Feeding Problems

Discussion in 'Puppies' started by jmarc, Mar 25, 2009.

  1. jmarc New Member


    My two Shih Tzu's don't seem to like any type of food I give them. I have tried every kind of dry food and many kinds of canned food and they just don't like dog food. They will however eat dry cat food when they get hungry enough. I am thinking of trying raw food next to see if they'll eat that. Any suggestions on what I can do? It's driving me crazy as well as broke.

  2. snooks Experienced Member

    One thing about raw is in transition they may like it browned a bit intitally. I like bravo's buffalo, or I should say my dogs do. There are several protein sources to try but the fattier ones like duck seemed much less appealing to them and gave them some diarrhea. They also like Instinct canned and prefer the red meats over poultry. I also heat the food up a little if it's been in the fridge and add a meat based broth like chicken or beef to the food. Even when I boil livers for treat making I reserve that broth and dilute it with water and add to the food.

    How are you feeding? If you are free feeding that can encourage pickiness. Put the food down for 20 minutes and pick it up until the next meal. Adding a little cottage cheese, yogurt, or ricotta to the food can be very tempting. Just be careful not too much calcium if you are feeding a kibble since they are all high calcium and you have puppies. A small spoonful would be enough. Cooked or raw egg can also be a very tempting addition as can mashed cooked yams or sweet potatoes. I add a little bit of organic unsulphured molasses to the ricotta occasionally too.

    Sometimes competition eating can be detrimental to their food consumption and sometimes it can encourage a picky dog to eat. If you are feeding them separate you could try feeding closer with one crated or you standing right there. I did this for a while with my puppy and it worked pretty well. Now they eat around the corner from one another.

    My puppy is particularly aware of stress. If I don't feel good she doesn't eat as well. If there are stressors around meal times minimizing them can help.
  3. jmarc New Member

    Thanks. I will try those tips and see if I can improve their appetites. They will eat poop with no problem. Their aren't any stressors around meal times except maybe when I'm trying something new and I'm anxious to see if they like it. They have no problems eating together and I guess it's kind of free feed. If they don't eat what I put down I just leave it there. Guess I'll stop that.
  4. fickla Experienced Member

    I agree that you shouldn't free feed as it actually encourages picky eating. I also think 20mn is too generous :) as I would only give them 5mn. They probably won't eat the first time you try it, but a healthy dog isn't going to starve themselves. Just don't give them ANY food till their next meal or they'll fill up on treats, and within a couple meals they should learn that when food is offered EAT.

    If that still isn't working, maybe they don't need as much food as you think they do. Do they look ok? You want to be able to feel ribs easily, if you can't they are eating too much. My corgi is very active and only gets 2/3cup per day, so a shih tzu doesn't need any more than that!

    If they are skinny and simply switching to a schedule doesn't work, then you can use sue ailsby's method of teaching a dog to eat.

    As for switching to raw, go for it! As long as you do your research i think it's great!!! (my dogs aren't on raw, but i would switch in a heartbeat if i had time and money).
  5. snooks Experienced Member

    Yes I should have mentioned you must do your research esp with young dogs in switching to raw. I have a nice book list if you are interested that I have posted before, I'll go find it. It is the compilation of a bunch of experienced friend's recommendations with various ways of feeding part or all raw, home cooked and commercial combos, etc.

    Thanks Fickla. 20 mins is probably too generous for an older puppy. I started out this time with a very picky 8 week old puppy. I give her about 5 minutes now and if she walks off I pick it up. If she's hungry the next time she cleans the bowl. She doesn't starve and she's a good weight. Her whole litter was very picky but they all got past it with no nonsense methods and no free feeding.

    I had a lot of trouble finding a can food I liked that she would eat but the Instinct stuff is really nice. I also like Wellness canned, Prairie, and could dig up my other research if ur want help with canned. I would also go full raw if I weren't having another shoulder surgery and living alone. I can't haul all that stuff for now, cans and raw bravo are easy as are adding some veges, fruit, dairy, and lean meats for treats.

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