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Micah has always been a "picky eater." I have tried everything. Changing foods, reducing the amount of food, making him "work for it," feeding in his crate, feeding at scheduled times and removing it if he doesn't eat it after 15-20 minutes, etc. When I have tried that method (multiple times), he has gone about 3 days, eaten one meal, then another day or so before eating again. I took him to the vet who said just watch his weight/growth/energy levels, but he is not going to let himself starve. Which is true but I worry since he is such a big dog (23 inches at the withers, around 80 lbs).

So I caved and started putting cheese in his food this week. Every meal has been gone and he has scrounged the floor for every stray kibble. I guess I will see in a couple days if the novelty wears off? I never thought I would be one of those owners that coaxes their dog to eat with people food, but I'm just happy he has eaten two full meals 3 days in a row... Anyone else with similar stories? He is a Shiloh Shepherd btw
 

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My females are quite picky eaters. Holly, would never finish a bowl. The first and only food I've had her on where she really will gobble up a bowl is Fromm Surf N Turf.
Ellie my puppy, is very picky. She turns her nose up to most kibbles. She will eat Wellness, but it has gotta be mixed with Merrick wet foods (those they all go nuts over).

Have you tried mixing in wet food? Not a lot, just enough to spark his interest in the kibble?
I have no problem adding "people food" to my dogs' kibbles, but when I do it is a pretty special occasion. Cheese is pretty high in calories for dogs.
 

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A healthy dog won't starve itself. You put the food down, if the dog isn't eating in 10-15 minutes, pick up and they wait until next meal. There's one thing I don't have a lot of patience for and that is a picky eater. Don't feel guilty, the dog has its choice, it can eat or go hungry. Especially if you're feeding a good quality food and rotating food occasionally.
 

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When Cosmo was on kibble, he did exactly the same thing. He had absolutely no interest in eating until we switched him to a (mostly) raw diet. Not suggesting you do the same thing, but that's just what worked for us.

What are you feeding him?
 

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Coco is a picky eater when it comes to kibble. I've picked up her food after 30 minutes with her not having eaten any of it. I was particularly concerned because she's a small breed puppy and has thrown up bile in the morning due to an empty stomach. Once I mixed peanut butter with her kibble. Bad idea. My carpet paid the price.

Now I mix Merrick wet puppy food with her kibble and she pretty much goes nuts over it. Occasionally she'll lick the wet food off the kibble, but most of the time she'll eat it all.
 

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I feed him blue buffalo now. Last time I tried switching food he had nothing but loosy stool/mucous. I gave it three days, and that was with less than 25% new food. I have been afraid to try anything new since then. When I start getting the food out he gets really excited, sniffs it, then walks away (even before I started adding 'treats'). My vet said if he doesn't eat for three days to call. When I offer the food and remove it, he usually goes 2 days, eats one meal, then goes a day or two before eating again.

The reason I started with the cheese was because I am switching him to adult formula. The rate I was going it was going to take me a month. According to the weight chart he only needs 3-4 cups a day of adult food, where the puppy food told me I should be giving him 6 cups. So I think i am going to stick with this plan until we finish the switch, then try taking the dish away after 15-20 min again. He has been like this since he was a puppy and isn't dead yet, so we'll see...
 

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How about mixing something better than cheese.
Some low sodium chicken stock or wet food?

I personally don't mind mixing stuff into food its not the end of the world if your dog doesn't like plain kibble after all it is pretty boring.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yeah I will probably switch once I can get to the store. It is about the only dog-edible thing I had in the fridge. Don't worry it only takes about a table spoon :) And I make him work like heck for it too

P.S. katielou I love your dog! Absolutely beautiful
 

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You could try feeding a bit of canned mackerel. :) I add just a little bit of fish and soak the kibble in some "broth". Rascal hasn't been eating much(even with cottage cheese added), but I find fish works every time. :)
 

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Have you tried wet food or perhaps if he's weird about processed foods, have you ever made him homemade food? A few of my friends have had loads of trouble with picky dogs and I suggested mixing up veggies, meat, yogurt, broth etc and it worked for all except one dog. They add a powdered mix of chelated minerals to the mix to round out vitamins.

I feel you on a picky dog, but a little trial and error sometimes helps. I know he won't starve himself, but I wonder if being on the the low end of eating could affect health?
 

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I assume you've checked stools for parasites and that poops are good (not runny, not funny colored or really smelly, no blood or pus)? Shepherds can have sensitive stomachs so I'm never surprised with someone who has one says they have a picky eater.

Have you tried some of the specialty foods to see if maybe there's a particular ingredient that's the trouble? E.g. grain free, limited ingredient, single source protein, etc.? Our girl had a host of stomach issues when she was a puppy. Took a cross-country move, prescription food, medicine, and three years to get it under control. She still has flare ups, but it's a lot more manageable now.

So I know how tough it can be to live with a picky eater. Not saying your dog has a chronic condition like mine. Just saying all this because "picky" can sometimes = upset stomach.

When I start getting the food out he gets really excited, sniffs it, then walks away...

There may be no real visible signs other than not eating. But the dog is hungry! Dogs will associate an upset stomach with a particular food and avoid it if they can. I have no problem with putting a little cooked meat or green beans on my dog's food, but it could mask a problem. Maybe you could try a few more specialty foods and see if that works.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Since I had such a bad experience switching brands, should I just try switching formulas? And how important is it for him to have a large breed formula now that he is no longer on puppy food? Once he is at full weight he should be 100-130 lbs (I'm thinking not much more than 100 for him, he is small compared to his brothers and sisters). And his stools are fine, the only times they go soft are when I am switching food or if he is stressed.

I feel you on a picky dog, but a little trial and error sometimes helps. I know he won't starve himself, but I wonder if being on the the low end of eating could affect health?
That is exactly why I worry so much! I wasn't really looking to get such a large breed because there are so many associated health problems, but his traits fit so perfectly with my lifestyle that I couldn't resist. I am the type of worrier that considers spending $500+ on Penn Hips because I hate not knowing for sure, despite the fact that I have no intention of breeding/showing.
 

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My Mastiff is a picky eater. He wants to have something mixed in his kibble but sometimes its not possible. I was freaking out about it but now I just sit it down and if he eats, he eats, if he doesn't, he doesn't. He's gone 3 or 4 days before without eating.

What's weird though is that he eats better now when I've stopped caring so much about it. *shrug*
 
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