Bentley and Rudi modeling their new hotterdog fleeces which will hopefully keep them dry and snug in the wet, windy weather we have been having (thanks Ann for the photos)
Before we discuss the topic of Fussy Eaters we feel it is important to stress that if you are seriously concerned about your dog's lack of appetite then we would always recommend seeking veterinary advice before going further.
Is there an underlying issue to be concerned about? We would suggest that if your dog has been a good eater and has suddenly lost their appetite or if they are not even taking tasty treats and human food this would be the time to consider seeing the Vet. Be aware that if a dog suddenly goes off their food this could relate to dental problems, stomach upsets or another illness and it is often better to err on the side of caution and get a clean bill of health before you consider anything further.
Don't forget - You are not alone! The most common dietary problem we hear about (almost on a daily basis) relates to Fussy Eaters. We often hear of the dog that started off eating something happily but after a short while they go off it, when a new food is introduced they eat this for a short while and then go off that too!
Why dogs become fussy There are some dogs that have a greater appetite than others and they will always eat what you put down to them. For those that are slightly choosier, without realising it, you may inadvertently be training your dog to become a fussy eater. Often they are just not hungry for their food and this leads the owner to conclude they don't like the food so they need something tastier. It is widely accepted that dogs are not born fussy, they are made that way! If the dog understands that if they can hold off eating the, for example, dry dog food that you put down that the tastier (less healthy, less balanced) table scraps will then be offered then they will often do just that. This behaviour need not repeat itself too often before clever dogs will learn to do this more often and draw it out for longer periods. They often fill up on treats and table scraps and this means they are not getting the right mix of nutrients to maintain good health. Table scraps should ideally form less than 10% of a dog's daily diet because whilst they may be enjoyable and even sometimes healthy, they are not nutritionally balanced in the same way that a food designed to meet all a dog's nutritional needs is.
Often puppies will start to become fussy eaters. Sometimes this is them just gaining confidence and knowing how they can push their boundaries but sometimes it is a sign of overfeeding and if they have gone past the 6 month mark it could just be the time to reduce their meals to twice a day.
As dogs age their tastes can change and they may no longer find plainer/harder/blander foods they enjoyed when they were younger as appetising.
Sometimes fussiness is created by "free feeding" (if food is left down for your dog all day to pick and choose when and how much they eat). The fact that food is constantly available can make it unexciting and less appetising to them.
We also often hear of dogs who have been fed dry food all their life and have happily eaten this and then they have had a period of being ill and during the recuperation period they have been fed human food and/or wet food and now will not eat their dry food. Wet food is naturally more palatable than dried food and there is nothing wrong with feeding wet or dry or a combination of both (providing they are good quality foods) but if you want to move back onto dry for storage, dietary or budget reason (or even just to help maintain clean teeth) then we would recommend adopting the "tough love" approach that we are going to describe. Dry food is less wasteful if you are using this approach as it stays fresher for longer.
Option 1: teaching your fussy eater to be less fussy (recommended for most dogs, especially younger ones)
For many reasons (health, budget, time constraints) it can be useful to try teach your fussy eater not to be so fussy about their food. It's easy enough to do this, though it does require consistency on your part. Below we outline how to go about this.
1. Select a good quality diet for your dog that is appropriate for your budget, lifestyle and that agrees with your dogs tummy (dry food, raw food and wet food diets all have their own pros and cons and we always say there is no "one size fits all" diet that is best for all dogs although generally dogs tend to be less fussy about wet and raw foods) .
2. Decide how many meals a day you are going to feed. Usually two meals a day is agreed to be the most beneficial (try to avoid feeding 1 hour before or after exercise to avoid risks of stomach upsets or twisted gut). If your dog does not have a huge appetite or if you have a bigger dog then a smaller meal at breakfast and a bigger meal or two later in the day may be an option.
3. Stick to whatever schedule you opt for and don't sway from this.
4. Make sure the entire family are all agreed on the approach (even set up a feeding diary if needed). If one person caves in when they see the sad eyes then this sets you right back to square one! It is also good to check with dog walkers and neighbours to make sure no one else is caving in!
5. Measure out the food and then place the bowl down for your dog to eat from. If he doesn't eat the food or only eats some then after 15 minutes the bowl should be uplifted and then no more food given until the next feeding time.
6. It is very important to ensure that no treats or tit bits are given in between meals whilst establishing a good routine otherwise dogs can fill up on these and not only does it mean they are less likely to eat their food, but it also means they are not getting a good nutritious balance. If you require rewards for ongoing training then you could consider using non-food rewards such as toys or play, or just using plain kibble from your dog's daily ration.
7. Even if your dog goes a full day without eating please don't panic . Dogs. digestive systems are very different from ours and they can go a full day or two without eating and it will not cause any harm. (If your dog is frail, underweight, a very young puppy, on medications or has certain medical conditions we would always recommend checking with your vet before withholding food for prolonged periods like this.)
If you can be consistent and apply these rules always then you will often find that your dog gets back into their feeding routine very quickly.
You may find that your dog doesn't have a huge appetite and will not always finish what they have in their bowl. Providing they are healthy and a good weight and shape then this should be fine. NB Unfortunately many dogs here in the UK are overweight so simply comparing your dog's shape to that of other dogs you meet may not be a good indicator of their ideal weight. This diagram serves as a rough guide, but body shapes vary between different breed types so if you are unsure we recommend checking with your vet.
If you continue to have problems do take a good hard look at how you are managing the routine. Have you slipped in an extra treat here and there, have you given a cheeky piece of chicken left over from your dinner? If you have then you are maybe not being "tough" and perhaps you need to be stricter with yourself.
Option 2: permanently changing your dog's diet to accommodate their fussy tastes
If you've tried option 1 but after all this you are still having difficulty it may be that your dog really does not like the food you are offering so you decide to change to something different. Be aware that if you opt to do this though you will likely have to continue with the new food on a permanent basis as once you're dog gets used to it they will not be happy to go back to eating their previous dry food diet.
- If you feed dry food sometimes soaking this can be enough to encourage your dog to eat it as it releases the smells and changes the texture. Increasing the temperature of the food can also increase its palatability.
- Some people will mix in some doggy gravy to their dogs food (don't use Bisto or the likes though as it can be very salty)
- Sometimes feeding a more nutritionally dense dry food (e.g. one the 80/20 diets) which require lower feeding volumes than other dry foods can make it easier for dogs with small appetites to eat the required portion at mealtimes.
- Wet Foods and raw food diets are naturally usually more palatable than dry foods and if switching to one of those you may find your dog is inclined to eat more readily. We are happy to advise customers about the pros and cons of feeding these types of diets and help you to find one that suits your dog's tastes as well as your budget and lifestyle.
- You needn't switch entirely but may opt to mix a smaller quantity of wet food through your dog's kibble. Thoroughly coating it with another more palatable food like this may entice your dog to eat. However it's important to adjust the portion size of all different types of food you are feeding to ensure that overall your dog is receiving the correct portion size for their size/weight/activity level.
Other factors to take into account
You may also need to consider outside stimuli. Some dogs can be very sensitive to their environments. We have listed some things that may upset your dogs feeding routine:
- We often have customers who have swapped from a plastic bowl to a stainless steel bowl and the dog does not like the noise the new bowl makes, or the reflection they can see in the bottom of the bowl.
- Sometimes even changing the room your dog feeds in can be enough to put them off.
- If there has been a new dog introduced recently to the family could this be causing stress or anxiety around feeding time?
- Older or taller dogs may find it uncomfortable stooping to eat from a bowl from the floor so using a raised bowl may help encourage them to eat.
- Some dogs prefer to be left alone to eat where as others may only eat when they have your company.
- Some dogs may find eating food from a bowl tedious and just plain boring. Using treat dispensing toys like a treat ball or Kong toys or food mazes/slow feeders can add fun and excitement to dinner time for them.
- Likewise turning feeding time into a game or training session can sometimes motivate a dog to eat. Perhaps you can hide the food around a room in cups for your dog to find. Or maybe try some trick training using a clicker?
Copyright Note - We are happy for these articles to be shared but would ask that these are credited to us as it has taken us a long time to pull together all this information and research and it is our own wording so we would be upset to see this being reproduced without the appropriate credit.
Recently there has been a post circulated heavily across many doggy pages on social media about the risks of feeding rawhide chews. We have had lots of people wanting to speak to us about it in the shop so we thought it may also be helpful to pop up some further info to allow you to make an informed choice. Whilst the post in question makes lots of very valid points, and it is absolutely important to be aware of risks and to make sure you look at where items are sourced from, we are also concerned that there are some points that are perhaps not as balanced as they could be and we thought it would be helpful to try to clarify some of these points. We have provided the full details in a blog article on the subject. As a summary we would always recommend that you research where you source the hide you give your dog. We would also only recommend giving hide to dogs whilst supervising and only to those dogs that are not too greedy with gulping down larger pieces of unchewed hide (but we would also recommend this with any harder chew). Rawhide may not work for every dog but the same could be said for other chews (i.e. some dogs do well with pigs ears but others find them too rich).
Point 1: "A rawhide stick is not the by-product of the beef industry nor is it made of dehydrated meat. Rather, rawhide is the by-product of the “Leather Industry”, so theoretically it is a leather chew. ?" Although it is not a dehydrated meat product it is still a by-product of the beef industry (as is leather) and there are lots of other natural chews which are not dehydrated meat i.e. ears, snouts etc which are very popular. We have been very careful to ensure that the main range of hide chews we stock in the shop are from highly regulated, ethical supplier. The main range we stock are actually from Argentian/Brazilian free range cattle which are used for their meat and then the leather and hide are also produced from these cattle.
Point 2: "Once at the tannery: the hides are soaked and treated with either an ash-lye solution or a highly toxic recipe of sodium sulphide liming. This process will help strip the hair and fat that maybe attached to the hides themselves. " To remove excess hair, salts or oils the hide we stock are soaked in large vats with mostly water and there are no harmful or toxic chemicals used (they are not soaked in a highly toxic recipe of sodium sulphide liming as referred to in the original post). They are solely made of fully digestible hypodermic interstitial tissue (AKA skin) and no harmful chemicals are used to "puff" the hide as described in the original post. They are not bleached either. There may be some sources of hide which this applies to but not from the higher quality ranges which we choose to stock.
Point 3: "Basted, smoked, and decoratively tinted products might be any color (or odor) underneath the coating of (often artificial) dyes and flavors. They can even be painted with a coating of titanium oxide to make them appear white and pretty on the pet store shelves" There are certain types of hide from poor sources which certainly can be coloured and flavoured with potentially harmful chemicals and we would always recommend ensuring that you check out where your products are sourced from. Again, we are extremely careful about where we source from and ensure that the hides are either uncoloured or only using natural flavouring (i.e. for the peanut butter ones we stock). We are careful about where we source all our treats from though as other poor quality, harmful treats are also on the market - not just in hide market.Point 4: "When tested: Lead, arsenic, mercury, chromium salts, formaldehyde, and other toxic chemicals have been detected in raw hides. So it’s safe to say that any sort of glues can be used as well!" Again we are aware that there are some products which can be from less well regulated and traceable sources (the same can be said for many treats not just rawhide). We are careful to ensure that our hide is from very transparent, well regulated and inspected sources which do not use any toxic, harmful chemicals in their production.
Point 5: “Choking or blockages. If your dog swallows large pieces of rawhide, the rawhide can get stuck in the esophagus or other parts of the digestive tract. Sometimes, abdominal surgery is needed to remove them from the stomach or intestines. If it isn’t resolved, a blockage can lead to death.“ Rawhides, as with any chews, can carry a small choking risk. We always recommend that you supervise your dog carefully when feeding and if they are greedy and prone to chewing off larger pieces and swallowing whole then we would not recommend giving these to your dog. We would also advise this for many of the other treats though which some people argue as more "natural" i.e. raw bones, pigs ears, pizzles etc.
Whilst we do appreciate that there can be a risk of choking if your dog is not being properly supervised, we like to let our customers balance this up with the advantages when properly supervised. It can provide a safer outlet for chewing than other things around the house they may be focussing on. It can also be a useful addition for tooth cleaning and as an aid to combatting boredom or anxiety alleviation.
We appreciate rawhide may not be suited to all dogs (if they are a greedy eater or if they have a sensitivity to beef etc) and for more information on the pros and cons of different chewing items please do have a look at our "to chews or not to chews" article on our blog or ask for a leaflet in store.
Summer is here at last =) It is another scorcher today so we thought it might be useful to pop up our wee reminder about keeping our doggy friends cool and safe in this weather as they overheat a lot easier than us humans. We know a lot of it is common sense but it is always nice to keep it in our minds when we are sunning ourselves.
Bruno stole our hearts! He has the most adorable characterful face and a smashing personality to match.He loves people, cuddles, a cosy bed and a favourite toy.Bruno picked out the Bento ball with its everlasting treat as soon as he came into the paddock and wasn't to be parted from it. He enjoyed running around with it, in between getting some all important cuddles. When it was time to leave the paddock he was determined to take the treat ball with him and carried it all the way back to his kennel - wee scone!Bruno may be a senior citizen but he is a really smashing boy. He is good with other dogs and the only reasons he seems to be getting overlooked in the kennels are the fact that he is a staffie and an OAP. It is such a shame as he would be a fantastic addition to any home - so calm and loving!
It breaks our heart to think that this lad, who should be chilling out in his golden years, has been overlooked in the kennels. Can you help us find his his perfect forever home?
Please do consider visiting him at EDCH. We know he would be delighted to see you. If you are not in a position to rehome it would be fantastic if you could share his details. This older lad so deserves a new home! Good Luck Bruno - you are a STAR!Thank to Bruno for modelling one of the tweed collars with removable Bow ties which was VERY generously donated by Dawn from Bowzos too!Earlier last week we spent an afternoon at The Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home getting to know some of the fantastic doggies looking for homes and taking some goodies down for them to put to use. Cheryl from Edinburgh Dog Photography very generously gave up her time to take some amazing shots which we hope will let people see just how much these fantastic dogs have to give. Every day we are featuring a different dog in need of a home and hoping we may be able to help them find a forever home. We are hoping Bruno will be one of the lucky ones!
Earlier this week we spent an afternoon at The Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home getting to know some of the fantastic doggies looking for homes and taking some goodies down for them to put to use. Cheryl from Edinburgh Dog Photography very generously gave up her time to take some amazing shots which we hope will let people see just how much these fantastic dogs have to give. Every day we are featuring a different dog in need of a home and hoping we may be able to help them find a forever home.Buster is another long stay OAP staffie. This poor lad is so stressed in kennels but has been in EDCH since 2011! Being a senior lad and a staffie means that he is often overlooked but this boy has so much to offer. Buster is the three "Bs". He is Bright, Bouncy and Big Hearted. He really is a special and very loving boy and we just can't understand why he hasn't found his forever home long before now.Although Buster is not keen on other dogs he absolutely adores people and loves nothing more than spending time getting cuddles and playing with toys (he had great fun with the Tuffy 3 Way Tugger and the Supersnake n the paddock). He is very fit for a senior citizen. He does get a little stressed when left on his own but he doesn't have severe separation issues and with a little work he would likely be happy to curl up on the couch and chill.It breaks our heart to think that this lad, who should be chilling out in his golden years, has been overlooked in the kennels for the last three years. Can you help find his perfect forever home?
Please do consider visiting him at EDCH. We know he would be delighted to see you. If you are not in a position to rehome it would be fantastic if you could share his details. This older lad so deserves a new home! Good Luck gorgeous Buster!
Earlier this week we spent an afternoon at The Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home getting to know some of the fantastic doggies looking for homes and taking some goodies down for them to put to use. Cheryl from Edinburgh Dog Photography very generously gave up her time to take some amazing shots which we hope will let people see just how much these fantastic dogs have to give. Every day we are featuring a different dog in need of a home and hoping we may be able to help them find a forever home.Stella is a super bright Collie Mix. Brought into EDCH as a stray she would make a fantastic addition to any family. She is great around other dogs (she happily played ball whilst in the paddock with 3 other very active dogs) and she absolutely loves to play ball with you (we had to encourage her to stop for a drink of water as I think she would have played fetch the entire time if she could have). She is clever, calm and has good basic obedience. What more could you want in a furry companion!Stella would love a visit from you if you think you can offer her a forever home. Please do get in touch with EDCH if you would like to arrange to visit her. Please do share her details even if you are not in a position to offer her a forever home as the more people that get to see her the more chance there is of her finding a new home :-)Stella did a stellar job of modelling some of our bandanas and had great fun with the super squeaky JW Ball.Don't forget to also check our Cheryl's Edinburgh Dog Photograhy Facebook Page if you would be interested in getting some great action shots of your own dog :-)
Earlier this week we spent an afternoon at The Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home getting to know some of the fantastic doggies looking for homes and taking some goodies down for them to put to use. Cheryl from Edinburgh Dog Photography very generously gave up her time to take some amazing shots which we hope will let people see just how much these fantastic dogs have to give. Every day we are featuring a different dog in need of a home and hoping we may be able to help them find a forever home.
Today we are featuring Trevor. We totally fell in love with some of the long stay, OAP staffies including Trevor. Trevor is the three "Ts". Tactile, Tranquil and Terrific. Despite being an older boy he is very fit and would still be happy to go for good walks and he loves playing with toys. He adores cuddles and would be happy to snuggle up with you on the couch. We were truly saddened to hear that Trevor has been in the kennels for 3 years! 3 Years?! He is so lovely and although he may not be a fan of sharing his home with another dog he is just so great with people and a lovely calm lad who would make such a great companion. We hate the idea that this boy has been over looked just because he is a senior citizen black staffie. If you can get past these stereotypes you will find such a charming and fun lad who deserves to find a couch to call his own!We are so desperate to see Trevor in a forever home to enjoy his golden years. Please do consider visiting him at EDCH (he does have some medical issues that the staff will chat you through when visiting but they should not put you off this smasher of a lad). We know he would be delighted to see you. If you are not in a position to rehome it would be fantastic if you could share his details. This older lad so deserves a new home! Fingers crossed for Trevor!Trevor had great time playing with the large I Squeak ball we donated and just didn't want to be parted with it :-)Don't forget to also check our Cheryl's Edinburgh Dog Photograhy Facebook Page if you would be interested in getting some great action shots of your own dog :-)
**CAN YOU HELP MARC FIND HIS FOREVER HOME?**
Today we are featuring Marc. He is the most adorable young neutered Lab cross.
We had such fun with him in the paddock on Monday. He is full of fun, loves to play, is super friendly and very responsive when using toys and treats as a motivator.
He will make a smashing addition to any household and will respond well to training to bring on his basic manners etc. He is very friendly with other dogs he has met and could be homed with another dog or in a child savvy household.
Marc came into the Dog and Cat Home as a stray and he has a mild balance condition which affects his mobility ever so slightly. He has slight coordination issues and can be a bit wobbly on his feet. It doesn't get in the way of him being a very happy and playful pup and he is still very active and enjoys a good romp! It will mean that his new owner will need to be aware of this and manage his exercise etc appropriately.
How can you resist that face? Marc is currently looking for a new home and it seems a shame that this boy who has so much going for him is in rescue. If you are in a position to offer Marc a new home we are sure the EDCH would love to hear from you. They always welcome visitors at the Centre and encourage people to meet dogs they are interested in and get to know them a bit better.
If you are not in a position to offer him a home we would be so grateful if you could share Marc's details in the hope that we can help him secure a great forever home soon!
Thanks too Marc for doing such a great job of modelling the front range harness from Ruffwear (big thanks to Ruffwear UK for donating this and the Orbee Tuff Ball pictured below to the EDCH).
Don't forget to also check our Cheryl's Edinburgh Dog Photograhy Facebook Page if you would be interested in getting some great action shots of your own dog :-)