Back to Back Issues Page
Coton Connection, Issue #017 - Is Your Coton a Picky Eater?
June 07, 2011
Welcome Coton Lovers:

Solutions for Finicky Cotons:

Next to what to feed your dog, one of the most common questions I receive is how do I get my finicky dog to eat. At first I was taken aback by this question, because my Luc is a VERY good eater. He's a big guy and really loves to eat - just about anything.

But over the years I've learned that many Cotons don't have Luc's voracious appetite. There are many questions and comments on our web site about this issue, but because I've received more questions about this lately I thought I'd put all of your suggestions together here so if your dog is a picky eater you can easily see all the suggestions in one place. But first, see your Vet to make sure you rule out any health reasons for your dog's lack of appetite.

The most common complaints are either concern that Cotons just turn away from their food, or they will eat one day and not the next. Or they'll like a certain food for a while and then stop eating it. Other Cotons got used to human food and will no longer eat dog food.

So, here are some suggestions from our Visitors. There's a wealth of information here that just may be the help you're looking for.

From Joyce: I give my boys an assortment of foods so they won't get bored. I also blend some real meat - chicken ,turkey etc. (a small amount) into their dry food. I use Natural Balance rolls also into their dry, Evo dry Blue dry, natural balance holistic dry formula Lamb, venison, etc.

From Leigh: I started putting little pieces of plain chicken breast mixed in with the dog food. SHE LOVED IT! She'll eat her food now with or without the chicken, but I still give it to her once or twice a week.

From Lubby: I have found that Bailey loves fruits and veggies. Loves red and green peppers, broccoli (the stocks only), lettuce, and carrots sometimes. I have to cook up chicken breast or some of our pork roast before he'll eat any meat. I have had some luck in dog foods, but, we have 3 different kinds some days he loves one and not the other.

From Debra: Probiotics. I wonder if Cotons are fussy eaters because they don't have all the digestive flora necessary. Since putting Heathcliff on Proviable-DC , 1 capsule per day sprinkled on his supper), he has been a more consistent eater. Heathcliff has now developed a taste for rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods. We have had the most dinner success with Stella and Chewy's freeze-dried raw patties (super beef or duck duck goose) mixed with a small amount of cottage cheese plus 'bribery meat'--a sprinkle of canned chicken, turkey or beef on top. He prefers savory to sweet treats--lamb lung or liver (also, freeze-dried) are his faves. For lunch at day care, he eats Stella and Chewy's wet (1/4 cup of water per patty in his 'lunch kit').

We have a lot fewer heartaches now that I let him tell me when he is hungry. Rarely, he will eat as late as 9:30 pm. Most days, we eat around 7. I know the former is late but he is getting his nutrition and his tummy seems to be handling it well. The vet has not complained about his weight so we must be doing okay.

FYI -- clerks at the Natural Paws store where we shop say that you can usually get a dog to eat by sprinkling tripe (sold in cans in the store) on top.

From Sue from NY: I also found Stella and Chewy's freeze dried to be something she will occasionally eat (beef and chicken). But lately I have been buying her roasted chicken! I mix it with green beans and brown rice, as well as a vitamin concoction that I made up based on Pitcairn's recipe. I alternate chicken with beef patty, or sometimes saute ground turkey. It's a bit of trouble, but I feel she is getting a more nutritious diet and she eats every meal.

From Iris: My Tuffy also eats twice a day. When I first got him at 6 weeks of age I put down a bowl of dry food with the recommended amount, but Tuffy was a picky eater and still had a full bowl when I got home from work. That set the "free feeding" habit for us. In the morning I give him a 1/4" slice of a dog food roll of Natural Balance lamb formula on top of his IAMs small dog food (3/4 C.) and he will pick out the lamb and eat only a few pieces of the dry food. Sometimes he gets a small spoonful of cooked eggs with breakfast and I give bits of training treats of freeze dried liver and chicken during the day, and on occasion, some chopped fresh cooked chicken. I feed him (in a separate bowl) some of my food, He loves baked sweet potato and fish. One thing I read from a dog trainer, is the dog will wait for food from your mouth just as if they are in the wild waiting to be fed by the pack leader, so maybe you can chew some cooked chicken breast in front of him and feed him some of it by hand? No matter what I am eating, Tuffy thinks it has to be better than his own food.

From Sue: Look for the book "Scared Poopless". Great info on food as well as vaccines. I also just ordered "Becoming the chef your dog thinks you are".

From Lynda: Nature Valley brand is one Zorro eats. He prefers I mix in Stella and Chewy's freeze dried patties. Zorro doesn't scarf down his food even when I know he's hungry. I tried giving fewer treats and that helped but I think Cotons are really smart and Zorro will hold off eating his boring dry food for yummy treats.

From Joyce: Have you tried the Natural Balance dog rolls? That's what I give my boys - I grate the dog rolls and mix it with wellness small bites or EVO beef. Ours only likes the turkey or beef rolls, not the lamb. I like to give them a mixture. Good Luck P.S. THEY also like the raw nature's variety - but I lightly brown it.

From Karla: I feed my dog Praire beef kibble. The previous owner gave her Canidae, but she likes Prairie much better. She also LOVES chicken liver. You can bake or boil them. Take a piece and crumble/mince it as small as you can, and mix it with the (dry) dog food really well. Don't put too much because the dog may get "loose" if you know what I mean. If you just chop the livers, the dog will just pick out the liver and leave the rest. You need to crumble it as tiny as you can.

From Fiona's mom: Yup. I got a grazer too. I thought at first it was the food she didn't like. But no matter what kind of food I get, she grazes. Some days she doesn't even touch her bowl and other days she eats hearty just when I think she is going to starve. I leave the food down all the time but I can see the twice-daily routine would be a good idea if you have a problem with late night eating and going out.

From Patrick: You should be feeding on a schedule. Twice a day, morning and evening. If he doesn't eat within fifteen minutes, take the food away immediately. If you are consistent, he will become very predictable with his bathroom habits as well. You will be surprised how much better he eats like this also. He will quickly learn that of he doesn't eat when the food is out, then he won't eat. Trust me, a little tough love will go a long way and makes a happier Coton. He won't let himself starve, I promise you that. Also, keep treats to a minimum.

More suggestions from some of our anonymous visitors:

-I started getting him to eat treats. His treat was his dog food. I would take him over to the field and do some training and when he did what he was told I gave him a treat (of his dog food). It has taken him a long time but now he will eat dog food. Mind you only the dog foods that have just meat and rice in them, nothing with additives. It has taken a long time but we got there in the end.

-I would suggest laying off the treats for awhile and only providing dog food twice a day (premium high quality food). Leave the food out for a limited amount of time (about 15 minutes). If she doesn't eat, take it away and wait until next meal time. I know this may sound harsh, but they can go a couple of days without eating and it's better for her in the long run - she's got to start eating food with the nutrients she needs. She'll start eating when she realizes that she won't be getting the treats and that meal time means business. Once she starts eating regularly you can start adding back the treats, BUT make her earn them. Ask her to do a command first or reward her for going outside, etc. This puts you back in control!

-Try green beans raw, any veggies..really. I found that if I sprinkle his food on the floor instead of a bowl. He likes that also.

-Right now my dog is happy with The Honest Kitchen dehydrated food, to which I add chicken and egg. He is still picky and waits for scraps, but, this is the best diet I have found.

-Don't mix and match food all of a sudden. I tried that with some samples from the pet food store trying to find something she liked and it ended up making her sick. The vet said Cotons don't tolerate quick food changes and that was why her tummy was so upset.

-We use Life's Abundance Dog Food, ordered from their website. Wilson loved it until he got a bite of cat food. He would not touch his food for days. I now mix in a little wet food (organic) once a day. He is getting better about eating what is put out for him now. He loves green beans raw, any veggies..really anything. I found that if I sprinkle his food on the floor instead of a bowl. He likes that also.

-Oliver too has never met a dog food he likes. We have determined that he is allergic to grains. He has not had an ear infection since we eliminated grains. Right now he is happy with The Honest Kitchen dehydrated food, to which I add chicken and egg. He is still picky, and waits for scraps. But, this is the best diet I have found.

-If you switch to another food, do it gradually as a fast switch can upset your coton's tummy. I would not get a huge bag of whatever because they just don't go through their food that fast. Blue Buffalo seems to be a favorite.

As you can see, there isn't just one solution that fits every dog, so you have to do a little experimenting. A great big thanks goes out to everyone who contributes to our little Coton community. We learn so much from each other and of course our beautiful dogs benefit as a result.

Happy Birthday Wishes:

Happy Birthday wishes go out to special Cotons who celebrated birthdays since last month or coming up in June:

  • Benny May 14
  • Simon June 1
  • Toshiyuki June 4
  • Panda Bear June 5
  • Gigi June 6
  • Hope June 10
  • Moe June 17

Want your Coton to get special birthday attention? It's easy; just join our Birthday Club.

Coton Connection

Meet the Cotons

Stop by and meet the new Cotons here. You can brag about your Coton any time.

Coton Videos

Now we have another way to show off our Cotons. Do you have a video you'd like to share? You can submit videos here. Or just take a break and just enjoy videos that others have submitted.

Coton Questions

Do you have a question about your Coton? You can see all the Coton questions submitted here.

Help or Get Help!

Join us on Facebook

Say hello on our Facebook page where you can share more pictures, stories, questions, and comments with each other any time. Need a lift? A quick smile? You have to stop by and browse all the recent Facebook photos - I dare you not to smile!!

Thanks for sharing!

Cool Coton Products

Check out our "Cool Coton" products:

Coton Products
Coton Products

I love hearing from you! You can contact me any time here.

Gale and Luc

Back to Back Issues Page