Sunday, April 01, 2007

Finicky Canine Eating Habits...What Does it Mean?

River, while one of the most adorable dogs on the planet, is truly one of the most eccentric beasties I have ever had claim me as a mom. Here is a synopsis of his current weirdness, which I think may actually compel me to do some animal behavior research.

Since River was a puppy getting him to eat has always been somewhat of a challenge...yup, the little bugger just isn't a big eater. Being a somewhat uptight mom, this very anti-dog behavior used to seriously FREAK me out. I have had many near hysterical conversations with our Vet over what I have always perceived as River's lack of appetite. After Dr. Schatzle (best vet on the planet, BTW), rather sternly, told me to stop freaking out so much and enjoy River's very good health and stable weight, and stop calling him every 5 minutes because River won't eat, I decided to take the free-feeding suggestions and move on. (Which, in all fairness I pretty much have keeping the freak-outs to a minimum.)

One thing Turtle and I have always noticed is that River will not eat if we are not home...period! I think he would rather starve then eat when we're not around. Not only that, but if we're hanging out downstairs he won't eat. He will only eat when one of us is upstairs sitting on the couch. In fact I think he likes it best when I sit on the couch and WATCH him eat. It is quite bizarre.

This past week we added a new type of prescription dog food (yup the stuff you can only get at the Vet's office) to his diet. This is a special formulation kibble to help keep his teeth nice and clean. I'm thrilled because River actually LOVES this new dog food. I started giving it to him as a treat and he always cobbled it up, so now I started mixing it in with his regular prescription dog food -- the very gentle on his tummy kibble because anything else gives the little guy colitis, which means icky, icky poop! No matter what food we have ever fed River, he has never cobbled it up....never. So, you can imagine how happy I am to find something that he seems to really enjoy eating.

So, last night I put a handful of the new food (the kibble is about twice the size of the regular stuff) in his food bowl hoping I could entice him to actually eat. He immediately starts to pick out the nummy stuff, like a typical dog. So, I quietly went downstairs to read in bed prior to my lights out. Turtle had just left to go play poker, so it was just me at home with the beasties. Well, I had literally just settled myself into bed when River comes tearing down the stairs, launches himself from the bedroom door onto the be, sails through the air about 5 feet to land nicely on top of my stomach with a huge thud, and starts chompping away on ONE piece of kibble. When he finishes that one piece he launches himself off the bed and races up the stairs. By the sound of the pitter-patter of his paws overhead, I can tell that he has raced into our living room / dining room area. There is a momentary sound of silence and then I'm listening to pitter-patter again as River comes racing back down the stairs, sails onto the bed with another piece of kibble and promptly munches that down, while he's trying to sit on my stomach. River then repeats this process all over again, each time bringing down only ONE piece of kibble for consumption until all the new food is gone and nothing remains in his bowl put the usual stuff.

The strange mutt did the exact same thing again this morning while Turtle was still in bed. I got up early because I treated myself to a mani and pedi today. I quietly got out of bed, so as not to disturb the sleeping Turtle, walked River and filled up his bowl just as I was leaving. I then crept downstairs to kiss Turtle good bye only to have River come screaming down the stairs with one piece of dog food in mouth to eat on top of his daddy! He then repeated the process until all the yummy stuff was gone and only the crappy stuff remained.

On one hand, I'm so relieved to see him eating that it's kinda difficult to be annoyed at the crumbs and all the extra linen washing that I am now seeing in my future if this new trend continues. But, seriously, what is with this dog and his bizarre-o eating habits. Why does he only eat when we're around? It must mean something in the Dog World, I'm just at a complete loss to understand what he is trying to communicate!

Happy Accident to Celebrate: FINALLY finding a dog food that the most finicky dog in the world will actually devour in normal canine fashion!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think u got a good blog!!
I hope you can visit mine. It's all about
DOG and
You wll learn valuable information about dogs and how to feed them the real thing.

Follow the instructions there, and read their articles and you will keep your dog alive for more 5-8 years more than expect!! I publish new and exclusive articles every single day for free!!

3:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, i have a 4 yrs old springer spaniel dog that wouldn't eat since i got her from the shelter 3 weeks ago, many brands i tried (about 8 of them) almost everything failed, and some of 'em only worked for once only. So it's about a handful for 1 or sometimes 2 days!

My vet said there's mothing wrong with her, she's only being picky. The prob is that we don't know about her background, about how the previous owner fed her. I just want break the cycle (which i don't know what) and make her eat regular dry food.

May i know what brand of food that your vet gave you that could stimulate River's appetite? do we need prescription? it's breaking my heart to see my dog wouldn't eat right. And i don't want to give up yet.

Tired of being told by stores reps about nutritions and ingredients of the food .. but my #1 prob is that how could i even make her eat her food first before it's goodness?

Please make a suggestion .. email me at

Many many thanks..


10:22 PM  
Anonymous John said...

I was glad to read your article about River's eating habits. I have an 8 year old Keeshond(named Cody) who also has some finicky eating habits. This eating habit actually started when he was about 3 or 4 years old. I have tried a number of dog food brands(all of the premium type)and get the same finicky results. With the dog food scare 2 years ago I started putting in a reliable dog food type some chicken or beef chunks(bought when they are on sale at the store). When Cody decides to eat he will pick out the meat chunks from the store(at least I know he is getting some protein). Cody has similar habits as River.
He will not eat if he is home alone. Some times when I'm ready to go out somewhere he will run over to his food and eat it all up. I'm not sure what this means. When my bother comes to visit he will go over to Cody's food dish and the Cody will come over to the dish and eat all the food in it. I guess he is a scared my brother will eat all his food. One other situation is when I have to put him on presilone for allergies he could eat me out of house and home.

7:03 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home