Rescue dog won't eat kibble, need help

Dog Food Advisor Forums Diet and Health Rescue dog won't eat kibble, need help

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  • #83093 Report Abuse
    Jennifer P

    I’m new to this site and could use some good advice on feeding a 2.5 year old rescue that I just got a few days ago. I think he’s a poodle, terrier, Maltese mix. Not completely sure, but something close. I’ve been having a terrible time getting him to eat kibble so I’ve been mixing it with some canned food and actually sitting with him on the floor coaxing him to eat. He was picking out the kibble and dropping it on the floor so I started crushing the kibble with a kitchen mallet, then mixing in canned with a little water. He will only eat it if I hand feed it to him. I’ve tried Earthborn grain free primitive natural, GO lamb and rice, Go turkey recipe, Go salmon recipe, NOW grain free turkey,salmon,duck. He just hates the dry kibble. I tried giving him fresh chicken as a snack, which he loves but then I noticed a mucous covering on his poo. He loves canned food and I’d prefer to keep him on a mix of kibble and canned. I don’t know what he ate before I got him as his previous owner is dying (hospice care) and I can’t ask. He was turned over to a rescue group and they don’t know either. I feel like I’m torturing him by continuing to give him food he doesn’t like. I’m taking him to my vet tomorrow, to get a check up and see if he may need to be wormed. I’ve been told to put the food down, and if he gets hungry enough, he’ll eat. I just can’t do that to him, he’s already lost his owner, been bounced around with relatives of the owner, then to a rescue group. He is very energetic, loves to go for walks, and seems healthy. Should I just give up and give him a good quality canned food? I would appreciate any advice.

    #83097 Report Abuse

    I am glad you are taking him to the vet for a checkup, especially check his teeth, small dogs tend to have lousy teeth. In fact, I would start brushing his teeth once a day with a medium brush and some Petrodex (see 6.2 oz tube is the most economical)
    YouTube has excellent how to videos

    Next, dogs do experience grief and sadness, some more than others. This may be why he has a poor appetite. He has been through a lot and may need several months to adjust to a new home.

    See General Guidelines for tips:

    Don’t free feed. Offer a mix of kibble and canned food or a topper (a spoonful of cooked chopped chicken, scrambled egg) add a splash of water. Feed measured amounts twice a day, have fresh water available, add water to his food if you don’t see him drinking.

    Leave the food down for 10-15 minutes, if he doesn’t eat pick up the food and store in the fridg and offer at the next meal time. Something like 7a and 4p. If he doesn’t eat x 72 hours, consult a veterinarian.
    He will eat, you have to be patient.
    My small breeds do well on Nutrisca (dry and canned)
    I find this site informative too

    #83098 Report Abuse

    You can soak kibble in water overnight in the fridg, maybe this mixed with a little canned food would appeal to him?

    #83099 Report Abuse

    Hi Jennifer-

    I agree with what anonymously said and think she has given you a good place to start.

    I also just wanted to mention that you’re not harming him by getting him on a good eating regime by removing the food after 15-20 mins. Sometimes tough love is the way to go with certain dogs and if not, you can create an even more picky eater. I should know, I went through all this. Dogs thrive on a schedule and getting him back into one might actually be helpful if he is experiencing any grief for leaving his owner.

    #83105 Report Abuse
    Jennifer P

    Thanks so much for your advice. I spent most of last night reading about “feeding issues’. Before I went to bed I put 1/4 cup kibble in the fridge with a little water to soak. This morning I mixed it with a little wet food and he ate it! Not all of it, but most. Picked up the leftover and will try again this evening. I definitely will have his teeth checked today, taking in a poop sample also. I’m going to attempt the tooth brushing, thanks for the great advice. Stay tuned. . . .

    #83106 Report Abuse

    You’re welcome. I’d like to think that I’ve learned a thing or two over the years and I am glad to share. Don’t be alarmed at the $ of a vet exam, that’s how it is now. If you keep the pup in good shape he’ll only have to go to the vet once a year (except for unexpected things, of course)
    PS: If you have proof of his last vaccinations or know who his last vet was, provide that info.

    #83110 Report Abuse

    Hi Jennifer p, welcome!

    I’m sorry to hear about your new dog’s past guardian being ill 🙁

    There are a lot of ways to help your dog get used to eating a mixed diet of kibble and canned. But to answer your question;

    “Should I just give up and give him a good quality canned food? I would appreciate any advice”

    My advice would be that a high quality canned food is a much more appropriate way to feed a dog, any dog really, than a high quality kibble. Regardless of why your pup is having a hard time eating kibble right now, a high quality canned food is the way I’d go if possible!

    Your doing a very noble thing by taking this pup in, Thank You very much 😉

    #84722 Report Abuse
    Jennifer P

    I’m checking back with yet another feeding issue and an update. After my problems with trying to get Taffy to eat a kibble food, I gave up and found Freshpet rolled food (refridgerated). He ate it with vigor for about 3 weeks and then decided he didn’t want it anymore. Since I have 2 rolls on my fridge, I started mixing in a little bit of various high quality canned food to try to get him to eat it. He reluctantly eats a bit if I sit on the floor and feed him with a fork. After this has gone on for a week, yesterday I took Taffy to the vet because he just seemed rather down and not as active. The vet did a blood check and looked at all his levels (various but not exactly sure which ones). Vet said his blood work is normal. He also looked at his ears, paws, spine, anal glands, eyes, etc. In general, the vet can’t see any medical reason for the sudden pickiness. He said it was okay to give scrambled eggs (my idea). Taffy ate scrambled eggs twice yesterday, and although I got him to eat a mixture of Freshpet and canned food for breakfast, he wouldn’t touch it for dinner. So I broke down and gave him a scrambled egg tonight. He has actually gained .7 pound in the last 6 weeks, but that was due to finding Freshpet and his prior vigorous eating. Since he only weighs 10 pounds, I’m worried about him not getting enough nutrition as he’s pretty active. Now I’m back to square one on the feeding situation. Any ideas on what to try next? He still won’t eat kibble. I have tried at least 5 types and probably 7-8 types of canned, all high quality. Since he’s so active, loves to go on walks, etc. I assume he doesn’t have any health issues. The vet says his teeth are also great. I’m really worried and frustrated.

    #84725 Report Abuse

    Hi, sounds like your rescue dog was feed home cooked meals or what his owner was eating for dinner…. He’s a very smart dog, kibbles are processed & quick & easy for us, I’d take back all the kibbles & get a refund tell pet shop he wont eat the kibble he’s a rescue….Join Face Book groups like “Home Cooking for dogs” or “Cooking For Dogs” also you can start looking up balanced home made meals, here’s Dr Judy Morgan she also sells the supplements to balance the meals she’s on Face Book & will answer ur msg if you need any help…….Judy uses the Honest Kitchen Base mix in this meat loaf so its balanced… “Honest Kitchen” have samples you can buy & try..

    #84736 Report Abuse
    Jennifer P

    Thank you Susan. I’m not opposed to cooking for him as I have the time now that I’m retired. I’ll look into the information you gave me and give it a try. My only concern would be if we go someplace, but I’m sure some of these meals can be frozen for taking along. I’ve never owned a picky dog so this is really stressful as I just want him to be happy and enjoy his food. I’ve given most of the kibble away so at least it wasn’t wasted. I’m not an expert like many who visit this site so I appreciate any advice that might help. This dog is so sweet and I want to make sure he’s healthy and happy.

    #84754 Report Abuse

    Hi Jennifer, my very picky little guys love Dr. Harveys fine premix. Just add the meat and oil. I give them a little organic coconut oil as a treat.

    Mine will not touch canned or kibble but gobble up home cooked and also a variety of the freeze dried and air dried foods.

    Crumbling a delicious treat, like Primal freeze dried liver or freeze dried Stella and Chewys, over food also helps.

    #102533 Report Abuse
    Claudia N

    Did you find out what was the problem ?
    I have a rescued Maltese yorkie and he doesn’t want to eat dry food.

    #150262 Report Abuse
    Helen S

    My dog is also a rescue . He’s from the humane league . He is a pomchi, and was neutered last Tuesday. We brought him home Thursday so we have only had him 4 days. Around six I can get him to eat a table spoon of dry kibble and that’s it. He’ll eat some people food and even the cats wet food. But I have a hard time getting him to eat his food. He’s a year old and was just surrendered by his previous owners . The humane league sent him home with us with science diet kibble told us to mix it with water cause they were bigger kibble pieces but he won’t eat it. I mixed it with our kibble and I can get him to eat our kibble if I hand feed him. I hope it’s just depression and once he gets use to us he’ll start eating more/ eating from his bowl. I’m so worried about him. He’s very happy playful and cuddles with me all day. He’s also drinking from his water bowl no problem.

    #150274 Report Abuse
    Hav mom

    Have you tried any Dehydrated food? Ex: The Honest Kitchen or I and Love and You etc. Some are expensive but if
    you buy the 2# box of THK to try him on it, it lasts quite a while. depending on his weight. Our 2# box lasts a month with 2x daily feeding and my dog is a havanese, but 20#. We rescued him at 16 lbs. 8 years ago. He was fed the dehydrated foods since we rescued him. Tried the all one time or another. He ate them all, liked the moistness I think. Anyway, you can
    add meat, veggies etc. ON OCCASION for a change. Hope this suggestion helps.

    #150277 Report Abuse
    Patricia A

    Well good for him that he doesn’t like junk food. lol. As Has mom said try some freeze dried food. Just add some warm water and it makes a gravy. I imagine a pomchi would be a smaller dog so the freeze dried wouldn’t be too costly. Primal, Stella chewys, vital essentials, Bixbi are all great . I have Chihuahuas’ and they lick their bowls clean.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by Patricia A.
    #150281 Report Abuse
    Nadia K

    I second trying freeze dried food. My pup didn’t like kibble either, even after trying various brands. When I changed her over to the Stella & Chewy freeze dried patties everything changed. She would not only eat everything in the bowl but would come back several times just to lick the bowl. She loves the Primal freeze dried as well as I have rotated the two brands. I am now getting ready to change her over to a raw frozen diet which I am sure she will love even more.

    #150283 Report Abuse

    @ Helen S

    Please listen to the folks that you adopted the dog from.
    The worst thing you could do right now is make any change to his diet. never mind a drastic change.
    Raw sucks and will most likely cause more problems. No reason for it.

    Please go here for science based veterinary information, use the search engine there to look up nutrition .
    Find a vet that you like and trust and work closely with him if the dog’s symptoms continue.
    But, honestly it takes an adult at least a month to adjust to a new home.

    There are no veterinarians or veterinary nutritionists affiliated with this site.
    But I suspect there are vet haters.
    (I am not a vet)
    Other sites you may find helpful: Reddit Ask a Vet, or Reddit Dogs.
    Good Luck

    #150284 Report Abuse

    Another thing, don’t leave food out all day. Offer the dog a meal twice a day, if he is not interested pick it up after 10 minutes and put it in the fridg, offer at the next mealtime.
    As long as he is drinking water I would not worry unless he goes 72 hours without eating solid food, then I would call the vet and speak to the vet (have him call you back when he has a minute)
    I would not hand feed. Let the dog rest and adjust to his new surroundings.

    #150295 Report Abuse
    Patricia A

    Anon Helen stated in her post that he is NOT eating his kibble. I should have added that the change over should be VERY SLOWLY with the new freeze dried diet if she goes that route. Stick to one brand and one protein for awhile and then GRADUALLY add more proteins/brands.
    Her dog is smart to be looking for better nutrition then Science Diet or any kibble turds for that matter.
    Turkey, Turkey Necks, Whole Sardines, Turkey Hearts or Turkey Gizzards, Turkey Livers, Organic Collard Greens, Organic Squash, Organic Cranberries, Organic Blueberries, Organic Pumpkin Seeds, Organic Celery, Organic Sunflower Seeds, Montmorillonite Clay, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Organic Cilantro, Organic Ginger, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Quinoa Sprout Powder, Organic Ground Alfalfa, Dried Organic Kelp, Organic Rosemary Extract, Vitamin E Supplement.
    Crude Protein (min) 40%
    Crude Fat (min) 23%
    Crude Fiber (max) 2%
    Moisture (max) 4%
    Ash (max) 5%
    Turkey 77%
    Sardine 10%
    Produce 11%
    Supplements 2%
    Organic Ingredients 11%
    Organ Meat 9%
    Bone Content ≅ 10%
    CA-to-P ratio 1.55:1
    Calories: 154 per oz.
    1 ounce = approx. 4 nuggets

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by Patricia A.
    #150307 Report Abuse

    @ Helen S

    Have you tried adding a little warm water to the kibble? Your pup may prefer soft food, I would try a can version of the same Science Diet food you are feeding now and see if that makes a difference.
    Next time you take him to the vet make sure they take a good look at his teeth.
    Small breeds tend to have lousy teeth. Maybe he needs a dental cleaning.
    Just saying to rule out issues that may cause him discomfort when he eats hard food.

    #150331 Report Abuse
    Kathleen E


    My dog was a rescue 4 months ago. I put the kibble down and she would not even look at it. I wanted to have her on a raw diet so I just started her on it. She didn’t have issues and I am now changing her to a high quality kibble. Check out my other posts on the brand and specific food.

    #150419 Report Abuse

    Hey there!
    I agree with Nadia- and I really like Stella and Chewy’s freeze dried food too with good results.
    I have learned that when dogs are fussy and have mucus in their poop, it could be that they have food intolerances.
    I learned a lot from this page-
    I have been using Lypozyme and Power Probiotic and it really helped!

    #150461 Report Abuse
    Jerry R

    Disregard the unfounded nonsense about raw. My pup wouldn’t eat kibble either. After months of trying every good dog food under the sun, I finally realized he’s smarter than I thought. He knows that crap kibble is bad and being the spoiled, stubborn dachshund that he is, he knew I’d get it sooner or later.
    Now he’s a happy, healthy 18 month old that eats raw meat, meaty bones, and organs. Everything he needs and none of the crap he doesn’t that kibble is full of.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by Jerry R.
    #150465 Report Abuse

    @ YorkiLover4

    Per the product link you provided”

    Ask Ariel is committed to providing education, information and the free exchange of ideas regarding pet health and wellness issues. When you use the information or products on this website, you consent to the terms stated in this disclaimer. If you do not agree with the terms set forth herein, then please do not use this site. The material on this website is intended to provide you with education and information so that you can make an informed decision about the care and health of your pet or yourself. It is not intended as veterinary or medical advice. The statements made on this website are the sole opinions of Susan Davis, CCN based on her research and should not replace the advice and treatment by a doctor or veterinarian. Susan Davis is NOT a veterinarian or a doctor and is not providing veterinary or medical services. Further, she is not prescribing supplements, making diagnoses or attempting to treat, cure or prevent any diseases.
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    #150467 Report Abuse
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    #152404 Report Abuse
    Misty K

    One of my dogs is a rescue from the street. She wouldn’t eat kibble. So I made her boiled chicken and rice which she devoured. But I knew I couldnt do this forever because it just wasnt complete nutrition. I did it until she became comfortable with her new home.
    I noticed at fridge in the pet food section at the store and inside was Fresh Pet food that came in small and big rolls, also offered soft kibble sized formula and shredded chicken formula. She loves it to this day. I throw some kibble in with it for teeth maintenance. Its fresh and she loves it. I dont know what its rated. The ingredients are all ‘Real’. So for me and my Luca its rated #1.

    #152811 Report Abuse

    Kibble is the most mainstream form of dog food so it can be a problem when a dog refuses to eat it. One thing I can suggest if you have a dog that refuses to eat it is to mix it with something that the dog likes. In particular, there’s a formula based on the Budwig protocol which is called Buddy Custard. It has all natural ingredients, and there’s a peanut butter variety! I have yet to meet a dog that doesn’t love peanut butter. Since it tastes like peanut butter, dogs eat it right up. Plus the BC website lists testimonials from owners that have seen real changes in their pets, even those who had developed canine cancer and other illnesses. Not only does the peanut butter custard taste great for dogs, but also they’re getting something that has healthy advantages for them and they get to eat their kibble!

    #152814 Report Abuse
    Patricia A

    Misty K please don’t rely on kibble to keep your pets teeth from decay. It is a BIG fallacy that kibble removes tartar/plaque buildup. Prevention is a teeth cleaning which will prevent tooth lose . Especially as your dog ages.

    • This reply was modified 4 years ago by Patricia A.
    #164239 Report Abuse
    Adam W

    Hi all,

    We’ve recently adopted our second rescue dog as they’re settling in well together. We’ve had our first for a year. The new boy will eat kibble, but only a little, although otherwise loves treats and drinks well. Yesterday morning I poured a little chicken stock into the kibble and let it soak for ten minutes, and tried him on it. The whole meal was finished in a couple of minutes, bowl licked clean! same result in the evening and today too. I think the softer kibble with a more appealing taste and smell did the trick. Fingers crossed it continues…


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