Picky Eaters May Not Be So Picky Afterall…

Picky eaters may not be so picky after all. I took a long break from reading “If Dogs Payers Were Answered, Bones Would Rain From the Sky,” but have returned to it. Suzanne discusses “picky eaters.” Now I do believe there are dogs that are indeed “picky” if you wish to call them that. I believe if we feed our dogs from the table, or offer them food constantly without having them perform some sort of trick to “earn it” they may think they should be getting fed these good foods all the time.

I also think some dogs will wait for better foods…but only after a certain amount will they actually wait until they are starving! When I went to puppy class at a local pet store (one of those chains-yikes!), I was told never to feed my dog anything different from their dog food, otherwise they will refuse to eat for days. The trainer there told me a dog once waited 3 days after getting a piece of turkey to see if he would get one again. Of course if you are the dog and you have a yummy taste of something different, you want it again! However, dogs diets should be varied. Protein sources should be switched so the dog does not develop allergies. Additionally, some people like to mix in wet foods, make homemade foods, or add raw or some sort of protein to their dog’s meals. Think about how bored you might be if you had the same food for your whole life.

Some dogs are satisfied with this and enjoy their food. Sometimes I wish I had a dog that scarfed their food, no matter what it was. However, some would call her a “picky dog.” It all started when she was younger, and played with her food. She would like to move it around, pick it up and spit it out on our nice white carpet (we bought the house with the white carpet unfortunately haha). Eventually, we found out she had allergies to fish after she got violently sick from the new fish type of food we tried to feed her unsuccessfully for weeks. Then we realized she must have a wheat allergy, so we moved to a wheat free food. She still didn’t scarf her food down.

Things continued to go downhill with her health. She would refuse to eat food. Some people told us she was just being picky, waiting for something better. But at that time, we didn’t even feed her people food. I was told not to feed her any people food (ugh-how gullible was I to listen to the chain store trainer!). She would throw up bile every morning and I would be outside with her for at least 30 minutes while she chewed on grass to try to help her stomach. I did get recommendations on things to settle her stomach, but she wouldn’t eat them when she was feeling sick of course.  I even got herbal remedies, but no one wants to eat when they feel like throwing up.

We switched to better foods, higher quality. She still never ate all of her food, and didn’t seem interested. We were told to take her food away after a short time, maybe we were spoiling her. We had to show her we were in charge of resources, and she had to eat when we put it out. Unfortunately, that didn’t work either. It actually worsened it, because when we brought her to the vet, we were told to make sure she eats before bed so that she has food in her stomach. Otherwise, bile would build up in her stomach, and she would be sick in the morning. We saw great improvement with figuring out which allergies she had, and making sure she ate, even if it had to be treats.

Some might argue if she eats treats then she must be picky since she is refusing food. When reading “Bones Would Rain From the Sky,” there was a section about “picky eaters.” The author discussed clients who came to her with dogs who refused to eat, or were never excited. The owner was told the same thing from others, but had a nagging feeling the dog just didn’t like the food because it didn’t make him feel good. I’ve noticed the same thing with my dog. I can bet if she starts refusing food, or only taking a small amount, I know she isn’t feeling well. I know she probably won’t be feeling so well in the morning. And in fact I am right! Usually her stool is loose or she is sick the next day or in the next few hours. Sometimes dogs aren’t being picky…they KNOW when a food isn’t good for them and when it’s making them SICK. Yes, indeed they ARE smart (ugh it still amazing me how people still don’t believe dogs are smart and that animals have feelings, now that makes me sick!)

Anyway, the author discusses with her client (she is a trainer) what the dog likes to eat. The woman has been making homemade food for her dog, the same every single day, which the dog refuses. The woman decides to try a new recipe, which includes something her dog likes, and wallah! The dog eats!!! What does my dog like? CHICKEN!!! I did have her on raw, which I saw amazing improvements, but unfortunately she stopped eating it. She did get sick when I switched a protein source, so perhaps that’s why she won’t eat it anymore, or maybe she doesn’t like the texture (not to self-she is allergic to fish, wheat, gluten, and buffalo).

Right now I have switched her to a gluten-free venison food mixed with some k-9 raw pellets which she seems to like, but her stool is getting loose, so I will have to add something to make it better for her before she refuses because she will get sick. I did alternate it with a freeze-dried chicken food. It included lots of great veggies like broccoli in it. Unfortunately, my little darling doesn’t like things that are “good” for her. The broccoli ended up on our rug. She would actually pick out all the veggies, bring them to the rug, then just eat the chicken (haha, laughing is all you can do!) I don’t want to wait 3 days for my dog to “give in” to something, nor do I have the choice. I want to find what she likes, what works for her, and what keeps her healthy. Sometimes dogs aren’t so picky after all, we just have to listen to them and pay attention to their health. I am sure there are people who refuse to change their dog’s food after their dog is sick for years. The dog probably refuses to eat because it doesn’t want to get sick, but the owner just thinks it is picky. Not always so…

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