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I'll give my back story here first off. My dog (Yorkie) will be 5 years old on April 1 this year. He has always - ALWAYS been a picky eater, preferring human food. He flat out refuses to eat kibble and so for the past 3 or 4 years we've been feeding him a variety of canned food. He wont touch cheap canned food so we feed him the kind that is about $3 or $4 a can, Wellness, Wuruva, and others... After two or 3 days he stops eating the one canned food so the next day we feed him from another different can (different flavor profile). Then in 2 or 3 days it happens again, it's a long never-ending cycle.

He does get high quality dog treats daily. He begs for the so much that it really gets annoying. He does NOT eat human food anymore due to a bout with pancreatitis. Occasionally mom will give him part of her bagel (about the size of a quarter and the thickness of a typical bagel). Once or twice a week (apparently), I didn't know that until I saw her do it and she confessed.

I'm trying to save money since canned food is so darn expensive. So we just bought (after my reserach) Wellness Small Breed SuperMix 5 adult kibble.

He wont touch it, not even if I make it seem like it's really a 'treat'. I put maybe a teaspoon full in his canned food for today and mixed it around to soak up the canned food juices. He ate around it. Maybe ate one or two kibbles (they are tiny kibbles, like cat food!) So other than doing that every day and every week mixing less canned food and more kibble I don't know what else to do. Is that the right thing to do? Just take it slow and get him acclimated to dry food that way? I did leave a bowl out with about 1/2 cup of it next to his canned food dish. But we always had dry food out next to his canned food dish and he very rarely ate any of it. But come to find out that dry food we had out for him (Taste of the Wild) was expired in April of last year... So I guess it's good he rarely touched it. Yeah see, that's how often we buy kibble since he doesnt eat it.

I really want to get him on kibble instead of expensive canned foods which we are having trouble affording now. We just have too many expenses. We just took him to the vet due to diarreah and vomiting which we found out was caused by a bacterial overgrowth in his digestive system. So he's healed from that now. I know that the Wellness kibble has probiotics in it so that's one reason I chose that kibble.

Do you have any advice for me? Or are we a lost cause?

My dog is a healthy weight, a little big for a yorkie but overall not overweight at all. He's 8.1 pounds.
 

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Hi! *waves* Fellow Yorkie owner here. :) He can be finicky as well. After his (what we think) was a bout of pancreatitis, we did a month of eating only RX food (both kibble and wet). Boy, I'll tell you what, after that happened... he became a whole heck of a lot less picky. Because his only option for eating was eating that food. His appetite got much better after that. For a while, I wasn't even buying canned food anymore.

Anyway, this was over a year ago, and he's still somewhat picky but I just don't baby him about it. I mean, if a dog is hungry, he will eventually cave and eat (unless, of course, something is medically wrong). As long as all checks out health-wise, it's just going to have to be tough love. Put the dry food down in the morning - leave it for maybe an hour. If it doesn't get eaten, it gets picked up. Try again a few hours later. Again, only leave it down for a little bit, then pick it up. I'm almost positive that after 2 days of no food, he will end up eating something. Don't just put a food down, oh he won't eat it, and then go buy him a new kind. He has you trained!

Now, don't get me wrong though, I really like to see my dog enjoying his food. So I try to get what he finds the palatable. There's been some kibbles he refuses to touch, so no biggie, we just don't feed them. I tried to get samples of everything first before purchasing a bigger bag. So far, his FAV has been Fromm, specifically the Beef Fritta. He devours that stuff. I do buy canned food as well, and usually he has one meal mixed with wet -- just for added moisture, flavor, and something different for him. He never knows when he's going to get the dry/wet mixed meal, or if he is, etc, so I like to surprise him. He also gets canned food in his Kongs and I freeze it, then give it to him.

Also -- EXERCISE! Jackson is always much hungrier after coming in from a long walk, or a long run, etc. Mornings, he's iffy. Some mornings he wants to eat his breakfast, others he doesn't. I really don't care either way and don't push it. I pour 1/4 cup into the bowl in the AM before I leave for work ... sometimes he eats it while I'm still there, 50% of the time it's still in the bowl when I come home. So sometimes he will eat around noon, and then again around 6pm.

Good luck :) PS - my boy is bigger too. 17lb'er. I'd love to see pics!
 

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Mix food with canned food or olive oil leave down for 15-20 minutes if he doesn't eat pick up and put away till next feeding, no treats nada... Seems to me he has learned to hold out for the good stuff... Next feeding repeat cycle.. A healthy dog will not starve itself.. After a few rounds of this I bet ya he will eat when the food is put down... Being that He is a small breed however, they can be prone to hypoglycemia so I would suggest adding some sugar to his water dish and /or pick up some Nurti-Cal to supplement with periodically 2x-3x daily till he figures things out.. (may want to consult your vet on appropriate dosage for your individual dog).
 

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Mix food with canned food or olive oil leave down for 15-20 minutes if he doesn't eat pick up and put away till next feeding, no treats nada... Seems to me he has learned to hold out for the good stuff... Next feeding repeat cycle.. A healthy dog will not starve itself.. After a few rounds of this I bet ya he will eat when the food is put down... Being that He is a small breed however, they can be prone to hypoglycemia so I would suggest adding some sugar to his water dish and /or pick up some Nurti-Cal to supplement with periodically 2x daily till he figures things out..
I agree. Dont feed any treats, nothing...offer him his food twice (maybe three times) a day. After 15 min pick it up. He will get hungry and eat. It seems like he never got hungry enough to really want to eat his food.
 

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he will eventually cave and eat (unless, of course, something is medically wrong)
Or psychologically very wrong. Jack's been 'stuffed' (force fed) for showing. That went on for most of his life, because judges prefer heavier than he maintained on his own dogs in show. It took us MONTHS of him eating exactly enough to stay alive. He wouldn't kill himself, but he did reach the point of being able to see the bones in his skull and forelegs - like dangerous, 25% less than he should have weighed - and his ideal weight is 25lbs. We absolutely did pander to him for a while.

That said, he's a weird dog. I'd go with tough love. Put it down, offer it to him, pick it up and move on. Offer it again next feeding. Even Jack eventually got over it once he realized we weren't going to literally shove it down his throat, though he is still really no more into eating than he is having his nails clipped.
 

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Hi! *waves* Fellow Yorkie owner here. :) He can be finicky as well. After his (what we think) was a bout of pancreatitis, we did a month of eating only RX food (both kibble and wet). Boy, I'll tell you what, after that happened... he became a whole heck of a lot less picky. Because his only option for eating was eating that food. His appetite got much better after that. For a while, I wasn't even buying canned food anymore.

Anyway, this was over a year ago, and he's still somewhat picky but I just don't baby him about it. I mean, if a dog is hungry, he will eventually cave and eat (unless, of course, something is medically wrong). As long as all checks out health-wise, it's just going to have to be tough love. Put the dry food down in the morning - leave it for maybe an hour. If it doesn't get eaten, it gets picked up. Try again a few hours later. Again, only leave it down for a little bit, then pick it up. I'm almost positive that after 2 days of no food, he will end up eating something. Don't just put a food down, oh he won't eat it, and then go buy him a new kind. He has you trained!

Now, don't get me wrong though, I really like to see my dog enjoying his food. So I try to get what he finds the palatable. There's been some kibbles he refuses to touch, so no biggie, we just don't feed them. I tried to get samples of everything first before purchasing a bigger bag. So far, his FAV has been Fromm, specifically the Beef Fritta. He devours that stuff. I do buy canned food as well, and usually he has one meal mixed with wet -- just for added moisture, flavor, and something different for him. He never knows when he's going to get the dry/wet mixed meal, or if he is, etc, so I like to surprise him. He also gets canned food in his Kongs and I freeze it, then give it to him.

Also -- EXERCISE! Jackson is always much hungrier after coming in from a long walk, or a long run, etc. Mornings, he's iffy. Some mornings he wants to eat his breakfast, others he doesn't. I really don't care either way and don't push it. I pour 1/4 cup into the bowl in the AM before I leave for work ... sometimes he eats it while I'm still there, 50% of the time it's still in the bowl when I come home. So sometimes he will eat around noon, and then again around 6pm.

Good luck :) PS - my boy is bigger too. 17lb'er. I'd love to see pics!
Well he's gone 5 days to my knowledge of not eating anything but treats that dad gives him. He just refused to eat what we put down. That is when we started buying more expensive and higher quality canned food. I hate to see him not eat food daily. Isn't 5 days a little much for an 8 pound dog to go without food (other than treats)?? Dad refuses to stop giving him the treats. We have like 10 bags of different kinds of more expensive treats so that the dog doesn't get bored with one treat flavor. He gives him one of each, though really I haven't counted how many a day he gets but it certainly seems excessive to me. I think mainly dad treats me because he begs. Sometimes when he's not asking for it he'll get a treat. I think I'd have to get our vet to tell us NO TREATS in order for him to even consider the idea of not giving any to get Bentley to eat his food. Ugh.


Mix food with canned food or olive oil leave down for 15-20 minutes if he doesn't eat pick up and put away till next feeding, no treats nada... Seems to me he has learned to hold out for the good stuff... Next feeding repeat cycle.. A healthy dog will not starve itself.. After a few rounds of this I bet ya he will eat when the food is put down... Being that He is a small breed however, they can be prone to hypoglycemia so I would suggest adding some sugar to his water dish and /or pick up some Nurti-Cal to supplement with periodically 2x daily till he figures things out..
Yeah a healthy dog will not starve himself but so far my dog has gone 5 full days without eating dog food other than treats! How can that be healthy? I'm so frustrated by this situation. Dad doesn't seem concerned and is only concerned because **I** am concerned. Mom doesn't care at all. I want my dog to live to be healthy and very old. He is the light of my life, like my own child. I will never have children and this dog is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I want him to be healthy and happy and long-lived. I feel that if he doesn't start eating food on a regular basis he wont live to be healthy and old. It scares me to know that I could lose him sooner rather than later.

I will try once more to get dad to get used to the idea of LESS treats. or NO treats until he regularly eats his food.

But I doubt he'll listen. We got into an argument about it a few weeks ago. It was heated. And dad and I NEVER fight! We are each other's friend and confidant, mainly I think because we are so similar in how we think and do things. Mom calls dad a "nerd-head" (in jest). We are both logic driven.

I am logical in my thought that if he gets no treats and only gets food put down twice a day that he will eat it. But dad says well what if he doesn't? He's done it before. I think he's more concerned with the fact that Bentley could go longer than 5 days without eating and possibly have another seizure from low blood sugar.

I have diabetes so I could easily test his blood sugar if I knew how (where do I prick him to test??)

Anyway. That is what's going on in my head. I guess we should buy the Nutri-Cal and maybe dad will then be more receptive to the way I want to feed Bentley.
 

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If your dad is feeding him treats, he's not going 5 days without food. That's the thing - he's GETTING food, just not the food you want him to eat. You need to remove ALL other food. Then expect it to take a few days, because he thinks if he holds out, someone will come along and give him a treat.

That said, I support higher quality food, and I would keep an eye on him. At 17 lbs though, I'm not sure I'd be super concerned about his blood sugar tanking before he eats. And if you're REALLY worried, rub some karo on his gums - it'll keep his blood sugar up but *won't* put food in his belly without him eating.
 

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Or psychologically very wrong. Jack's been 'stuffed' (force fed) for showing. That went on for most of his life, because judges prefer heavier than he maintained on his own dogs in show. It took us MONTHS of him eating exactly enough to stay alive. He wouldn't kill himself, but he did reach the point of being able to see the bones in his skull and forelegs - like dangerous, 25% less than he should have weighed - and his ideal weight is 25lbs. We absolutely did pander to him for a while.

That said, he's a weird dog. I'd go with tough love. Put it down, offer it to him, pick it up and move on. Offer it again next feeding. Even Jack eventually got over it once he realized we weren't going to literally shove it down his throat, though he is still really no more into eating than he is having his nails clipped.
Yeah I'm not sure what can be done. I was hoping I could get some miracle cure advice here. LOL I guess tough love is it then. So I'll try to talk dad into the tough love feeding routine. I KNOW mom will have a cow if she knows what we are doing (forcing him to eat kibble).. in fact she just walked in the door and we told her we got him dry food. She whined and said that he "needs" mushy food. And he needs variety... *sigh* We just bought him a pig snout and a bully stick. Isn't that variety enough?? He wasn't interested much in the bully stick but was more interested in the pig snout which we painstakingly cut in half. I had no idea they were so tough and huge!! But anyway. That is what is going on here regarding our dog. Ok I'll talk to dad about only putting down dry food IF he doesnt eat the mix of canned and dry that we are working on him eating. So we'll see how it goes.

Thank you all for your advice. I appreciate it.

Here is a pic of my dog: 100_0387.jpg
 

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If your dad is feeding him treats, he's not going 5 days without food. That's the thing - he's GETTING food, just not the food you want him to eat. You need to remove ALL other food. Then expect it to take a few days, because he thinks if he holds out, someone will come along and give him a treat.

That said, I support higher quality food, and I would keep an eye on him. At 17 lbs though, I'm not sure I'd be super concerned about his blood sugar tanking before he eats. And if you're REALLY worried, rub some karo on his gums - it'll keep his blood sugar up but *won't* put food in his belly without him eating.
Exactly, he is not hungry enough to eat his food because of all the treats.. Just like kids, they figure, Why should I eat the healthy stuff, when the candy is so much "better" and readily available.
 

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Exactly, he is not hungry enough to eat his food because of all the treats.. Just like kids, they figure, Why should I eat the healthy stuff, when the candy is so much "better" and readily available.
Yes, I see your point. Hopefully I can get dad to severely cut back on treats so that he is hungry enough for his regular food.
 

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1) What Jackson's Mom said: Sometimes you just gotta use Tough Love. A healthy dog will not starve itself, so you can stop worrying about him starving himself if you don't cater to his wants and desires. A quick run down on Tough Love: Put down meal's worth of kibble (no extras) for 15-20 minutes. If dog does not start eating within that time period, food gets picked up and set aside for later. Repeat every meal time. Some dogs will go 2-3 days without eating at all before they decide that any food is acceptable. It is also imporant that he get ZERO treats/other food during this time - even a little will be enough for him to hold out for "better" stuff.

2) You can also try soaking the kibble with warm water or a little bit of dilute, low/no-sodium chicken stock if that's something you feel like you could keep up for a while. When we were soaking, it was 1/2 volume of warm water to food, soaked for ~15 minutes.

3) I feel better when Snowball likes his kibble too (he's selective based on protein source), so once you've gotten him eating kibble regularly you could check with manufacturers to find out if they offer trial sizes of any of their kibble to see which one he prefers. Additionally, some specialty pet food stores will also have trial sizes either as samples or for sale (about $4 for 1lb). Some dogs have strong preferences for protein sources over others.

Good luck!
 

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1) What Jackson's Mom said: Sometimes you just gotta use Tough Love. A healthy dog will not starve itself, so you can stop worrying about him starving himself if you don't cater to his wants and desires. A quick run down on Tough Love: Put down meal's worth of kibble (no extras) for 15-20 minutes. If dog does not start eating within that time period, food gets picked up and set aside for later. Repeat every meal time. Some dogs will go 2-3 days without eating at all before they decide that any food is acceptable. It is also imporant that he get ZERO treats/other food during this time - even a little will be enough for him to hold out for "better" stuff.

2) You can also try soaking the kibble with warm water or a little bit of dilute, low/no-sodium chicken stock if that's something you feel like you could keep up for a while. When we were soaking, it was 1/2 volume of warm water to food, soaked for ~15 minutes.

3) I feel better when Snowball likes his kibble too (he's selective based on protein source), so once you've gotten him eating kibble regularly you could check with manufacturers to find out if they offer trial sizes of any of their kibble to see which one he prefers. Additionally, some specialty pet food stores will also have trial sizes either as samples or for sale (about $4 for 1lb). Some dogs have strong preferences for protein sources over others.

Good luck!
Yeah mom wont listen. I pleaded with her to NOT give Bentley any of her bagel that she just put in the toaster. Well I then begged her not to while she was breaking off a piece and eating some part of it so it was smaller. She gave it to him anyway. I then asked her honestly how she expected us to get him to eat his food if she kept giving him human food. She wouldn't answer, so I then said "use your logic..." She yelled at me saying "Leave me alone!" So I don't know how to get into her thick skull how to make him eat his food. She simply doesn't care! All I know is, when we get another dog when Bentley passes away I will constantly be on her butt about treats/food/human food/etc. She isn't the one that feeds Bentley, it's usually dad, or sometimes myself. How can I get through to her?? If she doesn't care then I don't know what to do. Maybe I should go buy human snacks and exclusively eat those and let her know about it. Ho-Ho's, chips, crackers, beef jerky (for protein), ummm pizza rolls, fish sticks, corn dogs, jalapeno poppers, etc. See how much she cares about the health of her one and only child.
 

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Yes, I see your point. Hopefully I can get dad to severely cut back on treats so that he is hungry enough for his regular food.
Yup, it can be difficult, especially when you have people with their own ideas not working with you.. Good luck though!!!
 

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Yeah mom wont listen. I pleaded with her to NOT give Bentley any of her bagel that she just put in the toaster. Well I then begged her not to while she was breaking off a piece and eating some part of it so it was smaller. She gave it to him anyway. I then asked her honestly how she expected us to get him to eat his food if she kept giving him human food. She wouldn't answer, so I then said "use your logic..." She yelled at me saying "Leave me alone!" So I don't know how to get into her thick skull how to make him eat his food. She simply doesn't care! All I know is, when we get another dog when Bentley passes away I will constantly be on her butt about treats/food/human food/etc. She isn't the one that feeds Bentley, it's usually dad, or sometimes myself. How can I get through to her?? If she doesn't care then I don't know what to do. Maybe I should go buy human snacks and exclusively eat those and let her know about it. Ho-Ho's, chips, crackers, beef jerky (for protein), ummm pizza rolls, fish sticks, corn dogs, jalapeno poppers, etc. See how much she cares about the health of her one and only child.
Additionally, is he your dog or is he a family dog? If he's a family dog I'd calmly explain to your parents that they can pay for his uber expensive dog food unless they stop feeding him treats. Actually, I'd do that even if he's YOUR dog since its not fair for you to foot the bill for their bull-headedness.

What a crappy situation :( Have you mentioned that the no-treats thing isn't forever... likely just for a week or so, until he's reliably eating kibble?
 

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I would gather up all of the dog treats and hide them someplace so that your dad isn't even tempted.

As for your mom, though, or anyone feeding him real food... that's up to you. You need to convince them somehow. Maybe you could ask your vet to explain the "tough love" thing to them.
 

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Yeah I'm not sure what can be done. I was hoping I could get some miracle cure advice here.
He's adorable.

And unfortunately, the only thing that worked with us was time and stubbornness - and admittedly fairly expensive dog food, because well. He ate it and I was sick of playing games with his food. Our compromise was kind of that he eats the 3.00/can or lb dog food and I'll mix it together and buy it. For a while there I was seriously doing A LOT of DOctoring of his food and it was making me INSANE.
 

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Additionally, is he your dog or is he a family dog? If he's a family dog I'd calmly explain to your parents that they can pay for his uber expensive dog food unless they stop feeding him treats. Actually, I'd do that even if he's YOUR dog since its not fair for you to foot the bill for their bull-headedness.

What a crappy situation :( Have you mentioned that the no-treats thing isn't forever... likely just for a week or so, until he's reliably eating kibble?
It's our dog (family dog) I am 28 years old, living with my parents due to physical disabilities.

I did just have a talk with dad since mom left to go to the gym with her friend to work out. Dad said we could severely cut back on treats so that he will be more likely to eat his food. I had put his food up (the mix of canned and new kibble) into the fridge for a few hours since he wasn't interested in eating it. I just put it down for him (after heating it a little to get rid of the coldness) and he ate it except he left all the kibble. He did eat maybe 4 or 5 at most of the kibble pieces. So that's a start. So I picked up his small bowl of 1/2 cup kibble and put it on our entertainment center for now.

Mom just came in and asked why dad cleaned up (lol like we needed a reason!) but dad took some boxes and put them away so that he could crawl on teh floor and play with Bentley. Then mom asked why his food was put up so I explained nicely that we are starting to play with Bentley and that we are trying to train him not to beg for treats anymore and that the food is up because we are trying to get him to want to eat his food. Then I said would you want me (her daughter) eating nothing but cakes, cookies, chips, ho-ho's, etc all day? Or would she want me to eat a healthy balanced diet? She understood and nodded her head and didn't say anything.

FINALLY!! She's starting to understand! So we are getting somewhere finally. She sort of had a panic moment when I said we were limiting his treats but I quickly said that he would still get SOME treats during the day and that we aren't depriving him. So I think we are getting somewhere. :)

At probably 10pm (3 hrs from now) I will put down his dry food. Tomorrow in the morning we'll put a tablespoon or so of his canned food on top of and mixed in with 1/4 cup of kibble. I estimate he should be getting 1/2 cup of kibble. dogfoodadvisor.com has a calculator to see how much of the kibble a dog with certain characteristics (neutered, not active, or active, hyper, or something like that) should eat. With that food kcal/cup and he being neutered and not very active it said for him to eat 0.56 cups of food per day. So that's basically 1/2 cup. So for now I'll start him off with 1/2 cup a day. Fed in the morning and in the evening. If he doesn't eat it in the morning I'll just throw that away and put down 1/4 cup without canned food in the evening. But every morning I think we could happily do some canned with the kibble to start the day. We could count that as a healthy treat.

I would gather up all of the dog treats and hide them someplace so that your dad isn't even tempted.

As for your mom, though, or anyone feeding him real food... that's up to you. You need to convince them somehow. Maybe you could ask your vet to explain the "tough love" thing to them.
I figured I better talk to my dad about it first before I did such a thing. I don't want him being angry with me over it. My dad is my best friend. I respect him enough to talk to him about it before I do something rash. :)
 

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He's adorable.

And unfortunately, the only thing that worked with us was time and stubbornness - and admittedly fairly expensive dog food, because well. He ate it and I was sick of playing games with his food. Our compromise was kind of that he eats the 3.00/can or lb dog food and I'll mix it together and buy it. For a while there I was seriously doing A LOT of DOctoring of his food and it was making me INSANE.
I totally understand where you are coming from. For a while I fed Bentley home-made food. Cooked ground beef, chicken, turkey, tuna from a can, with rice and green beans. Yeah it didnt work for long. He started to ignore the food and refused to eat it after a while. That is when we went and started buying him expensive canned food. Ugh it was so annoying. Mainly because we rarely cook in our household. We either eat sandwiches, cereal or other easy to prepare foods, or we order fast food, chinese food or pizza. Yeah our diet sucks but I want our doggy to have great long lasting health and happiness! I know how important good food is to our bodies yet I just can't physically do the standing up and walking to cook for us. Mom wont cook and dad has no idea how to cook anything other than boxed macaroni and cheese.

Cooking isn't something we often do in this household unfortunately. I know how to cook basic things like eggs, oatmeal, most typical veggies, chicken, turkey, fish, ground beef, etc. Nothing too fancy or unusual.

I hope that we can get this food issue straightened out with Bentley. I'm trying. I think now - we are all trying.
 

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you might also try puppy wellness I think its alittle more palatable (since he is not really eating he could probably use the extra nutrients)-- or add a raw egg or liver.... Also have you tried a dried lambs ear for treats? Or chicken butts? They are very tender....
 
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