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Last night, I deicided to sprinkle a teaspoon of parmesean cheese on Odie's food. For the first time ever, he settled right in and ate the whole bowl full. So, I'm figuring I'll find out that parmesean is bad for him, since it works. Is there anything I can put in there, even in itty bitty quantities, that will entice him to eat kibble willingly?

He has never liked eating kibble, no matter the flavor. He will eat a new flavor for a couple of meals, and then just walks away when we put the bowl down after that. He has done this since we got him at eight weeks old. He has put on weight just fine, and doesn't have any loose stool, and the vet says he is just picky. But he will snoop constantly around the kitchen floor, and nab cat food when he can. Do I just let him go hungry until he is willing to eat? I don't want to start a bad habit with 'dressing' his food. I figured someone here might be able to give me some insight.
 

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How old is he, how much does he weigh, and how much of what food are you feeding him?

According to the results of a poll I ran a few years ago which had about 80 owner respondents, approximately 10% of Labs are self-regulating (they know when to stop eating) while the others tend more to the glutton side with little/no sense of how much is enough.

Young pups (2 mos. age) need/tend to eat about 5X the amount that an adult dog of that same weight would eat.

As they grow older, around 7-8 to 10-11 months age, that multiplier has decreased to/nearly to 1X (that is, the same as an adult, they've reached adult maturity). **

My Puff is one of the rare self-regulators and as she increased in age to about 8 months, her appetite also increased from about 1 cup/day at 9 weeks/6 lbs to 5 cups at 8 months/45 lbs.

At that point she stopped eating for a meal or two and, when she resumed, she ate only part of her food. I measured the amount left, calculated the amount eaten, and offered her the reduced amount for subsequent meals.

We went through that same process several times until getting to her typical adult meal portion of 1 cup/ 2X day (393 kcals/cup).

BTW, Puff is a moderately active Lab and gets substantial daily exercise.

Also, several recent scientific canine nutritional studies on Labs show that those Labs fed 75% less than normal have siginificantly fewer health problems and live significantly longer.

Hope this helps.
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** There is a great deal of variability in rates of development depending on the particular line of Labs.
Some, like my Puff, have a rate of weight gain similar to the shape of the silhouette of the NW quadrant of a US/Can. football when its noses are pointed E-W -- i.e., convex in shape.
Others have a more drawn out S-shape (sinusoidal?), with a rate of weight gain less than Puff's in the early months but then crossing over the trajectory of her curve with a more rapid weight gain, but then soon leveling off at the adult asymptotic level.

 

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We are feeding 70% Kirkland adult, and 30% Avoderm (both are chicken and rice). It will be 100% Kirkland once the Avoderm bag runs out.

The Min-Schnauzer/ Jack Russel cross, ~15 lbs, might eat 2/3 cup once he is really, really hungry. He turned a year old May 11. He ate around 2 cups 6 months ago. Even then, he did not eat while we were with him. If I hand him some food, that makes a difference for a few bites, and if I use it as a reward for obedience, he might eat a third of it. Meanwhile, he will chow down on all the (acceptable) normal food we offer. He would be perfectly happy for me to make his meals, but I have a hard enough time trying to keep my family's meals balanced. I don't think I could be consistant enough to feed him 'naturally'.

The 60 lb lab will eat until the bowl is empty. He is "somehwere between 6 months and 1 year", according to the vet. He gets 5 cups of the mix, and I have tried to regulate the amount by his "waist size" and his energy level. He is the reason I am hesitant to fault the food.
 

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The problem with adding stuff is that after a while that will have no appeal and you will move on to another topping ... I think it creates a picky eater.
 

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I guess your initial post then was not about your Lab but your JRT/mSchn mix that weighs about 15 lbs?

He turned a year old May 11. He ate around 2 cups 6 months ago.
That would have been close to the height of a growing pup's appetite -- just as eating 5 cups a day then also was for my Puff (who now eats 2 cups/day).

I looked on my bag of Kirkland C&R for recommended feeding amounts by dog weight. Their recommendations are a little high IMO but not as outlandish as on most bags. E.g., they recommend for a 63 lb. dog at Puff's weight to feed about 2.75 cups of food a day. For a 15 lb. dog, they recommend about 1 cup/day.

I think you're trying to overfeed Odie.

My recommendation is to stop adding toppings, etc., trying to make him eat more.

Instead, measure out 1/2 cup of food and offer it at his mealtime. If it's untouched after 20 minutes, pick it up and return it to the container.

Same for the following meals. When he does begin eating, measure the amount left so you can calculate how much he ate. Then offer that amount for the following meals.

One other possibility.

How do you store the dog food once opened?

With some gluttonous Labs, it doesn't make any difference -- food is food.

But for dogs that self-regulate their intake (only 10% of Labs), how appetizing the food is makes a BIG difference.

Dry dog food -- like crackers and cookies exposed to air and humidity for long periods -- can lose its appeal to discriminating canine palates while that never at all fazes a glutton.

I've found what works best for Puff (a self-regulator) is to immediately transfer the contents of a 40 lb. bag into 10-11 one gallon Ziplock freezer bags which I seal after sucking any excess air out. Some people put their bag's contents into a rigid container but I tried several and none worked for us -- I think because everytime it gets opened to remove food, more new air enters the container.

Could something like this possibly be happening with Odie, a discriminating eater who is affected by such things while it doesn't at all affect your typical "gluttonous" Lab?


 

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If you're concerned about his nutrition, put him on a good supplement such as NuVet. My breeder exclusively feeds their dogs Flint River Ranch dog food. It is so nutrient dense that you only serve about half as much as other food. The salmon and potato is supposed to be great for labs coats and helps prevent skin problems.
 

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First off, how many times a day are you feeding? It should be twice a day, at least. Dogs do better with more, smaller meals rather than trying to cram a whole day's worth of food into their stomach at once.

Adding toppings will only result in a picky dog. No animal will starve itself. Put the food down for 15 minutes, then pick it up again. What they didn't eat, they get for the next meal. Nothing in between. They will quickly learn to eat when they are fed.
 

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The problem with adding stuff is that after a while that will have no appeal and you will move on to another topping ... I think it creates a picky eater.
+10000000. I can't tell you how much of a picky eater I have created, unintentionally. It sounds like your pup is the exact same as Abbey.. but please, please, PLEASE take all of the advice and stop it before it gets worse.
 

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I am on the other spectrum, I don't think adding stuff does create a picky eater. I add something to my dogs' bowls for every meal, and started the puppies like that once they were about 6 months. I either use a spoon of quality canned food (canned tripe is a favorite!), a spoon of yogurt or cottage cheese. If we have left over rice from dinner, they might get a little of that. If we have left over meat from dinner and after a few nights of left-overs, no one wants it anymore, the dogs will get the remainder (hubby works for a bison rancher so often they get bits of bison roast!). I always adjust their kibble down a little when we add something in.
 

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I have a chocolate lab that is picky as well and parmesan cheese works for her too. We asked our vet about it and he said it was fine and was probably better than some of the other toppers you can buy because it was lower in calories.
 

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Progresso Wedding Soup

Hi, wouldn't we humans be bored if we were given a plate of plain pasta every night for dinner? So I think it is fine to jazz up the dry dog food.

My staple is the Progresso brand "Wedding Soup." It has a chicken broth, little macaronis, carrots and meatballs. I pour some on top of my dog's food, break up the meatballs, add a little warm water, and mix it with a spoon -- and my dog approves of his tasty meal.

Of course, you could use other brands...Campbell's has a low-sodium version and I do buy that, as well.

Heck, even adding a little low-salt chicken stock to the dry dog food would help it taste better.

If you pick other types of soup, beware of tomato-y, creamy or spicy blends. These may not agree with the dog and could cause diarrhea.
 
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