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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey everyone,

I am still a relatively new dog owner. My wife and I have had our lab for just over 3 months now and there is really only one question I have so far. Why won't my dog eat? She's 5 months old, weighs 35 lbs, and I'm currently feeding her Science Diet (Dry Puppy Large Breed). Before that she was on Costco's Kirkland dry puppy food. I try to feed her four cups a day--two in the morning and two at night. At first, she enjoyed the change in diet and I didn't have much problem getting her to eat Science Diet, but it's been about a week and she's back to her old antics of picking at it, but never eating the whole amount.

I've heard some people say "You're dog will eat as much as she wants to eat. She's not going to starve herself." But then I wonder why there is a recommended amount printed on the back of the dog food. I'm sure studies have gone into those numbers to determine a healthy nutritious diet. If not fed a healthy amount of nutrition, it seems growth could be stunted. But then again, I don't REALLY know, which is why I'm posting this thread.

Any input is greatly appreciated.

Sam
 

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Firstly, Science Diet is terrible dog food. So is Iams, Eukanuba, ProPlan, Purina, etc. Perhaps your dog won't eat because the first ingredient is either corn gluten (dogs don't need corn, it's a filler) or chicken by-products (slaughterhouse waste).

I'd recommend finding a quality dog food for your Lab, especially because Labs are prone to obesity and resulting hip problems and need to be kept on a good diet and have plenty of exercise.

I love this website: Dog Food Advisor Check out the food you're feeding right now - it'll tell you the good ingredients, the bad ingredients and exactly why these are good and bad.

Then I'd recommend picking out a food you can afford from the 4 or 5 star categories. You may have a little sticker shock, but you feed less of the quality food to your dog because it contains fewer fillers and more nutrition, so the price usually evens out. Especially for a puppy, you need to feed a good food in order to promote healthy growth :)

Please let me know if you have any more questions that I or someone else can help you with!
 

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Labs are generally huge pigs that will eat anything and everything with gusto. The only time I've ever seen one of my dogs not inhale his food was when I was a newbie dog owner and followed my vets recomendations and fed science diet. He barely touched the stuff. He also completely fell apart on that crap; his coat dried up, he was flaky, and had runny eyes. It's horrible food and I dont think it tastes good to them. It's perfectly understandable as a new owner to feed it; your vet probably recomended it, they all do, and you of course want to do whats best for your puppy. It's an issue thats brought up on here often; WHY do vets push this food? I'm still not sure. The link given above is awesome. Check that out for sure. A few good brands off the top of my head are Taste Of The Wild, Natural Balance, Canidae, Great Life, and you'll find more on that website. Be sure to switch food gradually or it'll cause an upset stomach. Slowly mix in the new food, gradually adding more and more, over a week or two period. I'd be willing to bet your pup will eat the new food no problem.
 

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Thank you for your input. I have since done several hours of research and now have my dog on Blue Buffalo Wilderness for puppies. I feel so much better about feeding Kora healthy, good quality food. I did my best to transition her to the new food, but she is too clever for that. She would pick out the new stuff and leave the old, so eventually I just put 100% Wilderness in her bowl. This would probably explain the diarrhea or vomit (not sure which) stains in her crate bed this morning. She is also eating the max amount recommended, which I'm not sure is a good thing. She is 35 lbs, eating 3.5 cups where the label recommends 2 - 3.5 cups to 21 - 50 lbs. The other concern I have is the bag recommends 3 meals until she's 6 months, two after that. Well, three is impossible with my wife's and my work schedule. I understand scheduled meals translates into predicted bowel movements, but we have a doggy door and don't really care when those bowel movement occur. Is there another reason for scheduled meals? Is it okay to put a day's worth of food in the bowl and let her eat when she wants?

 

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The guidelines on the back of dog food bags generally recommend WAY more than a dog actually needs...perhaps to sell more food? I have a 70lb Lab mix who eats two cups a day: one morning and one night. The fact that you are overfeeding her might contribute to what appears to be pickiness. Perhaps she is not picky, she's just getting full before she runs out of food!

I prefer not to leave a bowl of food down throughout the day, simply because it makes it harder to monitor what is going on with my dog's stomach. If he's throwing up or off his food or whatever, I want to know when he last ate and how much. It's also a scheduling/convenience thing. Sometimes I am taking the dog somewhere and he needs to eat before we go. I want to put down the food and have him clean the bowl then and there. Scheduled feeding also makes it easier to give the dog their meds. I can pop a pill in the bowl and know he's going to eat it then and there, under my supervision. Having said all of that, if you are putting an appropriate amount of food in the bowl (ie, not just filling it to the brim and letting the dog eat it ALL), then I see no real problem with letting her pick at it throughout the day.
 

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You've pointed out a few good reasons for scheduled meals, though at this time I feel not too many of your reasons apply to me. She's not on any kind of medication, and we don't usually have to worry about leaving without her eating. I could see how the cause for an upset stomach could be determined by when and how much she ate, but she also usually doesn't have this problem, and if she ever did I would have a general idea how much she's eaten. We've been putting the 3.5 cups in her bowl in the morning, and she sort of picks at it throughout the day, usually having 3 meals. She never eats the whole thing at once, or has any inclination to. I could mathematically figure out exactly how much is recommended by using Blue's reference range and her weight, but I understand each dog is different and those are only estimated recommendations, so that's why I've just been using 3.5 cups and letting her eat what she wants.

I realize now I probably posted this under the wrong topic. This was my first thread with dogforums.com so forgive me :)
 

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The guidelines on the back of dog food bags generally recommend WAY more than a dog actually needs...perhaps to sell more food? I have a 70lb Lab mix who eats two cups a day: one morning and one night. The fact that you are overfeeding her might contribute to what appears to be pickiness. Perhaps she is not picky, she's just getting full before she runs out of food!

I prefer not to leave a bowl of food down throughout the day, simply because it makes it harder to monitor what is going on with my dog's stomach. If he's throwing up or off his food or whatever, I want to know when he last ate and how much. It's also a scheduling/convenience thing. Sometimes I am taking the dog somewhere and he needs to eat before we go. I want to put down the food and have him clean the bowl then and there. Scheduled feeding also makes it easier to give the dog their meds. I can pop a pill in the bowl and know he's going to eat it then and there, under my supervision. Having said all of that, if you are putting an appropriate amount of food in the bowl (ie, not just filling it to the brim and letting the dog eat it ALL), then I see no real problem with letting her pick at it throughout the day.
I agree with this reply 100%. Honestly, the guidelines on the back of the food back are often too much for my dogs. As pups, I start out with 3 meals a day from 8 weeks -16 weeks and then wean off the noontime feeding. My general rule of thumb with Lab pups is if they are eating their food in about 10-15 minutes, you're good. I feel for the ribs and look for growth spurts. During growth spurts, I increase their food a little at a time and then level off again. Generally 2 months = 2 cups per day, 3 months = 3 cups per day, 4 months = 4 cups up through 5 months. Then I taper off and work my way back so that when they are 1 year, they are eating about 2 cups per day. The schedule helps me determine when to increase and when to decrease. If the pup finishes their meal within 5 minutes, I consider increasing and if it takes 15 minutes or longer to finish, I consider decreasing the meal. The scheduled feedings also help me determine if there is a real health issue, or if my dogs are just having an off day.

I feed California Naturals and Taste of the Wild and love the results. I have raised puppies on IAMS, only had one that didn't do well on it. That puppy also didn't eat for the first week. I heard the same story....." they won't starve themselves" and he didn't, but he really didn't like IAMS either. Later on, he did have some indigestion issues.

If it were me, I would try the scheduled feedings and follow up with the vet. Maybe some pro-biotics or Zantac may help, (with your vet's blessing) but try him on something with limited ingredients, like CN or Natural Balance. Make your changes slowly, and keep after the vet if this doesn't change.

just my opinion
 
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