Question on Fussy Eaters

Hi Nora,

My sister recommended I check out your website and e-book.  She has been feeding her dog mono meals for a few weeks and has had great success.  I decided I would give it a try too.

I have two Labradoodles.  They just turned one a few weeks ago.  I have fed them mostly raw since they were pups with some kibble to help with the cost.

I have stopped the kibble since learning about mixing foods and the harmful affects even the best kibble can have on your dog’s health.

The problem is, my dogs will only eat meat.  I let them go three days without eating and they still refused all fruits and cooked yams.  They have learned quickly if they hold out meat will eventually come.  Do you have any advise on how to cure a picky dog?  I really believe in what you say and am willing to work at getting them to adjust.  Any advice would be most helpful.  Thank you so much.

Hi Lynn,
Initially dogs can continue being fussy about what they eat and holding out for whatever they’re used to getting.  Many dogs will not eat secondary foods if they have: 1) the conditioned expectation of getting primary foods (meat) regularly, and/or 2) sufficient reserves on their body to fuel their needs.  If your dogs are of normal body weight, they are probably overweight in reality and 3 days would not be enough time for them to use up their reserves and feel the kind of hunger that motivates dogs to eat secondary foods.  It’s obviously not enough time to break their conditioning either.

The only reason I recommend feeding plant foods at all is because it allows owners to keep feeding their dogs without the risk of overfueling them such as what happens when dogs are fed rich primary foods everyday.  It’s really not necessary to feed plant foods, although I think certain carbohydrates can offer benefits beyond just digestive rest.  Digestive rest is the primary objective, and this can be accomplished just as well feeding nothing at all on the days between meat feedings.

Rotational monofeeding will appeal to people who are used to feeding their dogs everyday and want to have a definite program to follow.  But bear in mind that there isn’t one perfect way.  Of all the dietary variations that dog owners utilize, the common denominator in the successful ones is ‘underfeeding’.

Another point to consider is that the canine stomach is lined with glands that only secrete digestive fluids if the stomach is entirely expanded, which requires a very large meal.  I have only recently learned this, and have not really incorporated it into my feeding recommendations yet because most dog owners have no problem allowing their dogs to gorge but they resist the other part of the equation that is even more important — fasting.  Allowing a dog to eat to satiety or close to it every few days may offer an even higher level of health than my rotational program, but it will be the rare dog owner who has the mental fortitude to do it.  So a rotational mono diet which includes some plant foods is the next best thing.  It is said that dogs on a gorge and fast regimen will stop foraging and looking for food everywhere, which is something most dogs who are on my program do.  Incidentally, the gorge and fast model of feeding is absolutely not to be done with kibble, it is for raw-fed dogs only.

I have fasted dogs for up to 11 days and I know people who have fasted their dogs for 30 days.  If you want to get your dogs over their previous conditioning, you may have to allow them to go longer without food.  If you can’t go longer than 3 days, you might try feeding them the foods they want (meat) every other day and fasting on the days in between.  Eventually their reserves may drop to a level that would trigger sufficient hunger to eat secondary foods.  This would replicate what happens when dogs in the wild cannot find prey and forage on fruit and other types of foods just to get by.

I hope this helps.
Best wishes,

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