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Gilligan is now 10 months old. The vet says he's the picture of health even though he's a fussy eater and is most likely full grown. He weighs 6.7 pounds as of yesterday.

I have followed the feeding calculator on the Primal website, which, BTW, is an excellent site, and fed him the recommended number of calories for the puppy stage, which was around 250 per day. For the last month or so, and after the I spoke with the vet, she said he could drop down to around 190 calories per day since he wasn't growing any longer.

He was being super fussy and refused to eat any of the Primal flavors, so the vet gave me the go ahead to let him starve :) He had 1 meal in 3 days, and after that, I was able to get at least 1 meal into him a day, and now he's taking 2 meals again. He loves the duck flavor.

He is active, but mostly at night when his playmate comes home from work :)

What is your opinion of the number of calories? At what point do I reduce to adult levels, which, according to Primal is about 135 calories a day for a dog his weight. I'm afraid he won't get enough food. As it is now, 190 calories a day is about 1 cup per day. 130 will bring it down to 3/4c.

Also, since we brought him home, he always asks for a bedtime snack. We give him Instinct Mixers as a snack, and he gets excited and runs to his snack spot when I get them out. He generally gets about 10 a night, which is probably 20 calories worth. We also give him a few puppy milk bones a day. I wish he would be as excited about his food as he is about getting those mixers at 9 or 10 pm :) I would feed him the mixers, but the bag states that it is not intended to be used as food. The Stella & Chewy mixers can be used as food, but he's not that crazy about them.

Your thoughts on this as well.

I have found this site and the advice I've been getting invaluable. Thank you all so much.
 

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Ok, so I’m going to start off by saying that, when it comes to feeding the dogs, I am a vet worst enemy. Not really, but if you asked a vet about the way I feed my dogs they would tell you it’s all wrong. What I do is called “free feeding” where there is a bowl of food on the floor all the time. Most people will tell you that that is how you get a fat dog, but most people tell me my dogs are skinny.
Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, your dog is not stupid, if he’s not hungry he won’t eat, if he’s hungry he’ll eat.
Just think about it, if he doesn’t eat as many calories as he’s “supposed to” what’s the worst thing that can happen? He’ll get skinny. So? As long as he has the option to eat, I don’t think he’ll starve himself.

Also, I know when I was getting my first dog, George, the breeder told me that her poodles were very picky eaters. She told me that you are not supposed to feed them human food if any kind because they won’t eat their food. She had to add hot dogs to the bowl of dog food to get them to eat.
My dogs eat anything I give them, and then they go eat their own food when they get hungry.
 

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Thanks. I can’t free feed because raw can only be left out for 2 hours. So if he doesn’t immediately eat, I put it away. He now eats when I give it to him most of the time. Starving him was tough, but it apparently worked to some extent.
 

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There is nothing wrong with free feeding unless you have a glutton. Our dogs were free fed for many years when they ate kibble but now that I feed them home cooked they are fed two meals a day.


More to the OP's question, my mom's mpoo can be a picky eater and whenever he stays at our house and doesn't eat within 10-15 minutes the first day and less than that after the first day I let one of my poodles eat his food in front of him. The knowledge that food will not be his for long is a great motivator. He always goes home eating very well. If you need to make sure he eats his meals completely and promptly then take his food away after 5-10 minutes. A healthy dog will eat and not starve itself unless the food is bad.
 
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