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Hi all,

(Sorry if this is long!)

So my 1.5 year old hound mix has all of a sudden started refusing to eat her kibble. She's always been food obsessed, to the point where we fed her all of her meals in a puzzle ball to keep her from eating too fast, and she has never been in the least bit picky and has never waited a second to eat her meals.

A couple of weeks ago, she started to seem less interested in the puzzle ball, so we started giving her her meals in her bowl, but now she won't eat the kibble at all. Her energy levels are the same and she is wolfing down treats, bully sticks, chewing on chew toys, etc etc so I don't think her teeth are bothering her. She's just totally over kibble.

Things we've tried so far:

Switching kibble formulas (worked for two meals, then stopped working)
Mixing in rice (worked for a few meals)
mixing in yogurt (worked for three days. has now stopped working)
mixing in boiled chicken (she just eats the chicken).

Does anyone know what this could be? Have any ideas for solutions? Should we just keep trying new formulas? Or could there be something else going on?

One thing that makes me think this might be more complicated than not liking this formula is that around the same time she stopped eating if we are not home. We used to give her her food/puzzle ball and she would be so absorbed in it that she wouldn't even notice us leaving. But now she won't touch her food unless at least one of us is in the room with her.

Thanks in advance!
 

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How is her weight?

Any chance she is coming into heat?

Drinking, energy levels, bowel movements, urination all normal? What is her exercise requirements?

A vet check may be in order here, just to rule out any of the "other" possibilities.

Some things that come to mind are an impending heat or possibly, she has done her biggest growth period, and she is now slowing down on how much food she needs. How much "extras" is she getting? (you mentioned chew toys, treats, bones etc) It is possible those extras are enough to satisfy her.

I did once have a husky who was an incredibly picky eater, always wanting "toppers". Once he figured out that if he didn't eat what was in front of him, it went away until his next meal time, no snacks in between, then he happily ate each and every meal.
 

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1.5 years old, if she's intact (not spayed), she could have gone into silent heat and is now dying of pyrometra (infection of the uterus). That can go on for weeks, and one of the primary symptoms is loss of appetite.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hi everyone,

Thanks for the responses!

Sorry if I wasn't clear in the first post, but her appetite is fine and exactly the same (huge). She'll eat tons of boiled chicken and rice (what we are currently feeding her due to desperation) and will even eat kibble if it's mixed in well enough with the chicken and rice (and will then begin grumbling for more).

It's just kibble she is refusing.

Energy levels are the same (she get 1.5 hours of off leash in the park with her dog friends, running around like a lunatic, swimming, playing in the morning, another 30-40 min in the afternoon and a good long walk at night). Poop/urine is normal. Drinking is normal. Weight/Gums/teeth look fine. And she was spayed as a puppy, so it isn't heat. If it keeps up (or if any of those things change) I'll obviously take her to the vet, but she is totally normal in all other ways.

The only change is that she is a little clingy and she won't eat kibble on its own. I'm guessing she is probably just sick of it, but it's pretty out of character for her.
 

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I wonder if something happened involving the puzzle ball. The aversion to kibble plus not wanting to eat when you're not home makes me think that it could be something like that. Some dogs will develop weird little aversions even without a traumatic event.. . .but hounds aren't usually prone to that.
 

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I'd be doing tough love if you are sure the kibble hasn't gone off. No more treats, kibble in bowl twice a day. If she isn't eating pick up the bowl after 10-15 minutes. You may be treating enough that she isn't hungry at meal times and of now you are giving her fresh chicken and rice she hasn't any reason to want to eat kibble at all.

The fat in kibble goes rancid exposed to oxygen in the air and bugs can infest it. Either one has to make the kibble taste nasty. If the bag has been opened for more than a month one of these is a possibility.
 

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I agree with a trip to the vet. My vet gave us a few cans of soft appetizing food to mix with the kibble. It got her back on track with the new food.

I had a bag of kibble go rancid and Samantha refused to eat it but continued with treats to an obsession. I called the customer service and they promptly sent me a check to replace the spoiled bag. I'm not sure what caused it as I keep the bag tightly sealed and in the kitchen. The date code indicated it was very fresh too. It had an unusual smell compared to the new bag. Since then I've had no problem. Sam is fed in the morning and early evening (12 hr apart) sometimes she will leave one or the other but I think is due to activity levels. We go herding once or twice a week and on long walks almost everyday. Plus obedience practice and training with some agility tossed in for fun. If we miss a day of activity she will eat less. A weight watcher dog? Haha. She is solid muscle.
 

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I think if everything is fine (health and weight) I'd say she has you trained. Why eat kibble? If I wait long enough I know my humans will feed me something better. I currently have a dog that doesn't eat kibble because it's 'just there'. She tries to bury it. She only eats it when it's 'new'. By new I mean I can just go to the corner, pick up the full bowl and hide it for a minute, get a little excited over the food and give it back. I also noticed she eats better before bedtime. I give her the food (back), turn off the lights and she eats. Sometimes I mix a little wet food in with the kibble. She will eat part of it and then just lick the rest of the wet food off, but at least she eats. I'm looking for something, maybe chicken broth that I can spray on, next. Won't be that easy to lick it off. I also noticed she is supposed to eat about 4 cups of kibble a day according to the package, but needs less and I keep track of treats.
 

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I agree with Kathyy, except go buy a new, small, fresh bag of kibble and feed directly rather than in the puzzle ball. That will help to rule out issues with rancidness.
 
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