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I have a 2 1/2 year old long coat GSD. He was a very picky eater when he was a puppy, but had a ravenous appetite from 6 months to 1 1/2 years old (when he was doing the bulk of his growing). Since last summer he has been extremely difficult in the feeding department. He has never been fed table scraps only given liver treats when doing training. He has always eaten at the same schedule from 8 weeks old, which is 6:30am & 8:30pm M-F, 8:30am & 8:30pm Sa-Su. He is currently being fed Natures Variety Instinct Dry Dog Food with 2 TBSP of Tripett Venison Tripe. The tripe solved the eating problems all through the winter and spring, but for the past two months it has made no difference. He will eat if coaxed (we tell him to go back to the kitchen to eat) some of the time, but will refuse at least one meal a day...he's averaging only 3 cups of food a day when he should be getting about 5. He is underweight as it is and we are trying to put weight on him, but that's not going well with him not eating. We have tried picking up his meal after 15 minutes or so and not feeding him until the next meal...here's what he does: he will refuse the meal...we take it up...he will eat the next meal...we feed him the next day and he refuses...we take it up...he will eat the next meal...still not getting enough, but eating enough to get by...what do we do? Don't tell me to switch to RAW...I want to but I am doing research first...I want a solution to the problem at hand. :)
 

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I hand feed Jack still :) He forgets sometimes how to eat. We needed to put some weight on Jack after the rescue...he is looking good now....from 64 lbs I believe it was to 85ish. Because he will not eat dry by itself we just feed some canned with small amounts of kibble to up the calories content and get him from his morning meal to his evening meal...he eats at 6:30 am and 6:30 pm.
 

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I figured, that pattern is typical, although some intact males that age have gone threw it already.

It is a natural eating pattern. You might also notice that he is anxious when he isn't eating. Does he ever get up and down looking for a place to sleep?

In any event, it is natural.

The choice of food is yours but I wouldn't use that type of food for a dog that eats 3 cups. He will put on weight if he has a food with a bit more carbohydrates in it. Also, I have never used that food but I remember from a sample the kibble is very small for a large breed dog. Lazy eaters might be better with a bigger kibble.

Up to you.
 

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My guy is the exact same way. The tripe solved our problems until he got tired of it. I figured out that he just likes variety so I feed him the same kibble but buy 5 different flavours of wet food and mix with his food. We buy fish, herring, turkey, lamb, and tripe. Once he finishes one can we move onto the next.

My husband says I'm spoiling him but whenever I called the dog's bluff he refused to eat for two weeks and lost 4 pounds. I worked so hard to put that weight on him due to his digestive issues that I'm not willing to let him lose it over something that I can easily solve.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
fuzzybunny Drake is the same way he will refuse to the point of losing weight. sable123....he gets frequent hotspots and has greasy skin...he is itchy all the time...we have worked our way to this food and see an improvement the more he moves away from all grain sources.
 

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My guy is the exact same way. The tripe solved our problems until he got tired of it. I figured out that he just likes variety so I feed him the same kibble but buy 5 different flavours of wet food and mix with his food. We buy fish, herring, turkey, lamb, and tripe. Once he finishes one can we move onto the next.

My husband says I'm spoiling him but whenever I called the dog's bluff he refused to eat for two weeks and lost 4 pounds. I worked so hard to put that weight on him due to his digestive issues that I'm not willing to let him lose it over something that I can easily solve.
I agree about the variety. My wife is like your hubby about spoiling.
For a full grown GSD that is not VERY active I don't see why 3 cups per day is too little (depending on the calories in the food). My dog is pretty well exercised and she eats 2-3 cups a day.
 

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Can you just alternate between different flavours of wet?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I'm thinking I may add different flavors of the canned version of his food to his dry food and hopefully he won't get bored
 

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I thought I was the only crazy one here, but..... I'm still hand feeding my baby too to get him to eat. He wants people food like baked chicken breasts, etc. I cannot do this all the time, I can't afford it. We found a dry food he loves, Earthborn Primitive. But he won't eat it by himself. But if I feed it to him by the handfuls he will. I want to feed him one meat meal a day and one Earthborn. He's 14 mo old and a little thin to me. I don't want him overweight, just filled out.
 

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What brands of food have you tried that caused a bad reaction?

I'm sorry but 5 cups of food would be a LOT of food even if he was 100lb intact male. Are you sure he's actually underweight and not just lean?
 

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Oh and to Texaspeg, don't expect your dog to fill out until he's 2-3 years old. Even on a full RAW diet, GSD puppies will be lanky and awkward looking until they're roughly 2-3 years old.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
We have fed Canidae, TOTW, Petcurean Go, Natures Logic & now Natures Variety....the only common denominator are grains (that includes oats). He's not just lean...the vet said he needed to gain weight...you can feed his spine and hip bones.
 

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My four year old rescued/adopted male GSD behaves in EXACTLY the same way and I finally found something that will get him to eat his kibble. My Max is 30 inches tall and now weighs about 95 pounds. When rescued, he was closer to 70 pounds - so weight gain was essential.

After determining that he had SIBO at the end of May, we really needed for him to eat. I tried canned cat food, canned dog food, boiled chicken, cooked hamburger, several different cheeses, you name it. What finally got him eating and eating nearly all of every meal was some raw chicken or turkey. He now gets a chicken wing or part of a turkey neck (1/2 or 1/3) in his bowl with his kibble and some canned dog food. Now he eats and eats without being a 95 pound drama queen.
 

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I am going through this EXACT thing with my 14 month old intact male. It makes me worry when he skips meals. He'll come to me and look at his food (TOTW HP), look at me guiltily then slink off into the living room. But by the next meal especially after exercise he'll eat again. I just bought the canned version of his food and plan to substitute half a can for half a cup of food.

I thought maybe the extreme heat was affecting his appetite. Is there a reason why intact males would suddenly change their eating habits?
 

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Which proteins were you using with each brand including the one you're using now? What are his poops like?
 
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