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Like many in lockdown we've recently brought Alfie, a cockapoo, to share our lives. We adore him...but he is oh so different from our last dog, a Golden Retriever.
He's now nearly six months old, and we are currently coping with fussy eating syndrome, and have carefully followed lots of the advice shared here. But despite all the tricks suggested, it's still so hard to get him to eat...and is so puzzling. The Goldie would wolf down anything so a dog that refuses food is a bit of a shock.
We think we went wrong when we bought some nice treats for training. Up to then we had just used the tiny biscuits that were part of his dry food, plus the usual praise, strokes, voice language etc. But after about a week of training sessions with the really tasty treats Alfie stopped eating his main food. Up to then we had been giving him wet food, alternating a good quality tinned food and some quality raw food from a top producer. Plus we would offer a small bowl of dry food. Loads of choice and he had been happy, eating everything. Then he seemed to decide he should be given treats for breakfast and supper instead of the proper food. We started to find some meals were just never touched. But he wasn't refusing just one type of food...it would vary... so we just couldn't work out what to offer.
For the last three days he has only been eating tiny amounts of the raw food and refusing everything else. We just don't know how he can still be energetic. But he is still bounding about, leaping up, having those "manic moments", so we are pretty sure he is healthy.
Does anyone think we should take him to the vets? How long can a dog keep up the self-starvation in the hope of getting a bowl of treats to eat? Could he be teething? I've looked in his mouth but all his teeth seem to be present and correct.
We are going to try the warm water trick, as that's the one thing we haven't yet tried. But any other hopeful remarks would be gratefully received.
 

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Oh dear - although it sounds like there has been lots of swapping around with food so I suspect Alfie is just hoping for better and better all the time.

When I first got Molly she was 18 months and very underweight- but also very fussy and not at all keen on the food I was told she had been eating. I switched her to a good quality wet food which she ate for a couple of weeks then decided to start leaving that too. At this point I decided to go very old school with her and she had her food down for 15 minutes and if not eaten the bowl was removed until next meal and no extras would be given in between. She was fed twice a day and within a couple of weeks was eating with no issue at all.
 

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We had a similar situation with Digby when he was that age. We tried a few different dry foods and then did the same as 2ndhandgal and put the food down for 10 mins and picked up anything that wasn’t eaten. He soon learned and we don’t really have an issue now. Our previous dog was a border x Lakeland terrier and she only ever ate what she needed and was very lean and lived to be 15years old so we reckon missing a meal here or there won’t do any great harm.
 

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Our cockapoo has been like this. I have learnt that he just doesn't have much appetite sometimes. He has never liked kibble so we have fed good quality wet food mixed with a bit of dry food. As an adult he is fed twice a day. Some days he will gobble down his breakfast and lick the bowl clean, other days he will barely eat all day. I just go with it. If he doesn't eat in the morning, it goes back in the fridge for later.
 

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They are creatures of habit and once they get a bad habit it is so hard to change.
I agree with being firm with mine and if she doesn’t eat it I take it up and she has to wait for her next meal.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Just to finish off this topic as it might be useful for anyone reading... We added a thimbleful of very hot water to his meal, forked it in so the whole meal was luke warm and gravy-ish. He LOVED it. So for the last two weeks he's been fine. When he sees me carry the little jug of hot water through he gets excited and dances around. Phew! It's so good to have know he is enjoying his food again.
So if you are having this problem...try the hot water trick.
 
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