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Hello! This is my first post in the forum and I am glad to have found this community.

We have owned Chance since he was 3 months old and he has always been an extremely picky eater. We have tried several types of dry kibble. He seemed to like Taste of the Wild, but this lasted for maybe one day and he would then eat it intermittently. We have tried a variety of popular dry food and wet food and he either turns his nose up or he eats it briefly.

We also own cats and Chance will eat the wet cat food and the dry cat food, but not consistently enough. Our vet said that it was fine for him to eat cat food, but we don't want to feed him that type of food. He also likes Pupperoni and Smart Bones, but obviously those are treats and not nutritious enough.

Chance is susceptible to gastritis and during that visit to the vet, he was given Science Diet wet food for digestive health. Again, he refused to eat it (literally he will turn his head away from the food or walk or move away from it as if it disgusts him).

We have never owned a dog who would not eat steak, roast, chicken or any other people food consistently. I read a lot of the posts to see the type of food some of the poodle owners feed their babies and it looks like trial and error or a variety of foods. I don't want to buy bags and bags of different food. I would like to try and acquire samples of food first.

Any advice/suggestions are greatly appreciated!


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First I can empathize. Lily has had a history of being a picky eater as has my mom's mpoo.

Next I am pretty surprised your vet thought it was okay for Chance to eat cat food. I generally think cat food is not nutritionally appropriate for dogs and the reverse also is true. Cats are obligate carnivores but dogs aren't. So I think you have to find a way to get Chance to eat dog food.

Perhaps he doesn't like what he is offered because it is aggravating to his gastritis.

Here are a couple of ideas (not all exclusive of each other). 1. Let him free feed. 2. Feed wet food mixed with kibble of brands and flavors he likes. 3. Since he has some history of digestive upset get a NutriScan analysis done to make sure he is not intolerant of anything you are trying to get him to eat and switch brands based on that or switch to hom cooking based on the NutriScan results.
 

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I have to second the free feed idea. Zephyr was also very picky, has gotten better since being neutered but still will not eat on a schedule. When he was younger he would not eat kibble at all, now he eats it quite well, but only if it is left out for him. He eats quite a lot at night, usually his bowl is empty in the morning.

Everything I have read also says that cat food is not nutritionally appropriate for dogs.
 

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I sympathize with you - while Poodle Kid is not as difficult as others, I have had extremely picky eaters who would constantly look anorexic even (although generally healthy) just very skinny.
I yet have to see the dog that doesn't like Stella and Chewy's raw freeze dried patties. This is currently about 50% of what Louie eats - the rest is actual raw food. Depending on the size of your Poodles this may or may not be an option. I am recommending the S&C patties not the raw feeding - which is something that takes a lot of work and planning and commitment. I used to feed Taste of the Wild for a while (eons ago) and was then quite pleased with the quality. Free-feeding is a good idea - because that way you get to observe the natural eating habits of your dog (you may just have been offering food at the wrong times). My Poodle for some reason (unlike any other dog I have had) will not eat in the morning at all, but will eat about 80% of his food intake last thing at night... except on days when he comes to the office with me where he will take a light lunch...Poodle antics!
 

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As you say he is subject to fits of gastritis, I wonder if he is intolerant of one or more common ingredients - it is certainly very unusual for a dog to refuse roast chicken and steak, but if he associates them with stomach pain it would be understandable. Sophy used to enjoy kibble for a few days, then decide it smelled stale, but has never refused chicken! I think I would try a limited ingredient food, perhaps home prepared, adding more variety very gradually and avoiding those things that he is already reluctant to eat. Does he like eggs, or fish perhaps?
 

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nola siren

We have owned Chance since he was 3 months old and he has always been an extremely picky eater. We have tried several types of dry kibble. He seemed to like Taste of the Wild, but this lasted for maybe one day and he would then eat it intermittently.
Thanks so much for starting this discussion. Rocky isn't as bad but he did drop 1.2lbs in the last month and my groomer commented that he's 'ribby' - there's a dip between each rib. Yet he's very energetic. Did a vet checkup and the vet recommended free feeding him.

Getting food samples: Some pet stores have free samples. Some dog food companies will mail free samples. If you catch the dog food sales rep at the pet store, they will gladly hand out free samples.

One thing that seems to be working in the last 2 weeks is alternating the following:
1. Pour a bit of warm water over dry kibble
2. Adding PureBites chicken or turkey to dry kibble. I called the company and they suggested the max daily serving of two large pieces twice a day. I take one large piece and cut it into multiple tidbits and add a bit to his food as he eats. I don't add it all at one time or he would eat all the PureBits first and leave his kibble.
 

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When I was working my way through college, the veterinarian I worked for admitted the he fed his Afghan cat food when it was being picky. When I asked if that would be okay for my dog, he replied that he didn't know, since his Afghan had died. Oh yeah, vet humor of this type is not often shared with real clients, ha-ha!
 

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When Buck was a puppy, I misinterpreted his preferred eating style, which was a mouthful here and there between mischief as being picky. His breeder recommended a small topper, like minced cooked chicken, a bit of egg, cottage cheese etc. to keep the same old kibble interesting. Some PF toy owners mention kibble size preferences. I hope you can rule out any allergies or intolerances. Keep him away from the cat food:)
 

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Pancreatitis is terrible, and feeding many cat foods to a dog unfortunately can up the chances of encountering the problem.

Do consider the Nutriscan. It seems expensive at the outset, but amortized over the years, I've no doubt it will save in the long run.
 

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Are you certain you heard your vet say it was okay to let your poodle eat cat food? I’m pretty certain the vet would have told you not to let him eat cat food. It’s too high in fat and protein and can cause pancreatitis in dogs. My tpoo developed pancreatitis from snacking on cat food after eating her dog food. You don’t ever want your dog to suffer from pancreatitis, it’s awful to see your dog suffer and they can die from it. A few pieces as a kibble topper is probably okay for dogs that tolerate it but any thing more should be completely avoided.

I’m also wondering if your dog’s bouts of gastritis are related either to eating cat food or a food allergy/intolerance. It may also play a role in being a picky eater if food causes discomfort when eaten.

Has there been a pattern of when he gets gastritis? My minipoo has ulcerative colitis and I know if she even gets a tiny amount of fish or a fatty treat like hot dog she will have an attack the next morning between 2-4 am with bloody vomit and/or diarrhea. Because I’ve figured out the triggers and what is safe to eat I can avoid her being sick. When she only eats her safe food she’s 100% healthy. I’m thinking if you can figure out the triggers for your dogs gastritis you may also solve some of the pickiness over food as well avoid further attacks.

Also where I live there are several privately owned pet food stores that are known to work with owners of pets with food problems. They offer free samples or will refund the cost of food if the dogs refuse to eat it. My vet does the same with prescription pet food. I don’t know if the chains like petsmart do this or not, but worth looking into if you have these options near you. I worked with one of these type places to find training treats that my dog could tolerate. The owners tend to be very knowledgeable about what the ingredients are and seriously interested in helping.
 
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I have to second the free feed idea. Zephyr was also very picky, has gotten better since being neutered but still will not eat on a schedule. When he was younger he would not eat kibble at all, now he eats it quite well, but only if it is left out for him. He eats quite a lot at night, usually his bowl is empty in the morning.
This was Sage as well. Same as others, no food in the morning, only a little at lunch after a walk. If I walked him after work he would maybe eat a mouthful while I was at work and not drink any water. Regardless of whether or not we do the biggest walk after work or in the mornings, 80% of his food was eaten at night. I had to free feed him. I was doing all the training like they said in the books when he was a puppy and only leaving meals out for 1/2 hour but he wasn’t gaining weight.
He still eats most of the food at night. I think he likes it when I’m around and cooking and eating as well. He’s a social eater!! Free feeding, or putting delicious canned food/meat/cheese as a topper on his morning kibble helps him eat more if I want him to eat in the morning for some reason.
 

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Adding water to dry dog food and heating it sometimes makes it more appetizing. And I agree with allowing the food to be out the entire day.
 

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I sympathize with you - while Poodle Kid is not as difficult as others, I have had extremely picky eaters who would constantly look anorexic even (although generally healthy) just very skinny.
I yet have to see the dog that doesn't like Stella and Chewy's raw freeze dried patties. This is currently about 50% of what Louie eats - the rest is actual raw food. Depending on the size of your Poodles this may or may not be an option. I am recommending the S&C patties not the raw feeding - which is something that takes a lot of work and planning and commitment. I used to feed Taste of the Wild for a while (eons ago) and was then quite pleased with the quality. Free-feeding is a good idea - because that way you get to observe the natural eating habits of your dog (you may just have been offering food at the wrong times). My Poodle for some reason (unlike any other dog I have had) will not eat in the morning at all, but will eat about 80% of his food intake last thing at night... except on days when he comes to the office with me where he will take a light lunch...Poodle antics!
My picky eater is very similar. He will eat anything I give him at 9pm but argues with me at dinner time :)

I also give him a mixture of S&C and Primal. He won't touch kibble.
 

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For nearly a year I have ripped out my hair trying to find something my TPoo will eat regularly.

I think I managed to finally figure it out....

I give him about 8-10 S&C beef meal mixers in the morning - dry. I put them down where he usually has his snack. Sometimes he eats them, sometimes he doesn't, and sometimes he'll wait until 1pm. At 2pm I take them away.

For dinner, I give him 1 S&C beef patty, 1 Primal Beef nugget, and 1 Primal Pork nugget. I rehydrate with Castor & Pollux Pristine Bone broth (without tumeric) or the bone broth I made myself. I then take some freeze dried chicken liver, pulverize it between my fingers and sprinkle it all over his food.

[2x a week I substitute duck with a chicken nugget & chicken bone broth.

He eats. Sometimes I have to let him taste it from my fingers, but more often than not, he will eat on his own. Sometimes I have to put it down in his snacking spot.

But he's eating. Regularly. Thank goodness. Sometimes I have to convince him to eat, but he eats. It took long enough and my trials and tribulations are memorialized in this forum.

Since he will readily eat anything I give him at 9pm, I really wonder if that's when I should be feeding him.
 

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Mimi likes to “trade up” by suddenly refusing food that I know she likes and thrives on, but after falling for it several times (and giving her diarrhea from too many food changes) I put my foot down. She eats better than we do for crying out loud, her with a bowl full of Primal Beef Nuggets and Stella&Chewy GooseDuckGoose... and me with my cheese sandwich.


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Mimi likes to “trade up” by suddenly refusing food that I know she likes and thrives on, but after falling for it several times (and giving her diarrhea from too many food changes) I put my foot down. She eats better than we do for crying out loud, her with a bowl full of Primal Beef Nuggets and Stella&Chewy GooseDuckGoose... and me with my cheese sandwich.
Exactly. Our little guy definitely eats better than us. We even give him "dessert" after he finishes eating - a little bit of plain yogurt and 2 frozen cherries. Both of which he loves.

I've essentially put my foot down as well. If he refuses to eat, I pick it up and put it in the refrigerator. I offer it again about 30 minutes later, or after we have had our dinner. If he keeps refusing it I put it away again. Around 8:30 or 9pm he realizes I'm not kidding and he will eat whatever I put down.

I really do wonder if I'm not better off feeding him late at night rather than at our dinner time.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I apologize for not responding, but life has been crazy! I finally found a food Chance consistently likes and it is Stella & Chewy's lil bites little chicken little! I crumple it up and he loves it! I appreciate all of your guidance!

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Stella and Chewy's has nice protein options to switch it up. Louie loves the Rabbit, Turkey and Venison one and will eat the Beef and Surf and Turf. He eats the freeze dried stuff crumbled and dry with water on the side - believe me I have tried to moisten it with everything - he likes it dry - but will drink afterwards...and he still eats at night when we have dinner - almost not at all at any other time of the day.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Chance really likes the chicken and I bought the Meal Mixer Superblends grass-fed beef, but he turned his nose up at it. I think I will stick with the chicken for now.


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