Shih Tzu picky eater

bleighMay 18, 2010

I'm needing a little support here. My one year old Shih Tzu has decided to be picky with his food. I've been feeding him Nutro Natural Choice small bites (lamb and rice formula), but he's never been all that excited about it. He would still eat it twice a day (usually after sticking his nose up at it for a couple of hours) until recently. I've mixed a little plain yogurt to encourage him to eat and sometimes canned food as well. Being that I don't want to mix in other food for every meal, I tried the Newman's Own Organic just to see if he would eat it. First two bowls he ate, now he's back to turning his nose up. I know a lot of folks do a lot of different things to take care of their fur babies. While I would love to cook for him and/or feed him raw, that's just not going to happen daily (unless he's sick). I just want to provide him with a good quality dry food that he'll eat and that will keep him healthy. Crazy thing is he will eat the nasty junky food. My friend feeds her yorkie yuck food and he gets in her bowl sometimes and is as happy as can be to eat that nasty stuff.

Anyway, would love to hear some suggestions. Maybe there is a magic good quality food out there that they all love??

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Dogs will eat if they are hungry. They won't when they are not hungry. Dogs eat on their own schedule, not as humans do.

I have two dogs. One will eat at any moment. The other sometimes does not eat once a day. Reason? She is an extremely active dog and sometimes I cannot exercise her sufficiently on a daily basis. Rain and my own physical limitations prevent me. On the days she gets no exercise, she often does not eat. I only feed once a day, and vary the feeding time by as much as a couple hours to keep more in line with wild feeding practices(they eat when they can.)

She spends most of a nice day outside and hates to come inside. She plays with the other dog, chases squirrels, motorcycles, school buses, and the trash trucks(All safely from inside the fenced yard, running from one side of the house to the other)---but that is not the exercise she needs. Chasing faux prey(soccer balls I kick)is what she craves. She is a whippet mix and has a tremendous prey drive. When I can kick the soccer balls---allowing her full speed chase and ending with a 'capture' as she stops the balls for just five minutes twice a day, she eats when fed.

She maintains a good weight, have no adverse physical problems, and shows no lack of energy, so the vet says not to worry.

Most dogs eat when fed. A few seem to maintain a different system. Yours might be one of the few.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 2:08PM
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Make a choice as to the food you want to feed her. Don't add anything to it.

Offer her the food. If she doesn't eat it in 5 minutes, remove it for a few hours (or when she appears hungry). She'll eat when she is hungry enough (sheesh, my dog eats goose poop!).

I would not start adding other treats (canned food, people food) or changing foods, unless you change it to canned food for good.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 6:58AM
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With a dog that small, feeding raw would be pretty simple. I have enough food for a month for my dog, and it only takes me a few hours each month to prep it all. I put together one big batch and then portion it out, so all I have to do is pull a few meals out of the freezer every couple days and put it in the fridge to thaw. Meal time consists of running some warm water over the chicken necks to take the chill off, or nuking the meat mix for 20 seconds. I have a small (7cf) freezer to store everything, with room to spare.

If you want to stick to commercial food, you might try a grain free food like Wellness Core. It's expensive, but might appeal to him. You could also try adding some homemade chicken broth to his food. Make a big batch with no salt, and freeze in ice cube trays or portion cups. Pull a few out of the freezer every few days to thaw in the fridge.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 7:39AM
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Are you waliking your dog a couple of times a day? She may not be hungry because she isnt burning off enough calories. I have a picky eater - he wont touch his food unless he has gone for a walk in the morning. At night, he is usually more hungry because I have taken him out a number of times during the day...I agree. Dont add anything. Just put the food down and walk away. Good luck

    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 2:15PM
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I personally would be concerned if one of my dogs didn't eat and probably take that as a sign that they needed to see the vet. But if you're sure she isn't ill....well I wouldn't want to eat the same boring kibble every single day of my life either. I've never accepted that it's ok to feed the same food over and over and over to a dog or a cat, while humans thrive on variety. If you have to feed kibble, why not alternate two or three different types of kibble to keep things more interesting? That said, when she's hungry she'll eat whatever you offer!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 3:15PM
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My Shih Tzus have always been ravenous (like their owners-lol), and most are that I know.
First, I would take her in for a check up with bloodwork.
If everything is ok, then I would proceed with regular feeding.

I switched dry food like 4 times (Science Diet, Eukanuba, Nutro...) in an 18 year lifespan.I did it for variety. They seemed to appreciate it. Nutro is their fave. Plus, I always add a little chicken, beef, turkey or Ceasar canned just for extra flavor- like a heaping tablespoon of moist food, mixed in well. I feed mine twice daily. I put the bowls out. They eat. I put the bowls away until dinner. Same thing over.I only leave water out all day/night. I never have a problem. Even if they don't feel well they want to eat...

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 7:57PM
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