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My 2 year old standard poodle, Vegas, was a big eater during his first year. I had him on Origen, then Solid Gold Barking at the Moon, which I fed for about 10 months. He was still super bony, so I decided to switch it up (since switching foods once in awhile is recommended anyway.) I started adding to his food; scrambled eggs, fresh vegetables, cottage cheese, yogurt, hamburger, ect. (We don't feed chicken here, he had bad reactions to it.)

After taking him off the extra food, he started getting picky. D'oh! My fault probably there. I tried other foods, here's the list..

Natural balance alpha fish
Natural balance duck, buffalo, venison, fish, lamb
Wellness Core
Natures Variety Instinct
Kirkland's Lamb
Blue Buffalo

And I've even tried Satin Balls. He ate them, but stopped after a week, I thawed them, he ate them, they stopped all together.

Gave him some raw, gave a whole pigs foot, he ate it fine, gave second day later, wouldn't eat it in bathroom, kitchen, outside, or in crate. Would probably eat it on the carpet, but I wasn't buying into it, so I tossed it.

He eats all the food fine the first week, but drops off after, and won't touch it when the bag is nearly empty. It doesn't matter if he's free fed or scheduled fed. My other dogs are fed twice a day, but I leave Vegas's food out so he can eat (others are trained not to eat from it, even when not being watched, or when no one is home.)

His ribs aren't sticking out, but his spine and hip bones are. Luckily, being a poodle I can hide it with hair, but it's still there. I've considered (cringe) switching to a lower quality food with fillers to hopefully put some fat on him, but at this point I need anything that will help.

He's a breed prone to bloat, and I've heard bloat happens more common with dogs that are thinner (we had a bloat scare.) My female standard is solid, you have to really dig to feel her bones, and I'm UNDER feeding her.

I've de-wormed him, checked for medical problems; he's totally healthy. He's very active, but if I let him get too active on an empty stomach due to him not eating he'll throw up bile for HOURS.

Help? Please? Anything? He could use at least 10 pounds on his bones.
 

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I prefer to feed fresh food to my dog - even my fish get live and homemade food. It is better for them. I would totally be doctoring up his food so he eats.

Perhaps he has a highly refined sense of taste and dislikes stale kibble. It is supposed to be fine for over a month opened but guess he feels it is losing flavor after a couple weeks. Lucky you.

Have you tried feeding him more often? Sassy was able to keep her weight up when I fed her 3-5x a day rather than twice a day.

You could try training him to eat but I suspect he would be on to you and it wouldn't work. You only feed him what he eats and pick up the food if he isn't eating after 5 minutes so he gets used to eating what is in front of him and cleaning the bowl.

Will he take kibble as rewards for fabulous behavior? You could use it as training treats. Sometimes dogs are social eaters.

Would he be interested in working a treat toy for meals? Some dogs like to chase and capture food.

If his ribs are fine but his hips stick out perhaps he needs to put more muscle on or maybe that is just the way he is built. More protein helps put on muscle, not sure just how you can feed more as you are using high protein foods. Max was a 33 pound weakling on 22% protein kibble but on ~45% protein raw he gained 5 pounds of muscle. Sassy carried plenty of muscle on that 22% protein kibble.

Max doesn't think pig feet are worth the effort either, I can get them for $.40 a pound too. Darn it! He will work other red meaty bones for hours though. Try giving him [and the other dogs] those cheap BBQ beef ribs for chews maybe.
 

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My little furbrat was picky too. I had to give up on kibble. She would get bored of any new kibble after a few days. Now she gets ZiwiPeak in the morning and Sojos Complete Beef at night. She gobbles her food up now and even scoots the bowl across the floor to lick up the last bits. She never did that with kibble even when it was topped with canned. So I'm happy. You might go to a pet supply store and see if they have any sample bags of Sojos or The Honest Kitchen, etc. and try those.
 

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Have you tried Natural Balance Sweet Potato and Venison? After adopting my dog he refused to eat the food he was fed in the shelter. NB Venison was the only one he would eat, probably because it has the strongest smell. Aside from that you could try putting salmon oil on top of his food. It'll help with his coat and might entice him to eat. Try buying the food rolls of Natural Balance. They're just as good quality, just not the dry food so maybe he'll like it better.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Yes, I've tried natural balance sweet potato and venison, and I've tried doing food rewards for treats and behavior, he got off more on my praise than the food and would just spit it out. I've done salmon oil on his food, but he only eats the kibble that the oil touched. I've also coated his food in peanut butter and he wouldn't touch it. I've also done the natural balance rolls, but if I add it to his food he'll just eat around the food and eat the roll bits.

I've opt'd out of ziwi peak, if he was a toy or small breed that would be fine, but feeding that daily would burn a hole in my pocket.

Found two 30lb bags of Merrick Wilderness last night for half off, he seems interested and enthusiastic right now, we'll see how long that lasts, heh.

Yes, I've also done those cheap beef bones, he loved them, maybe I should fine some that are pure fat.. or give lard treats, rofl.. I'm pretty desperate at this point.



Last summer, I think he was a few lbs heavier, but I scissor the hair over his hip bones to hide them


And the recent cut I worked on him the other day, completely hiding any thinness, that is unless you pet him and just find bones. His skin and coat are very healthy, when I groom him I use aloe oatmeal shampoo, soak him in conditioner, and he gets salmon oil and coconut oil at home. I'm not a novice to nutrition and I'd feed raw if I had the freezer space (but if I get a deer during the hunting season ALL the extras are going to the dogs.)



He's not depressed or inactive, as you can see.. he is a very active, happy boy. Am I worrying too much about his weight? I don't want him to bloat for being underweight.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8vuAO4Cfqs
 

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Poodles are picky eaters. My mom's miniature poodles were nightmares for that. Wonderful dogs in every other way, but the food pickiness was unreal.

What does your vet say? He looks great, gorgeous coat, bright eyes, and you say he plays and is active, which says "healthy dog" to me. Usually, underweight shows up in the coat, too, and it gets thin, brittle and faded, but his coat looks really nice. Maybe he's just built in a way that makes his hips stick out.
 

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I know they are only Poodle mixes ... but with my Poodle mixes ... one is thinner than the other ... and my two Boys are horrible when it comes to eating dog food period!!! I have to add boiled ( chicken breast to their kibble or they will not eat. I also once a week add chicken liver or chicken gizzards ... as you cannot due to a reaction) or beef liver to their kibble. I mix it all up really well so all the kibble smells like meat. :) Maybe some beef liver boiled for one of his meals a week in the kibble?
 

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Vet just says he's probably a picky eater, I'm sure I'm the problem and I've created it. Fed the new merrick last night, he ate it, fed this morning, he ate most of it, then I lifted the food. I think I'm just going to try tough love and lift the food if he doesn't eat like I used to. Problem is that he'll puke bile on an empty stomach too long, I've made my own oatmeal/peanut butter treats to try and help with that overnight.

Thanks for dealing with me guys, it's been an ongoing issue with him for probably almost a year. I used to get VERY frustrated when he wouldn't eat, then he would sense that and was terrified during feeding times. I calmed down totally and he started eating better, but it's still not enough to put weight on those bones.
 

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Bryna has the same issue with her spine and hips showing. She's raw fed, though, so we're just adding fattier meats. My local butcher is selling me fatty scraps, so I've been adding that to her meals (started this week). Here's to hoping that she'll put on some weight!
 

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Vet just says he's probably a picky eater, I'm sure I'm the problem and I've created it. Fed the new merrick last night, he ate it, fed this morning, he ate most of it, then I lifted the food. I think I'm just going to try tough love and lift the food if he doesn't eat like I used to. Problem is that he'll puke bile on an empty stomach too long, I've made my own oatmeal/peanut butter treats to try and help with that overnight.
Have you thought about getting two different flavor kibbles and feeding one for breakfast and the other for dinner so he's getting something different for each meal?
The only way I can afford to feed Ziwipeak is that my furball is only a 9 pounder and I only feed it for breakfast. For dinner she gets the much cheaper Sojos and seems to thoroughly enjoy both meals now. I think Sojos is the cheapest freeze dried dog food (that I know of), but I'm sure there are others you could try for at least one meal a day for variety's sake so he doesn't get so bored eating the same thing every meal, every day.
 

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I have been having the same issue with my Belgian shepherd.(no ribs but hips and spine)I was at the same point, so frustrated! she would take the food in her mouth to make me feel better then go away and spit it out somewhere. I really was at my wits end. Only thing she would eat was cheese. you might have had this suggestion before or done it yourself even but if you haven't try a high calorie kibble/high activity food, what I do is I mix in some warm water and a gravey based food and really mush it all up, that way is like a warm meal which might smell better to them and its all graveyish and not just plain kibble. and with a higher fat based kibble is better then lard or fat (even though I have been tempted myself haha)because it still has other nutritional components in it that is good for your dog. you don't have to put as much into them for weight gain. Keep on with the taking it away, it started working for me as well as the warm mush. However still not eating as well as I would like. I had tried everything before and I can say this one is working for me better then anything else.
 

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Oh yeah, I've tried many different kibbles! I got a lot of free samples and had about a 5lb bag of all the natural balance different flavors, and tried all of them different days. He turned his nose up. Ugh.

Also tried adding water, but then it would just sit there and fester, and when I put it in my fridge to try again later my fridge would smell like wet dog food. I have some holistic select canned that I got on sale, but his stools are loose when he eats it so I'll only add it after he eats his kibble as a reward or when I want to give him vitamins (though not sure if it's catching on.)
 
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