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Old 10-04-2008, 11:16 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default "Training" my stubborn dog to eat

Hi folks,
Lex is about 12 months old now, and was diagnosed with EPI about 1 month ago.

When she eats, she responds well with her prescribed medicine, i.e., she puts weight on, etc.

The problem is that my Wife and I are SO concerned about getting her to eat that when she shows any reluctance TO eating...I think we fall into the trap of "spicing" up her food with some of her favorite treats, foods, etc. As you might guess, it's not long before she becomes pickier and pickier. It's not uncommon for my Wife to spend, sometimes, 2-3 hrs. with Lex before the little stinker will finish all her food!

I KNOW she WOULD eat if you give her some of her favorite snacks, etc., because when I hold them under her nose...she almost eats your whole hand!

Lex has always (since 9 weeks old) been a "light eater". i.e., she'll eat a little, walk around for a few minutes and then come back and eat some more. She's never been one to eat the whole bowl full non-stop.

I want to "train" the little snot to eat what I want, when we want, not when she wants. It's critical, of course, with her EPI that she eats regularly.

"I think" (please correct me if I'm wrong), and told my Wife, that we need to do what I'm sure many of you will suggest; put the food bowl down for 20-30 minutes, and then pick it up at that point. DO NOT just leave it there even if it still has un-eaten food. If she's hungry, she will "learn" we're not going to "cater" to her! I've heard that you don't need to worry (which is what I told my Wife); a hungry dog WILL NOT STARVE THEMSELVES!

I think we just need to stand our ground, and not give in to her from this point forward!

Do you think I'm right?

Comments? Suggestions?

Thank you,
Craig
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Old 10-04-2008, 11:30 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: "Training" my stubborn dog to eat

I agree with feeding her, giving her "X" amount of time,(I would say 10 to 15 minutes.) then picking the food back up and not giving her ANYTHING(NO TREATS either) until the next meal time.

BUT, I know NOTHING about EPI dogs or if that is a good "method" to use with them.

Hopefully someone with an EPI dog (or knowlegde about the "condition") will post soon.
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Old 10-04-2008, 11:35 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: "Training" my stubborn dog to eat

I've got an EPI dogger too. She spent the first few years of her life being a "picky" eater until she was diagnosed with mild EPI. I tried every kibble, canned food, etc. with no luck. All had some negative side effect - no desire to eat it, gas, vomiting, etc. If I would have tried your method of putting down food for 30 minutes or so, she would have starved. Seriously.

You say that a hungry dog will not starve themselves...but you are missing one word - HEALTHY. A healthy, hungry dog will not starve themselves. But an EPI dog is not truly healthy.

With my dog, I wasn't listening to her...she was telling me that these foods were not working for her.

So...I switched her to a raw diet. It is the best choice I have ever made for her. She cleans her bowl in a few minutes two times a day, weighs an appropriate amount and is much more healthy. I'll never go back to feeding kibble.

So I guess what I am saying is that you have to find what works best for your dog...with EPI, it is a frustrating road to travel...but well worth it!
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Old 10-04-2008, 11:38 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: "Training" my stubborn dog to eat

Quote:
Originally Posted By: 2SableGirls.

You say that a hungry dog will not starve themselves...but you are missing one word - HEALTHY. A healthy, hungry dog will not starve themselves. But an EPI dog is not truly healthy.
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Old 10-04-2008, 12:08 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: "Training" my stubborn dog to eat

My EPI, Rex, dog was picky too. I just left it for him, he'd usually eat what he wanted and I"d throw the rest away before bed. With the enzymes, you can't mix breakfast then feed the rest to them at dinner.

If you aren't into the raw diet (I wasn't), you'll need to experiment with small bags of different food to find out what your dog likes the best and agrees with the delicate stomach.

While it may not be the best food on the market, Rex did actually like Purina Pro Plan. He was as healthy and happy as a dog in his condition could be - as long as he didn't get too many treats. Keep the treats bland, think what would be best for you with a raging head cold - like a cracker.
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Old 10-07-2008, 07:41 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: "Training" my stubborn dog to eat

Quote:
Originally Posted By: Craig Caughlin
I think we just need to stand our ground, and not give in to her from this point forward!
We have a picky eater also (not EPI) and tried one day to make our stand also. And it only lasted one day - I cracked! Good luck, hopefully you have better willpower than I We don't leave the dish down but we do have to mix something to the kibble to get his interest going.
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Old 10-08-2008, 12:55 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: "Training" my stubborn dog to eat

I think there is a large difference between a healthy dog just being Picky and a dog you know has EPI.

I believe it is important that she gets her enzymes and eats fairly regularly. So you might need to try some different things.

I have a healthy picky eater. She will eat like a champ for months, then bang, she won't eat. The problem with her seems to be the longer she goes without eating the picky she gets. So after he just nibbling at her food ( less than 1 cup a day) for over a week I caved and went to the freezer and got her what I call Raya (her name) stew. It is cooked ground beef, ground up carrots and potato all cooked together. She has had 2 1/2 cups of food today with Raya Stew on the top.

Now this mixture may have too much fat for a dog with EPI because I didn't cook the ground beef and drain it.

There are some canned foods that might work. I think the enzymes might mess with the taste of the food.

Val
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Old 10-08-2008, 01:27 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: "Training" my stubborn dog to eat

My understanding is that the enzymes are very bitter and nasty tasting. I would suggest you make very sure you are feeding a very wet food with the enzymes well mixed in and maybe sprinkle something very smelly on top, like canned tuna juice, to try and cover the smell.
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