Feeding problem

Topics, guidelines and tips for feeding Chow Chows.

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calhoune
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Feeding problem

Postby calhoune » Sat May 16, 2009 10:25 am

My 8 yr old female chow chow is a rescue from last January. She has refused to eat from her bowl since then. I have tried a wide variety of different foods to appetize her palette only to result in diarrhea. She is now on prescription food only that come in different flavors. So far, I've tried duck & potato and salmon & potato, but she still won't eat from her bowl. The only way I can get food into her is by handfeeding. I know this only encourages a bad habit. How can I get her to eat from her bowl? :?

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Re: Feeding problem

Postby Sirchow » Sat May 16, 2009 11:01 am

When Bramble wouldn't eat and had a really upset stomache from meds I cooked up really low fat minced beef with no water and then froze it on a tray and put it in granule form into a bag so that I could take a little at a time from the freezer pour boiling water over it and use it to moisten and interest her food. I only gave her a couple of dessert spoons in each meal at the most. Dont know if it would work but it did for Bramble where nothing else would without upsetting her tummy. She still gets it sometimes when she is in a sniffy mood over any other addition to her dry food. :roll: Good luck.

Sorry I didn't realise you had this in two places so I will just copy it here.
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Re: Feeding problem

Postby Zhuyos mom » Sat May 16, 2009 11:13 am

calhoune wrote:My 8 yr old female chow chow is a rescue from last January. She has refused to eat from her bowl since then. I have tried a wide variety of different foods to appetize her palette only to result in diarrhea. She is now on prescription food only that come in different flavors. So far, I've tried duck & potato and salmon & potato, but she still won't eat from her bowl. The only way I can get food into her is by handfeeding. I know this only encourages a bad habit. How can I get her to eat from her bowl? :?


Is there a medical reason why she has to be on prescription food? Her reluctance to eat in her bowl doesn't read to be medical, but a preference. That is why I am asking. If its just because of diarrhea, try Avoderm for sensitive belly's. But introduce it slowly through a week's time. Breeder's Choice is the company name. They have different product lines for different needs. Look them up on the web if you want to learn more. Their premium holistic line is Pinnacle.

Have you taken advantage of her eatting only through you handfeeding her and train her to do different things? It's a really good way for a chow (and dogs) to associate "good = good".

For her non bowl eatting situation, are you feeding her kibble only or wet/canned (you might be one of us insane chow parents who can feed their chow with a spoon, fork and in my case, chopsticks) food only. Taking that you are feeding dry kibble, have a little towel or a small bath rug near her with her bowl on top of it. Try giving her a few pieces of kibble by saying "take it" each time from your hand and then purposely drop one piece of kibble on the towel/bath rug and say "take it, good girl!" and then repeat with feeding from your hand as above and then drop one piece of her kibble on the towel/bath rug and say "take it, good girl!" Be patient with her if she doesn't automatically pick up the piece on the towel/bath rug. If she doesn't take it, throw the kibble in her bowl. When you have finished your handfeeding, scatter some of the kibble bits on the towel rug , keeping some kibble in the bowl + a couple of her favorite treats sliced up and see if she will free feed on her own. Oh and you must tell her you've left the remaining kibble for her to eat when she wants! I kid you not. You must fyi her that it is there for a reason.

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Re: Feeding problem

Postby calhoune » Sat May 16, 2009 11:19 am

Thank you for your suggestion. The vet thinks that Dolly may have a food allergy which is why she has ordered prescription food only. The vet also thinks that her refusal to eat from her bowl may be a behavioral issue. I've been told to just leave her bowl out for only 10 minutes. If she doesn't eat, I have to wait until the next feeding to put her bowl out again. She eats (handfed) twice a day. Is this tough love? :?

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Re: Feeding problem

Postby Zhuyos mom » Sat May 16, 2009 11:23 am

It's called love... you hand feeding her twice a day.

Give my suggestion a try - the food too. I know how expensive and emptying prescription food is on the pocket book. It might not be necessary in your case. Also, search the threads on the site regarding food, diarhea. There are alot of good threads on this site written by chow parents who have had to deal with the subject.

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Re: Feeding problem

Postby Sirchow » Sat May 16, 2009 11:40 am

You could also try slippery elm bark capsules which sooth the lining of the digestive system and probiotics which restore the balance of the gut bacteria. Both come in capsules which most dogs will eat out yur hand. They helped Bramble with her alergies foodwise and with the diarhea. Both our dogs had "alergies" and the vet was so quick to prescribe diets but looking back I think it had more to do with other things like changes in their life, stress, injuries etc. PM if I can help.
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Re: Feeding problem

Postby calhoune » Sat May 16, 2009 11:57 am

The vet has prescribed Metronidazole each time the diarrhea reoccurs. The diarrhea seems to be under control for now. The vet has also ordered Forti Flora which helps to restore the good bacteria in her GI tract. I gather it's something similar to Probiotics from reading through the threads about diarrhea on this site.

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Re: Feeding problem

Postby calhoune » Sat May 16, 2009 12:00 pm

Dolly's stool has been sent for testing for parasites during each episode of diarrhea. Each time coming up negative. I just wish I could get her to eat from her bowl :roll:

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Re: Feeding problem

Postby kingalls » Sat May 16, 2009 3:01 pm

Hope this isn't a silly suggestion...what kind of bowl is it? I use one of those really wide, somewhat flat stainless steel bowls. Shiloh doesn't care, but Nahkohe prefers the big, wide bowls. Have you tried a different type of bowl?
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Re: Feeding problem

Postby Zhuyos mom » Sat May 16, 2009 3:08 pm

I also meant to ask you how long does she go without eatting if you don't hand feed her?

LOL, kingalls, there is not a silly question to ask when it comes to our chows! Remember how I had to bring Zhuyo's glass water bowl to the first ChowFest because he would only drink out of that one glass water bowl?!

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Re: Feeding problem

Postby calhoune » Sat May 16, 2009 3:58 pm

Dolly's bowls for both water and food are the flat wide stainless steel bowls. Funny, she has no problem drinking water from it. I have tried the big wide glass bowl for her food to no avail. She seems to take an interest in tuna fish though. I asked her vet if I could put a teaspoon of it with her food, but I was told that she'll only want the tuna fish. The vet was right because now she won't even eat the prescription food mixed with the tuna by hand. The prescription food is salmon and potato. I have white fish on order right now from the vet's. Hopefully, the white fish will taste more like tuna.

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Re: Feeding problem

Postby calhoune » Sat May 16, 2009 4:03 pm

Dolly will go a whole day without being handfed. Somehow, I haven't felt comfortable with that. I guess because I'm so used to feeding her twice a day and I feel like I'm neglecting her. Her meds have to be taken with food too :cry:

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Re: Feeding problem

Postby NanouetJon » Sat May 16, 2009 5:33 pm

Have you tried putting food down and picking it up an hour later and not feeding until second feeding. Again put bowl down and give an hour for opportunity to feed.

While it sounds hurtful too pull food away when they aren't eating, I think you have to give clear strong , CONSISTENT messages.

For first 6 months I put wet food into Maddoxx's food to encourage eating and to make sure he gets the same amount of food each day. At 8 month I wanted to stop with the wet food. So I weaned it out for a week and then on the next dreaded Monday. Dry kibble only.

1st feeding (60mins): Maddoxx looked at the food and looked at me.. walked away
2nd Feeding (60mins): Maddoxx looked at the food and looked at me.. walked away.. came back and ate a handful and snorted an walked away.
Next Day
1st Feeding (60mins): Maddoxx looked at food and looked at me.. walked away
2nd Feeding (60mins): Maddoxx looked at me and walked away... When I went to pick up bowl.. he ran back and cleared the whole thing.

Eats his whole bowl every feeding now. He was testing me, seeing if he could hold out for better. I also gave no treats, but always had water down.
Killed me to know he hadn't eaten but then I also knew we was testing me.

Dogs will eat when given the opportunity!
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Re: Feeding problem

Postby Auddymay » Sat May 16, 2009 5:55 pm

Some times, it is as simple as the bowl location. I used to feed Pip in my pantry, and she hated it. When I got Lily, too, I set up a different site for her as well, and they both used it. Now, Pip will bring a mouthful of kibble into the living room and they both eat it in front of the TV...lol. Lily can only transport a couple pieces at a time, but is getting better #-o . The only time I complain is when they leave some on the carpet, and I crunch it under my feet.

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Re: Feeding problem

Postby calhoune » Sun May 17, 2009 6:57 am

I was told by the vet to leave the bowl out for 10 to 20 minutes then take it away. Dolly just ignores the food and looks at me expecting me to handfeed her. Guess what? Her expectations are right because I give in to her. I can't resist her because I love her so much like she's my own child. Last night, I thought of ways to show her that I'm in control. So...I decided not to let her sleep in bed with me. When I woke this morning, I found two piles of diarrhea in the living room (one of which was lapped up with vomit) and more vomit in my bedroom). I don't know if this is a medical problem caused by stress or GI related. I was very upset about it, but I didn't talk to her about it. She was very nonchalant about it. One thing I noticed though, she didn't get excited about going outside for a walk this morning as she normally does. So we haven't been out for a walk this morning. I have a call to the vet before I make the final decision to give her up. I've had to spend thousands of dollars in vet visits alone to try to find the cause of her diarrhea. The handfeeding issue is only adding to her high maintenance. She's really too much for me... :( I just want a nice dog with low maintenance.

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Re: Feeding problem

Postby calhoune » Sun May 17, 2009 7:00 am

Yes, I have tried different ways to present her food. I've changed the location of the bowl, different bowls, even putting the food on the floor. She'll eat off the floor, but only a small amount at a time about a spoonful. So I have to sit there with her while I do this. Not only is this time consuming, but messy on the floor as well.

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Re: Feeding problem

Postby Coco Chow » Sun May 17, 2009 10:54 am

Coco, an allergic chow as well, has always been a picky eater too. I don't know how many mornings I spent on my knees to handfeed her (so she won't throw up bile because of an empty stomack).
The anti-allergenic prescription diet I now give her comes in dry food AND wet food. That as changed everything for me because she loves when I put a little bit of the wet food on top of the dry food. (I would give her the wet food only if I could but it is really too expensive, the price is just ridiculous). Anyway, she now eats everytime I put her bowl down, I am amazed every day because it is so unusual for her.
Maybe you could check if your prescription food comes in different styles too?
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Re: Feeding problem

Postby Layla » Sun May 17, 2009 9:18 pm

I'm sorry to hear that you're having so many issues with your girl. Its so hard to see them suffer tummy issues.

Millie is a funny eater, much prefers to eat from my hand & then only if she thinks it's yummy :roll: I slowly trained her out of this by a combination of adding a little wet food (canned or fish, or an egg) & holding a little food in my hand over the bowl. I gradually lowered my hand after each mouthful until it was in the bowl, then I just held the bowl, then I set the bowl on top of a shoe box so she doesn't have to bend down for it (I actually think this was her main issue all along) Then I sat by her whilst she ate, now I set it on the box & ask for paw, then she'll eat. This may have taken me 2 weeks, but unless she is unwell this is fine by her now. For the record, Millie has gone 3days without eating anything so she can hold out with the best of them :shock:

I also agree with Coco, I add stuff to their food all the time so tuna is fine in my book. Variety is good for everyone imo!
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Re: Feeding problem

Postby Grab » Wed May 20, 2009 11:59 pm

Have you tried a bowl made of a different material? For example, a plastic, glass or ceramic bowl? It is possible that she's used to eating from one type of bowl. The fact that she will eat her food when it is offered away from the bowl (will she also eat if you put the food on the floor or a paper plate?) seems to point towards an issue with the bowl itself or its location rather than being picky about the food.
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Re: Feeding problem

Postby calhoune » Sat May 23, 2009 7:47 am

Hmmm...interesting. I tried a glass teacup saucer plate (crystal), and she likes it. Thank you! I have the elevated set of food and water stainless steel bowls. She has no problem drinking from her water bowl. Questions: Why won't she eat from her food bowl right next to it? Have you heard of the automatic timed feeder? Why will she lick the stainless steel bowl after I'm done handfeeding her? /:)

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Re: Feeding problem

Postby Ellie » Sat May 23, 2009 9:57 pm

*lol* She's obviously just desiring the finer things in life! Crystal indeed :roll: :D
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Re: Feeding problem

Postby mashabear » Tue May 26, 2009 9:52 am

I just thought I would add my two cents in here. I've had chows and chow mixes all my life and currently have two young ones. Every chow I've had has been a picky eater - I think it goes with the breed. Sometimes one or the other has gone 3 days without eating and the only way I could tell if the dog was well and just stubborn was to offer a favorite treat in the evening. Every time they took the treat eagerly - so it was just stubborness.

I see where one person advised you to look into Avo Derm. That's all I've ever fed my dogs and any time I've tried to change to a different dry food ended up with skin problems - mainly hot spots. I cover the dry food with water for a few minutes, drain the water and mix in some Evenger's chicken. Once in awhile I'll put some grated sheddar cheese on top - about a tablespoon or so. Being that your chow is a rescue it may take sometime for her to settle in. Keep in mind that you have no idea what she went through before or what kind of food she was raised on. Hence the diarrea with a change of food and she may just want some reassurance from you that you will still be there in the morning.

I would love my chows to sleep on my bed and even started out keeping them there when they were puppies but they get down as soon as I stop giving them attention. So the fact that she wants to sleep with you again says that she's worried you won't be there in the AM. Chows take a long time to make up their minds about a person. Give her extra love and attention and be patient. Chows are very special dogs but being that, it takes a lot of patience and frustration on the owner's part to end up with a good dog.
Please don't send her back until you've given her a chance.


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