Enthusiastic eater to loss of appetite? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-04-2012, 10:21 AM Thread Starter
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Enthusiastic eater to loss of appetite?

My puppy who is almost 1 year old this saturday has always been a very enthusiastic eater. When i would ask her if she was "hungry?" she would knock over anybody in her way or almost go through walls to run to her crate and await her food. She's always had the same routine of eating around 6a/6p. She's been on Blue Buffalo for a long time, and would eat 2 cups in the am and 2 cups in the pm. I would mix the food with a little bit of hot water and she would always lick the bowl clean.

Right before Halloween she about all near stopped eating. I thought it may clear up a day or two later, but after nearly a week her appetite seemed to have disappeared. Her energy levels and spirit seemed the same, and she was always down to play or walk. I thought maybe she got tired of the same flavor for months on end (Lamb and Oatmeal - Puppy formula), and of course i just bought a new 30lb bag. So i picked up a new flavor for her, BB Fish and sweet potato, meanwhile switching to the adult formula. I planned to do a 14 day switch over, mixing in the new flavor as to not upset her stomach. But as i did this everyday, she still wouldnt eat. I thought she could still taste the Lamb being mixed in so finally i started giving her 100% of the new stuff, and her appetite picked up a bit, here and there. Meanwhile, i also stopped mixing it with the hot water, so i could leave it out longer for her and it wouldnt get soggy, in hopes she would get hungry and go back to heat more. Sometimes she would...

I dont know what to do, and i am getting pretty worried. I should probably take her to the vet for testing? Is this somewhat normal? Her growth has definitely slowed down nearing the 1 yr mark, could her appetite be changing as well? She is not spayed yet, but did complete one heat cycle. We are still active....but not as much as during the summer. Still play in the yard multiple times a day 15-30 minutes, and multiple walks, as well of lots of playing in the house, so its not like she just sleeps 20 hrs a day with no activity... Also a small ~3 mile hike off leash at least once a week, and playtime w/ other dogs. This whole time her stool has been 'normal' and firm, and i have checked it a few times and could not seem any worms visible.

Should i try a different brand of food? I started her off on INnova when she came home at 8 weeks, and a similar thing happened, so thats when i switched to blue buffalo, and she has seemed to love it this whole time, until now...


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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-04-2012, 11:23 AM
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Our girl is the definition of 'picky eater' so I feel your pain. Yes, I do think that dogs (especially our shepherds) go through phases with food. Right now, Suki is eating 2 meals a day without hesitation but other times she will go days turning down every other meal. It can be frustrating, but don't be alarmed. If your dog's energy level is staying the same and there is no noticeable weight loss - why take a trip to the vet? If it would ease your mind, you might want to call and ask for the vet's advice.

What has worked for us during these cycles is not changing foods, but simply not offering 2 meals a day. When puppies start evolving into adulthood, their needs change and they may not be as ferociously hungry as they were when they were puppies. If Suki doesn't seem interested in breakfast - we take it away and she waits until dinner. When dinner is put down, she gobbles it. We don't freak out (anymore) if she skips a meal. She might just not be hungry.

If she turns down her second meal, sometimes I will give her a tiny piece of bland chicken to get her going and then she realizes, 'oh yea - I am hungry!'. The worst thing you can do it try to cater to your pup's every whim. When we started noticing Suki's picky behavior we only made it worse by buying all sorts of 'special treats' to put in her food, cooking 'people food' to mix in, and hand feeding. Finally our vet said to us, "She will eat when she is hungry - quit all the crap!" So we did. And she's just fine...One year old and a healthy 70 pounds!

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-04-2012, 11:43 AM
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It's probably just a phase. Puppies are ALWAYS hungry because they are growing so fast, but after a year of age, growth slows way down and so the appetite slows down too.

Did this change in appetite coincide with her cycle? Some bitches will go off their food at this time, some have other behavioral changes, some don't act any different at all, but there are hormonal changes going on.

If she isn't losing weight, I wouldn't worry about it. Just feed her normally, without adding a bunch of stuff that will make her into a picky eater.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-04-2012, 11:54 AM
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I would take your dog to the vet and get some blood/urine tests. If anything it will put your mind at ease and save you the frustration of buying different kibble until one works. Don't want to alarm you, but our 8 yr old gsd mix did this and we found out she had cancer. Her blood was normal but urine slightly off.

If health is good, maybe try a different type of food, like feeding raw? An easy way to get into that is with dehydrated raw, I think there are a few varieties, we use Honest Kitchen.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-04-2012, 05:21 PM
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kyra did this when she was young, turned out my daughters were sneaking her some table food. kyra is now thirteen and still will not eat until a little something is added to her food. and if my now 20+ year old daughters are home, she still wont eat unless they add something.
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