Do dogs prefer variety? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 09-06-2018, 09:25 PM Thread Starter
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Do dogs prefer variety?

So, Pepper and I just got back from the vet. Today, she is 18 weeks old and 31 pounds. The vet told me she is slightly underweight, and wants me to get her to eat as much as possible to catch up. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done.

Pepper rarely cleans a bowl, usually eating only half or a little more than half. Some meals, she won’t eat at all.

I think the problem may be that she doesn’t like eating the same thing every day. We have her on Taste of the Wild for dry food (we plan to switch to Acana at the end of the bag) and we usually mix in Merrick’s wet food with it. She seemed to love Merricks, dove into it with gusto for quite awhile. Then, last week, when I served her breakfast, and later lunch, she wouldn’t touch a bite.

I was panicking, so I thought mixing it up might help things. I gave her a new bowl with normal amount of dry, and blue buffalo beef stew instead (I happened to have a can). She inhaled the whole bowl, so I know she was hungry.

So, for the rest of the week, I gave her the beef stew, and she ate normally (still only half a bowl most meals, but hey). Then, today, the same thing happened. She wouldn’t eat any breakfast or lunch. Curious, I tried fixing her another new bowl of lunch, this time using a leftover can of Merricks. Again, she ate the whole thing.

I’ve never had a dog do this before, and I’ve grown up around dogs. They’ve all been more than happy to eat the same thing every day. Has anyone had this experience?

Also, any suggestions on how to get some more weight on her when she doesn’t like to finish meals? The vets only advice was “do what you can”.
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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 09-06-2018, 09:58 PM
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How old is the bag of food? If you bought too big of a bag it may be rancid. Maybe the particular food you are feeding does not agree with her. She has no way of telling you this. I find the more expensive the food, the less inclined mine are to eat it. I am not advocating cheap food, but I feed less pricey foods and add raw with the savings.

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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 09-06-2018, 10:06 PM Thread Starter
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How old is the bag of food? If you bought too big of a bag it may be rancid. Maybe the particular food you are feeding does not agree with her. She has no way of telling you this. I find the more expensive the food, the less inclined mine are to eat it. I am not advocating cheap food, but I feed less pricey foods and add raw with the savings.

We’re still within the six week time frame, though it’s getting towards the end. We use a Vittles Vault as well to make sure we keep it fresh. I just sniff-tested it too, and it seems to smell ok. But that’s a possibility. Maybe I’ll chuck it out sooner than planned, I want to get her on Acana anyway.
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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 09-06-2018, 10:09 PM
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I’ve never had a healthy dog turn down food, so it may be right that something is wrong with the food you have. It is also possible your dog might be allergic or sensitive to an ingredient in that food. Why Acana? My vet said that is too rich for a puppy. I feed my younger dog Fromm. My older one is now on a restricted diet for health reasons, otherwise they would get the same food.
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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 09-06-2018, 10:18 PM
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Some dogs just don't want to eat, I suppose. My pup's sister didn't have an appetite and the owners changed foods until they found one that she was slightly interested in. I think they use Orijen. My pup was the opposite...he gobbles up his meal in less than 2 minutes. He's on Victor. I might have to find one of those special "slow eating" bowls. So even within the same litter, there's different appetites.

It's also still the summer. Heat usually affects many dogs' appetites too. It did with my previous GSD. With that dog, every summer I would have to "bribe" him to eat with shredded chicken and chicken broth along with his kibble OR canned food with kibble. My current pup...nothing is affecting his appetite so far….fingers crossed. He just wants to eat all the time. I feel like I'm starving him.


How about skipping a meal or two...build up her hunger. Sometimes you have to take 1 step back to get 2 steps forward, if that makes sense. I'm sure someone else has much better advice than me.
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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 09-06-2018, 10:26 PM
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I think it's possible. I have noticed that my dog goes "stale" if getting the same training treats all the time - he is noticeably more excited and eager whenever I change the type of treat. I think that some of them do care / get bored with same food!

Hmm, idea for a Big enticer to eat - mixing in just a few chopped spoonfuls of your dinner meat (plain unseasoned) in with her kibble and letting her eat when you eat dinner? Smelling you cooking it, seeing & smelling you eating it, and getting to eat when you are eating - that really makes eating fun & appetizing :-)

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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 09-06-2018, 10:29 PM Thread Starter
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I’ve never had a healthy dog turn down food, so it may be right that something is wrong with the food you have. It is also possible your dog might be allergic or sensitive to an ingredient in that food. Why Acana? My vet said that is too rich for a puppy. I feed my younger dog Fromm. My older one is now on a restricted diet for health reasons, otherwise they would get the same food.
She’s a healthy girl for sure. Bright eyes, full of energy, thick, glossy coat. Her poops are exactly what they should be, and no vomiting or other signs of illness. We settled on Acana after a lot of research, a lot of reading reviews on different sites, and talking to others on this site. Granted, Pepper hasn’t tried it yet, so who knows?

But you might be right that something could be wrong with her current bag. It’s just about time to change it anyway, might as well do it now.

I wish I could ask my vet for her honest opinion on food, but I know she won’t give it. She sells Royal Canin in her office, gets paid by Royal Canin to promote it. She acts like feeding your dog anything else is just shy of animal abuse. So I won’t be able to have an unbiased conversation there.
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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 09-06-2018, 10:36 PM
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She’s a healthy girl for sure. Bright eyes, full of energy, thick, glossy coat. Her poops are exactly what they should be, and no vomiting or other signs of illness. We settled on Acana after a lot of research, a lot of reading reviews on different sites, and talking to others on this site. Granted, Pepper hasn’t tried it yet, so who knows?

But you might be right that something could be wrong with her current bag. It’s just about time to change it anyway, might as well do it now.

I wish I could ask my vet for her honest opinion on food, but I know she won’t give it. She sells Royal Canin in her office, gets paid by Royal Canin to promote it. She acts like feeding your dog anything else is just shy of animal abuse. So I won’t be able to have an unbiased conversation there.
Yeah, my vet's the same way. He asks me what food I feed my pup and his answer is always, "Never heard of it." and "You should feed any of the foods that you can find at PetSmart/Petco."
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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 09-06-2018, 10:36 PM Thread Starter
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It's also still the summer. Heat usually affects many dogs' appetites too. It did with my previous GSD. With that dog, every summer I would have to "bribe" him to eat with shredded chicken and chicken broth along with his kibble OR canned food.
That...is a definite possibility. Pepper HATES the heat. She frequently sleeps on top of the vent when the AC is blowing, and her favorite things to play with are ice cubes. I hadn’t considered it might be affecting her appetite.
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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 09-06-2018, 11:05 PM
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I agree that they do not like to eat as much in the heat.

Adding a hard boiled egg to the kibble sometimes helps. It is animal protein and about 75 calories, good for the coat.
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