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My dog doesn't seem to like his food....

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My dog doesn't seem to like his food....
  • My golden/lab mix will be 1 year old next week.  Ever since I got him he has gobbled down his food like there is no tomorrow.  I had him on Nutro Adult large-breed Lamb and rice from about 4.5 months (vet said to put him on adult food) until about a month or so ago when we switched him over to Natural Balance Premium (the one that has multiple types of meat in it).  I felt good about this switch as I know its better for him.  He has gone through 1 large bag already and is a ways into the second and lately doesn't want to eat it anymore.  Instead of gobbling it up as soon as it hits the floor, he hesitates, or knudges his towels into it (we feed him in his crate that is lined with towels) and will only eat it with encouragement.  He even reguritated it one morning right after eating it.  Deposited it all in one lump on the rug, not digested.  (that may have been due to stress as my husband and I were arguing that morning).  I was worried he might be sick since a friend gave him a rawhide, so as an experiment I put a drop of NB dog roll broken up in his dinner and then he ate it up after not eating it at first.  He is otherwise happy and healthy.  I think he just doesn't like this food!  I don't want to teach him to be a picky eater by giving in to him, but if he really doesnt' like it, I'd rather switch gradually to something he does like.  I'm not going to throw out over 20 pounds of food, but I'd be happy to mix it in with another NB variety like Venison, or Duck etc.  Is this the right thing to do? Or do I need to just play tough love with him? This morning he ate some of it, after encouragement, but did not finish it.  This has been going on for about 2 weeks now. 
  • Well thats a toughie, if he plain just dosnt like it maybe a swicth to another brand might be for the best. I hear its not such a good idea to switch their foods around a bunch so hopefully you two can agree on one, ha ha! We were visitting a friends house and Rory got to the crappy Alpo food before I could pick it up, the brat! But ooh did she love it! She was a year in January so I started mixing some wet food in once or twice a week just as a treat for her. Its the same brand of her dry food! Good luck
  • On the one hand I want to say "listen to your dog" because my own dogs do not seem to do well on foods with multiple protein sources and google of other different ingredients.  They do well on one protein/one carb source.
    A switch might be in order.
    On the other hand, I have created picky eaters by continually switching and handfeeding and what not.  Now if I have a dog skip a meal (very very rare these days!) I pick up the bowl and they wait til the next meal.  However, if my dog were throwing up the food, I'd suspect there's something in there irritating to his tummy and would look for an alternative.
    Not all dogs do great on the 'everything but the kitchen sink' formulated foods. And as good as the holistic type foods are purported to be, they don't work for all dogs.

    Good luck.
  • He only regurgitated it that one day - and immediately after eating - so technically  I think that is regurgitation, not vomitting and I'm hoping that was due to stress.  But I'm glad to hear you say its ok for me to try another food.  I just dont' want to create a picky eater.  I've been reading a lot about people causing picky eaters by mixing stuff in.  He loves the NB dog rolls and I could easily throw a little on top of his food, but that seems to be a slippery slope to start down!  Of the other NB varieties, does anyone have a favorite? 
  • Could you be over feeding and he's just not hungry? 
  • I thought we might be so we cut it down - He was on 4 cups of Nutro, so we started him at just under 4 cups of the NB - Now I give him a rounded cup and a half in the morning, and a cup and 3/4 at night )so 3 1/4 cups vs. 4.  If it were an appetite thing, I'd expect him to gobble it up and then stop - vs. not wanting to start eating it at all, and nudging his towel into it.  He even ate 2 breakfasts a few weeks ago when I didn't know that my husband had already fed him - he used to eat like there was no tomorrow.  Maybe hitting 1 year old is changing his appetite, I dont' know.  But he seems super hesitant to eat his food when he used to try to eat it out of the bowl before I even put it down!
  • Maybe you should go back to what he likes.  I would figure out if he is getting enough Kcals.  Also check to see if you are feeding more then before, are the protein levels higher?
  • ORIGINAL: madmax

     Maybe hitting 1 year old is changing his appetite, I dont' know.  But he seems super hesitant to eat his food when he used to try to eat it out of the bowl before I even put it down!
    Since I have not had a puppy in many years I'm not sure about a change in appetite at one year.  But I think it could be possible, maybe he wants to eat once a day now.  If this problem continues I would see your vet to make sure there is nothing medically wrong.
  • My dogs did the EXACT same thing on Natural Balance, I don't know why but they just don't like it anymore.  I used the rest of the rolls for training.
    I would change foods if it were me.
  • Well he just ate his dinner!  I gave him some extra since he hardly ate any breakfast and he ate it up.  So I guess if he is hungry, he will eat.  Maybe I'll try the venison and brown rice formula. 
  • On the Nutro you were feeding, the kcals were 408 kcals/cup if we're talking about an 8 oz cup. 4 to 4.5 cups is about right for a 1 year old lab, averaging 50 to 60 pounds. He would need approx 1700 to 1750 kcals per day. Since you are determined not to go back to Nutro, I would suggest that whatever food you feed him provide approx the same amount of kcals. Whatever he eats, it should provide that range of metabolized energy (ME) in a day.
    Labs can weigh more than 60 pounds in adulthood, at around age 3. So, as he gets older and gains adult weight, his kcals will go up a little. 65 kcals/kg of mass in an adult active dog. 60 lbs is 27 kg. 27 kg times 65 kcals/kg = 1755 kcals per day.
  • I might also say that some dogs are like that. Maddi's not really "big" into her kibble if you know what I mean. I personally, now, mix in yogurt or canned because she had gotten to skinny for my taste and I wanted her to eat. Now, if she doesn't eat w/ the yogurt or canned, I pick up the food until meal time roles around again. Some days, especially when she has been inactive, she wants very little to do with her food.
    As for changing foods. I wouldn't unless you have a problem w/ Natural Balance or would like to try another food.
  • Its not that I"m determined not to go back to Nutro - I just through the NB was better food and I can get it at Petco vs. a fancy dog store and its reasonably priced.  I could look into other premium foods too.  Or even go back to Nutro - he seemed fine on it.  I just don't want to create a picky eater.  He ate this morning fine too.  So I guess he has his good days and bad days.  Thanks for the KCals - I'll have to see if I can figure out the NB KCals unless you know them too?  Last time I weight Max he was 67 pounds - that was about 2 weeks ago.