a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Tika the Picky Eater

Friday, September 13, 2013

Tika the Picky Eater

SUMMARY: Failures and solutions.

In the months since we discovered Tika's heart condition and started her on various medications, her once-insatiable appetite waned. Instead of vacuuming down her kibble at twice Boost's speed, she now ate at half Boost's speed. And she'd stop to look at me accusingly between bites.

After we added the digoxin in late July, it started being much more challenging to get her to eat her meals. I sometimes added a little peanut butter, sometimes a little canned dog food. Usually she'd eat, but sometimes I had to feed it to her a handful at a time because she wouldn't eat it out of her bowl.

When she spent the 4-day weekend at my friend's house, she apparently refused her normal kibble entirely, even when hand-feeding or moistening, but eagerly gulped down the kibble that the friend had been using for treats. So I bought a big bag of that.

That worked for maybe 2 weeks, and then that became anathema, too. I could still sometimes get her to eat it by offering her handfuls, or by strewing it on the floor, or by handing it to her one piece at a time, but mostly that stopped working, too.

I bought some chicken stock (no sodium) and poured it over the kibble, which worked for a couple of days and then she wouldn't do that, either. For a week or a bit more, if i let thekibble sit in the stock until soft, I could convince her to eat it by either spooning it onto the floor (tell me why it's OK to eat it off the floor but not out of the bowl?) or by handing her small handfuls.

But even that stopped working very well.

Kibble with chicken stock. Yawwwwwwwn.

Spooned onto the floor. Ho hum; surely  there's something more interesting out in the hallway.

Fed by personal humanservant, one piece at a time. PuhLEEZ stop bothering me with that stuff.

Boost -- Are you KIDDING me? *I* will eat it! *I* am a good dog! Why you not let me eat it???
OK, one damp piece at a time placed on the floor directly in front of her--yes, that is tasty, thank you.
You know how many pieces of kibble there are in one meal???

So, anyway, that wasn't working for me. A few days ago, I came up with this idea: Went out and bought several small bags of different kinds of kibble, and am rotating through them, a different one every meal. Now she is quite happy to eat an entire bowl of kibble at each meal, directly from her bowl. We'll see how long that lasts, but so far so good.

Dogs are so weird sometimes.


  1. Bay Area Vet Services got Cali to eat baby food when she was so ill. Prednasone also stimulated her appetite.

    1. Thanks. She'll eat a lot of stuff, but I'm trying to find a way to stick with kibble. So far this is working.

  2. Oh my. That's a lot to figure out. Hope she is drinking water too. I hope the different meal every day works for a long time!

    1. Thanks, Dawn. She drinks quite a bit, actually. Dogs sure can provide a challenge.

  3. That's a great idea. With four senior animals, it may well come in handy for me in the not too distant future, so we thank you in advance!