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Old 02-19-2009, 02:30 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Only eats food at night

Since we got Sammie from the pound a month ago (he is 6 yr old) he hasn't really eaten that much during the day. I tried a couple different dog food brands and I am feeding Canidae now. He will eat most of whats in his bowl but only at nighttime. He never wants to eat during the day until it gets to be around 7 or 8 at night and then he will want to pick at it throughout the night. Never eats it all in one sitting though.
He's been eating about a cup and a half a day, sometimes less but I don't think he's eating enough? After we brought him home, we took him to the vet to make sure he is healthy and vet said his teeth are fine. He is also pretty active and seems happy, so does he just not get that hungry?
Also very picky with his treats, only wants the really yummy ones
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Old 02-19-2009, 02:44 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Only eats food at night

What I would do in your situation, would be to introduce Sammie to set meal times during which he is fed, and take up the bowls in between your meal times. This helps encourage him to eat when food is offered, rather than letting it sit and go stale and pick at it here and there. It makes for consistency and good eating habits, too.

I would start by setting two times in the day when you will feed, once in the morning and once in the afternoon or evening. In our house, it works out to after going out to potty in the morning, and when my husband comes home from work and we prepare our dinner.

Your bag of Canidae should show a recommended feeding amount. That's the amount that a dog will need to eat in a day in order to get all the recommended nutrients from his food. If the bag says four cups, you should feed four cups for him to get all the nutrition he needs from his food. Divide the number in half for feeding two meals, so that each meal is half of the recommended daily amount.

When you feed at meal times, you should give about 15 to 20 minutes, and then take the bowl up, even if there is still food in it. Most dogs will not starve themselves, and will soon learn that mealtimes is when we eat, not here and there whenever they feel like it.

Some dogs prefer to be fed just once a day, and that's okay. I like feeding twice a day because I don't want them to go completely empty, but if once a day works for a dog and they won't eat the second meal, I would just go to once a day. (Try it twice a day, though, and see how that goes.)
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Old 02-19-2009, 03:09 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Only eats food at night

I'm not big on the eat your food or starve regime. If you want him to eat regular meals then try adding in some fresh food like chicken, lowfat cottage cheese, canned salmon or eggs (could be raw, scrambled or hard boiled). Fresh food is very good for dogs and that will probably get him interested and keep him interested.

How much exercise is he getting? Sometimes that also affects their appetite.

My Rafi (a belgian malinois) is about the same size as your guy and he eats 2 cups of Orijen (high protein so less food) kibble per day plus 2 cups of homemade and some raw at night. He is very active so he is always on the upper end of the food charts. By contrast Chama, my senior, eats about 1.5 cups of kibble (Orijen again) plus fresh food and raw. She is much less active than Rafi so she eats less food.
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Old 02-19-2009, 03:28 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Only eats food at night

Ok I will try mixing up some raw stuff in his food. I did try picking up his food bowl after he didn't eat it but then after the third day of him still barely eating, I started to let him eat when he felt like it.
Maybe at the pound they let the dogs eat the food when they wanted and not at certain times so I think its a habit he has?
Since we've had him longer now and he is more comfortable he might start eating the food now if I pick it up, so I might try that again too.
as for canned fish, can he also eat canned tuna? I have so many cans of tuna.
I do go jogging everyday for a mile because he seems to love to go jogging with me. And after that I walk him a little more sometimes if he's up to it, which he usually is. So he seems like he has plenty of energy anyways

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Old 02-19-2009, 08:27 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Only eats food at night

My dog Naomi (she's 14 yrs), has always been a "midnight eater".
She was allowed to free feed as she got older and required less meals, and really wasn't interested in eating a full feeding at any other time.
Very late at night is the time of day she gravitated to.
I do not just dump food on top of more food, and wash out her bowl just about every day. I make sure she has fresh food.
I had tried to change the habit by putting the food down in the AM and picking it up, then offering it once in PM and picking it up afterwards.
It wasn't worth the frustration to both of us, and given her lifestyle, it didn't really make any difference to us.
Her food does get eaten and she is content.
I have always wondered though why she prefers to eat so late in the night!
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Old 02-19-2009, 09:34 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Only eats food at night

Jax is a 'midnight eater' also. There is always food there and she picks throughout the day. And when I say pick...she takes a piece or two and runs across the house, eats her pieces, races back to her bowl and takes a couple of pieces...

But she will stand and eat at 10-11 pm every night. I just figure she was a night owl and let her be. She certainly isn't underweight so it doesn't concern me.
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Old 02-19-2009, 09:37 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Only eats food at night

Ozzy only eats around 7 or 8 o'clock at night - he'll take treats during the day but he is free fed and has food out all day but shows no interest until night. I think some dogs just prefer one meal a day.
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Old 02-19-2009, 02:22 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Only eats food at night

There was a thread somewhere on this site about we humans and the various times we all went to sleep at night. The variety of sleep times was amazingly different. Humans have a Circadian rhythym so why not dogs.

Perhaps the late eating dogs are like the late sleeping humans...it's just their 'time of day'.
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