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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    New York
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    HELP - pup with no strong desire to eat

    Have a lab pup in our home that is just over 10 week old. She came from a great breeder and she has adjusted well in the two weeks she has been in our home.

    My issue is that she does not seem to have a strong desire to eat. We have raised other labs and we are more accustom to pups that eat too fast.

    Here are the facts:
    - Breeder started her on one food (do not recall name) and sent us home with a gallon size ziplock bag. We attempted to introduce her to Eukanuba puppy. Our vet also provided Hills Science Diet. We have tried all three. We even did three separate bowls to see if she was more interested in one brand (taste test).
    - We initially had her food and water bowls set up in a quiet area away from traffic. We noted that she preferred to grab a small amount of food and then run off to chew it. We attempted to sit with her while she ate, but she would still run off. We also noted that she was more inclined to take the food from the floor than from her bowls.
    - When she only appeared to pick at her food, we opted to leave it out all day in hopes that she would get the intake her growing body needs. However, since then we have gone to three specific feedings a day and we remove the bowls when feeding time is over. We see the wisdom in training her to specific feeding times.
    - We work with a group of trainers and one suggested that we feed her in her crate. So we have set up her bowls inside her large adult crate (she is currently crated in a small version). During feeding times, she is placed in the large crate with her food bowl and water bowl. That way it is not a grab and run scenario. We give her 15-20 mins with the food and then she is out and the food is removed. However, she still rarely eats more than half the bowl.
    - Overall she is being fed approximately 3/4 of a cup, 3 times a day.
    - In her first week home she made a trip to our vet and was deemed very healthy. I raised the issue with the vet and she suggested that the pup just needed time to get comfortable with so many new things (makes sense).

    So obviously my concern is that the dog is just not getting enough intake for this fast growing time period. She does not get excited when it is time to eat. I like to motivate during training times with food, but that does not work because she is not interested in the rewardd. She does not appear skinny and she does not lack energy.

    I would appreciate any suggestions. I am not looking to start a lengthy argument regarding food brands (I know that sparks more passion than politics).

  2. #2
    Senior Dog
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Williamsburg, Virginia
    Thanked: 2964
    I think you're actually doing everything right. The general consensus on this board is that a healthy puppy won't starve herself. Does she still look like she's growing? Does she look like she's getting skinny? If yes to the first and no to the second, then I'd keep with the "put food down for 15 minutes, pick it up after that."

    Write some more posts so you can share pictures of your pup. What's her name? Oh, and welcome to the board!
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  3. #3
    Senior Dog Jeff's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Grand Rapids, MI
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    I had to laugh at this post. I know your concerned but this is the same exact behavior of Hemi's, my lab, Uncle Mac, my sisters lab. Which is really Uncle Mac, Hemi's mom's litter mate.

    As a little pup, Mac was exactly the same way, you would fix breakfast, he would go over grab a bite, wander around a lot of it dropping out of his mouth on the floor. He would then make laps around the kitchen checking where everyone was at. Go back grab another bite. My Brother in law would actually get up a half hour earlier just so he would eat. Sometimes he had to just sit in a chair petting him while he ate. They were concerned they went through a long time of this.

    Mac grew to be 110 lbs, he is a very big and solid lab, no health issues, he was that way for years, seriously they would often just crate him with his food when they left for work, he would munch on it whenever. It wasn't until the got another lab who loved food with great gusto and would often be heading over to Macs bowl before Mac got 2 mouthfuls down and raiding it did Mac start eating his food in a sitting. He still takes his time but he now sits there and eats it.

    A pup won't starve itself, it will eat when hungry. However, the other thing right now everything is new the world is new, the place is new the people are new. Life is extremely interesting, who has time to eat.

    That would be my first thought from what you describe.

    I had another sister with another lab, he couldn't, or wouldn't eat out of a bowl. Through his whole life they fed him on a paper plate. Yep seriously. they got him as a pup, no idea why he was like this. He hated getting drinks fo water from a bowl but his only option in the house. Garden hose and the like was his preferred method.

    Which are some other suggestions, perhaps bowls. Some labs hate stainless bowls. The reflectiveness or something bugs them.

    So I would try feeding from a paper plate. Just to see, not permanent before investing in different bowls.

    Try livening things up at meal time. I mean who doesn't want dinner entertainment. Try feeding from hand, make a big deal each bite, cheer and yahoo, tell him what a good boy. He is going to sit there and go wait all I have to do is eat this and I am a hero, bring it on. Much like a human child that just ate their veggies. "Whoo hoo such a big boy you ate everything all up." Lots of love and praise. The only issue is puppy teeth but this is also a good time to teach bite control and how to take treats or food gently.

    You can do other things like try rolling a piece of kibble across the floor see if he pounces on it and eats it. Think up games. You could try putting in in kong or food dispenser toy like a Kong Wobbler or a buster cube. Entertaining meal time fun.

    A lot of this he will grow out of. Right now he is just a pup looking to live life and have some fun. These kinds of thins are why I always say, The reason lab pups are so stinking cute is so we don't kill them as they test our patients..

    Oh another simple thing. I forgot I still do it every single day. My boy hates his food dry. He will eat it that way but often when he was a pup, I just added a little luke warm water to the kibble in his bowl, he would devour it in seconds. So now thats how he takes his food, more like kibble soup.

  4. #4
    Chief Pooper Scooper JenC's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Thanked: 2588
    They'll eat. Our Griff didn't want to eat much when she got home. At 10 months, she gets very distracted at meals. Feeding her in her crate stopped her eating. If you don't have any other dogs, you can try free feeding until she is a bit more comfortable.

  5. #5
    House Broken
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    May 2016
    Lawrence, KS (formerly in Topeka 50+ yrs)
    Thanked: 70
    My first Lab, Bess, the runt of her litter, was a glutton and never saw an edible food she didn't like (except raw mushrooms). She had no limit on the amount she'd eat at a meal so I had to continually limit her to keep her trim. Bess's good, proper adult weight was 55 lbs.

    My 2nd Lab, Puff, was also the runt of her litter. She was never a glutton. As a puppy, she ate however much she wanted out of her bowl and then walked away. She did eat increasing amounts as she aged and grew to her adult weight of 62 lbs. She never coveted others' food unless it was meal time and her meal was not present. She was a delight.

    My suggestion: enjoy your wonderful pup and delight in her exceptionalism -- it's truly a magnificent gift to her parents.

  6. #6
    Senior Dog Maxx&Emma's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    SE, PA
    Thanked: 1992
    Sounds like your puppy is eating just fine. I would caution you on giving/changing foods for a puppy as young as yours. Feed her what the breeder was feeding and stick with that for as long as possible, at least a year. There is no reason to change her food or give her choices, that can cause problems you do not want or need!
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  7. #7
    Senior Dog Snowshoe's Avatar
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    May 2014
    Ontario, Canada
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    So she is getting 2.25 cups of food a day? 3/4 x 3 = 2.25? That's more than my pup was getting at that age. If that's the amount your breeder suggested then what about trying four feedings a day? Maybe 3/4 of a cup is a bit much for her all at once. You say she does not look skinny and does not lack energy so it doesn't sound like she is starving. Slow growth is desirable, not fast growth.
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  8. #8
    Senior Dog Meeps83's Avatar
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    May 2014
    Thanked: 1052
    Maverick was, and still is, the same way. He's a slow eater and he gets distracted and forgets what he's doing. As long as your pup is at least eating a little I wouldn't worry about it too much. If she completely stops eating or her body condition starts to diminish I'd take her to the vet for a check up......maybe she ate something bad something. Good luck!


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