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I have a small dog that was eating Purina Pro Plan when we adopted him. He's fairly skinny and never ate much. We used to free feed, and honestly some days went by when it seemed like he didn't eat anything, but he seemed healthy and energetic, so we didn't worry about it too much.

About 4 months ago, we got a recommendation from a friend for a different food, so we thought we'd give it a try. I started mixing it in with his Pro Plan, and suddenly our dog got an appetite. He started eating more, and more regularly. He filled out a bit, his coat looked better, and we felt like we should have changed food a long time ago.

Well, now he's not interested in his kibble anymore. I thought at first that maybe it was because we've given him table scraps or toppers so often that he's just holding out for the good stuff. So I started cutting that out, and put him on a feeding schedule. At one point, he went 36 hours without eating any kibble. I'm starting to think that maybe he just needs some variety.

Sorry for the long intro. Now on to the question: have any of you changed food regularly just to keep it interesting? If so, how often to you make the change, and do you blend foods during the transition periods?
 

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Sophy regularly went off kibble when the bag had been open a week or two - after reading up on what happens as it goes stale and the oils become rancid, let alone the risk of aflatoxins, I sympathised! I moved her onto a tray wet food, and then onto home cooked, which she loves and thrives upon. I think our dogs may often be trying to tell us that a food does not agree with them when they refuse to eat, and we are reluctant to indulge them for fear of creating faddiness. I also think that there is benefit in feeding a range of different foods - more interesting, and less likely to cause problems if one food is unbalanced in some way.
 

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No, I don’t. If you start doing that, there will be no end. If you give table scraps, yes, your dog will wait for the good stuff.

Just pick a food he likes and stick to it, and very little table scraps if tou want him to eat his kibbles. I have an anxious dog who will easily go 48 hours without eating when his routine is disrupted. It’s nothing to worry about as long as it doesn’t happen often.

I free feed here because I’m home so having to go outside is not an issue.

Small dogs tend to be picky, we have to be firm.
 

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My neighbor's Siberian husky did the same thing. He would accept the food, then suddenly not. The dog did not get scraps, or at least not often. They just rotated his food.

I agree that the food you feed may not meet his needs and he should have food rotated. Other than the Pro Plan you don't mention what you have been feeding him. Basically, the more you spend on dog food, the higher quality it is.

Dog Food Analysis - Reviews of kibble compares over 300 dog foods and rates them. See where your food ends up on the scale. You may need to upgrade.
 

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Some people switch foods often for nutritional reasons- not all dry dog foods are created equal. Definitely go by the ingredient list and information of the food analysis rather than price because the more expensive foods aren't always the best (especially the ones loaded with peas and lentils as primary ingredients).

I like sticking to one brand and switching the proteins. I also add in some homecooked items like hamburger, chicken, turkey, and my dogs also get some boiled egg. Sometimes they get that with the food and sometimes alone, but they don't get it all the time because the dry food is their main source of food.

You have a lot of options. You could continue with the food toppers and stick with one brand, or switch out brands every now and again, and maybe try free feeding again. Or just stick with your current schedule and your dog will eat when hungry. I would just say remember to do research on the food you are using and never feed dogs from your plate or from the table- that leads to begging.
 

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My neighbor's Siberian husky did the same thing. He would accept the food, then suddenly not. The dog did not get scraps, or at least not often. They just rotated his food.

I agree that the food you feed may not meet his needs and he should have food rotated. Other than the Pro Plan you don't mention what you have been feeding him. Basically, the more you spend on dog food, the higher quality it is.

Dog Food Analysis - Reviews of kibble compares over 300 dog foods and rates them. See where your food ends up on the scale. You may need to upgrade.
Actually with the DCM problems going on these days, Pro Plan is one of the few foods that might be a little better, even though it’s cheaper. The list of food thought to cause DCM is out, check it out before switching.

I started feeding Pro Plan sensitive stomach specifically for this reason. Others did too.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Some people switch foods often for nutritional reasons- not all dry dog foods are created equal. Definitely go by the ingredient list and information of the food analysis rather than price because the more expensive foods aren't always the best (especially the ones loaded with peas and lentils as primary ingredients).

I like sticking to one brand and switching the proteins. I also add in some homecooked items like hamburger, chicken, turkey, and my dogs also get some boiled egg. Sometimes they get that with the food and sometimes alone, but they don't get it all the time because the dry food is their main source of food.

You have a lot of options. You could continue with the food toppers and stick with one brand, or switch out brands every now and again, and maybe try free feeding again. Or just stick with your current schedule and your dog will eat when hungry. I would just say remember to do research on the food you are using and never feed dogs from your plate or from the table- that leads to begging.
Thanks. I've been thinking of switching anyway, since his food matches the profile of the foods the FDA is warning about - grain-free with peas, chickpeas, potato, etc. I don't want to go back to free-feeding because we're going to be getting a puppy in the not-so-distant future and they will need to have different food for a while.

Honestly I like the idea of feeding the dogs whatever it is that we're eating, but sometimes we go out to eat, or just have a sandwich, and I'm not going to cook specifically for the dogs. So I want to keep the kibble in the mix for the sake of convenience. Maybe I'll go back to mixing in some cooked food, like chicken, ground beef, broth, etc, with his kibble to make it more appetizing for him. My dad used to melt a little butter and pour it on the dog's food when I was little. Maybe it's not very healthy but the dog sure loved it ;)
 

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I don't think there is any harm in adding healthy toppers, although I think I would avoid melted butter - at best very fattening, at worst could trigger pancreatitis!

Good ideas for making kibble more interesting here: DogAware.com: Adding Fresh Foods to Commercial Dog Food
 

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With Mr. Picky, I've been carefully switching since I got him 10 years ago. But I switch between similar diets with a different scent. I try not to go up to something better. If he gets a taste of 'better', there's no going back. So I'm wary.

Dogs have little sense of taste compared to us. But scent?? Oh, ya... that motivates them!

So I pretend I'm a perfumist when he's turning his nose away. Introduce a slightly different scent. Canned Beef and Rice added to his kibble for four days Canned Something Else the next four...

It seems to work fairly well...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
With Mr. Picky, I've been carefully switching since I got him 10 years ago. But I switch between similar diets with a different scent. I try not to go up to something better. If he gets a taste of 'better', there's no going back. So I'm wary.

Dogs have little sense of taste compared to us. But scent?? Oh, ya... that motivates them!

So I pretend I'm a perfumist when he's turning his nose away. Introduce a slightly different scent. Canned Beef and Rice added to his kibble for four days Canned Something Else the next four...

It seems to work fairly well...
So you're mixing in canned food with the dry? In what proportion, approximately?
 

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I find changing the same old brown kibble up with a few T.’s of last night’s chicken or whatever protein we ate, a little yogurt, cottage cheese etc. keeps them interested. Buck’s breeder recommended this approach and it’s been a success for us.
 

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I agree on the butter is a big no. My dog has pancreatitis right now, and I had asked the vet about peanut butter, and she thought I’d said just butter. I could tell she was bit shocked, and said, very emphatically, that butter surely would do it.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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My boy is also somewhat picky and he get zero table scraps. The closest is a piece of cheese )tis bit) as a reward. I feed Victor all life stage (grain free puppy/Adult. He likes this food however I have always added in a heaping tablespoon of propane canned, On occasion he will also get some toppers of Instinct raw dehydrated. I use those as treats. He is not a food or treat motivated dog most days. I also think the cottage cheese and yogurt are good toppers. I haven't had that yet but I may try it.
 

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So you're mixing in canned food with the dry? In what proportion, approximately?
Every time I pick up more canned, it's always different taste mixes from the same manufacturer.

Two cups of kibble to half a can of wet. But always he'll eat a bit then eventually refuse to eat the rest. So lately, I've cut back to one cup of kibble to 1/4 - 1/3 can of wet.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Every time I pick up more canned, it's always different taste mixes from the same manufacturer.

Two cups of kibble to half a can of wet. But always he'll eat a bit then eventually refuse to eat the rest. So lately, I've cut back to one cup of kibble to 1/4 - 1/3 can of wet.
Thanks. I had tried mixing canned with dry before, but I used a lot more canned than you do, and my dog started having digestive issues. I may try it again with a lower proportion of wet food.

I tried mixing a heaping spoonful of Greek yogurt in with his kibble this morning, and he gobbled it up. I think I'll have to just try more things like this to make the food more appetizing without adding a lot of calories to it.
 

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Mine is picky. Very picky and I swear he gets tired of food after a few months.

For the last several months I've been feeding him STella & Chewy Lil Bites (they're new) which are like the mixers for small dogs. i bought Beef and Duck. I give him the beef daily and rotate in the duck once a week or so. I give it to him dry because he may not eat when I give it and it goes bad after 2 hours.

I also toss in a bit of Castor and Pollux chicken & sweet potato kibble because never wanted kibble, but at some at my neighbors house.

I'm thinking he has now gotten tired of it. I'm holding firm though. Issue is that he ends up eating his daily ration of food between 7:30 & 9:30pm. I don't like that he eats so late, nor that he is on an empty stomach all day. But I'm not going to convince him to eat. When he's starved, he eats. I'm hoping that he'll eventually get the message.

We do not give him any people food in our house. If we eat out, he gets tiny bites of whatever we're eating. He does get people food at my dad's, who has spoiled him rotten.
 

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I have a small dog that was eating Purina Pro Plan when we adopted him. He's fairly skinny and never ate much. We used to free feed, and honestly some days went by when it seemed like he didn't eat anything, but he seemed healthy and energetic, so we didn't worry about it too much.



About 4 months ago, we got a recommendation from a friend for a different food, so we thought we'd give it a try. I started mixing it in with his Pro Plan, and suddenly our dog got an appetite. He started eating more, and more regularly. He filled out a bit, his coat looked better, and we felt like we should have changed food a long time ago.



Well, now he's not interested in his kibble anymore. I thought at first that maybe it was because we've given him table scraps or toppers so often that he's just holding out for the good stuff. So I started cutting that out, and put him on a feeding schedule. At one point, he went 36 hours without eating any kibble. I'm starting to think that maybe he just needs some variety.



Sorry for the long intro. Now on to the question: have any of you changed food regularly just to keep it interesting? If so, how often to you make the change, and do you blend foods during the transition periods?


Interesting.. Maybe try making a homemade food? We made “Essex Cottage Farms” homemade food... Great brand, all our dogs have been super healthy and none of them got bored of it! :) if you’re not up for making homemade and want to stick to kibble - I know pet stores here (in Canada) sell a dehydrated raw dog food that you can either feed on its own (with or without a little water mixed in) or you can break the bits up into a kibble topper. Always do transitions gradually as it can sometimes create an upset tummy if the new food is very different.

Question: how long do you wait before you switch up his food once he’s lost interest?


 

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Well, I've only changed his food once after we got him - we just thought he didn't want to eat much. We only changed his food because we thought it was better quality, and then when we saw him start to eat more, we realized he probably just didn't like his old food. Now he's back to eating minimal amounts of the new food unless I mix something in with it. He's an 8-pound dog and only eats about 60g (1/2 cup?) of kibble on a good day.
 

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Keep in mind, Eric, that a dog can smell a tablespoon of sugar in a swimming pool. It doesn't take much 'additive' to create an interesting scent.

And wear your chef's hat while you're 'creating'. ;)
 

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I feed Fromm Four Star dry food. It's one of the few that you can change whenever you want. We get a "different" flavor every time we get a bag. There are a couple that Lilly does not care for so we skip those now. The food does not give her any digestive issues - and they formulate it for that reason - to not give tummy trouble.

As far as "people" food........she goes crazy for watermelon! She will gladly come into the kitchen when she hears me slice it open! Usually she avoids the slippery floor! Carrots, green beans, some fruit - those are the only people food we ever give her. No bite of hamburger/french fries, etc. Only healthy people food makes it in to her tummy.
 
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