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Ellie was a very fussy eater but now will eat anything and Arthur is also very fussy.One thing that helps me to get him to eat is a tin of tuna mixed in his dinner......and then hand feed him.A pain but he does eat!
Ellie would refuse raw meat and almost everything then,one day, I gave her some of the cat's food.It was Classic cat food.She ate! She still has it now.
Try not to worry, I am sure that your dog will pick that up and maybe enjoy the reaction to her not eating.
Add Cash to the picky eaters club. Do you find your girl is more apt to eat after exercise? Cash will refuse a morning meal often even with his favorite canned foods mixed in, but comes back from his running starved! And usually after some napping wants another meal again late evening. I hear mine is too thin also and have left him at 20 months on puppy food for the extra protein and fat it offers. I think some dog live to eat (must be other breeds) and our setter eat to live.
I had the same problem with my Flora. She had 21 kg at the age of 2. She had no interest in food. She would eat just enough to survive and leave the rest of food. A few times a months she wouldn't eat at all. I fussed at first, but..... now why should I? She can eat if she likes and doesn't have to if she wont. She is 5 years now has 27-28 kg and about two years ago or so she showed more interest in food, she can even tell the time - when it's 6pm she would find and "tel me" it's time for supper. Before... I could forget to feed her and she wouldn't even notice - that ever happend.
My advice is don't worry. As long as she is healthy there's nothing to worry about. She might find more interest in food later on or she might not. Don't complicate.
Pitanga has always been a picky eater. She weight 19 kg at the age of two, and she is a big girl. she was just skin and bones. Having Romã has helped, she eats better when her daughter is sniffing around, out of competition. I tried every brand of food, canned food, chicken, lamb, beef, etc. They all work for a while and then she stops eating. Also tried vitamins and appetite enhancers - worked for a couple of weeks.
She has been putting on weight very slowly - she now has some healthy 24/25 kg and looks like a dog, not a skeleton on a red robe. She had to be on steroids and was spayed after that - Worked wonderfully in getting the weight on, now she just has to keep it, but I don't think feeding your dog steroids is the answer... =)
She is better now, and will nibble on her food on an almost daily basis - every four days or so, she may even show interest in it! But every once in a while she goes back to one of her hunger strike weeks.
The one thing that seems to work when she goes on hunger strike is a Food ball! I put on her portion of food inside, and then make her watch me put just a tiny bit of ham, cheese, biscuits, sausage or whatever crosses my mind. She gets interested on the extra treats, and plays on with her food ball - when her food comes out instead of the treat, she eats it anyway. I guess she just enjoys the game - for me its a lot easier than all the other variations of "please, please will you please just it a tiny bit of the meat i have been cooking for the past two days for you?"
...And that's how I feed my unfeedable dog! It's a bit uncommon, but it may do the trick.
Don't worry about the weight. Setters are not labradors, after all.
As someone mentioned, a bit of canned fish may help heaps.
To get some weight on her, if you think she needs it, try to add a tablespoon of mashed chickpeas (if she eats it). You can actually bake chickpea flour bickies for her. Roast the chickpeas (180 degrees, 15 minutes), then grind them if you have a food processor and mix them with carob, maybe some peanutbutter, or if she likes chicken, mix the flour with some ground chicken. Then shape them into cookies pop them into the stove, 150-180 degree, about 15 -20minutes. My dogs love them, also because they watch me making them. And they have a good dip into the dough like kids, really.
It's not just the food, it's the love you bake in...
I have another idea. Worked with my picky eater.
Try feeding always at the same time. Don't beg her to eat, just put the bowl down and if she turns away, pick the bowl and put it on the kitchen counter and live the room. No comments, no words. She will be able to smell the food, but won't be able to get to it. A few hours later try feeding again. Mine was in a bit of a shock when I first did it, like: "Why are you taking away my food?" She must certainly eate a few hours later ;) Worth a try.
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