“Picky Eater”

Sharron emailed me with a question about her 3 year old Yorkie/Chihuahua X female.  She wrote telling me that her dog is healthy, except she is about 1 lbs over weight.  Her dog is a picky eater and only likes soft dog food.  She was told that she should be taking her dog off soft dog food and feeding her dog hard, because it is better for the dogs teeth.  She started to feed her dog Orijen but was told to take her off that as well because of Orijen being high in protein, she was told small breeds are not supposed to eat a lot of protein.  Her dog doesn’t like veggies or fruit either.  She wanted me to give any suggestions on what she should feed her dog.

This is my response to her:

Since your dog is a bit overweight and not underweight I wouldn’t worry so much about pleasing her appetite.  That is a concern if the dog is underweight.  It seems you have found a food that seems to work for the time being – or a system of nutrition, since it appears there is a combination of things you are feeding her that seem to meet her needs (Nature’s Balance and supplementing can food and Orijen).  So your request is really, how can things be made easier for feeding time.  Dogs need time for their digestive systems to adjust to their food regimen, and they do better with consistency.  Now that you have found something that works, stick to it with only minor adjustments.  You may want to increase the Nature’s Balance and decrease the other two gradually until she is happy with only Nature’s Balance ( a complete diet in itself).  One thing that some fussy dog’s appreciate (especially those who prefer the moist over the dry food) is to soak some dry food in boiling water (just enough to cover the food) so that it becomes puffy, has a better odor and is easier on the roof of the pups mouth when eating.  The nutritional content is the same, but the eating experience is more pleasant.  The food does not stick to the teeth like canned food will, because the texture is somewhat more granual.  Don’t forget to use some other chew device for teeth cleaning on a regular basis if your dog is eating less hard food.  Wrap gauze around your finger and gently rub back and forth inside your dogs mouth, rubbing her teeth like you would when you brush her teeth.  You can also use a little bit of baking soda on the gauze as well and it will help polish her teeth.  Plus you should have your dogs teeth cleaned by a Veterinarian once a year.  Even if you brush your dogs teeth, you can’t get to the back teeth properly and plaque will build up, causing cavities. This will keep their teeth and gums strong.  Honestly, don’t feel bad, many owners have had the same difficulty with feeding their dogs, especially the smaller breeds.  When it comes to monitoring your dog’s weight, use increased excercise and a slightly less quantity of food available each day to achieve the optimal weight.  And remember to praise your dog during mealtimes – perhaps even feed her when you are eating too – so she feels included.  Keep her water fresh and available at all times.

You’re doing great.  Keep it up.


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