I am having some trouble with my greyhound. He is currently raw but is developing into a picky eater and there is more raw stuff now that he won’t eat than what he will. I am seriously considering putting him on kibble, as I am really tired of him not eating his food, since I never know from meal to meal what he’ll eat and what he won’t. He doesn’t seem to be as fussy with kibble.
I always say that there are no picky eaters, only overfed dogs. Dogs have never in their evolutionary history had the opportunity to eat with as much abandon as they do in our care. In other words, it is overfeeding that produces “pickiness”.
I realize that with a Greyhound this idea is going to be a tougher sell, because they are so lean that they already look like they’re starving compared to ‘normal’ dogs (most of whom are actually overweight). But just because a dog can’t genetically carry much stored fuel doesn’t mean s/he can’t be overfed.
Due to genetics, it seems, some dogs and humans just don’t carry the extra food they eat as stored fuel. TC Fry, the well-known health educator who taught Harvey Diamond (author of “Fit for Life”) what he knows about nutrition, used to fast people who were not able to carry normal reserves. It may seem crazy for someone like that to go completely without food. But what he found was that when there was a pathological condition that limited the body’s ability to properly store fuel, this would heal during a fast. He fasted underweight people for weeks and after their fasts they would gain weight and were able to carry normal reserves. I’m not telling you this because I think the leanness of Greyhounds is pathological (caused by disease). What I’m saying is that weight is not always a sign that the proper amount of food is being fed, and sometimes there are better indicators to look at than a dog’s weight. Like pickiness. 🙂 This also obviously illustrates that leanness is not a disqualifying factor when determining whether to employ nature’s best healing tool: fasting.
The obstacle for you is not going to be that your dog will starve, or be miserable, etc., if you fast him or don’t feed him the same amounts you always have. The obstacle will be that you will think that he will. There are other ways around this problem you’re having besides feeding kibble. In fact, that’s probably the worst thing you could do.
The problem of fussy appetites in dogs has one cause only, and that lies in the grey matter between the owner’s ears. Dog owners just refuse to accept the idea that dogs don’t need as much food as we think they do. This is particularly true of a dog like a greyhound, because their bodies are so efficient and have no genetic propensity for storing excess food. They have no choice but to reject extra food, unlike dogs of other breeds who happily pack on the extra pounds. Their owners, in turn, have no choice but to respect this fact and stop feeding excessive food. To do otherwise, such as tempting the dog to eat with junk food like kibble, would be like giving kids Twinkies and Skittles at every meal because they refuse to eat real food.
Another problem is that vets are always filling dog owners with fear about the loss of appetite being a sign of disease. It’s true that it can be, but there’s hardly a problem they could name that wouldn’t be resolved the same way as pickiness is: feeding proper foods, uncombined, and in suitable (small!) quantities. So no matter how you slice it, the solution is the same, and it’s all within the owner’s control. No vet intervention required. Of course we’ll never hear this from the vet industry because overfeeding is the #1 cause of all those profits they enjoy so much.
One thing you should do right away is cut back to feeding only once per day. If your dog refuses food, put it away and put it out again the next day. If you’re feeding any kind of commercial raw food, consider feeding homemade raw instead. Commercial raw foods are full of superfluous junk, fat and supplements that only make it expensive and hard to digest. Feeding homemade raw is not only cheaper, it’s much better for your dog as it gives you almost complete control over what he eats. Make sure the food is body temperature (slightly warm to the touch) and moist. Try other digestible foods on him like cooked yams and ripe fruit. It is particularly the overfeeding of animal products that produces pickiness in dogs.
Dogs evolved in relatively spare economies; there just wasn’t that much food around. They had to make do on what they could scrounge during prey shortages. This random scarcity is what we are bound to try to replicate. The studies on the wolves in Yellowstone have yielded some surprising information about how wolves don’t choose to eat everyday, even when they have abundant prey. Fasting is natural and normal for dogs, and it’s a guaranteed cure for pickiness.
My 108-page e-booklet on proper dog feeding would be helpful if you’re interested in a new way of feeding (Rotational Mono-feeding) that not only prevents disease but resolves pickiness for good.