Give Dogs a Structure for Eating Dog Food

Question:

I’ve tried to find a dog food that will satisfy both of my Chihuahuas but haven’t been successful.  As a last resort I started fixing them hamburger, boiled chicken or ground turkey with steamed rice, carrots and scrambled eggs which they love. Is this a healthy regimen; am I doing more harm than good?

 

Dr. Nichol:

That’s an impressive menu. I’ll be right over but I’ll leave Maddie, the Nichol family puppy, at home. We love her like a little girl but we feed her like a dog because physiologically she is different. By cobbling together a smorgasbord of gastronomic delights you are risking nutritional imbalances that can cause your dogs serious problems. The most common, obesity, predisposes to degenerative arthritis and sometimes diabetes.

 

Keep it simple. Feed your dogs dry food, alone in separate rooms, with the doors closed. Pick up their bowls when they walk away-finished or not. Allow them back together only when there is no food available. This prevents stealing, subtle intimidation, and competition. I know, it sounds oddly political.

 

If you feed a high quality (not cheap) food your dogs should live long and prosper. Don’t worry if they hold out for good taste. Pick up the bowl and offer it again later. Any healthy dog will cave in and eat when he realizes that the rules really have changed. You are the boss. Take charge.

 

 

 

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Small Dog-Fussy Eater

Question:

I have a 15 month old 5 pound neutered male Yorkie. Pako is a very picky eater-not even treats! What he loves is cooked, diced chicken breast.  That’s it. Dry food is out all the time but only an occasional nibble. Is this an OK diet? He is lively, slender and healthy so far.

 

Dr. Nichol:

When it comes to requiring cooked-to-order meals, many small breed dogs can only be described as cunning. If you continue to cave-in to Pako he’ll start insisting on capers, hollandaise, and perhaps bacon bits and chives on his diced chicken. As he ages your slender Yorkie will gradually resemble a baked potato on tooth picks. He’ll also be more prone to dental disease and painful arthritic joints.

 

Feed Pako a high quality dry dog food only. Offer it on bone china if you must but serve it with a flourish twice daily. Put the little con artist in a room by himself at mealtime so he can’t pick up on your remorse. You hold all the cards. Pako’s health is riding on your resolve.