Issues with getting my dog to eat

posted 1 month ago in Pets
Post # 2
457 posts
Helper bee

I have the same problem with my dog! He picks and chooses when he wants to eat. I will tell you though, I don’t think it’s possible for a dog to starve when there is food available unless there is something medically wrong with them. I would maybe take him to the vet just to make sure everything is ok. For me, personally, my dog will eventually eat. Sometimes he’s ravenously hungry and sometimes he nibbles. It’s helped us to mix some wet food in with the dry to make it more appealing. He’s also like yours where something new is very enticing. I wonder if you could try putting the food out a few times a day and then taking it away to give him other opportunities.

Btw, my dog is extra weird and he only likes to eat when both my husband and I are home. If we aren’t both home he will nibble until the other gets back.

Post # 3
6673 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2015

My dog’s favorite meal was always whatever that other random dog is eating. Even if it was the same food he already had. For a start, what’s the point in taking away uneaten food? My dog prefers to eat around midnight (unless someone else is eating, of course) so with your strategy he’d never eat. He’d also not eat if he we weren’t home and someone else was putting out food, or skip a few days and then eat the way normal dogs do.  If staying with other dogs he’d eat their food and leave his in the bowl. Maybe your lab is similarly quirky. Leave the meal out and see what happens. 

Post # 4
396 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2016

I have a picky eater, too.  Part of our problem is she holds out for “people food.”  That aside, I leave her food out and eventually she eats, usually before bed and she knows nothing better is coming.  Other days she eats breakfast and dinner right away.  Your dog won’t starve itself. The vet told me that when they start losing weight you worry because a picky eater won’t drop weight.

Post # 5
1030 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2019

I mean… this is what my 8 month old shepherd puppy does with his food every night. And then he grazes for like 4 hours, other days he devours everything. He went through a 2 week stint where he barely ate because he was being picky, but he got over it when his growth spurt kicked in. Make sure the vet says all is well, and then I wouldn’t worry. I’ve had pets hunger strike after I was out of town and all sorts of weird stuff. Also I get the purpose of taking up his uneaten food to try and train him meal time, but I wouldn’t do it right now. Just get him to eat at all, then you can cut down on grazing time if that’s important to you.

Post # 6
559 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

My parents have two golden’s. One eats all his food immediately, the other grazes. Always has, she’s 12. She got a little chubbier in middle age but was always a skinny dog. Is there a reason you can’t leave his food out and let him eat through the day if he wants? Other dogs etc?

Post # 7
1167 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2019

Some dogs are grazers and prefer to eat little bits during the day. If you really want him to eat, you could try something like pouring some chicken broth over the kibble, but that will just get him reliant on that to eat the kibble, so it doesn’t really solve your problem. I would try leaving it out all day and see if that helps.

Adorable photo!

Post # 9
183 posts
Blushing bee

He is so cute!  He looks like he is in great shape.  I have an 8 month old boxer pup who devores his food within about 12 seconds, even with a “slow eater” bowl.  i read daily on boxer forums that there are just some picky ones out there – so i’m assuming it’s the same with goldens, there are just some who are picky and would rather graze or only eat when they are really hungry.

my future in-laws had a golden who lived to be 13 and they would leave food out for him all day and night and he would graze all day.  it seems other bees have suggested that as well.  is that an option?

the only thing that i would be slightly concerned about is you said he was eating great before you went on your honeymoon and he stayed with your parents, so it’s a more recent problem?  i would probably just inform the vet to make sure there isnt a medical issue going on!  

best of luck, bee!  beautiful pup too!

Post # 10
550 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2018

sbl99 :  To test if he wants to just graze, I would have 2 bowls for him.  Put the fresh stuff in one bowl, leave it out for an hour.  Chuck/refrigerate what he doesn’t eat.  Once you’ve put the fresh stuff away, Put the kibble in the second bowl, and leave it out until his bone in the morning.  

He might just want to wander to the kibble and eat it at his leisure.

If the vet has ruled out medical issues, I’m sure he wouldn’t just starve himself for no reason. 

Post # 11
444 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2019

Have you checked to make sure he doesn’t have any parasites? 

Post # 13
1482 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

Something similar happened with my 1 year old Australian Shepherd. She and our other dog (a 5 yr old Rhodesian ridgeback) stayed with my in-laws while my husband and I were out of town for a week. Our ridgeback will eat literally any food that is available to him at any time, so we have to time their meals and can’t just leave food out, or else he will eat it all. When we got home, our Aussie wouldn’t eat her kibble. Ends up my in-laws noticed she wasn’t chowing down on her food as quickly as our ridgeback, and since they didn’t want to sit around and guard her while she slowly munched on her food (because if you don’t pay attention, the ridgeback will just push her aside and take her food…) they started mixing in ground turkey with her kibble to make her eat it more readily. Well, when we got her back, she wouldn’t eat for us either.

I started sitting next to her when I put her food down, and coaxing her to eat. If she turned away, I would call her back over. I picked up handfuls of food and fed them to her piece by piece. I praised her when she finished her bowl. 

It took about a month of this, but she’s eating readily on her own now. Still not as quickly as our ridgeback, but when I put her food down, she doesn’t leave it until she’s finished. And I don’t have to hand feed her anymore haha 

Post # 14
3442 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

When you switched his food, did you switch it to something entirely different? My dog went through a tricky phase where he would hunger strike after a few weeks on the same food. It turned out he was allergic to chicken, and every food I was feeding him had chicken in it (it’s ridiculously hard to find a food that doesn’t). When I finally got him on a food he wasn’t allergic to he began eating ravenously, the way he used to.

Good luck! It’s so stressful when dogs do these things. I wish we could read their minds. Just remember that your pup isn’t going to starve himself to death. If the vet has checked him over and said he’s ok, I’m sure he is. Perhaps you can leave kibbles out during the day for him to graze on, just to see if he eats any throughout the day.

Post # 15
279 posts
Helper bee

sbl99 :  Picky dog mom here too bee. One of the things I do to make sure my girl is fed and hydrated is to boil a simple water, chicken (no bones), celery and carrot broth. She slurps up the water then chows down the chicken and vege, even if she’s turned her nose up at biscuits or canned food the minute before.

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