Post # 1
We have an almost 8 month old St. Bernard, Napoleon (so big dog owners of 100+ pounds will probably relate better). He likes to chew on the trees outside (none are poisonous), and since it has been snowing outside he has been worse. We have tons of toys and even a few bones outside for him, and while we don’t leave him out for very long (I’d say 15 minutes tops with the weather), he finds time to chew on this climbing tree thing we have attached to the house.
This is the second time in two months he’s thrown up in the morning because he ate the bark or whatever.
While I think he chews on it because he is bored/naughty/hates being outside for longer than 5 minutes (especially since this happens at night. After being in a kennel he wants to be with us more), DH disagrees and says we don’t feed him enough because he only does it in the evening. We are probably both a little right.
He is couped up in his kennel in the afternoon from about 1:30-4:30. He gets fed a scoop of food (about a cup and 1/4) 3 times a day: 7:00, 12:30, and 5:30p. The vet says he is a very healthy weight and looks good for a large breed.
She has always says this, so we have never seen a reason to up his food intake. Should we feed him more at his nighttime feeding and see if that fixes the issue? What amount do you think we should go up to?
Many websites say Saints should be fed almost 7-10 cups a day. I very much disagree with that, especially since on 3.75 cups a day our dog has been maintaining a healthy coat and weight. I think he may benefit from upping his food, but I don’t want to feed him anywhere near that amount and run the risk of making him fat.
I also want to note: He is a seizure dog, so changing his food is out of the questions. We also cannot put him on adult food until he is a year old per the vet. With the tree he tramples the chicken wire because he is too strong. We could try a stronger fencing, but we won’t be able to do it until the ground unfreezes.
Thanks for any advice, Bees.
Post # 3
@megz06: What toys does he have inside? Are there any inside he could gnaw on? Would you be able to add fiber to his diet? Maybe green beans – to make him feel more full – without affecting his seizures?
Post # 4
In my experience dogs don’t go eat random things because they’re hungry, more because they are bored. What about regular walks, is he getting those?
Post # 5
I think it’s less of a hunger issue and more of a “need to chew” issue. I have a lab that has scalpels for teeth so we’ve had a lot of issues keeping toys in the house that he can actually chew on since he obliterates them. Back home (Where we had trees) We’d give him cut down branches. He’d gnaw the hell out of them and be a happy camper — Perhaps an option for you? Cut a couple branches to size, strip the bark and let them dry out (Could take a couple weeks) and let him go to town on them?
Post # 6
@megz06: Is it possible that you could spray the bitter spray on the tree? I’ve heard that it can deter dogs from chewing on wood.
Also, you could try upping it like 1/2 a cup or so? That might satisfy him a little more! I understand being hesitant about messing with his food at all! My dog has a sensitive stomach and needs a very specific brand alongside probiotics. So I totally get it! I feed my dog who is 50 pounds 3 cups a day and that maintains a healthy weight. She acts as if she doesn’t ever get fed though each time we feed her!
Post # 7
@megz06: In big dog land, 8 months is heading in to teenager territory, they start to fill out, they start to get a little attitude on them and they start doing weird shit…like chewing on trees….it could be he’s chewing on it because its there and he’s there and that’s what dogs do sometimes..it’s not always a message or a symptom of some problem…it could just be doggie teenaged bullshit.
I’ve never been a big advocate of controlled feeding, the dog knows how much and when it wants to eat, so all I could tell you, is when we had three dogs over 80lbs in our house, we went through 50lbs of food every two weeks in the winter…a little less in the summer. If he’s acting like he’s hungry, I would feed him though, since it can trigger anxiety responses in any dog to feel like they aren’t getting enough to eat….which may be where the chewing comes in, it calms them down.
If he’s gotten as big as he’s going to get height wise, its time to start adding muscle to that frame, that takes food and a lot of it, once again, the dogs knows what it needs, but communicating that isn’t always so easy. He’s either not getting enough, or not getting it when he needs it…could you throw him a half a cup before bed as a snack? That chilled out my greyhound in a big way.
Post # 8
I doubt he’s eating it out of hunger, probably more from boredom and well, dogs love sticks lol. Honestly I don’t think there’s any easy fix other than going out there with him and correcting the behavior.
Post # 9
@Astra: He has a ton of toys outside right now. He has a few bones as well as a frisbee, a ball, a plank of wood, and two Kong tires. I’ve actually heard green beans can help seizures, but I have always been hesitant to try it, but maybe that’s a thought I migtht have to consider?
@MsJ2theZ: I honestly can’t say he’s been walked regularily anymore since the cold weather hit a few weeks ago. He does get ample play time both inside and out, especially inside. We are constantly rolling his ball or throwing it for him, but walks have been very few and far between (even playtime outside the last few weeks has been haulted). He still chewed even when he did go for walks, but we put walks in place of being outside for long periods of time, so it could be that but then maybe not too.
@Hyperventilate: Good idea! I guess I figured he had enough toys, and I didn’t know if giving him sticks would further escalate the issue. He’s got a major attitude, so he will do stuff because he knows he shouldn’t, lol. The joys of a Saint (or lack there of).
@lolita39: I’m thinking upping it would be a good idea. He likes the damn bitter spray unfortunately (we have 3 differnet kinds we bought and used when he was a puppy and would chew on furnitue).
@Nona99: Ugh, he is definitely in teeager mode. Plus Saints are known for their attitudes and mine DEFINITELY has an attitude. You should see the looks he gives up sometimes, like we are complete idiots to him, lol. I have never control-fed a dogs in my life. The reason we decided to do it with him is because St. Bernards and other XL breeds, because of being deep chested, can experience bloat very easily, so I was scared of doing that. The breeder we got him from (as well as some other Saint owners in the area) told us to feed them several small meals a day as opposed to one big one or letting them control the food. If this was a lab or something I wouldn’t give much though to leaving food out.
@Westwood: Thanks. I am going to try to up his food and see what happens.
Post # 10
@megz06: Hey, you do what works for you, but remember, if it doesnt work…why do it? I got told to elevate my bowls, and control feel and buy a crate or my greyhound would like…explode…we never crated him, left the bowls on the floor and let him graze as he pleased…that dog never had a single problem, aside from the dumb injuries he got running around and the stroke he had that killed him when he was 13….breeders and breed enthusiasts can scare the crap out of you, don’t let them, the dog can handle himself…Saints are also known for being absurdly intelligent, maybe he’s all done being babied?
Post # 11
@Nona99: Could be. Now I just have to be the one to stop babying him because I’m so stuck in my way.
Post # 12
@megz06: Sorry… I have ZERO advice in that department…I have dogs that are super independant and dogs that are beyond spoiled and love the baby love that I lavish them with…I just know which ones want what…so it works out, I guess…but sooner or later, they all want a little kissy kissy, snuggle, snuggle…no matter how old or big they get!