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my dog is a fussy eater

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doggylady | 10:50 Tue 20th Mar 2007 | Animals & Nature
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How can I get my cocker spaniel to eat her food. I have tried a few different types of complete dog food but she doesn't like any of them unless I mix meat in with it and then she picks the meat out and leaves the complete food. I have tried not to bombard her with too many different types. She is 1 year old and has just gone on to adult food. She didn't eat her puppy food very much and eats even less of the adult food. Has anyone any tips or could recommend a good tasty food that she is likely to enjoy.

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Sounds like she just doesnt like the complete type of food- I must admit if I was a dog I wouldn't find them very attractive. Some dogs like it- some dont. My last dog didnt like it at all but was quite content to eat tinned dog food. I guess we should remember that dogs were designed to eat meat and not man made cereal type stuff!
Firstly i am amazed at the fact you have a cocker who is a fussy eater, ours will eat anything and everything which in some ways is equally a problem.

Does your cocker have others things to eat during the day like treats and stuff? Also if she likes meat then i would say let her have it, to be honest i'm not a believer in complete dry food, as burnhal said they are 'designed' to eat meat, although i know a lot of people use it these days.
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I agree with both of you that complete dog food to us seems most unpalatable not to mention the smell!! My two previous cockers were fairly fussy but not as bad as my present dog and they did eat the complete food. I don't mind feeding her on meat although I have tried a good tinned food and she wasn't that fussed with that. She likes it if I cook meat for her but am not sure what is the best thing to give her meatwise and also I'm worried that she won't be getting all the vitamins etc that she needs. Also, what quantities of meat she should have, should it be cooked etc. In answer to squirtle's question, yes I do give her some biscuits in the morning and at night time but not too many. I suspect my husband gives little bits and pieces to her when I'm not watching! But on the whole I have been trying to keep the "extras" down to a minimum in order to get her to eat a good dinner.
visit this site http://www.dogclub.co.uk/forum/ Theres plenty of knowlegable dog people (including me!) on there who will help you!

Without knowing all the ins and outs it sounds to me like she knows fine well she doesnt have to eat what is first offered as something better will always come along! But yes i expect she probably is bored with the same old balls of complete. I feed a natural diet and have never had refusals of food!
A natural breed specific diet for a cocker should contain lots of potatoes, starchy veg, lots of poultry, lamb and oats. It is recommended that cockers stay away from beef, ocean fish and soy. Beef can set off allergic rections in most dogs and in cockers causes ear problems.

Id recommend using a wholemeal mixer or mashed potatoes with lots of chicken and lamb (cooked or raw) and of course vegtables added daily :-)
I think you can have fussy dogs in any breed. My lot now eat for England, but I lost an old boy last year, same breed, who was a nightmare - dont think I helped as I kept putting nice treats in his food to get him to eat, which he promptly picked out much like yours, but you live and learn! However, have you thought of feeding her half and half ie: half a portion of her complete food, and some fresh meat (not the stuff from the pet shop as it is bleached, dyed and all manner of things done to it), if you have a good butcher they will usually sell you bags of offcuts which you can boil up (use the stock for putting on the complete food), and add some nice veg and pasta? And also splitting it into two meals, one in the morning and one in the evening - and stop the treats in the meantime. At least that way you are giving her the goodness and vitamins she needs from the complete food, and a nice doggy stew. I found this web site purely for cockers which may be of help, as I have never heard of beef setting off an allergic reaction specifically to cockers, nor do I think potatoe is a good idea in large quantities as not all dogs can digest it properly. http://en.allexperts.com/q/Cocker-Spaniels-253 1/index_2.htm
It isnt a specific reaction to cockers, most gundogs cannot tolerate beef, its not a natural prey for them! I dont feed my labs beef. Potatoes are excellent complex carbs, sweet potatoes especially, help calm and makes them sleep!
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Thank you for all for your ideas, they have certainly given me food for thought (sorry about the pun!!!) I will check out the websites suggested and see how I get on.
Hello,
My Husky was really fussy at first (which is very out of caracter for them) However i spoke to a vet and she advised that maybe i hadnt weaned her off puppy food correctly. I had to go right back to basics by giving her the food she wanted i.e puppy meat and mixer and slowly mix in another sort. Have you tryed just a basic mixer and a tasty meat? some of these Pedigree brands can be a little bit rich for them and put them off eatting it.
I know Eukenabia (excuse awful spelling) is a bit expensive but it can be really good to get them eatting! They also do a range of meat!!
Dogs!! they are worse than my husband who wont eat veg! LOL. Melons xx
we are all probably a little biased towards our own food, but you go with what suits you and your dog(s), and stick to it. I agree you shouldnt keep changing her diet, but some foods ie: Hills, give a refund if your dog doesnt eat it. I know they honour it as I had a problem once when one of my girls went off her food and I thought they had changed the recipe, which they hadnt - they gave me a refund, and after numerous tests revealed nothing wrong with her, the vet came to the conclusion she was pining for her friend who had died around the same time she went off the food. Any change in diet should be done gradually though, a little at a time, mixed in with her normal diet.
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Well the last few days I have been cooking her up some pet mince mixed with carrot, a little potato and some sweet potato (as advised by some of you) and mixing this with her complete food and she has woofed it all down all except a few pieces of the complete food which she managed to pick out. She seems to really like this and it doesn't upset her stomach so I will stick to this for a while and see how she gets on. This way she is getting something she likes but is still getting the vitamins etc from the complete food.
be careful with the 'pet mince', not much goodness in it as I said before - my butcher said he used to work in an abbatoir where they produced it, and not only is 90% of it fat, all the goodness is bleached out, it is then dyed and he says its a wonder it doesnt make the dogs ill. See if your local butcher has any off cuts, mine sells if for 50p a bag - and if fit for human consumption, is OK for my dogs as far as I am concerned. He would mince it for me if required, but I prefer to boil it up and cut into small pieces, that way I can dispense of any fat if there is too much.
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Well it certainly doesn't smell very nice when it's cooking and the water goes very pink when I add it so I guess that could be the dye. I will take on board what you have said pmj and will look for another source of meat for her. I guess value mince from the supermarket would be OK as a temporary thing until I can get some from the butcher.
yes frozen 'value' beef minced or chicken is fine - Iceland are pretty good value - you can get a bag of chicken breasts for �2.99, which for one dog would last a couple of weeks if you are using it as a taster to her complete food. I also get my butcher to de bone chicken legs which he sells me quite cheaply. I boil them up with some veggies (broccoli, spinach, greens, carrots, and pasta) and add it as a taster to their complete diet, and they love it. I only cook up two batches a week, so it works out quite cheap, probably cheaper than the tinned stuff. Incidently, my mother in law does the same, and having a small dog she cooks up a load, and bags it up into individual meals and freezes them, and just gets out a bag a day.
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Thank you very much for your help and ideas pmj it has really helped me sort the problem out not to mention one very satisfied little doggie.

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