Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Teaching Rack to Eat - A Slow Eater Gets Much Better With Water and Heat.
My dog, Rack, has some quirks. Some of those quirks are endearing. He greets me in the house, despite other people living there, first.
Mind you since I'm the one that tends to grab the heaviest bags from the back of the car, that's not always comfortable. That wet nose has found itself in places it never should have been.
He sleeps in his bed, but only until I have drifted to sleep. Many nights, in the glow of the clocks and
Dogs live by their noses, and will curl up next to their favorite people, and barring that, their clothes so
lights in the bedroom, I open an eye and see that he's moved to the bath mat I keep next to the bed and my boots. I would have thought it is more comfortable in his bed that is chock full of foam rubber, but he'd rather curl up on a flat mat next to my shoes and my bed.
Ok, Boy, as long as you don't chew anything.
But one of those quirks has bothered me since day one, and is something I will have to watch for the rest of his time.
Food. He's a terrible eater.
Many dogs are too fast. They eat so fast that they bloat and you end up turning the bowl over, or get a Maze bowl to force them to slow down.
Lettie was fine, although she was a bit too quick on snacks. Just watch your fingers, she thought her snout was shorter than it actually was.
In Rack's case, Food is an Afterthought.
He has severe food allergies. Grain and Poultry are a definite no. We went through quite a few meals followed by projectile "Soft Serve" and diarrhea until we figured that out.
Cheap food is full of grain. Dogs don't need grain. They are omnivores, but more toward being a carnivore than we are. So cut out the grain. Chickens and Turkeys eat grains. So whatever was in that grain gets stored in the muscle tissue, and whatever else, that is used to make the dog food and more "Soft Serve".
We found a couple of foods that he could eat safely, but the damage was done. He gets extremely picky.
Since one of the foods was a dry kibble, he would take as much as a half hour or more to eat on a normal feeding. Twice a day and I was spending an hour tapping and shaking the food bowl to motivate him to eat. I would get frustrated, start nagging him to eat.
Not good. Nobody likes to be nagged.
So I hit on an idea.
Take the food in the bowl, ours is purple plastic, and add an ounce of water or so. Just enough to puddle a little bit in the bottom of the bowl. Coat all of the food with the water. Shake and stir it around.
Then microwave it for 15 seconds. Just enough to warm things.
The first wet day he was done so fast that I had to do a double take. It took three minutes.
So the rule is that he gets bored and needs variety.
The main rule is that even just an ounce of water to warm and soak things is a help.
Reading this you may say to "Give him 10 minutes then remove the food, he'll eat when he's hungry".
No. "I mean are you stupid? No."
I have a dog with a very low prey drive, and a very low food drive. He will starve himself. As in "I'll lose 20% of my body weight and still ignore that food."
It simply is not a priority and removing food from a dog is unnecessarily cruel. Better to try something positive and see if you can change things.
Of course we're also dealing with a dog who was still growing when I got him from the rescue, so he
You see, Puppies are wonderful and beautiful balls of love. However taking a dog away from Mom means that it does not learn what is acceptable in a pack. Feeding is one of those things that is effected and you end up with a painfully fussy dog.
He was almost certainly taken from his mother early and not socialized properly.
When your pup is in a pack of 8 brothers and sisters, you eat or you go hungry. Being picky means failure to thrive. If you aren't taught that lesson, it may linger.
In our case it did.
So a little water, and 15 minutes in the microwave may just do the trick. It did with us.