is seriously messing up his mind. Try the 15 minute rule as Puremutt suggests. Put the food down and take it up in 15 minutes if he isn't eating - don't grab it out of his month if he is eating! If he hasn't touched it and you are worried go ahead and offer it several times a day as if you have decided he is getting fed 5 times a day now but he is large enough to miss meals for 24 hours without any problem.
 

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I have had a healthy dog who was confused by changes in food, or was simply being picky go for nearly 3 days without eating. In fact, he grazing outside on grass and grasshoppers. I wasn't overly concerned about this specific dog, because he would still eat meat...

If the dog is not sick, one trick that I've used is ketchup ! I stir a tablespoon of ketchup in a cup of warm water, then I spoon a few tablespoons of the water over the food.

One thing to consider is different levels of rancidness. I feed my dog from a 20 lb bag of food, so the food is not as fresh when we get to the bottom as it was at the top.

In general, I believe that a healthy dog getting at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, would not normally skip one meal. Clearly there are exceptions, but my current dog is 8 years old and would gladly stuff his face 6 times a day if given the chance.

Finally, if he hasn't eaten any food after 48 hours, then you might call the Vet to get a telephone checklist. The Vet may say wait another day, or suggest bringing him in for checkup.

- Hank Simon
 
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