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This is a fairly long term and reoccurring problem. My 4.5 month old Akita isn't a good eater. He is getting about 4 cups due to his breed and size, but I would say he only eats the full amount every other day. This has been an issue ever since I got him at 9 months, so I ruled out any issues with the vet early on. He's had a full biochemical work-up, and is up to date with all his vaccines/wormers/etc. Nothing in his health indicates any reason that he should be refusing his food. I transitioned him from Natural Balance to Earthborn, and once he almost completely quit eating his Earthborn, I switched him to Wellness. I also add an oil supplement to his food and he gets eggs. I tried half wet food, adding sweet potatoes puree, and chicken broth, but nothing gets him to eat consistently.

As a large breed dog, I am worried about this stunting his growth. His body condition isn't bad overall, but he is underweight for his breed, which I am not happy about.

Any suggestions or experiences you can share?
 

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Have you tried goat's milk? Most dogs love it and you can mix it in with their food. Make sure it is dog's raw goat milk, the human grade is pasteurized and not ideal for dogs.

My BF has a chow mix that was a very picky eater, we started him on goats milk and he has been gobbling up his food.

You can also try switching a more calorie dense food so your pup doesn't need to eat as much in the first place. For example:

Wellness Large Breed Puppy is 366 kcal/cup
Acana Large Breed Puppy is 420 kcal/cup
Wild Calling! (all life stages) is 432 kcal/cup
Canidae Puppy is 520 kcal/cup

They are all 4+ star foods. So it may be something to try as well. We considered switching Kota to Canidae if he continued to eat 1/2 of his meal like he was.
 

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i wonder if its an intolerance to the meat? also id cut out the wet food and eggs for now to see if that helps. try moistning his dry food
 

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Have you tried him on raw food? Most picky eaters go crazy for raw.
 

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my dog Jessie until 6 months old was so picky! finally switched her to beef food omg she loved it! but it didnt love her. Also do you put down the food for 15 mins then away for later? that worked and i tell you something she eats within seconds her raw food! her dry food was gone in seconds too lol
 

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When people switch foods they never think to change the meat. I would try that and see if he does not care for the meat. At 7 moths you could go to a single protein large breed food
 

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He may simply not be hungry.

How much does he weigh now and what formula of Earthborn are you feeding him?

I don't see a large breed puppy formula in it and he really shouldn't be eating regular puppy food since it can cause him to grow to fast and set him up for joint problems later in life.
 

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Can you clarify, you say your puppy is 4.5 months old, but also that you got him when he was 9 months old.

If he is 4.5 months old, has he always been a poor eater? If it is a recent thing, it could be because he is teething.
 

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To clear some misconceptions up re-guarding stunted growth, that has nothing to do with how much your pup eats. Size is determined by their genetic make up.

4 Full cups of dog food is also plenty for you pup to thrive on and to grow healthy.

Now to the not wanting to eat part, it could be that your pup is simply not a heavy eater.

Secondly they could be depressed, Do you give him/her plenty of exercise? Do you play with them during the day?

A simple trick to find out if they do not like the dog food you are feeding them is to feed them slices of deli meats. try differnet types, almost 99% of dogs will gobble the meat down.

Now if they do enjoy the meat you can rule out that they dont want to eat, its simply the type of food you are feeding them. I keep my dogs on a raw food diet which they love and thrive on.

If you would like to know more information about a raw food diet I would suggest reading the full article at Pit Bull Nutrition they have everything you need to get your pup back on track. If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me.
 

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On the days he doesn't eat the full 4 cups, how much does he eat? I wouldn't worry too much about him not being as big as he's supposed to be at his age, he'll catch up at his body's own pace. The only time i'd be concerned is if he's not eating at all and is very thin with bones jutting out.

I had a dog that wasn't too interested in food. He eventually filled out to be 120lbs, so don't fret to much about size while he's a pup. Large/giant breeds usually grow to full size slower (and that is basically what you want anyways). Has he been vet checked for parasite or anything else? Also, check his teeth and mouth area to make sure there are no sores that may be painful to him.
 
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