Pet Parenting: River Does Dieting

6 o’clock hits and I put the dish down. He sniffs, looks up at me, looks back to the bowl, then back to me … and then walks away.


I feel like I’m dealing with a child who refuses to eat his peas.

During our most recent trip to the vet, I mentioned that my dog has been having digestion issues for most of his life. Ever since I adopted him 3 years ago, he’s never had the best of bathroom breaks. Now I’ll be honest, it never seemed to bother him any but it’s becoming a little embarrassing trying to clean up after him on our walks when there isn’t even enough solid mass to collect into a poop bag. In fact, I remember one specific time he decided to relieve himself while crossing the road. Halfway across the crosswalk, I watched in horror as he released his payload out on to the middle of the street while the truck, stopped and waiting patiently for us to cross, had a front row seat. I panicked, got a poop bag in hand, and tried to pickup the remnants off the pavement but only ended up making the matter worse. They were amused. I was not.

I’ve tried a lot of different things to get this under control. He’s been offered raw food and a variety of different kibbles. I have added probiotics and pumpkin. I’ve even tried a host of supplements from multiple different companies. While some of them have made a small difference, none of them appeared to work…at least not to my satisfaction. Thus, I decided it was time to talk to a professional.

After a brief discussion, the doctor figured that River may have a food allergy either to chicken or beef. AHA! Why didn’t I think of that?! Considering that I work at an animal shelter and have to deal with food sensitivities regularly, I can’t figure out why I didn’t think of this sooner! I knowingly nodded in agreement, trying to add something meaningful to the conversation (note: I had nothing meaningful to add to the conversation). The suggestion was to change River’s diet to a limited ingredient diet with only one protein and one carb. Seemed simple enough to me. And so, off to the pet store I went.

Now, there are two pieces to this visit to the pet store. The first being that because of COVID-19, I was not allowed to fully enter the store and look at the selection myself. The second being, the vet told me to be VERY specific when dealing with the sales staff as they will have a plethora of suggestions about the diet and the original request might get lost. Because of part 1, part 2 immediately became more complicated as I had to deal exclusively with the sales associate to get what I wanted. After being offered what felt like a thousand different options, I finally left with a pricey bag of food that came highly recommended and had exactly what I asked for; there was 1 protein, duck, and one carb, potato. Sounds like a good meal to me! I was excited for the little guy to try it.

The first day on the new diet, he acted like his usual happy self, excited to dig into whatever I was giving him for his dinner. I proudly put the new kibble into the bowl, walked over to this usual spot, and put it down in front of him. Welcome to forever buddy! Silence. He continually stared at the bowl, then reluctantly looked up to me, then back to the bowl, then back to me…then walked away. I swear I saw the little twerp roll his eyes at me!!! This is the dog that seems content to chew on rocks in the backyard?! ROCKS!!!


This is a new process for us, but I’m determined. He WILL eat his food, or he will go to bed hungry!! I will not tolerate this behaviour. I will not allow this insult! I WILL SHOW HIM WHO’S BOSS!

…this week he’ll get venison, cheese, and kangaroo.


1 thought on “Pet Parenting: River Does Dieting”

  1. My dog was having squirty poo for a long time. After a biopsy, it was diagnosed as inflammatory bowel disease. He is doing excellent on kangaroo.


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