Help - Rescued Dog Is Picky Eater

My husband and I recently adopted a 2 year old OES from the Humane Society. She is an incredibly wonderful girl w/ the sweetest temperament. In the 2 months that we've had her, she has brought so much happiness into our lives. We love her dearly.

In this short time that we've had Maddie, we've learned that she has 2 medical conditions: a loose sphincter (sp?) and colitis. Both are treatable. I suppose her former owners weren't willing to make a commitment and give this wonderful girl a chance. My husband and I would go to the ends of the earth for Maddie. Currently, she is on meds for both her conditions and doing so much better ;)

I am, however, having a very tough time getting my girl to eat. I've tried just about everything - mixing dry food w/ water, mixing dry food w/ wet food, just giving her pure wet food and haven't found the "right" button to push to get Maddie to eat. I've tried many different brands: Science Diet, Eukanuba, Iams, Bil-Jac, Wellness, Inova, Hill's W/D, Professional and am starting to run out of options. I'm afraid her former owners gave her "real food." I'll admit, I caved into easily and one night made a special treat for Maddie -roasted chicken. What a mistake. I believe this caused her recent bout of diarrhea and as a result, our vet believes this "could have" touched off her collitis.

Does anyone have any suggestions for a new OES owner? I've had several dogs while growing up - a Cocker Spaniel and Schanuzers. All LOVED their food and I've never encountered a dog who didn't like to eat. (She does eat her treats and loves her Mother Hubbard biscuits the best).

Thank you for any advice you can provide!
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I had a similar question here:

Ultimately I believe our issue was just the heat.

From a different post here I used a little trick. I used parmesan cheese for a couple days when I became worried he hadn't eaten. Just a little sprinkle on top and he thought he was in a Italian restaurant! Worked like a charm for the time.
El Gato - Thanks for the suggestion. I'll give it a shot tonight ;)

I believe I've created a monster or should I say a "Fruit Newton addicted monster." Without any hesistation, Maddie will sit and wait for her Fruit Newton treat. My vet suggested that I put her meds in the cookie and believe it or not, this is the only way she will take her medication.
Thanks again for your suggestion!
Welcome! We adopted Buckley from the pound when he was about a year old. He was about 20 lbs underweight and still wouldn't eat in the beginning. I don't know how long you've had your Maddie, but part of it could just be the adjustment...We started buckley off with 1cup of food 2/day. We gave him 15-20 min. to eat it (he likes to "play" with his food so it can take awhile), if he didn't eat it in that time we took it away and he didn't get to eat until the next meal. I know it sounds awful and it was heartbreaking, but he needed to learn to eat when we fed him or he wouldn't get to eat. After about a week of "hum- do I want to eat this kibble tonight, or do I want to go take a nap?" He got to where he would eat when we feed him. Even now though- 1&1/2 yrs. later there are still some times that he doesn't eat, or if he does he won't eat all of his food, but I believe that's more related to heat, etc. He up to his ideal weight now and gets a clean bill of health from the vet when we go.

Good luck!
Cindy & The Monsters
Thanks so much for the advice. I've tried the parmesan cheese & it's worked like a charm. I've had 2 days of success & Maddie has actually eaten each of her meals. It's incredible. She'll stand at her food bowl, watch me prepare her food and wag her little stub of a tail.
Thanks again!!!! You have no idea what a relief this has been that our girl is eating (and enjoying it). ;)
Maddies mom,

That is great news! I am so glad that El Gato was able to help her out. I can just see the stub going now. :wink:
Thank you for rescuing her, she sounds like she is one lucky girl to have a mom like you. Give yourself and her a hug and stay awhile and tell us more about Maddie.
Stormi and co.
I don't know if this string will remain active now that Maddie is eating. My rescue foster dog had a flaming case of diarrhea, I wasn't worried as I've dealt with this often. I mentioned it to the vet....just in passing....and she asked if I've tried bran.......just plain wheat bran, or miller's bran. Yes, the stuff that looks and tastes like sawdust. It worked immediately. With colitis, the bowel often responds to greater bulk. Start with a 1/4-1/2 tsp sprinkled on the food, once a day. You can go up to 1 tsp, no more.
when i have to feed the picky dogs at work i always use the crumbs from the box of treats to sprinkle over their food... that way i know it wont upset their stomach and they just looove it. theres also another dog whos very picky and her mom brings in a bag of crushed bacon bits and she eats her food right up and then looks for more!

unfortunately doing all this spoils the dogs even more... i think i would give gracie girls suggestion a chance first, i know its worked for a lot of people and their picky dogs!

good luck with whatever you try !
Hi, My brother had a collie with colitis and she was on Hills C/D can and dry and absoluely nothing else. If she stayed on her died she was well if not she had cramps and diarrhea. She had a long wonderful life on her diet only no snack foods. There might be some snacks available now from the makers of this food. Good luck!
I'll have to dry sprinkling some bran onto Maddie's food as well. I don't mean to be gross but she does have some loose stool every now and then. We're all through w/ her medicine regime and now focusing on keeping her back on dry food (seriously the parmesan cheese really works). Everyone has been so wonderful responding to my post. I really appreciate all of your input. You are a great bunch of people.
Once I am actually able to reduce the size of my Maddie picture to 12 KB, I'll post a picture of our girl. She's a sweetheart!
Just came across this forum today: I rescued a 4 month old puppy (now two yrs old) who turned out to be a Tibetan terrier and the best friend I have ever had - so smart and sweet). The only problem was meal time: Snoopy the ball of fire would turn to stone at mealtime (wouldl not eat dry/can food/top brands - can't blame him, I have made myself taste it: yuck!). He had chronic soft stools until I started feeding him 1/3 chicken tenderloins, 1/3 mixed veggies with a bit of fresh butter, 1/3 dry food (Innova - every day. 2 or 3 times a week I give him plain yogurt in the morning and twice a week scrambled eggs with well cooked bacon bits. I also sprinkle garlic & parmezan (on everything). Have not had a problem in 18 months. As far as I am concerned that is healthy eating - not spoiling. Before big manufacturers (as in Hill's Co = Science Diet being a division of Colgate Palmolive) decided to make a fortune by recycling less than desirable ingredients into "dog food", pets were for the longest time perfectly happy eating people food which happens to be real food. If you are pressed for time, cook a bit batch, put in small microwable containers/bags, freeze and reheat as needed every day.

Wishing Maddie a very long and happy life!

Maddie's Mom wrote:
Once I am actually able to reduce the size of my Maddie picture to 12 KB, I'll post a picture of our girl. She's a sweetheart!

She looks so beautiful! Great picture. I am so glad it is working out.
I just adopted a one year old mutt dog from wrightway rescue last month, She's a terrible picky eater. I have had several dogs before, but never experiencea stubborn picky eater like this one. I've changed food brands, tried wet food, wet mix with dry and yogurt, cooked food (chicken, beef, turkey, pork, eggs), I also followed the suggestion on sprinkle some parmesan cheese... She still doesnt want to eat. We've brought her to different vets twice, They said she's pretty healthy but underweight and they said it's probably the changing environment who caused it. The only thing she'd eat are chicken jerky and her bones.
I am so worried, she has lost weights and I am running outta ideas. Please help me. :cry:
weve a picky eater so what i have done a few times is to boil up liver and blend it down into a paste. I add water to a spoonful of paste so its a very runny liquid then mix it in with her dry food she eats it up without fail. and with it being watered down it doesnt give her the poops. maybe someone else has a better sugestion. :D
I have a sheepie that can still be a picky eater on occasion. We used to have a very hard time getting her to eat. That liver trick sounds like a great idea :D I'll have to remember that.

Manupalopo- I'm sorry you're having a hard time getting your new dog to eat... all of my other dogs clean their plates super fast. We finally went to Purina ProPlan Extra Care for Sensative Skin & Stomachs for all of our dogs (except for one on a prescription diet). We take the dry food and add water 'til it just floats. Once it's absorbed, we add a 1/2 can of the same canned wet food to our picky eater's dish. She's done much better over the past couple of months gaining 3 pounds (she's only a 45 pound sheepie at her adult weight... this is small for a sheepie). We use the Salmon and Rice formula... have you tried a fish protein yet?

Sometimes if you warm the food slightly it makes it smell more appealing to the dog. You might also try feeding her 3 times a day if it's possible. The smaller meals might allow her to take in more. Another thing that is sometimes recommended for dogs that need to gain is "free feeding" or keeping food out for them all day long. If you are already doing this, you might try going to the 3 scheduled meals per day instead.

I know how frustrating this is... the dog I spoke about above has a cleft palate and she started out too skinny and boney. She's now at a good weight. One thing we have to be careful of though is not overloading her plate... it seems she looses interest in her food if we try to feed her too much. We found she needs to be hungry for her next meal or she'll just push the food/bowl around with her funny crooked nose and not eat. It's got to be a careful balance for her.

Good luck to you and your pup! And thanks for saving a dog in need :D
I have a coupl of Older Babies that are picky eaters and just don't much of a appetite.I give them Papaya.....It stimulates the appetite. You can get it in capsule at the health food store.. I give them dried papaya that I get at the grocery store in the produce section. It tastes great so they eat it like candy. I give it to then about 30 minutes before I feed them. I also feed 3 small meals a day. I know some of Ladies and Gents have to work instead of laying around the house all day the way I do. But, I would feed in the morning and as early in the evening as you can.Instead of just the one big meal at night...... Sheepie Hugs, Kaye
Canned pumpkin will firm up the stools too. I was putting a tablespoon in for my guys, but have dropped it down to a teaspoon twice a day. 2 tablespoons seemed to start to plug them up a bit. I also put fish oil in their food.
I have the same problem with my dog and sometimes adding a 1/3 or 1/2 can of tuna helps! She seems to really like the tuna.
I am going to try the Parmesan cheese for my dog.

Regarding canned tuna my vet reminded me that canned foods are high in sodium so it's best not to give canned foods. :-)
Tuna, mackrel, oil from sardines (I'm not sharing the sardines), chicken broth from a can or box (low sodium) and any drippings you have from cooking helps to get their interest.

Don't worry if they don't eat well. Paige was a picky eater for her whole 9 years. She knew how much she wanted to weigh and kept it within a pound her entire life.......even tho the vets would comment, "she's a bit thin." Cut out the treats and as stated in previous old posts, give them 30 minutes to eat and the take up the bowl.

MO often has a tender tummy in the a.m. so eats her thanks to chix broth about Noon.

Newbies, especially rescues, come with a lot of emotional baggage that must be worked through. Don't add more by fussing about. Be a kind, gentle leader, not a woosie.
Your story could have been mine 6 1/2 years ago when we adopted a Shiloh Shepherd rescue. He has been an absolute joy (and sanity saver with our 14month old OES). But we had all the same issues with eating and colitis. Lots of testing different meds and diets. No real success, he was healthy but thin with intermittent mushy stools to diarrhea. At 6months of age I wanted my OES off puppy food (no comments please I have a real hip dysplasia phobia :( from years of GSD's and this works for me). My OES breeder suggested Taste of The Wild dog food. I had been using Premium Edge, another Diamond product. TOTW is grain free with good sources of protein. I tried the Pacific Stream(fish variety)thinking it might help my shepherd. I had never tried fish as a source of protein before.
Guess who started eating dry food like there was no tomorrow :clappurple: .My poor baby had a grain allergy, talk about feeling like a bad mommy :oops: . No more loose stools, no more eating poop(I think he was trying to recycle what didn't get absorbed the first time), he gained weight, looks great and eats everything fast. He went on his first diet 3 months ago. We had always free fed him since he never ate and was so thin.

I talked to my vet, she says they're just starting to realize how many dogs of all breeds have grain allergies.
My crew, the OES, Shilo, and Golden love TOTW, but there are several other grain free dog foods out there now.
I also use a good quality plain yogurt (a couple of tablespoons daily), omega 3-6-9 and plain omega 3 to help with immune response and allergies.

Adding things to my shepherds kibble worked for me to get him to eat. It wasn't till I found out he had a grain allergy, did I finally solve the real problem. Colitis( inflamation of the bowel) is a symptom not a disease. Good luck with your dog
Many of us (self included) take our OES off puppy food quite early for health reasons - so no comments from me! :wink:
I bought Parmesan cheese yesterday evening and added it to her food and she ate it happily! She did the same this morning!

Thanks for the suggestion! I also added it to the food of my other two dogs!! :-)
I rescued a mix poodle and ?. I have had her 8 mos now and she is still a picky eater. She will only eat wet food and only when the cat is eating or roaming in the kitchen. Sometime she will only eat around 10-11 in evening. I also put Virgin Olive oil around her plate and on top of food. The reason, she will eat cat food if left down. I was told because it's high in fat, so the Olive oil helps. She usually eats around a can a day of cheap food. I have even cooked, brown rice, organic turkey, and shredded carrots in food mixed with OO. Nothing, will not touch. She will not even try people food. A real problem eater. She was found on the streets a 4 years of age and not spaded yet. She is a sweetheart. Mild temper and very good. If she ate, she would be perfect. Doesn't bark at other dogs and just good. I think she was highly diciplined and used for breeding.
For all picky eater dogs I do not reremend feeding dogs fruit unless they eat there own feasees. For a dog with a stomach condition I highly recramend you feed your dog things like puppyfood with bacon greese on it, or some sliced meat like for example... chicken with special dog gravy, if you use cheese you need to be careful as your dog might get constpation making the dog uncomfortible and not want to eat. For people with just a dog waiting off for humin scrapps just dont feed them the scrapps, and rutine there meals, let there bowl down at sertain times like in the morning let there bowl down for 20 min, after 20 min take it away if they arent eating it, wait 3 hours and try again, and do something like that. If I was unable to help I recramend you call your local vet set up and appointment to check your dogs progress, and try talking to them about numbers to get ahold of animal food specialists. I hope I was able to help a little, I wish you good luck with your dog. :high5: :hearts:
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