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(Podcast) #PetParentsAsk Ep. 3: Why Is My Dog Not Eating Her Food?


 My dog isn't really eating her food, but still drinks her water. Sometimes she'll eat out of my hand or I'll have to sit right next to her. We feed her Authority and she had it since she was a puppy and she loved it. Do we have to try different foods? She has also been in heat.


 That's a very good question. So I'm assuming that we're not dealing with a very young puppy here, likely, an adolescent, young adult pup, or an adult dog, in this case, there are two things that you want to consider.


One is, if a dog is not eating their food, it's not totally unheard of, especially with adolescent young adult dogs they can definitely go through phases even when you do everything right. And dogs, will, it, it's not at all rare for them to go without eating for long periods.


A dog that is hungry will eat if you are concerned. And this is where I would first start by reaching out to your vet. If your vet is not picking up on anything with regards to your dog's health or any concerns on that in, in that area, then I would either rule it as, My dog is likely going through a phase where he or she's just not eating the food that I normally have.


If they're still eager to eat treats or very interested in the human food that you have, then that could be an indicator that it's time to change food. And, or mix it with something else. That's where I would then again, go back to your vet. If your vet is recommending the same, the same type of food that she already has, then I would definitely consider reaching out to another vet.


That way you can get a second opinion, potentially even a third. And a pro tip that I have is, joining a Facebook group for the breed of your dog. Oftentimes, even, better than trainers, better than vets, better than, anyone else. The people that are growing up with the breed that you have likely have a lot more information, and experience and know exactly what will work for that breed because they live with it.


So consider joining a Facebook group. You can just type it up on Facebook and find a group that corresponds with your dog's breed and start a conversation there so that people can let you know what they feed their dog. How often they feed, and how they do it, and then you'll definitely see some common answers so you can go based off of that.


As far as your dog eating out of your hand, or you having to sit right next to her, that can let me know that, potentially the food that you're giving your dog or feeding time in general isn't something that provides much for your dog. And I don't mean that. The food you're giving her is not good or that she doesn't like it.


But feeding time is really a meaningful activity for dogs and us as well, we feed after we've had a few hours at work. During lunch, we feed. Once we've come back from work, we feed, we go to restaurants and we pay, we share things. It's a very engaging activity.


And if it isn't the case for your dog, I would really look as to how she's getting her food on a daily basis because, unfortunately, most pet parents that I work with, the way that they feed through a bowl, and that is definitely the easiest, most convenient way to feed. But I would look at alternatives to that.


Even just a snuffle mat, a food puzzle, or a slow feeder can be okay, but unless your puppy is eight weeks old, nine weeks old, 10 weeks old, a slow feeder probably isn't gonna provide much as far as enrichment, mental stimulation. So I would really consider snuffle mat a food puzzle as a way to feed her food.


You can also, of course, do activities with her. It sounds like the activity she's gotten you to do is to sit next to her and feed her from your hand. So, it sounds silly, but to her it probably provides a little bit more stimulation than just out of her bowl. And so I would take that as a very good indicator that it's probably time to look into.


Some activities that we can incorporate feeding time with to make her food, not just fulfill her stomach, but also her need, to do things, we don't have the breed here, but she likely wants to problem solve. She likely has a skillset that she wants to do, and if she's not really getting to do it in other areas or maybe, areas are not.


Tied to food, now is the time so that we can reassociate the meaning to food, so that she can then enjoy even more so as a result and hopefully eat all of her food, her daily intake. And the last item on that is that she is in heat. That can very much play a role, that can affect her mood, her demeanor, her behavior.


Again, I don't know how young or old she is. But if she is young, still around adolescent hood, young adult. Chances are you'll still be able to get her to eat if you change the meaning of food, or at least start there as opposed to just thinking that you need to change food, or upgrade her food to something different.


Change how you provide the food because in my opinion, that is the most important element when it comes to dogs eating. It's how they get every piece that they have that you have available for them. And again, snuffle mats. Food puzzles. Kongs are great, but I would save that for the end when we want her to just lick and chew on something.


But as far as the actual activity, snuffle mats, food puzzles, I would also consider, using car boxes to put the snuffle mats, put the food puzzles inside of them. Maybe even add some towels, add some more cardboard to make the activity even more engaging for her. And that of course depends on her drive.


If she has little to no drive, then make the activity very easy for her to do, and then she's still going to gain the benefit of feeling good problem-solving and associating that with food.

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