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Winston
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,
I’m new to the forum and my first ever puppy! Winston is 9 weeks old, been with us for a week and is fantastic. Already knows to sit, toilet training really well, loves running around the garden, eating treats and getting cuddles on the sofa, which I had said he wasn’t getting on but that lasted less then 4 hours. He’s had his first vaccination and got the thumbs up health wise from the Vet.
The only problem & it’s keeping me up all night is he doesn’t eat his meals properly. Turns his nose up at the soggy kibble, maybe eats a third of it if I’m lucky and only if I put a scrambled egg or tuna in. I’m really worried, the vet said it’s “ok” but I’m still really worried as I didn’t expect that from a lab puppy! Any tips or advice? He eats treats fine, and the eggs & tuna it’s the kibble that’s getting ignored. Should I go back to the Vet? I’ve also considered switching to home cooking meals but worries he’d need extra supplements?

Dog White Carnivore Fawn Dog breed
 

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I'm afraid I'm a little hard hearted when it comes to food. They get what they are given and if the dont eat it then I assume they dont need it. A bit like my parents did with me when I was a child. But I do believe in a varied diet, adding in a little of what I'm having from time to time. (Reducing the amount of the usual dog food by the same amount.) No matter what the dog food manufacturers might tell you, dogs are opportunist feeders, they eat what is available when it's available, so a varied diet is quite natural. The dog food manufacturers would like you to believe that you MUST feed the same food of your dog will get a gippy tummy. Think about this. Obviously a dog in the wild is not gong to eat the same food every day, if he had to he would soon starve to death! But as far as the pet food manufacturers are concerned it's self fulfilling prophesy. Feed the same thing for long enough and the stomach gets use to it. Change the food and the dog's stomach cant handle it. My dogs het just about everything from Spag Bol, Chinese Sweet & Sour chicken, roast beef and veg, everything! Not much, (I dont leave much on my plate!!) But enough to make the diet varied.
 

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Fergal 17/06/11 Choc Lab & Rodney 28/05/21 Black Lab - Family pets
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Hi there. I think this is exacerbated by the Labrador’s reputation for eating everything.

From my experience I would not worry. I’ve grown up with Labs all my life & out of 6 dogs, 5 of them turned their nose up at food or ate small amounts & walked away when they were young puppies. My current 7 month old is the only one who has finished everything off, first time, all the time.

Fergal who is now 10 was awful, he would eat from my hands but not touch the food in his bowl no matter what it was, even if it was the same food. Friends would make the comments about Labs being greedy & eating everything. I would get so worried I would feed him from my hand so that he was eating something - I don’t recommend getting into that habit.

I also went to the vets as I was worried, they told me his weight was fine & not to worry, when hungry he will eat. After a few weeks he got better & would finish off his meals.

I also remember my mum having the same worries with our Lab puppies when they wouldn’t eat, wondering why ours were anomalies when every other Lab in the world wolfed their food down.

So I wouldn’t worry. You mentioned soggy kibble, is it one you add water to? Unless you really want to keep to the brand, maybe try a different one that he can eat dry.
 

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Winston
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks all, he was on Skinners Field & Trial Chicken from the Breeder but he won’t touch that at all, even dry as a treat. The vet gave me a bag of Hills Vet Essentials which has been a little more successful. We add warm water and let it go to a mush, but after 2 good meals we’re back to just picking out of it and nothing by the end of the day. He did eat a couple of bits dry this morning and about 1/3 of the mush.
We thought about going to Pets at Home when it opens to get some toppers & wet food to mix through but I might try some of the kibble dry first and see if that helps.
 

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We also started with soaked kibble as the breeder had done. For the first few days he just wasn’t interested in eating much of it and we were worried.
We had always planned to transition to Burns dry food anyway so we just made the change sooner. He absolutely loved it and has not looked back. He is now big enough to reach the kitchen table (4 months) and would eat anything and everything given half a chance.
This isn’t a recommendation for Burns in particular but it might just be worth switching food. Personally I don’t think you need to go as far as home-cooking meals.
 

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Don’t keep switching, you could end up creating more problems than you solve. He’s in a new environment, without siblings to compete with. I used to mix dry kibble, and egg yolk and a handful of grated cheese together. He wouldn’t eat it from a dog bowl but would eat it from a China plate or on a floor tile. It’ll pass, these puppies are smart cookies.
 

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A week is still early days. Our pup hardly ate much at all the first few days. She did improve slightly but still doesn't eat all her meals some of the time and will not eat dry kibble out a bowl at all. I'm too soft to just wait it out until she's hungry enough to want it so she gets some of her meals in a bowl with a topper, e.g. egg/sardines/a bit of veg/leftovers/spoonful of wet food, then she'll happily eat dry food out of a puzzle feeder or a kong.
 

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Skinners field and trial isn't bad, it's not the best food in the world but certainly not the worst. Hills Science is endorsed by vets as Hills is one of a number of dog food companies that contribute towards canine nutritional training. To be honest, I've never had any problems with any of my pups not eating, it could just possibly be the new environment so persevere with his food and hopefully he'll soon feel at home and begin to eat normally. The only other thing I'd suggest, because if you start adding lots of extras in you could be making a rod for your own back, but a drop of goats milk or even puppy replacement milk might tempt him, but don't put a lot in.

My lot (currently got six) get what they are given, don't get me wrong, they are generally on the same/similar foods, but depending if I'm defrosting freezers they are either on raw, with a mixture of home cooked, or kibble with a mixture of wet foods. I avoid the obvious nasty foods such as bakers, pedigree, Dr Johns etc and stick to food with good quality ingredients. Like John, I think dog owners can be 'brain washed' into thinking they must stick to the one brand otherwise you're asking for trouble. Not one of my lot has had problems from the variety of foods they have been given, in fact I think it's benefited them and got them used to lots of variety and like John, mine get left overs and even if I'm prepping veg they get the cooked peelings. I've found a couple of them don't tolerate rice in kibble (it makes them itchy), which is often labelled grain free, although technically rice is a type of grain, but other than that they eat anything put in front of them without any problems.
 

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Winston
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you for all the advice. This morning I gave him some of the kibble dry and he seemed to enjoy that so for lunch we left it dry but mixed through a little wet food and he ate the whole lot! He seemed to really enjoy it too, didn’t even stop for a break!
Hopefully that’s the right mix for him and he’s settled now. It was the only thing I was worried about as he’s been fantastic with everything else!
 

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I don't think any of my pups have enjoyed soggy kibble, they all preferred it dry.

Sounds as though you've found the answer. Onwards and upwards now.🤞
 

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We got our pups at 9 weeks old and they were ravenous. They were in our opinion a bit under weight but both had healthy appetites. We use Royal Canin Maxi Puppy; we do add a small amount of water but they have the food straight away so really it acts like a gravy. The kibbles are still firm.

They are 5 months now and still eating the same stuff and love it. They still eat fast but are not so manic. They get plenty of variety with the high value treats when training at the start of each new thing to learn like roast chicken; hot dogs, ham and so on.

I can recommend Bounce & Bella for grain free treats all made with high % of meat content. They also offer a generous 50% discount for your first order which was a huge bonus for us having 2 pups to keep going 😊

You can easily pick up trial bags of food, so maybe pick another brand and try them by mixing it slowly into their regular food. I’d also not make his food so mushy; he has teeth and probably wants something to chew on 😁
 

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I'm not concerned about it being mushy until the adult teeth start to come through at around 12 weeks.

A little bit of history. I would say that when I started in dogs there was no such thing as dried complete food. Thats not strictly true, I have seen an advert which appeared in a dog publication in 1924 advertising a complete dog food. But really, for the ordinary dog owner dried food did not exist. One of the first dried complete foods was Purina which arrived in the UK from America. Up to that point we had been feeding tinned wet foods, Pal, Kennomeat, Chum, Lassie and the like. These tinned foods contained in the region of 85% moisture, in other words water! Our dogs needed very little to drink because they got so much from their food. When Purina arrived the moisture content was around 10%. But so many people had no idea of the difference in moisture content and continued with the same water regime. The dried food absorbed the moisture in the stomach causing problems there, but it was still dry'ish when it passed into the intestines. So many dogs became ill from the dehydration that dried complete foods disappeared from the shelves and it was a couple of years before it returned, along with rather more obvious guidance. I'm always a little conservative when it comes to new ideas so I was late joining the complete feeding. I prefer to watch and let others make the mistakes. But the time I started the problems were well known.

Thats the history, so now the facts. When a pup is born it starts feeding on the mother's milk. The teeth soon start to appear, but they are little thin needles, never designed for crunching up hard food. Around that time the milk starts to dry up the puppy's diet has to change. In the wild the dam would chew the food then regurgitate it for the pup, so it's almost like liquidised food. At this point most breeders will start feeding a puppy porridge, a soft almost liquid feed, graduating to soaked kibble shortly before the pup goes to it's new owner. As I said, the milk teeth start to shed at around 12 weeks, and at that point I change from soaked kibble to simply wet kibble. I continue like that for probably around 6 months old, by which time the puppy will have pretty much all it's adult teeth and will be able to handle the food dry.
 
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