High calorie food suggestions

Every dog is different and they say you don't get a dog you're not ready for (not sure I buy that one in every case). My B puppy has been in my home for a week now and she is a very picky eater. The dry food I was given she won't touch. Mild success with a canned dog food. Pretty good eating with a raw food I found at a local pet store. My concern is that this food is not high in calories as it's chicken and veggies. Can anyone suggest some high calorie, safe, ingredients that I could add to the food? Every dog I've owned or fostered has scarfed food and I've had to slow them down, so this is new for me. Treat ideas too as training a pup not highly food motivated is challenging.

last edited by Beth314

You probably don't need to add more calories.. It may just be that your pup is still adjusting to their new environment. But, first you want to evaluate the pups overall behavior to make sure that it isn't sick... so, is the pup acting lethargic?

Once you are relatively sure that your dog isn't sick, consider these questions:
How old is your pup?
How much exercise is your pup getting?
How much food do you put out?
How long do you leave the food out?

@elbrant

She is 12 weeks old, she is active, not lethargic. She gets exercise in my home running around in a normal puppy way. No leash walks at this point; just potty breaks and playing in the house. I put out enough food 3 times per day so there is some left over that I pull up. My guess is 4+ times per day she will eat about the same but I might be wrong about that. She is not free-feeding. Then she gets some training treats which, at this point, is baked chicken and the only thing she shows interest in.

She is thin. I think too thin for a puppy.

also: I have taken her in the car on several trips where she vomited (motion sickness) and then wouldn't eat much when we got home. If she is like me then motion sickness nausea lasts for hours ... I believe those trips plus my not finding food she will eat reliably (until the raw food) caused weight loss that I am not comfortable with. The change to raw might present some digestive challenges as well.

last edited by Beth314

I know some people on this forum report picky eaters, but personally I have never had a healthy Basenji that didn't scarf down their food in a couple of minutes. I second @elbrant's comments. Is the pup otherwise normal and active? Putting out too much food at one time can be off putting for some, and "free feeding" is a bad idea. Dry food can be unpalatable and if you do feed it, water needs to be always available. O.K. I just read your post. Put out less than she will eat at one time.

last edited by eeeefarm

@eeeefarm lucky you for not having picky eaters. I certainly have never experienced it before this. It might be trial and error to find right food for her but, in the meantime, I do not want her to lose more weight.

I hear your concern about her weight. I would add a feeding rather than give more at one time, and I would also consider having a vet look at her to see if anything is amiss. It's odd that she didn't like the food you were given, presumably what she was eating before. Have you discussed the problem with her breeder? It shouldn't be so difficult to find a food she likes. Oh, and at 12 weeks she is not too young to go for short walks.

@eeeefarm I'll try adding a feeding. I have a vet appointment - several weeks out! Vets are swamped here and I was told by this vet (the 4th vet I called) that it's because 6 vet offices in my area are shut down and in 14 day quarantine due to covid. My usual vet said she "lost 4 of her vets to covid". I had no idea what that meant but now I'm guessing they have had to quarantine. So, unless it's an emergency, vet appointments are at least 2 weeks out. My usual vet is end of April.

I am not walking her yet because I have not started leash training with her (aka loose leash walking).

Any safe ingredients to add to food? Vegetable oil is high calorie but might also cause diarrhea. ?

Also, my guess is that when there's a litter of puppies there's "competition" for food making it far more interesting.

last edited by Beth314

The reason I suggest adding a feeding is that perhaps for whatever reason she doesn't feel well if her stomach is too full. With a picky eater, I always think less at a time is better. Leave them a bit hungry, they might be more interested at the next opportunity. You are right about competition. It can help. My Border Collie was a very fussy eater, but if he thought someone else wanted his food he was more inclined to gobble it up.

@eeeefarm I'll give it a try. thank you.

@beth314 - I use kibble (high quality) mixed with a spoon of wet... no one wants to eat dry food all the time.... give pup a certain amount of time to eat (10 minutes) and then take it away till the next feeding. Free feeding will only promote poor eating habits. Make your own treats, get a dehydrator and do chicken, I use tenders and pound thin and then in the dehydrator for 12 to 14 hours. Break into small pieces. You really do not need "high" calorie food per say... I use Fromm's Surf and Turf small bites... and remember baby puppies have puppy teeth that they will start to loose so many will go off their food at times. For treats I give lots of veggies, steamed and raw. Most times at first they will play with it... but they will develop a taste for it. DO NOT BABY them to eat, give the food, take away after 10 min tops.

@beth314 - Keep in mind that many Vets are not that educated in feeding or foods, they recommend what sales people sell them to carry in their practice.

I mixed the kibble brand recommended by breeder with wet food breeder recommended (and they gave me plenty to start her off). I never, ever free feed. Not even when I had cats. 🙂 I do make my own chicken treats by slicing chicken breast thin, 200F oven for 2-4 hours to dry. Or shorter bake for more moist treats. I don't have a dehydrator though as an avid backpacker would be great for me and pup!

So tomorrow I'll try 4 smaller, shorter time feeds and see how it goes. FWIW, she walks away from her meal long before 10 minutes; more like 2-3 minutes? Then I pull the food up.

Tonight I've soaked some of her kibble in chicken broth and will try that too.

@tanza said in High calorie food suggestions:

@beth314 - I use kibble (high quality) mixed with a spoon of wet... no one wants to eat dry food all the time.... give pup a certain amount of time to eat (10 minutes) and then take it away till the next feeding. Free feeding will only promote poor eating habits. Make your own treats, get a dehydrator and do chicken, I use tenders and pound thin and then in the dehydrator for 12 to 14 hours. Break into small pieces. You really do not need "high" calorie food per say... I use Fromm's Surf and Turf small bites... and remember baby puppies have puppy teeth that they will start to loose so many will go off their food at times. For treats I give lots of veggies, steamed and raw. Most times at first they will play with it... but they will develop a taste for it. DO NOT BABY them to eat, give the food, take away after 10 min tops.

When we brought our puppy home she often left her food, but after a few weeks she started eating it within 2 minutes!

I serve kibble sprinkled onto wet food for texture and flavour and sometimes one of her meals is replaced with one of ours if suitable e.g. chicken and vegetables (nothing processed) to improve nutrition and to add freshness and variety.

@jkent Did your puppy get kinda thin during this period? That's what's making me nervous. My dogs were always healthy thin as adults but this puppy went from chubby to thin in the week she's been with me.

last edited by Beth314

@beth314 no but I left the food out until she ate it, which was always before the next meal time. I know that isn't what most people here recommend, but after a few weeks I didn't need to do it. Is your puppy pooing and weeing normally? If you are worried you could consult with your vet.

@beth314 leaving food out just for one day might tell you whether it's an issue with appetite, or just that your puppy prefers little and often, in which case you could then offer an extra meal until weight improves.

@beth314 said in High calorie food suggestions:

She is thin. I think too thin for a puppy.

FWIW, when my son was growing I began noticing that he would get a bit pudgy, then become taller and thin out. Repeatedly. It was just part of growing. It could be that your pup is looking a bit thin to you because they are growing. You may not notice that their overall size has increased right away, but it is a process and not something to worry so much about.

Notes:

  • your dog is always going to choose Chicken over Kibble. Chicken has more calories. More chicken = less kibble.
  • Pumpkin puree (not the pie mix) will help your dog stay "regular". In the U.S., you can pick up a can of "Pure Pumpkin" for ~$1. Your dog just needs a taste, think a bit on your fingertip (once a day), gradually working up to a teaspoon as your pup becomes an adult. A can of this stuff is going to last a loooooong time. Put drops of it on a cookie sheet and slide it into the freezer for an hour or so. Store the frozen bits in a zipper-style freezer bag. I have never known a dog that didn't like the flavor of pumpkin.

The scales are probably a more accurate measure of her weight than your eye. As @elbrant says, she could be growing. Maybe make a point of weighing her so you know whether she actually is losing or gaining? If there is significant weight loss at that age, a trip to the vet sooner than later is indicated.

Note also that pup weight and body will change as they grow. One minute they look too thin, next to fat... But agree with eeeefarm about weighing her....

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