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Discussion Starter #1
My 5 month old puppy has recently been showing not a lot of intersest in his food. We get him Merrick Puppy Chow, and he seemed to love it, but lately he's been eating about 1/3 of the recommended 2 cups for his weight. He is always exited for people food, though. So last night we gave him 1/3 of a skinned baked potato and a baby carrot, which he enjoyed with gusto. Should we feed him homemade meals, and if so, what should we feed him? Thanks!
 

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Homemade cooked is WAY HARD. There's a lot to think about in terms of maintaining a balanced diet. I would personally consider it a last-resort even after home-made raw.

Have you tried switching to a better kibble like Acana or Zignature (even Lila eats that and she is crazy picky)? You could also try store-bought raw. Switch gradually if you switch!

There's so much to do with a high-energy puppy I'd prefer to keep food relatively simple, but maybe that's just me.
 

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I feed all my animals fresh foods along side their "pet food" and rotate brands for variety of nutrition as well as taste. So *I* personally would say top the food to keep it interesting but others will tell you a "hungry dog won't starve" and just put his food down for 15min twice a day, no extras or treats unless he has eaten his entire portion of food. Some will even say this with the reason that you'll create a picky dog if you use toppers on the food. This has never been my experience as a cat or dog owner, and trust me....Cats are the WORST when it comes to picky eating. Offering variety in MY experience is what prevents pickiness. Jm2c though.

Sometimes I make a crock pot stew for my pooch with chicken or a cheap roast and veggies. Throw in the meat, cover with water (or low sodium broth for extra flavor, especially if you plan to eat it lol), put it on high for a couple hours, add veggies about an hour before it's done and voila! Cool, serve by it's self* or mixed with kibble or canned. Put enough in the fridge for 2-3 days worth and freeze the rest...Or put in a bowl with some spices (don't give puppy spices!!) and enjoy for yourself! ;)

*Stew is NOT a complete diet. When I say "feed by itself", I mean a bowl of it will be fine fed along side a balanced diet. Stew shouldn't be more than roughly 30% of the dogs diet, max. It lacks calcium among other things to be fed alone or as a main diet.

You could also just add in some shredded chicken, turkey, ground beef, whatever to the food. I prefer added proteins over foods that are primarily carbs. Meats can be fed raw or cooked depending on what you are comfortable with as well as what your pup prefers.
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How old is the current bag you feeding the puppy from? Is is possibly he's lost interest because it's gone stale? Once a bag is opened you have about 3 weeks before the yummy smells are gone and it starts to get the old oil smell, unless you refrigerate it in a airtight container then you get maybe 6 weeks. So you'll see the happy for food at the beginning of a new bag, and not that interest towards the middle or end when it's gone stale. I keep my bags in the freezer unless I know the pups will be able to finish it within a month, otherwise I'll take out 2 weeks worth at a time to feed them with.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
We have a big bag of dry food that we've had for about 1-2 months.
 
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Bear in mind that dogs will eat a lot of foods, and a lot of them that are not necessarily good for them. Carbohydrates are not terribly good for dogs. If your giving him "snacks" from the table, then he may very well hold out for better food rather than eat his kibble. I would discourage feeding "people food"--most of it is really not appropriate for dogs, and encourages bad eating habits and begging. If you really want to feed your dog the best diet, you should look into a raw diet rather than homemade. But you need to research it fully before going that route.
 

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It can be really hard to balance homecooked, because since the cooking depletes nutrients, you have to supplement for everything that is lost, and it's hard to know just how much of what to supplement with. Dogs bodies aren't designed to be able to digest veggies, potatoes, etc.. so it can be difficult. It's the reason kibble has to add back artificial ingredients to supplements because of the cooking process. You wouldn't have to add any supplements if you fed raw, if that's something you would consider.
 

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When I feed kibble I get a storage container for it and Dump it in there and had no complaints as my dogs wolf it Down!
 

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IF you go the homecooked route you need to really research it and I strongly encourage you to contact a vet nutritionist to help you develop some recipes that are best for your growing pup. You do NOT want his diet to be short on vitamins and minerals while he is going and it's very easy to have that happen when you homecook. You'll have to provide a variety of protein sources along with a variety of organ meats, along with a variety of vegies and carbs.

What I do with my dogs to keep there interest in food is to use toppers, I usually use a teaspoon or so of canned dog food, some diced up meat, or broken up treats. I also rotate between two or three formulas of the dry dog food, so I'll start transitioning him onto a different formula (same brand different formulas) when I'm getting low on the old one. Doing that he gets a variety of flavors and he stays interested in his dog food.

I do advocate the put the food down give a set time for the dog to eat then pick it back up method, along with cutting out all extra treats, but only when a dog is flat out refusing to eat it's food, and I always tell the owner that it's up to them if they want to mix in some type of topper when doing that method. If your using that method and are using a topper one word of caution is that some dogs will pick out or lick off the topper and leave the kibble.
 

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When I feed kibble I get a storage container for it and Dump it in there and had no complaints as my dogs wolf it Down!

I use a container but still leave the dog food in it's original bag in it. That way if there's a recall on the food I have the Lot# and manufacture date right there. I could simply write the info down but I'm really forgetful and, 10 to 1, I'd either forget to do so or loose the info:rolleyes:
 
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I was actually thinking of switching to home cooked or raw, too, once I get an income and my own place again. I'm still in the 'research' phase, since I don't want to mess up-feed too much bacteria, or not enough nutrients, etc. Right now my girl is fed kibble with real meat and treats mixed in, since she only ever gets food when we're training or from a treat ball (which wouldn't add treats but hey fun a toy!).

Keep researching. I think you'll know when you're comfortable enough to switch to a different type of feeding. You can always use toppers and other things to mix it up.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I am a vegetarian, so I am not familiar with meats. What kinds are good for dogs?
 

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@Dogs4Jesus, I would say most meats are good for dogs. You want to add variety if you can-deer, bison, beef, chicken, pork, salmon and other low food chain fish, rabbit, etc. The hard part is getting the organ/bone/meat ratio correct when it comes to raw, I think, and 80:10:10 is typically used (80% meat, 10% organ, 10% bone) along with how much to feed for your dogs weight/energy.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Thanks! I never knew you fed dogs BONE. Doesn't chicken bone shatter?
 

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I would suggest raw rather than doing home cooked. Cooking meat really changes the structure of the protein and changes the availability of nutrients to the dog. It's a lot harder to balance than raw and requires a lot more effort.

Raw is pretty easy as long as you follow the 80:10:10 ratio. I feed about half raw, half kibble at this point. Raw chicken and turkey bone is generally safe, as it doesn't shatter or splinter like cooked bones do. Dogs also will develop very strong digestive enzymes in their stomach that will totally break down most bone. I give mine chicken leg quarters, turkey neck, chicken feet, and pig feet to satisfy the bone content requirement.
 

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If you go with the PMR (prey model raw) diet, which is the one with the 80:10:10 ratio, your going to need to offer a variety of organs. Liver is an important one to feed but it's also important to offer others like kidneys, green tripe, brain, etc. Also know that, depending on the size of the dog, it can get expensive to feed raw unless you join a PMR co-op, or know some hunters. Also space can be an issue.
 

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We have a big bag of dry food that we've had for about 1-2 months.
Its' likely very stale by now and unappealing to your puppy, therefore he has very little interest in it versus you table scraps. I remember someone recommending a book on how to cook for your dog and their requirements nutrition wise, on another thread (I'll try to find it and post the link, you can start your research there, and in the mean time I suggest getting a new bag of food your pup can finish within a month, to get him interested in his kibble again.
 

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Here they are:

Thread with book recommendations and I skimmed though the site listed for home cooking when I was interested in it, but opted to just keep with treats only:
http://www.dogforum.com/dog-food/book-about-raw-feeding-18385/

or you can try this link to finding a Vet Nutritionist and booking a consultation near you to find out what your dog needs. Diplomate Directory « American College of Veterinary Nutrition

(sorry about double post the edit feature disappeared on the first post disappeared by the time I found the right links)
 

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Balancing a home cooked diet is difficult, the process is time consuming, and it takes up quite a bit of fridge and freezer space. If you want to do it -and in a situation like this where you just have a picky eater I wouldn't recommend it - you need to consult with a canine nutritionist.

I have no patience with picky eaters. If you want to you can try switching brands but honestly if there isn't anything wrong with the food I'd leave it be. He won't starve himself.
 
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