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- By uk_boerboels [gb] Date 28.06.11 14:25 GMT
Does anybody know how long you can starve a dog for before the lack of food starts to do some damage?
Factual stuff would be great but if anyones got any experience of their dog not eating i'd like to hear your stories.

- By Carrington Date 28.06.11 15:20 GMT
When you say starve a dog, that suggests purposely withholding food?

I think we need more information people can starve a dog if it has diarrhorea for instance but for 24 hours

People may starve a dog to make it aggressive.

I think we need more info why?
- By freelancerukuk [gb] Date 28.06.11 15:21 GMT
It's a slightly odd question. Do you mean can a dog be taken off food for a few days because it has a digestive complaint? For most healthy dogs the answer would be yes, but it must have water.

If you mean how long can a dog stay alive without food then again, much depends on the health of the dog and how big it is. As an average I've heard seven days- before organs start to shut down, but much would depend on the individual and, of course, one would not want to try it. In all of this one would assume the dog has access to water. They can go little time without water.
- By freelancerukuk [gb] Date 28.06.11 15:22 GMT

I agree, having answered, perhaps too quickly, I too would like to know why the question?
- By dogs a babe Date 28.06.11 16:05 GMT
Is that how long can you?  Or how long should you?

The latter presupposes that you are withholding food for the benefit of the dog - after diarrhoea, surgery, or for other dietary reasons.  In those circumstances I would do it for 24 hours only unless on the advice of a vet, although I can't think of many reasons why they would advocate starving a dog for longer.

If you want to know how long it's possible for a dog to survive if food is withheld (very odd question) then that would depend greatly on the condition of the dog and whether it had access to water.   I do not believe any dog would starve itself unless there were other contributing medical factors so if you are concerned about a dog in this condition then a vet is the first port of call.  Some dogs can manage on smaller portions than we'd like, and others can be resistant to food if they've learnt to be fussy or just don't fancy it.  A lot of dogs will refuse meals during warmer weather, and boys will avoid eating if the have an in-season bitch nearby but I've never heard of a case where a dog would ever really starve itself.  If one of my dogs refused food for 2 meals in a row, that's when I'd start to worry - partly because it would be so out of character!  A different dog I might allow to miss 3 meals but even then I'd be looking for other reasons...

Do you have any specifics you can share?  Is one of your dogs refusing to eat?
- By Nova Date 28.06.11 16:25 GMT
Agree need more info. To withhold solid food may be an expected treatment for some conditions but that is different from withholding nourishment.

If this is, and one hopes it is, a case of a dog refusing to eat then that dog should see a vet, if all is well otherwise then the dog can be given an infection to improve the appetite.

If it is because the dog is recovering from some illness or operation then I would think liquidising tasty food and serving every hour or so would be a good idea.

If this is withholding food for any other reason I would suggest it should only be done under the supervision of a specialist in canine nutrition.

In nature to go with out for a day would not be unusual but then they may well have eaten best part of a whole large prey the day before and know where the rest is hidden.
- By uk_boerboels [gb] Date 28.06.11 16:57 GMT Edited 28.06.11 17:04 GMT
My apologies, i should've been more specific but i didn't want to type out a lengthy question.

Basically one of my males has been an awkward bugger over the last 8-9 months and i''ve had enough of it now.
I read a thread on another dog forum about someone who had a particularly fussy dog that was really testing his patience, and after trying all the usual suggestions he finally decided to starve his dog, deny it food when it wanted it, and make it "want" to eat what it was given. He wouldn't say how long he did it for, but apparently it worked. It sounds a bit risky to me, hence why i'm looking into the effects of starvation first.

About my dog.
He is wormed regularly and was done about 4 weeks ago. He lives a very clean lifestyle and doesn't get the chance to eat strange things outside.

He has just gone through 2 female seasons (back to back) so the obvious cause would be that, however, he had started doing this long before these seasons started and he's starting to get worse now.

I'll admit that previously i did do things to try and find something he liked, i changed his feed about 4 times and each time he would eat for about 3 months before he stopped again, then i would add in chicken, tuna, offal, and all the other things he liked, just to make him eat the kibble he was given but he never sticks with it for long..

Now he's decided that he doesn't want his latest kibble anymore but i know he absolutely loves the stuff as he licked his bowl clean before. I'm back to adding chicken and tuna etc again but now he wont eat that either, so in a state of pure mental exhaustation with his feeding issues i threw a can of baxters soup in with his kibble and he started eating again.

The thing is...i'm starting to see a pattern emerging now and think it's time to break it before its too late. I think he realises that if he rejects his food for a couple of days i'll always give him some new stuff to taste, but i dont want to keep pandering to his needs anymore as this could turn into a major problem..
I was thinking of playing him at his own game and not giving in this time. That's why i wanted to know how long i could starve him for because i plan on giving him nothing in the hope that he might eventually appreciate his meal times more and eat what he is given.( obviously i don't want to harm or kill him though).

He is usually given 2 meals a day (early morning, late afternoon) but i withheld 3 meals over the last few days as he was really doing my head in. I've now put him on 1 meal mid afternoon and i didn't feed the first one until his stomach was rumbling and he was begging, but when i came back 10 minutes later, he'd hardly eaten at all. I put a tin of soup AGAIN and then he decided to eat what he'd been given.

I really am at my witts end with this particular dog and something has to be done.
- By Brainless [gb] Date 28.06.11 17:09 GMT
the way to work this is to give him his meal 10 minutes to eat it and pick up until next meal time, not withold food altogether, so it is his choice to not eat.

A dog can go a few days with very little food.
- By uk_boerboels [gb] Date 28.06.11 17:26 GMT
Tried that before brainless, many times, and the last time he went almost 4 days before i had to give in and "pander" to him.

Any other suggestions?? (tried all the usual ones already)
Starvation seems like the only option with a dog as stubborn as this one.
- By Brainless [gb] Date 28.06.11 17:32 GMT
4 days is probably fine especially as I am sure he ate something even if orly a few mouthfuls, and I bet he managed to scrounge the odd tibit ;)

My worst non eater a bitch when around a season and some weeks after could go that long easily, often only really eating two days out of seven, like you it drove me to distraction.

I ended up feedigna  high powered food (Arden Grange Prestige 30% proteina dn 20% fat) until she started eating well enough to go onto a maintenenace diet.  I think she may have been around 4 or 5 by then.

Moobag is now almost 14. :)
- By freelancerukuk [gb] Date 28.06.11 17:49 GMT
It does sound as though you have a boy who has learned to manipulate you. In your shoes I would talk to my vet, have the dog checked over and then discuss a plan to offer him kibble only and not to give in, how many days and what to look out for. If done under vet's supervision you should be okay. If this does not work I would then get a really good behaviourist in.

As a matter of interest, is he fed with other dogs or do you avoid this? Sometimes a little competition over food can perk up the appetite no end. Granted it may also cause problems.

It also occurs that he may be exhibiting a form of separation anxiety if feeding time in invovles more time with you and this, because of the need to tempt him is prolonged? Is he a clingy dog?
- By Nova Date 28.06.11 18:05 GMT
Don't change the food, do the put it down and pick it up routine and ask the vet for an appetite stimulus. I would always offer the food, if the dog does not eat that is their decision but would not withhold.

Try to be nonchalant put down and pick up without comment and cut out any titbits.
- By Celli [gb] Date 28.06.11 18:13 GMT
Been there and got the t-shirt, tried every food and method under the sun, got him checked out at the vets,in the end I got my boy neutered ( bit drastic I know ) I was at my wits end too, he'd lost about 6 Kl in weight. This was due to him always having been a fussy eater, he came to live with me at 6 yrs old and dropped weight because of an increase in excercise. Have to say though, although I'm not a fan of neutering, it was the best thing for him, he loves his food now and am in the happy situation of having to cut back on his tucker.
- By uk_boerboels [gb] Date 28.06.11 18:30 GMT Edited 28.06.11 18:39 GMT

This male is very confident and independant and can be left alone all day if needs be without ever making a sound.
Seperation anxiety from his owner is definitely not a problem for this one. He's partly trained in personal protection and likes to stay close to his handler,but he's not clingy in the slightest and i can put him away without problem.

Feeding time (when my girls are not in season) is always done side by side in their own cages and all at the same time everyday. However, my males have been in the opposite side of the house away from both girls for the last 5-6 weeks (in season) so you might have brought up something worth considering. He may not be pining for "me" but he could well be missing his sister and the other female in our pack. One female finnished her season about 4 weeks ago and the other one is into her last couple of days now.
My dogs all live together indoors as a pack and spend all day together usually, so maybe he's not happy because the balance has been upset?? Interesting!!!

I did toy with the idea of somehow making him compete for his food, but to do this with my other male would probably be a huge huge mistake. The other male loves his meal times and is totally driven by food. He's hardly missed a single meal in the last few months and 2 back to back seasons haven't stopped him at all..

Personally i think this male is playing me like a fiddle and just being his usual stubborn self, but i'll give him another 2 weeks to sort himself out, then i'll ask the vet about helping me with a "monitored" starvation.

Cheers for the help....very useful!!
- By sleepwhatsleep [gb] Date 28.06.11 19:09 GMT
Oh god I hear you!!

Ive posted on a couple of other threads about my boys lack of appetite and the immense stress it's put me under. I have spent sometimes in excess of £50 a week buying prime meat for this boy as well as his kibble and sometimes he would still not eat it!! And I have tried almost every make on the market from the cheapest to the dearest!!

Well a couple of days ago I lost the plot completely with him and put his kibble only down. He is on Fatboy by Total Pet Nutrition. He turned his nose up at it. Then again refused to eat any of his meals yesterday. And again today!!! He is still bouncing around everywhere and playing with me and the other dogs and has had a full check-up which is clear, but he has always been a complete nightmare to feed from being 12mths old when we got him. He is on 2 meals a day and so far he has missed 5.

And he can bloody well keep missing meals if he turns his nose up at the kibble. I tried this once before and after 2 weeks of him eating half a handful a day (this is a boy that weighs 68kg at his prime) I gave in and started pumping him full of raw/cooked everything to get the weight back on him. I know that mu boy would go a lot longer than 2 weeks of living on tiny morsels of food.  BUT THAT IS HIS CHOICE AS I HAVE STILL BEEN OFFERING IT, HE HAS JUST BEEN REFUSING TO EAT IT.    WELL I AM NOT GIVING IN THIS TIME. There will be no shows from now on as he will no doubt end up like a hat rack until he gets the message that either eats his food or wastes away. I have spent weeks and weeks stressing and crying over this and I'm not doing it anymore.
- By helenmd [gb] Date 28.06.11 19:16 GMT
So what would he do if you mixed the soup(or other similar tasty stuff) in with it every night?
- By uk_boerboels [gb] Date 28.06.11 20:12 GMT

I have absolutely no idea. He would probably eat a couple of meals with the soup mixed in, but i bet he would stop eating again 1-2 meals later and start being awkward again..
This is going to stress me out and cause me a lot of hassle but i've decided there's one last thing im going to do for this dog before i starve him half to death (under vet supervision ofcourse).

I'm going to put 3 different meals down for him at every single feeding and it'll all be stuff i know he likes, and i'll also switch his favourites around every couple of days to stop him getting bored, BUT, if he still turns his nose up and doesn't eat as he should do, i'll get a full toxicology/health test done on him first before i let him decide if he wants to live or die for himself.

This is seriously painful for me as i've invested a hell of a lot of time, energy, and money in this dog and he's everything that i could wish for in a guardian breed, but if he wants to be a stubborn bugger and kill himself because he's fussy, then unfortunately, i'll have to let him do it.
- By sleepwhatsleep [gb] Date 28.06.11 20:46 GMT
I can underdstand that your reply would shock and horrify quite a few people on here but it sounds like my dog is exactly like yours..and this is the point I'm reaching with mine so can completely understand where you are coming from.
- By Lea Date 28.06.11 20:52 GMT
A dog will not starve itself!!!!!
Its only the owner that thinks that!!!!
From what I knopw from other people with fussy dogs, giving a choice is not an option. you put down food, leave it 10 ,mins, pick it up.
do the same the next meal. If they are not hungry they wont eat.
In 8 years of being on here I have NEVER jeard of an anorexic dog!!!!
Dogs eat to survive, and if they are fussy and will survive on morsals then so be it.
You need to only feed them one thing so they KNOW thats what they get and thats it.
Very hard for you but best for your dog.
Feed one thing morning, leave down for 10 miuns, take uyp, put in fridge, and give again in evening,
Repeat next day.
Hard, very hard, but necessary.
Leaq :) :)
- By sleepwhatsleep [gb] Date 28.06.11 20:57 GMT
I wholeheartedly agree with that principle.
But what would you call a dog that should ideally weigh 65-68kg but refused to eat for no other reason than he is a fussy bugger and ended up at 50kg.
- By freelancerukuk [gb] Date 28.06.11 21:13 GMT

I just want to be clear, and I am pretty sure you understood me, that I am not advocating starving him, simply offering food every day (quality kibble) and he has the choice to eat it, if he does not he has to wait until next feeding time and so on, however long it takes. Any starvation would be his choice and, if as we think, he is playing you, then at some point he will be forced to give in and eat the kibble. That would be the standard response to the manipulative, picky eater. However, I would advocate a thorough vet check and that all of this is done under vet supervision, just in case there is a medical explanation- like an intermittent digestive problem etc..

The pack element is interesting.

Let us know how you get on.
- By freelancerukuk [gb] Date 28.06.11 21:22 GMT

get the vet check asap, but also think the worst thing you can do is offer him loads of alternatives- give him just one quality complete and let him settle with that. If he is being picky then offering him choice is the worst thing you can do. The vet check will give you the confidence to dig in and to be very clear with your dog.
- By uk_boerboels [gb] Date 28.06.11 21:23 GMT
I feel your pain sleepwhatsleep and i sincerely hope that neither of us has to actually go down the road we're heading along.

Lea, i hope you are right but the "usual" methods have already been tried with this dog, over and over again.
At the moment he's a strapping 19 month male weighing in at just under 80kg, and just last week he was appraised by the UK breed club and scored a very impressive 83% (despite having not eaten properly for 4 weeks before his you can imagine what he would've scored in peak condition) so please dont get the impression that i dont care about this dog and he doesnt mean anything to me, he has cost me a staggering amount of money so far and he is the best friend i've got in the world, but as sleepwhatsleep probably knows only too well by now, there is only so much a person can do for their dog.
- By ridgielover Date 28.06.11 21:26 GMT
Or perhaps you could try the BARF diet?
- By Nova Date 28.06.11 21:30 GMT
Don't think I have ever heard of a dog committing suicide by starvation either.

BARF, no point may eat it once or twice but that would be the end of that and what are you going to try next Mum. Only way is to stop pandering and that is easier said than done.
- By freelancerukuk [gb] Date 28.06.11 21:32 GMT
One more idea is to scatter his kibble  so he has to hunt it out. In one way you have to admire him, he's taken control of his environment to his advantage and he's trained you to provide a better quality menu of more interesting variety. You cannot blame him for sticking to his guns. All of these comments assume he is fully fit, of course.
- By uk_boerboels [gb] Date 28.06.11 21:52 GMT
Freelancer, he's fully health tested and as fit as a dog can be, no health issues what-so-ever and he's still full of life and energy and has drive in unlimited abundance.

I liked what you said about him taking control and playing his gullible master, it actually made me chuckle for a minute and i hope that's all it is :)

Interestingly, if i throw his kibble on the floor, dry & unsoaked, he homes in on it instantly and eats every piece he can find.
I always soak his kibble usually (due to large breed/bloat concerns) but perhaps he needs to hunt for his food now instead of being handed it on a platter. Good suggestion..i'll try that tomorrow for his breakfast!!
- By Brainless [gb] Date 29.06.11 00:12 GMT

>Interestingly, if i throw his kibble on the floor, dry & unsoaked, he homes in on it instantly and eats every piece he can find.

My dogs won't eat sockaed kibble, many dogs don't.

The main issue with bloat is partly eating a large amount quickly, so letting him have his food dry but scattered on the ground so it takes ages to eat may not be so bad, especially if you feed him it over several meals so he doesn't have a lot of it at once.

Of course you could soak it (not to disintegration) and scatter it, and if he didn't eat it let one of the others have it as their meal instead.

I have done the scatter food outside thing with a  dog with opposite issues of being so greedy they literally inhaled the food making themselves sick.

This way they had to eat each morsel individually, which slowed her down and she was much more satisfied on the reduced rations (overt weight re-home case).
- By Jeangenie [gb] Date 29.06.11 05:35 GMT

> he's fully health tested and as fit as a dog can be, no health issues what-so-ever and he's still full of life and energy and has drive in unlimited abundance.

That would suggest that he's at the right weight and condition for his individual genetic makeup, and perhaps you're expecting him to be carrying too much for him.
- By Nova Date 29.06.11 06:13 GMT
Had a dog who would not eat when he got to the teenage stage and I was pulling my hair out until I started to throw his rejected food on the grass for the birds, he could not wait to go find it and hoover it up. Perhaps throwing it at him would work.
- By diddles [gb] Date 29.06.11 06:57 GMT
UK Boerbel I Sympathize with you greatly.

My boy is also on fat boy, he ate eagerly for the 1st few days then did his world famous 'nope don't want that thanks'
However after 3 years of pampering and pandering i got out of the mind set that he needs weight for shows and decided to withdraw him from them until i was happy and he was happy. sometimes I think we lose the bigger picture when we have show dogs and you eat sleep and breath why won't he eat? He looks to thin, he is not his best!
My cure has come with only giving him his food in his crate at night. It took a few days but by evening, and after the other dogs had been fed he has started eating every meal he goes to bed with. As i say it has took 3 years and he has never looked better.I never soak it because we discovered he won't eat soaked food, but after 6 weeks of the food and my perseverance he is now 29 kilos.
- By Lea Date 29.06.11 07:08 GMT
so please dont get the impression that i dont care about this dog
That is the LAST thing I would think!!!!!
Its because you care about him that he is able to wrap you round his little finger like all of our dogs are able to do!!!!
Unfortuantly you have to be cruel to be kind, something that we are programmed not to be because we love them so much!!!
Good Luck
Lea :)
- By Carrington Date 29.06.11 07:35 GMT
Well, IMO you've already tried withholding food from him for days and it doesn't work, I wouldn't even bother trying it again, what is the point in continuing for longer and longer periods?

From reading your thread he seems to eat the most and be most excited when you add the soup, could it be something as simple as he likes the wet juice effect on his food, have you tried soaking his kibble in warm water and giving it to him that way?

I honestly wouldn't bother with withholding food, put his kibble or soaked kibble down, if not eaten remove and then put it down again later, he will eat when ready, if not leave him until he is ready............

I take it you have tried BARF particularly green tripe, I've never seen a dog refuse that, but I guess there's always one. :-D

His teeth, gums, ears etc I take it have all been checked?
- By triona [gb] Date 29.06.11 07:59 GMT
We looked after a uncles Bullmastiff bitch for about 18 months a few years ago and he used to feed her on prime cut meats, but as we had several bullies already in the house we switched her diet to the same as the others so as not to casue a fight. Well she didnt like it at all LOL and she like your boy starved herself for quite a long time, and you know what I never worried about it the breed is known for being stubbon so I hunkerd down smiled and said bring it on LOL, bowl like the others down for 10 minutes if not eaten its lifted, she held out a few impressive weeks lost some weight but she ate in the end when she realised she wasnt going to win. And you know what no food problems at all after that. Nobody can give you advice on starving appart from the vet who could give a hands on opinion as we cannot asses the dog over the net, it does just sound like the dogs won :) :).
- By sleepwhatsleep [gb] Date 29.06.11 07:59 GMT
Good morning UK boerboels.

Just wondering how you are coping and have you pulled all your hair out yet!!

I gave in slightly last night. (hangs head in shame).

I thought I would try to get something into my boy but stuck to my guns in the respect that it would still only be kibble.

I took his bowl of food out into the garden and sat on the flags and tipped his kibble on the floor. Then I started flicking it around and he got really excited and chased the moving bits and actually ate a lot more than his ideal ration. I will keep doing this for 1 week to get him used to having kibble only....and then he's on his own. Hubby changed the oil in the deep fat fryer yesterday and poured the used vegetable oil into a 2L lemonade bottle so I poured a tablespoon of that over the kibble and gave it a good mix and that, coupled with the smell of the Fatboy (which itself smells absolutely flipping gorgeous!!!) made me want to eat the food, let alone a dog!!
- By uk_boerboels [gb] Date 29.06.11 08:43 GMT
Hi sleepwhatsleep

Well, i did something similar to you this morning. I threw his usual food (and portion size) on the floor today but i put a small bowl of different kibble on the other side of the room aswell and let him out of his cage to roam around while i was outside toileting the other dogs.
I came back 15 minutes later to find he'd eaten what was in the small bowl (it was only half a portion though) but he hadn't eaten his regular kibble off the floor.
So i gave in slightly just like you because i gave him 2 options, but i haven't done what i'd usually do so this is day 1 of "tough love".
Next meal time i'm going to tease him by feeding my other male directly infront of his cage, then i'll put 2 kibbles down again (both in bowls this time though) then get out of the room for 15 minutes and leave him on his own.
Like you, i'm sticking to my guns from now on and he will never get extras added to his bowl again if he doesn't eat what he's been given. He can have a choice of 2 kibbles that i already know he likes, but that's all he's ever going to get!!!!
I can pretty much guarantee that he will leave both bowls uneaten later, but i'll stay positive about it for now and see what happens later.
- By uk_boerboels [gb] Date 29.06.11 08:46 GMT
Thanks to everyone for all the replies and suggestions, i really appreciate your efforts.
- By mastifflover Date 29.06.11 08:57 GMT
Seems like you have a plan now :)

Have you tried adding raw tripe? It really is very appetising for most dogs. If you soak the kibble in warm water, add the tripe before the water has soaked into the kibble, leave to soak then give a good stirr, it may make the kibble more apealing as the juices from the tripe will have soaked through the kibble. If you use minced tripe he will find it incredibly difficult (if not impossible) to pick the tripe out formthe kibble once it's all mixed up.
- By uk_boerboels [gb] Date 29.06.11 08:59 GMT Edited 29.06.11 09:08 GMT

You are 100% right with what you said about show & breeding dogs and i've known this for quite some time now.
I'ts hard to find the right balance between letting them live normal doggy lifestyles and keeping them in tip top show condition.
I'm definitely guilty when it comes to over analysing my dogs and i do spend too much time worrying about them. If my dogs aren't being their usual happy selves and eating regular meals, it almost feels as though my world is coming to an i guess i need to look at it from a more normal angle before i drive myself insane :(
- By uk_boerboels [gb] Date 29.06.11 09:07 GMT

I'll keep the tripe idea as a last resort and use it if i have to. I think he's had enough different flavours already so another one will probably make things even worse.
- By lunamoona [gb] Date 29.06.11 09:51 GMT
My Chow was exactly like this as a young dog, would routinely go 2 or 3 days, sometimes 4 or 5 without eating anything except his bedtime treat.  He used to be fed right next to his brother who wolfed his food down and then would move over to eat his brothers as well if I didn't pick it up quick.

It is very stressful and frustrating, something which I am sure makes them worse.  He always came running for his meals ( I feed twice a day) but would then just stand looking at it, I used to hide round the corner so as not to pressure him but he would just sigh and walk away.  At his worse his spine felt quite prominant.

I too have tried 'smelly' foods to tempt him, tuna, tripe etc but he was having none of it.  The only thing that ever worked a bit was to give him a very small portion, probably a third of his ration and he would usually eat most of it, I think he found a full portion overwhelming.

As he has got older he has much improved for no reason that I can work out and for the past couple of years he has been a healthy eater. Maybe your boy will grow out of it too.
- By Rhodach [gb] Date 29.06.11 09:55 GMT
Have you tried putting the dry kibble in a treat ball and making him work for it? I have used that in the past and initially he would roll the ball and one of the others would eat the kibble but eventually he joined in and eagerly ate up every bit and would get his portion on his own to work for.

Anorexia is choosing not to eat for what ever reason so these dogs are suffering from this problem, their stomachs will shrink meaning they can't eat as much without feeling full which explains why they are now eating less at a sitting than they used to do.

I hope something works as it is such a worry as I have been there and as my breed is under 5kgs they don't need to lose much to look like a bag of bones.
- By Harley Date 29.06.11 16:02 GMT
One of my dogs only eats a meal - or part of one - every three or four days. I have long since given up trying to get him to eat when I think he should and now just put his food down and take it away again if it's not eaten within 10 minutes. I tried letting another dog eat it when Cooper had walked away for the final time but all this did was to make the other dog put on weight :-)

I have now accepted that Coops eats as and when he is hungry and that is the feeding style that suits him. He is fit and active - maybe too active :-) but lean and muscular and my vet has no concerns with his weight.

I guess dogs are like humans - some need to eat at frequent intervals and will eat anything and everything that is put in front of them or that can be scavenged (Harley teleports his food in the blink of an eye) - and others eat as and when they feel the need to.

I no longer worry about the infrequency of Cooper's eating - I offer food at every meal time and he either eats it or leaves it and neither he nor I stress over the matter anymore :-)
- By WolfieStruppi [gb] Date 29.06.11 22:19 GMT
My friend was lucky if her male ate 2-3 meals a week. He was used at stud once and dropped even more weight when bitches were in season and he wasn't keen on other strange males getting too close to him. He had the Suprelorin implant and now eats 2 meals a day plus treats with gusto. He's put on a lot of weight and body condition and apart from shrunken testicles looks a stunning male.

My females are very greedy eaters but the 4 males are not as food orientated. I also had loan of a male that wasn't bothered by food and it did my head in. Luckily he's the same for his owner and he went home not really looking his best.
- By LucyDogs [gb] Date 30.06.11 10:12 GMT
My fussy princess turns her nose up at raw tripe..... :rolleyes: Like the OP and Sleepwhatsleep, she has really put me through the wringer. She weighs 6 kg and I think should weigh about 7. Her ribs don't stick out like they did at her worst, but you can feel them too easily. We have discovered she will eat half a portion of kibble if mixed with a good quantity of minced beef or tuna flakes. But then I thought of trying those satin balls to pile a bit of weight on, and she doesn't like that mixed with her kibble!!! She will eat if I have all 3 in the room, give her a big lump of kibble mixed with satin ball, then give the other 2 a single piece of kibble, then give her another big lump and so on. So we are alternating meals like that with meals of beef and tuna mixed with kibble. But when the satin balls are gone (I'm not wasting them, they took ages to make!) she will be back on beef and tuna and I just pray she doesn't go off that!
- By Nikita [gb] Date 30.06.11 15:57 GMT

> My friend was lucky if her male ate 2-3 meals a week. He was used at stud once and dropped even more weight when bitches were in season and he wasn't keen on other strange males getting too close to him. He had the Suprelorin implant and now eats 2 meals a day plus treats with gusto. He's put on a lot of weight and body condition and apart from shrunken testicles looks a stunning male.

I know someone with a male dobe who was very similar - he would literally starve himself to death if she let him, he just had no interest in food at all.  He once went a full 7 days with no food whatsoever until she gave in and had to force-feed him, he was that bad!

Same as this boy though, although Ronin never showed any distraction from girls or similar (he lived with a spayed bitch and never socialised beyond her, he hates other dogs), once he was neutered the whole problem just went away - he now eats twice a day quite happily and is in fantastic condition.
- By PennyGC [gb] Date 30.06.11 18:16 GMT
I've been through the unwillingness to eat and I stuck with the offer food and they wont starve themselves and felt really bad.  My dog ate enough to keep herself alive but not in a nice condition.  I felt worse after I discovered that she was 'allergic' to rice and once I fed her on food without rice she ate with relish!  For me there's usually a valid reason why the dog won't eat a certain food - most dogs who don't particularly like a brand will eat it after a few missed or half eaten meals.  I felt terrible, but at least got it sorted and my dog had no further eating problems.
- By Lindsay Date 01.07.11 17:11 GMT
I've only read some of this thread, so apologies if I am repeating things :)

I tend to think that mostly dogs are pretty honest. Yes, some can get manipulative but IMO its pretty rare. I've known of several dogs who have gone off food and their reasons were:

in season bitches
tooth/mouth problem
owner too fussy and hovering
fear of something (noise, bowl, people, other dogs, etc)

On top of that, you can get problems which are hard to pick up, such as for example stomach aches and pain caused by the diet, (and this depends very much on the individual dog) which the owner  may not pick up; you then get the dog associating eating with discomfort and sensibly, it stops eating.

Also dogs who are sensitive will stop eating due to emotional upsets, environmental changes, etc.

My advice for anyone who has a dog with an eating problem, if it cannot be solved via vet check and usualmethods, is to try a reputable behaviourist (must be reputable, not someone out of the local paper) for example The Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors.

Good luck :)

- By Brainless [gb] Date 01.07.11 17:16 GMT
Something not munitioned is that we owners often are in a rush for a young dog to 'body up' or in general to carry more weight than they naturally seem to.  Many fo these dogs maintain a steady weight that is simply less than we would like to see, and are perfectly healthy.
- By lilyowen Date 01.07.11 18:08 GMT

> we owners often are in a rush for a young dog to 'body up' or in general to carry more weight than they naturally seem to.  Many fo these dogs maintain a steady weight that is simply less than we would like to see, and are perfectly healthy.

I am sure that is true. My 2yo girl is built like a toast rack. You can really feel her hip bones at the back and can see her ribs. Thankfully she does have a good appetite and eats twice what the other adults do. It seems the more I feed her the more she runs about. I am sure she will look great if she ever puts weight on but her dad was nearly 5 before he started filling out.
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