This is actually quite a funny story: I thought I had a feeding problem with one of dogs when the answer was right in the bag the whole time – the bag of Spot’s Stew, that is. This dog wants Halo kibble – nothing else at all – and he’ll eat like a champ.

I always thought Teddy – my youngest rescued Weimaraner, who just turned six – was a really finicky dog. I kept trying to add different things to his Halo kibble (which is the basis of all my dogs’ dinner bowls). My research writing THE DOG BIBLE led me to believe that because dogs are omnivores they need lots of variety in their food bowls. Both in the book and on my radio shows I tell people to start with a super premium kibble like Halo, as I do, and then I add my own “dog minestrone” of cooked vegetables, some raw dehydrated food, and some canned meat (or else scrambled eggs and cottage cheese).

My other dogs dig right in to whatever concoction I put down for them, which I have gone to extra expense and trouble to offer them, in the belief that “variety is the spice of life.” However, Teddy circles the bowl suspiciously, takes a bite and walks away. At one point I even took him to the vet for a check up because loss of appetite is a sign of a possible problem with a dog – but the vet could find nothing with him.

I resigned myself to having a dog who had to be coxed to the dinner bowl, who would eat half of his food and leave the rest, who had a look on his face when offered dinner of a child being offered Brussels sprouts.

And then I made an incredible discovery: I went to make his next and began by putting a scoop of dry Halo into Teddy’s bowl. Before I could add the next ingredient, Teddy put hi\s head right down in the bowl and slurped up that Spot’s Stew in a nanosecond. Then he looked around for seconds. He looked so satisfied and relieved that I had finally gotten the message: He was clearly saying, “Just Halo, nothing except Halo. Keep it simple, lady!”

I couldn’t believe this was the same dog I had been trying to entice to the food bowl for years with all sorts of added foods. I always began with Halo, which I view as a nutritional foundation – a background for a variety of other ingredients. After all these years of trying to get him to eat, it turns out Teddy was a purist, a man of simple tastes: he wanted only Halo kibble in his bowl – and nothing else, darn it, or he wouldn’t eat.

I feel like the gourmet chef whose kid winds up refusing to eat any of the fancy stuff I want to put on his plate. “Hold all that other stuff,” is Teddy has basically been saying to me. “Make mind just the Spot’s Stew, dry and by itself. Now that is my idea of a good meal!”

Tracie Hotchner, author of The Dog Bible and The Cat Bible, guest blogs here every Thursday on healthy, natural choices for pets.

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  1. Carolyn Hettich says:

    This article is hysterical, as I could have written it about my Lab, Perri. I did EXACTLY the same, w/often Perri looking at her food and then looking at me like, “Seriously?” I too thought I had a “finicky” eater, until, well, yep – pretty much exactly the same scenario occured in my house! Moral of the story? Let them be dogs, and they’ll let you know what they want! LOL

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