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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Lab Advice: Not Eating

Dog Food
Shannon- I have a 10 month old Chocolate Lab. The past month he has been very picky about eating. First it was he would not eat out of his dish holder but would eat out of his bowl in his crate. So a friend (also a lab breeder/owner) said to feed him in there because he is just spoiled and proving who has power. Now he flips his dish over in the crate so the food spills out of the crate. Friday he was fed at 5:30 (usual time) and he did not eat the majority of his food until 8:30 at least. So to prove a point and make him want to eat, I thought I would not feed him in the am (usual feed time is 7:30) and make him hungry. At 5:30 he was given his food and water and he drank the water and played with the food. So I went and added watered down gravy topping to the food and then he did eat it finally (not devoured) just ate it. This morning he was let out and then was given food and water and he drank his water down quickly but turned down the food. So instead of giving him the food to nibble on during the day I picked it up and figured I would give it to him at 5:30. He is still active and plays. Chews on his bones and goes potty (both). My husband thinks I am paranoid. Do you think the pup should see the vet? Please help. Thanks Tanya

Tanya - Please stop catering to your pup and moving his schedule and food around to try and make him eat.

The first thing you need to do is make sure that he is going potty and popping fine. If the digestive system is still working, then it means that either your dog food is really not that great (to your pup) or you pup is just being moody and only wants to eat when and where he wants. You didn't say what food you are feeding so I will just say that you need to make sure that it is a high quality dog food with all the nutrients he needs. Forget the "gravy" and stuff... dog food is all he needs (with a treat here and there).

If there are not problems with digestion and the pup is able to go potty/pooping just fine, then I suggest you read the Labrador Retriever Feeding Guide. Your pup should be on a feeding schedule and also have any left over food removed after a certain time. We give our dogs 30 minutes at most to finish their food before picking up their dish and throwing out the rest. (Of course, they gobble everything down in 1 minute flat.) Your pup will not starve. Just make sure you give the same amount of food at the same time every day and remove the uneaten portions.

Try this for a few days. If you notice that there is no change after a few days or that your pup is losing a great deal of weight or have other health problems that are coming to light, bring your pup to the veterinarian. Most of the time it is just the pup being annoying stubborn... just keep a close eye on it and take the alpha role back in your house.

Good luck!



Blogger Wendy said...

Shannon....'left over food', oh laughing so hard I almost fell out of my chair. Seriously had a similar problem when Duke ate a poisonous plant (of course I didn't know it was poisonous BEFORE he ate it) but during the visit to our favorite labbie loving vet he told us a dog can go 2 weeks without food as long as they are drinking water. Duke sometimes looks like he can't go 2 hours without food...but just a bit of info from my vet I thought I'd pass along.

Good luck to the finicky pooch on the other end.

February 27, 2008 2:12 PM  
Anonymous Tanya Dirling said...

Shannon -of course after I wrote this I decided that I would do what I had read other places as well and pick the food up after 30 minutes of not eating. If he didn't eat that was his fault. He must have decided that not getting "treats" was not worth the not eating. Lambert has been eating great since then and can not wait until his next feeding. He almost acts like he is starving. The potty issue was never a problem so I knew he was ok in that department. My note was a frantic attempt to find an answer. We feed him Science Diet per our vet and he gets the same amount each time. I also left his food in his bowl and in the dish holder and he is eating out of it just fine. My husband was right he definatly thinks he "the pup" rules the roost. We or should I say I am taking back the house. Thanks for your help and give Cheyenne and Dakota a belly rub from the Dirling Household.

Wendy, 2 weeks - that is crazy I would have been really frantic by then. Thanks for all your help.

February 28, 2008 6:39 AM  

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