Our new pup won't feed from her bowl!

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Old 07-12-06, 04:52 AM
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Our new pup won't feed from her bowl!

We've just acquired a 9 month old puppy from some friends. She was the runt of the litter but is very good natured if a little nervous and unsure sometimes and we're very slowly trying to build her confidence up which seems to be working. However, the big problem is that she is only eating at the very most half of what she should be eating each day, and she is only eating that because I am hand feeding her. She seems very wary of her food bowl and will not eat from it, though it is clean etc. I've asked her previous owners and they confirmed that she never really ate much but because there was 3 dogs they didn't really know to what extent this was a problem.

We've done everything from just ignoring her and leaving the food down, changing it when necessary to sitting with her and picking the food out of her bowl and feeding her by hand. We've tried different food as well all to no avail. When she does eat she seems hungry and she has had a couple of chew sticks that have disappeared. I also put some food on a flat tupperware lid to see if that worked but again she didn't seem happy about her food being on or in something.

Anybody had or heard of similar problems or have any idea what might be causing this? She has only been with us for 2 weeks but in all other aspects she now seems very settled with us and in a good routine. Anyway, this problem seemed to have been prevalent before she came to us. Please help, I'm not sure I really want to be hand feeding a dog for the rest of her life! Thanks.....
 
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Old 07-12-06, 06:05 AM
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Is there a people food she really enjoys? If so, I'd mix a generous portion of that with the dog food in her bowl. If you're not feeding her people food, the best I can recomend is to keep her bowl full of food and let her go to it on her own. It might help if the bowl were in any place she seems to have chosen in your house as one of "her" spots (as that's where she feels most comfortable and secure).
 
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Old 07-12-06, 07:40 AM
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Take the pup to the vet to make sure there are no underlying health issues, such as a puppy virus that causes loss of appetite. Discuss diet and feeding habits with the vet. Whatever you do, especially if hand feeding in your lap, will be training the pup for the future and habit will last a life time.

Although dried puppy food is best, some puppies turn their noses up at it. If so, try soaking with cold water for 10 minutes. If that doesn't work switch to a puppy food that smells really good. Adding people food or other goodies to food to tempt puppy to eat will establish a fussy and picky eater for the rest of its life. Again, if in doubt, your veterinarian is your best source of info.
 
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Old 07-12-06, 11:25 AM
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Red face We went from skinny pup to fat "shmeagle."

We rescued a beagle mix (we call her a shmeagle) pup from an animal rescue. I think that if we handn't found her she'd have been better off euthanized than to stay there. Anyway...

When we got or pup she was a decent eater. Around age of 9mos we switched to normal dog food and would refuse to eat. We gave her zero people food and she (at that time) had zero interest in it. We tried slathering the food with the dog gravy stuff, with grated cheese and even peanut butter. The PB she'd actually eat from time to time. The others might as well have been skunk pellets. It took us a long time to actually find a food that she would eat. Our first successful brand was only available in a farm-store in 50 pound bags. We moved away from that area and (sorry pup) I wasn't driving 45 miles each way for dog food. We found out that the maker of that food also made Eukanuba brand food. They make many other named bags of food, but you'd think they were all competitors. Once we figured out the lay of Pet Smart we figured out that as soon as you fit the top of the isle of dogg food you are looking at the cream of the crop. Then, each bag name change lowers the quality a little all the way down to dogfood flavored kibble. We went with what we thought was a good brand Iams to begin with. She would eat it some days and others she'd actually roll on it like it was a dead bird. She was still not eating it regularly. So, then we moved up to the Eukanuba and she eats it every day twice per day.

That just ocurred to me. Are you giving her the entire alottment of food allowed per day in one "sitting?" We split ours up as specified by our vet into two meals. Breakfast and dinner. She gets a cup of food total for the day. 2 1/4 cup scoops for breakfast and 2 for dinner. This works well. It also helps if we tell her that WE are going to eat it. It's kind of a game and now our 1 year old goes after it and our dog eats it so she can't get it.

Good luck, i hope I didn't write too much an/or lose my point.
 
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Old 07-13-06, 04:30 AM
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Thanks guys for your interest and help! I'll try moving her bowl and will take her to the vet should the problem not be solved soon.

Maybe something I didn't make particularly clear is that she eats the meat and chow that we have put in her bowl when I put it in my hand, when we put it on the tiled floor and she has even been known to take it from the fork! We give her some food in the morning, end up throwing half of this away (assuming we've sat with her to feed her) and give her a second helping at night, again which we'll need to feed her if she is going to eat at least half of it.

She seems to have a problem eating from her bowl; she approaches, sniffs it for a moment then walks away. As I said I've tried putting it on a tupperware lid to try and recreate eating from the floor but she seems to have an issue with ANY 'receptical'. When we do get her to eat she also only eats half the amount recommended for a dog of her size according to the dog food pack.

So I guess the problem is two-fold the major issue obviously being that we need her to start feeding on her own, she'll seem to go very hungry before she even thinks about approaching the bowl and even then will hardly touch anything until she is fed in some way. And the second is that she's really not eating very much at all.

The problem seems to me more psycholigical, she's a fairly nervy dog at the best of times, though she has grown in confidence a little from when we first got her. From the limited information we got from her previous owners this problem seems to have been there from the start.

Any thoughts/further thoughts anyone?!
 
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Old 07-13-06, 06:31 AM
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Unhappy Soap sensitivities

Curious if the pup is allergic or sensitive to the soap that you wash her dish with.

Another idea. It's out there, but... What if you bought her a couple food trays like you have at McDonalds, BK etc. You could simply pour her kibble onto the tray and the lip around the edges would keep it oi one place. When the pup becomes comfortable maybe find a little smaller tray with higher sides, then move smaller until she can eat out of a bowl. If she will eat off the floor, maybe she'll eat off a tray and be more apt to revisit the tray as she sees fit.

My gog eats as much as we put in front of her until it's gone. My friends dog eats a few bites then walks away, then comes back 30+ minutes later and willeat a little more. We call him "dainty."

Good luck! Keep us informed.
 
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Old 07-13-06, 07:18 AM
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I had another thought on this as well...

We had a cat who was actually allergic to something in the plastics that many companies made pet food dishes out of. We ended up using a corningware casserole dish for his food and water bowls. There are two upsides to this, as someone mentioned, about soaps on the dishes, glass/crockery will wash much more cleanly without any scent from soaps, and if you use a clear one, she may *think* the food is on the floor or similar.

Another thought I had was she is simply not a big eater, or as mentioned is a nibbler. While it is unusual for a runt to be a nibbler, as they normally tend to gobble instead, it is quite possible she is one. The best thing in this case, if there is no health problems, is to leave food down for her all day in the glass bowl and see how she actually does with it.

Hope this helps.
 
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Old 07-14-06, 07:54 AM
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If you haven't had her evaluated y your vet I think the suggestions to do so are a good place to start.

I see some other folks have mentioned the feeding bowls. My questions this: are you using stainless steel? If your pup had to fight for food as a runt she may 'see' another dog approaching the bowl and back off because she doesn't want to fight for her meal.

Sounds wacky, but my second Collie pup refused to drink water from her stainless bucket because there was another dog in there. We ultimately got her over it by filling the bucket with her favorite toys at play time so she would fetch them from the bucket--kinda desensitized her to the problem after about two weeks.

You might be able to do someting similar with your pup. Have you tried starting with an empty bowl and dropping pieces of food into it as she tries to feed from your hand? If she's a nervous nelly she might simply need your reassuance that the bowl is hers to use.
 
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Old 07-15-06, 01:12 PM
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It concerns me that she doesn't even finish the food that is hand fed. I would take her to the vet and have her tested for a hypoactive thyroid. Dogs with this condition don't eat much, yet either maintain their weight or gain weight. If it is a thyroid condition, and left untreated, it can lead to many complications down the road, including diabetes and blindness. I recently rescued such a dog. She always left food in her dish and generally only ate what was hand fed. Even then she didn't finish the food. When rescued at 6 years old she had become morbidly obese, hair falling out, developed diabetes, had gone blind and was near death. Her owners kept saying she was spoiled.

Just another avenue to check.
Newt
 
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Old 07-17-06, 11:33 PM
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Thanks all for taking the time out and making the effort to try and help us out with this. I'll be taking her to the vet and seeing if there's any problem there. We've tried all the other things we could as suggested to no effect so we'll see and I'll keep you posted.

Cheers

Craig Mac
 
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Old 07-18-06, 01:21 AM
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Craig, you are very welcome! I would love to know what the vet has to say.

Newt
 
 

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