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Feeding problems...

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I have a 15 months old BC . He ate normally until 1 year but he became a picky eater when I changed from puppy food to adult food. I bought the same kind of food but the adult version. 

At the beginning he ate if I mixed the dry food with fresh meat. Now he eats only if I feed him by hand a mix of dry food and fresh. I tried to stop by placing the food , wait 15 minutes and take it away but after 4 days of not eating he won and I went back to hand-feeding. I know it's my fault and I made it worse by letting him win after 4 days .

Today I am starting again and my question is how long can I hold it before I should worry that he is not eating??? He is a very active dog. Should I limit his exercise as long as he is not eating ? Or the opposite ?

I am just afraid of him getting sick. I suppose because my son has ASS and he can literally stop eating until he gets sick.  

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At a year old your dog was fully grown and he probably just didn't need as many calories as he used to. Some dogs will self regulate and I'd consider myself lucky if I had one that did.

Healthy dogs will not starve themselves. If your vet has said he's healthy then my suggestion would be to put his food out, leave it for maybe 20-30 minutes and then pick it up and put it away until the next regularly scheduled mealtime, which at his age should be more than once or twice a day. Don't make a fuss. Don't hover. Don't add better stuff to the bowl. Don't hand feed him or cajole. When he's hungry enough, he'll eat, whether it's a day or a week later.

Canine picky eaters are almost always made and not born that way. It sounds to me like you're well on your way to creating a picky eater. I suppose it's possible that the adult version of the food you bought just isn't as tasty as the puppy formula, so it wouldn't be a bad idea to buy a small bag of something else to see that's the issue. Many people today recommend varying the types of meat being fed and even rotating brands to help avoid nutritional deficiencies in any one brand or meat source. But if you've tried one or two and he's still not eating he's either self regulating or holding out for something he likes better. I wouldn't worry about the former and wouldn't cater to the latter.

As to comparing him to your son, please don't. Dogs are carnivores and adapted to gorge and fast eating as a part of their metabolism. A wild canine gorges when it can because it's never sure when its next meal might be and it can be days between them with quite a long time before starvation becomes a threat. My dogs are fed a raw diet and I not only rotate food sources for variety but I also routinely fast them one day a week to give their digestive systems a rest. Healthy humans are also more capable of irregular food intake that would be suggested by modern humans, which is why some people advocate occasional fasts.

As for exercise I wouldn't change a thing.

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Never heard of a dog who starved itself to death. Your vet says he's healthy. It's hard to wait them out, but he'll eat when he's hungry enough. It can be a challenge for us humans.  BUT, if you give in and hand feed him, it's very likely to escalate. And you'll be dancing to his tune. Possibly escalating to more than simply food.

Put his food down, pick it up if he doesn't eat it, just as GL says. He won't refuse to eat for long, maybe a few days at most. And that won't hurt him. I'd suggest leaving the room as well, which may be hard to do, but might be helpful for you in the longer run.

Don't limit his exercise or increase it. Leave everything else in your routine as it was. Let us know how it goes.

Ruth & Gibbs

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Maybe I just spoil my dogs but when my dog snub there food more then two days and I know they have a clean bill of health I switch the food.

Cressa and Val both as puppies would snub specific foods. I figured  how else are the dogs supposed to let you know if the food isn’t working for them aka maybe sensitive to a ingredients or making them feel sick or what have you.

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Pushne, there'd be no harm in trying a different food, as long as it is a healthy one. But chances are that you are 100% correct in that you created and sustained this issue yourself, and I wouldn't recommend trying more than one other kind or flavor of food, because that's probably not the problem. . Don't kick yourself for creating this, it happens, and is understandable considering you deal with a child with an eating disorder.

. Fixing it is relatively easy, though. I have had to do this myself (for someone else's dog I was caring for) and it's challenging.  One thing I did was shut the dog into another room with the food, so I did not need to see pleading eyes. (;))   Just be firm and your dog will eat when hungry enough as others have said. Best of luck.

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I found out that my boy is so easily distracted that he will not concentrate on eating if there is anything else interesting going on.  I have to put him in a crate and put a blanket over it to let him focus on his meal.  I let him out 15 minutes later.  If he has not eaten, I simply put the food up until the next meal.  He eats just fine now.  

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