The Dog's Dinner - by Ann Ridyard

Raw feeding for dogs

                        Fussy eater syndrome...........

The PICKY EATER is very common and is nearly always

 man made!!  

Before I go any further, I would first like to share a personal experience, which happened to me about 5 years ago.  We had produced a litter, they were of course raw weaned and we strived to find homes who would continue in this method. 

I was however slightly concerned about one of the homes - they already had 4 dogs and other small pets.  As I got to know the owner, it became apparent that she loved her dogs like children - they were her world.  I also know that her dogs were commercially fed and that although she had promised faithfully to keep my pup on raw, I seriously had my doubts about this woman, but at the end of the day I have learned that people can often tell you what you want to hear and then once they have the pup, they forget about all that   Sometimes you just have to have faith and I had faith in this owner...................Anyway, the pup goes off to her new home and I ask to be kept informed of her progress. ............ She wasn't eating at her new home, but I put that down to the stress of moving house and meeting all the new dogs. 

 By day 3, acccording to her owner she still hadn't eaten, I was very alarmed, but she seemed to be taking it all in her stride - I have to admit at this stage to wondering if it was a ploy on her part which resulted in her 'HAVING' to switch the pup to commercial food, as it just wouldn't eat.  I enquired about its health - how was she???  She was bright and playful, but still not eating !!  

By day 4 of my pup being in her new home I was absoultely frantic, I was worried sick and told the owner if she hadn't eaten by the next day - I wanted her back, as there was obviously something not quite right!! 

On day 5 my pup finally ate, all credit to her owner, as she had persisted with the raw diet, but not only that.......... to my gobsmacked amazement she had swapped all her other dogs to raw, found herself a supplier and filled her freezer up. 

 They never looked back.

I should add that this puppy was a real 'foody' when she was with us, before she left for her new home she would compete with her her brothers and sisters and would always get her fair share, so it worried me enormously that she refused to eat for so long

We always think that puppies MUST eat - and regualrly - this pup proved us all wrong, there was absolutely nothing wrong with her, no sickness, or ploppy poops, she just decided when she would eat - and thanks to her owners steadfastness and calm approach, matters were resolved to everybodies satisfaction - especially mine.  This owner has now gone one step further and any new pup she brings into her home, she refuses to even vaccinate - respect !!

This story could have turned out so very differently............. 99.9% of owners would have given up by day 2 and would have been offering my pup all kinds of 'delicacies' just to give them the satisfaction of seeing it eat and to take away the worry of it not eating - many at day 3 would not have cared what it was that they were encouraging that pup to eat, so long as it was something !!!  I also fear that by this stage, with another owner, my pup may have been carted off to the vets to face its commercial fate............

This story proves to me that even young puppies can very often choose not to eat for no other reason than they don't want to at that particular time...........and it does them no lasting damage !!

During this time IF my puppy owner had been anything other than the very sensible person she was a 'Picky Eater' would have been created - my pup would have dictated what she would and wouldn't eat.....the moral of this story is that even raw weaned dogs/pups have the potential to become picky eaters if the owner is unaware he or she is being 'trained' by the dog and allows it to happen 

And this was just a young puppy so imagine the resilience an adult dog could show................ 

But my dog just won't eat raw and I really want him too - what do I do now??

 Please excuse me if this sounds patronising, but the first thing you need to remember is.......... they are not like us !!  They are built for feast or famine and 20 shades in between.  YOU MUST recognise this if you have any hope of cracking the would be picky eater

Wild living carnivores, such as wild dogs and wolves can go weeks in between meals - I am not suggesting for one second that you feed your dog once a week  but merely pointing out that they have the ability to go days and days without food and still be perfectly fine and healthy. 

Dogs are exceptionally bright and can work most owners out very well.  They know that if they refuse food, then their loving owner will provide something more to their liking or taste, even the raw fed dog will have his favourite things................ they all do............. and this is just like us

Whether your dog is new to raw or is a long term raw fed dog, the rules are still the same to avoid picky eater syndrome - but if your dog is bright and drinking water and going about his usual business -    

Do not pander to your dog.

Have set meal times and stick to them.

Never encourage your dog to eat, instead, leave the room, or ignore him and start the dishes....... whatever, just don't focus your attention on him, or make eye contact.

Place his food were you want him to eat and give him 15 minutes with it, if no interest is shown put it back in the fridge until the next set feed time.

Never offer an alternative.

Never give him a snack between meals. 

Be prepared to have to throw some food away.

Keep offering the same type of food (obviously replacing with fresh if this issue runs over the course of several days)

Offer the same food, but present it differently, some dogs like to work for their food and you could try stuffing a kong toy with it and refreezing, he could show more of an interest in this - you could try serving the kong frozen.

The same food, but frozen - don't forget to run it under a tap for a minute first, you don't want your dog's lips sticking to it !!

They can have a will of iron and we mostly have hearts of gold, don't let your emotions take over - keep reminding yourself that your dog is not suffering - he is CHOOSING not to eat in the knowledge that his dear owners will rally to pander.

And please remember - A basically healthy dog will not starve itself - He is playing the long game - which you must remember he is doing BECAUSE HE CAN!!!