In my pet sitting business, I often heard the comment “My dog won’t eat”. There are some reasons to consider if our dog isn’t eating the yummy food we put in front of them.
1–The dog just might not be hungry. Free feeding is when the owner leaves a big bowl of food always available. Often times, the dog over eats and munches throughout the day and just isn’t hungry. In my opinion, this is not the way to keep our dogs at a healthy weight. I know what I do when there’s an open bowl of cookies in my line of vision. A better practice is to determine the optimum quantity your dog should eat each day to maintain a good weight and feed in one meal or two meals a day at a fairly set time and place.
2–The food we are offering is low quality. Low quality can mean it contains large amounts of food coloring or is rancid or is just “cheap, low grade food”. Dogs have such good sniffers, they sometimes shy away from what their dog smarts tell them is unhealthy for them to eat. Dog foods have added oils and if left in a plastic container, opened bag or hot environment can become rancid, stale, and even have mold growth. There is no reason at all for dog foods to contain food coloring, except to make it look appealing to the humans. It is a good idea to consider storage methods and also to watch for expiration dates on dog food bags. I have found if I buy smaller bags that are fresh, my dogs are much more excited about their meals.
3–The dog is bored with the food. There was an excellent article in Whole Dog Journal recently about the advantage of rotating among brands of dog foods and also meat sources. I’ve long thought that was a good idea and do it to keep my dogs interested in what’s in their dishes. Also, if started early in their lives, the rotation helps them develop stomach enzymes for a variety of foods and minimizes upset when a change is made. If, for example, they are fed one brand of food for 5 years and then all of a sudden their food is changed, you can expect major diarrhea because their bodies are not equipped for the change. The added advantage is that they do not develop allergies to specific protein sources or ingredients. I should add here that you can check the quality of the foods at dogfoodanalysis.com. I try to keep my dogs rotating among the foods in the 4-5* classification. I reserve 6* foods for my bitches that are nursing puppies because of their high caloric content.
4–Do you wash the food bowls regularly? Dogs are dogs and cleanliness isn’t as important to them, but our domesticated and pampered house dogs will sometimes turn away from the remnants of spoiled food in their bowls.
5–Lastly, the dog might be sick. Prolonged weight loss from not eating can, of course, be from illness. Because we know our house pets so well, there are typically other indicators of illness besides loss of appetite so I put this last on the list.
Having ruled out illness in our dog, it’s time to evaluate our feeding methods or the food we are offering if our dogs routinely are not interested in their next meal.
I know puppy poops is an odd topic, but since I have big dogs and little dogs in my house and I also run a busy pet sitting business, I see lots of them.
Of course, a normal dog poop should be firm and with shape and a normal brown color. Sometimes, that’s just not what we find in the yard, unfortunately, and for lots of different reasons.
First, I’d like to address puppies. The number one reason that the new puppy you just brought home has what I call pudding poop is stress and the second is a quick change in the food you’re feeding or too many treats. Both of those have easy solutions. If it’s stress related, give the puppy more time alone to rest away from the kids and commotion of life and perhaps add just a little yogurt to their meal to help their gut flora. When changing puppy food, do so slowly by combining the new food with the old food for a few days before taking the old food out of the mix.
I should also mention that worms can cause puppies to have diarrhea, so be sure to rule out that possibility by either giving worm meds appropriately or having their stool checked by your vet.
Another reason for puppies to have pudding poop is a little more complicated. Puppies have antibodies which protect them against all kind of stuff in the environment as long as they are nursing from their mommies. Very shortly after they are weaned, their own bodies have to pick up the slack and do the work on their own. A couple of “bugs” that are out there that can make a puppy sick with diarrhea are giardia and coccidia. Most adult dogs have immunities but are often carriers so they can pass these ailments to puppies. In addition, either can be picked up from the grass, standing water, or even from the floors or toys or bowls in our multi dog households. You may even bring your puppy home from the breeder to find that they are in the process of “shedding” the organisms through their poop. If the poop looks like it is encased in mucous or has some blood, those are indicators that they need some medicine from the vet, usually Flagyl for Giardia and Albon for Coccidia. Although not immediately life threatening, small puppies can get dehydrated and we just don’t want their bellies to hurt, so get them in for a checkup. In most cases, the vet will want to also treat your other dogs because both are highly contagious.
In a worst case scenario and if your puppy is very sick and lethargic along with diarrhea, get the vet ASAP because they just might have Parvo. Luckily, very early treatment and intervention raise the chances of survival. You will know the difference between a romping puppy with loose stools and a sick puppy.
Diarrhea in adult dogs often is the result of eating too much food, stress, too many treats, or food from our plates. I see stress diarrhea a lot with my pet sit clients because our dogs are a little confused when we leave for an extended period of time. I keep a probiotic called DogZymes on hand and have terrific success with adding a small amount to each meal to keep tummies feeling good. It is available from NaturesFarmacy.com. It is an all natural product and I have seen no ill effects, only positive results. I use it for my own dogs when we are traveling or have guests in the house.
If, however, your adult dog has diarrhea with blood or mucous, they may also be fighting off giardia or coccidia as mentioned above. My dogs tend to get a round of giardia in the early Spring when there’s a lot of rain and my backyard grass is especially wet. When I see that mucous in their stool, I immediately give them a round of Flagyl.
This may be more than you wanted to know about puppy poops, but if you are intrigued by the topic, the Internet provides all kinds of detailed information about the ailments I mentioned.
Mini Aussie Puppies Week 3 (Izzy x Helmie)
The puppies are into their 3rd week of life and I started them on food today and they took right to it. The first week, I use a mix of the puppy food I like (Diamond Natural Puppy for Small Breeds) mixed with Puppy Gold which is a milk like product for puppies and a little hot water to make a gruel. They were all about it. I could tell from their fussing they weren’t getting satisfied so I’ll offer them food 3 or 4 times a day and let Izzy clean up the leftovers.
The puppies are moving about a lot in the last couple of days. I changed out the big Perla whelping bed for a crate that is big enough for them and Izzy and they’ve learned to come in and out on their own. By the end of the week, I’ll change it out again for a small crate since Izzy won’t be with them for very long at a time. She’s about finished except for letting them nurse 3 or so times a day.
The puppies are starting to come out to potty so I put a pee pad just outside their crate door for them. Their instinct tells them to leave their den for business, which is the first step in potty training. Once they start to be rambunctious, the paper one will be traded for the washable kind.
The progression is interesting for the mama dog with puppies. It goes from constant watchfulness and fierce protection, to the “let me out to rest” phase, to ” please keep them away” at about 5 weeks. Once weaned at 6-7 weeks, the mama will go back to them to play and train them, a very important time I think which is why I like keep them until 8 weeks old.
Free at Last
We had the vet check this morning and first shots on my litter of mini aussie puppies. All good!! I knew it would be, but I always like them to be checked from head to toe just to be sure. With a litter of puppies, it is nice to use a mobile veterinarian that comes to my house, less stress on the puppies, less stress on me. After, the exams Dr. Rubsche gave them some cookies so they will associate her with only happy thoughts 🙂
So….weather is mild here in Kentucky and we did our first potty run this afternoon. Kinda hard with 5 little munchkins, but everyone ran the yard and pooped. Yay!!! good start. I have undergound fencing for my adult dogs, so I need to be an octopus to keep all the little ones contained. Luckily, my male is a really good babysitter and he rounds them up if they head toward the boundary line as did Fancy, their mom. Sooooo cute, those little balls of fluff running around!! They had the look of wild abandon on their faces. Priceless!
Since they are doing so well, I’ve changed them over to 3 meals a day rather than free feeding. That way I can guesstimate their poop action and now get them out in time. Sure makes for less cleanup and starting them on their potty training. It seems I always do some free feeding at first until they are fully weaned, but now ready to start the training phase.
My litter of miniature and toy Australian Shepherds are in the process of being weaned. At about 3-4 weeks old, I started offering small breed puppy food to the puppies. Initially, I mixed the kibble with hot water and K9 Puppy Gold powder available online. I’ve found that the PG gives the food a smell that is irresistible to the babies and makes the transition much easier with no stomach upset.
After a few days of “soup”, I slowly decrease the water, continuing with the addition of PG. By 4-5 weeks old, my litter is eating heartily and my dam is visiting them less often. With five chunky monkey puppies, that’s a good thing. She’s done her job well and deserves to gradually move to the sidelines.
There are many excellent puppy foods on the market, but I have chosen to use Diamond Puppy Food for Small Breeds and Wellness Puppy Food for Small Breeds. I initially start with the Diamond because it is grain free and the kibble is tiny so there’s no danger of choking. About five weeks when the pups have their teeth, I start adding the Wellness to the mix. The Wellness kibble is still small but larger than the Diamond.
You may be asking why I use two foods instead of only one. I have a couple of reasons, first it gives the new owners a choice of two different foods in case one of them is not available in their area. The biggest cause of sick puppies at a new home is a change in food. Secondly, I think slow change up on dog food occasionally with different protein sources helps the gut flora of an adult dog to be adaptable, much like they would be if they were scavengers.
I’m very picky about dog food and have a link from my vet on my website about choosing a food for your dog. However, I am not brand loyal as long as the food is rated at least 4* on dogfoodanalysis.com and does not contain corn and wheat, high causes of allergies in our pets. I do buy smaller bags of food for my adult dogs and rotate among brands like Timberwolf, Wellness, Merrick, Orijen, California Natural etc. It has worked well for me and my dogs do not typically have issues with stomach upset.
Rub A Dub Dub
Rub A Dub Dub, five puppies in a tub.
The puppies just turned three weeks old and are starting to munch down on puppy food along with still nursing. I’m currently feeding Diamond Puppy Food for Small Breeds because I’ve had good luck with it before as a starter. It seems to digest well and not cause upset. I add a heaping T of Puppy Gold to each serving along with a little hot water. After another week or so, I’ll phase out the hot water.
One of the black tri females and the red tri female are still available (bottom right with eyes open), but the others now have families watching and waiting for them.