How did I manage to get a rescue dog who’s a picky eater?!
I would’ve thought the whole survival of the fittest thing would’ve ensured he had an iron stomach and an appetite for just about anything.
Pettigrew is not the type of dog who inhales his food. Typically, we feed him in the morning. He ignores the food all day until dinnertime. Then he quickly eats as he’s learned that if he doesn’t have an empty bowl, he won’t get dinner. Not that he always eats dinner either. It’s not uncommon for me to come down in the morning and find his bowl still full of food.
However, periodically, he takes it further and decides he will not eat for days. I used to get concerned when this happened.
During one of Pettigrew’s early food boycotts, I took the advice of one of my aunts and conducted a double-blind dog food survey. For those of you not immersed in the field of science, this is a study where neither the researcher nor the participant knows which product is which. We did not want in any way to influence Pettigrew in his selection.
After a quick trip to our neighborhood, boutique, pet store, my kids and I returned home with samples of eight varieties of dog food.
We numbered and filled eight identical containers and created a key for which number corresponded to which dog food. After placing the containers in random order in a line on the kitchen floor, we invited in Pettigrew.
He walked up and down the line, sniffing and licking. Then he returned to his favorite, ate it all, moved on to his second favorite, ate it all, and went all the way down the line. We recorded the number and order in which he chose.
He ate five food samples, walked away for a few minutes, and then returned to eat the remainder. His usual dog food was in the second group. Clearly not a high choice, but nor was it the last! That honor went to a weight management dog food. Guess diet dog food tastes as good as diet people food.
We thought we had gained insight into Pettigrew’s food preferences. We fed him his number one pick for a while, until he stopped eating again. Turns out he enjoys variety.
Right now his stomach is still upset. We have been on this rice and poached chicken diet for weeks. Every time we plan to take him to the vet, he looks like he’s on the mend. But it doesn’t seem to last. Yesterday my husband visited our neighborhood pet store and came home with a vacuum-pack of pumpkin, especially for pets with upset tummies. Pettigrew loved it. And guess what? He looks like he’s getting better…again.
Of course I discovered the market doesn’t carry pumpkin in July. They had cranberry sauce, but no pumpkin. Only the organic section had cans of pumpkin purée. And you know, if his stomach gets better, I won’t think twice about my kooky behavior feeding organic pumpkin to my rescue dog. He’s worth it!