We have a dog named Nyx. She’s a black dog with some white, thus the name. She’s a Great Dane, but rather small – she’s about 33 inches at the shoulder and she’s only 120 pounds.
Apparently she’s also just the tiniest bit neurotic. Or possibly just picky. I don’t know.
She has been eating raw chicken as her primary food source for about a year and a half. While she has been different from every other dog I’ve ever owned in that she will not eat absolutely everything that is set down in front of her, she’s eaten fairly well. I chop up a chicken, she eats as much as she wants, and then she makes noises until we let her out of her crate. She likes her crate, but not if there are people around. We are much more interesting. I am not used to any food being left behind by a dog (there’s a reason my last dog, and every other dog I’ve owned, was nicknamed Hoover at one point or another), so that took some adjustment for me.
About a week ago, after breakfast, she decided to stop eating. I was away for the weekend, she decided that she didn’t want to eat what Xander fed her, and she went on a hunger strike. This is not a huge deal, as she’s done this before for a day or two if she’s very stressed out. It doesn’t happen often. She didn’t eat Sunday. She didn’t eat Monday. She didn’t eat on Tuesday, and I was beginning to get rather worried. Her energy level was fine, she didn’t object to me poking around in her mouth, and nothing else seemed to be a problem. Wednesday she ate a little. I’m pretty sure she was just so starved she couldn’t hold off anymore. We went to the vet on Thursday.
The vet said she was the most well-adjusted, sweet Dane she had ever met. There were no signs of sickness of any sort – temperature was fine, she ate dog cookies like there was no tomorrow, and she got bored, curled up on the floor, and started snoozing. Did I mention that our dog is a couch potato? She takes after me – stress or boredom requires a nap in response.
The vet asked about the food Nyx was eating, made it very clear that she didn’t quite understand a raw diet, and suggested that maybe the dog was bored with her food.
We spoil Nyx rotten. I mean, she’s a reasonably well-trained dog – there’s no way I would have a 120 pound big black dog who was not well trained. She’s been trained using a clicker and lots of treats, though, which means she’ll do almost anything if one of her people has a treat for her. She goes to doggie day care to make sure she gets enough exercise while we are both working. She gets lots of attention and has a twin mattress she sleeps on next to our bed. She eats really good food.
Now she’s bored?
With an alternative of blood tests and stool samples, I took her to a little pet food store in Reno, Healthy Tails. They have always been good to us and given useful advice, and they know Nyx. They brought out samples of food for her to try.
Our dog, who has a beautiful coat and looks absolutely healthy, likes kibble. Not just any kibble, though. Some samples she picked up out of the offering hand, turned her head, and dropped on the floor. Her head is a fair ways up, so when she drops kibble, it scatters. A couple of kinds of food, though, she got extremely excited about. She sat without me having to ask, her ears perked up, and her tail started wagging. That was before she even got a taste of the food.
I need to be sure our dog stays healthy. I bought her kibble and a few other things to add in so the transition would be easier.
That night, she ate a little chicken and then ate everything I would give her of the other foods. She was up four hours later with a very upset stomach. I was not amused.
The next morning, when I put out the chicken, she refused to get off of the couch. (Yes, spoiled dog. I know.) I insisted. She moved. She didn’t, however, walk towards her crate. She flopped down on the floor on front of me. When I nudged her with my foot, she rolled onto her back and put her legs in the air.
Not only is she apparently good at passive resistance, she’s a clown, too. I’m so lucky.
I didn’t feed her that morning, considering the upset tummy the night before and my deep dislike of cleaning out crates when sickness has been involved. She did not seem to mind, although she did nose at the kibble bag a couple of times until I asked her to leave it. She sighed, ambled away, and settled in her crate with her peanut-butter-and-treats-stuffed Kong.
I fed her that night, and she ate everything that was offered and looked for more.
The only question now is how long she’ll like this food. I got two big bags of it, so hopefully she’ll eat it for at least that long.