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.

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