Picky Eater, am I overfeeding?
Not certain that this belongs in the "Puppy" forum but it's the only food section I could find.
I have a 13-month old GSD named Jake. He currently weighs 84 pounds but is quite skinny back in his waist. Skinny enough that people comment on it when I take him to the park. Obviously he's tall and long since he weighs that much and is still quite skinny.
I feed him California Natural puppy food which is the only food I could find when he was younger that wouldn't upset his stomach. I haven't yet switched him to adult food because he's so skinny, I'm not sure whether or not that is the best thing to do. He currently gets 5 cups a day of the Chicken and Rice formula (2.5 in the morning and 2.5 in the evening).
Until about a month ago he was excited to be fed and stood and ate all of his food in one sitting. Then he started just looking at it and smelling it, maybe eating a few bites and then leaving it alone. Our first worry was that he was sick but then we put a little organic chicken broth on top and he CHOWED on his food like it was the best thing ever...for about a week. Then he started turning his nose up at that too. Meanwhile his behavior and energy are perfectly normal. He gets either 2 2-mile walks/day or 1 4-mile jog and he's been doing just fine. We've had to experiment with lots of things to get him interested in his dry food. Sometimes he'll love something one day and then not the next. We use some combination of the following things until he's interested: carrots, boiled eggs, wet food (sometimes mixed in warm water to make a gravy), canned chicken, canned salmon, canned tuna, and pumpkin. Even when we add some of that stuff he'll eat a little and then walk away and we have to bring him back and sometime feed him with a spoon to get him interested in it. Sometimes the cat will try to eat his food and Jake will run him off and then eat it.
At this point I've probably created a permanently picky eater since he's had all that good stuff, and that's okay with me except I don't want to have to "beg" him to eat his food. Even if I have to put extras on there to get him interested, I wouldn't mind if he would then just eat it.
I've also tried leaving his food out all day but he didn't eat it all day until I really made him by adding some extras and getting him interested in it.
One thing I'm considering is that I'm feeding him too much. I was feeding him so much because he was eating it and still skinny. But now that he's not interested I wonder if he's just not that hungry because he's eating so much?
What do you guys think?
PS_Here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure:
To see if he is too skinny I would need to see a picture of him from above - specifically his back half but he does look a bit on the slim side from what I see.
We have a picky eater and were supplementing with wet food, Parmesan cheese etc just to get him to eat. If we didn't, he would just look at us with the - really you expect me to eat that?? - look. We have cut all of that extra out and have switched his food to the Costco Natures Domain grain free salmon and sweet potato and he loves it. He doesn't always eat right away and sometimes he has his breakfast for dinner but that is okay in this household.
If you are really concerned about him being skinny, you should always have a work up done by a vet too.
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Like your dog, Jake has less of an appetite in the morning and sometimes eats his dinner and most of his breakfast at dinner time.
We've been trying to feed him soon after his morning and afternoon walks in the hopes that he'd be hungrier after activity but it hasn't helped much.
I suppose it's possible that he's just not interested in his food anymore and we should try something different, but like I said, he gets an upset stomach very easily and we had a heck of a time finding a food that didn't give him a terribly upset stomach which isn't particularly fun for him or us.
Someone I work with said that adult dog food tastes much better and that her dog likes his adult food much more than his puppy food. Would switching him to adult food possibly help?
Take it from someone who also created a 'picky eater' - stop giving little extras in the food. I know you want him to eat, but sometimes our pups go through phases for no particular reason other than they're just not hungry. He will eat when he is hungry, no need to worry. He looks healthy and happy, so you shouldn't panic over it.
Suki has gone literally 3 days without touching her food - and then the next day she will devour both meals.
Don't drive yourself crazy thinking about what to put in his food bowl next. If he's doing well on his current kibble - just wait it out and let him decide when to eat.
One thing that did help us during the 'picky' times (without resorting to making silly concoctions) was a treat ball. But instead of treats, we put her kibble in the ball. By making meal time into a game, it made it more interesting for her and most times, she'd finish what was inside the ball and then go finish the remainder of the kibble we left in her bowl.
The treat ball is a great idea! I have a HUGE Kong wobble toy thing that will probably hold most of a meal haha, I could give that a try :0)
I really appreciate everyone's help so far. I am wondering though what you guys think about the 5 cups/day...does that seem like WAY too much or maybe just a little too much or maybe a completely reasonable amount?
We give newton fish oil pills and he loves those and he thinks those are his "treats" and sometimes those will get him to eat but not always. He will sometimes eat both meals at dinner time too - we don't fret it - he just doesn't get any treat or scraps until he decides to eat his own food.
He does have a sensitive stomach too. I tried to switch him to a food at our local feed store and it wasn't pretty. He ended up on pumpkin and rice for a couple of days because it upset his stomach so bad. We took this switch to the Costco food real slow and he is doing good on it and his skin isn't as dry either. He was on purina one before - not the best food I know :)
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