Linda Arndt ~ Canine Nutritional Consultant

My Dog Is A Picky Eater

My dog won’t eat...

  • My dog is too thin.
  • My dog has loose stools.
  • My dog has smelly stools.
  • My dog has bad breathe
  • My dog has bad gas.
  • My dog eats grass all the time and vomits

There are several reasons for a dog to go off feed, hormones (females coming into season or false pregnancy), male between 12 - 18 months - those teenage stages, but the biggest culprit for poor eaters is something called Giardia.

Before you do one more thing, if one or any of these symptoms are a problem for your pet, then you must have it checked for Giardia. The vet MUST take a sample from the dog and run a very specific test for this protozoa. Not all vets are familiar with Giardia and are accurately the slide sample, so that means it may take more than one opinion to rule out Giardia. I can honestly say the bulk of the emails I receive are for help for these problems and they are Giardia based.

No, I do not recommended the vaccine for Giardia…they get enough vaccines as it is so I will not suggest that route. Instead I offer this information for you and your vet. Do this first before you spend a ton of money on testing. Of course it is wise to run a regular stool check as well to rule out worms.

Giardia - this is a waterborne protozoa (a parasite, but not a worm) which is VERY difficult to detect. Only at certain cycles will the cysts be noticeable in the stool. To test for this you need to use You also have to have the vet go up inside with a loop and get a fresh/warm sample of stool in order to get an accurate reading. Even if the dog shows up as negative and the dog exhibits any of these symptoms, you need to discuss with your vet the necessity to treat for Giardia, in order to rule out any infestation.

Anytime you have a dog that will not gain weight, is on/off their feed and/or with intermittent loose stools or diarrhea, you should check for Giardia first, before you start running up vet bills looking for other health problems. Sometimes these dogs will not eat, because Giardia causes such stomach upset and severe cramping. It is because of this, they will often graze on grasses excessively.

Giardia is a very big problem, one that goes undetected by most veterinarians. Carol Turkington writes, "Once an infestation of Giardia, it often reoccurs. Giardia is spread by food or water contaminated by the Giardia protozoan organism found in the intestinal tract and feces. When the cysts are ingested, the stomach acid degrades the cysts and releases the active parasite into the body. Once within the body, the parasites cling to the lining of the small intestine, reproduce, and are swept into the fecal stream. As the liquid content of the bowel dries up, the parasites form cysts, which are then passed in the feces. Once excreted, the cysts can survive in water for more than three months. The parasite is spread further by direct fecal-oral contamination, such as can occur if food is prepared without adequate hand-washing, or by ingesting the cysts in water or food.

Turkington goes on to state, "Diagnosis can be difficult because it can be easy to overlook the presence of the Giardia cysts during a routine inspection of a stool specimen. In the past, the condition has been diagnosed by examining three stool samples for the presence of the parasites. However, because the organism is shed in some stool samples and not others, the infection may not be discovered using this method. A newer, more accurate method of diagnosing the condition is the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) that detects cysts and antigen in stool, and is approximately 90% accurate. While slightly more expensive, it only needs to be done once and is therefore less expensive overall than the earlier test."

Generally, Flagyll, Metronidazole and Panacur are often used for Giardia, and repeated again in 2 weeks if the symptoms have not subsided. There are other things you can do to make the gut an uninviting place for Giardia proliferate.
In addition to antibiotic treatment and can be done at the same time.

  • Oxydrops
  • BacPacPlus - Fortified with Yucca
  • MSM - nutritional sulfur

There is now a Giardia Support Kit Available through


It is a safe, stable, inorganic, liquid compound that has demonstrated efficacy as a bactericidal, fungicidal and virucidal agent. It operates in two ways, first it enhances the immune system and second it releases slowly and oxidizes, cleaning toxins from the body. OXYDROPS acts on the organism at cellular level with no unwanted side effects. If you are going to use raw meat in your dogs diet it is very important to use the OXYDROPS, to help prevent any pathogens and Giardia protozoa.

Use Oxydrops diluted in water, and poured over their food. If they will not eat, then take the recommended dosage, DILUTE IT IN SOME WATER and use a small syringe (minus the needle) and place in the side of their mouth so they will drink it. Do NOT squirt down their throat and cause aspiration pneumonia. It is important to always dilute the OXYDROPS.

Also - if your water source comes from a well, I recommend at least 5 - 10 drops daily to a large bucket of water for decontamination. This will help once they are cleaned out from the Giardia.

Oxydrops can also be used topically or as a colonic when needed, see guidelines below.To order contact:

BacPakPlus Fortified /w Yucca

Then reestablish the intestinal flora of the gut use BacPacPlus - Fortified. BacPakPlus-Fortified is 6 beneficial bacteria, digestive enzymes and yucca. Some of the bacteria in this product is microencapsulated to be released in the lower intestine for tough to handle intestinal problems such as IBD, Giardia protozoa, bacterial infection, stress or bloat recovery, loose stool, parvo etc.

When a dog is on antibiotics, they MUST be on Probiotics at the same time and continue after, to replenish the intestinal flora of the gut. Otherwise you will get soft stools and opportunistic bad bacteria, such as staph, or yeast/fungus can start to flourish in the gut.

One pound lasts for many months and it is not cost prohibitive and the benefits are well worth the use. Breeds that are prone to Bloat/Torsion need Probiotic cultures in their diet to help keep the pH balance of the gut. (See Bloat Article)

To Order:

MSM - Nutritional Sulfur

In the patent (#4,616,039) and research information on MSM, it states the dosage for treating Giardia to be 500 mg - 3 times a day for two weeks, then continue with 1000 mg a day to help prevent re-infestation. Click here to purchase MSM for Pets.

These three things will help to reestablish a health gut (See A Healthy Gut - Basis of Wellness)

Use my Feed Program for Digestive Upset of Feed Program for Rescue and Repair

Other things to consider:

Your pet will go off their feed for many reasons. It is important to note that if they are off their feed, lethergic,vomiting, have loose stools or a fever they need to see a veterinarian immediately.

If they go more than 2 days not eating, get the dog to a vet. If they are restless, keep bugging you but you can't figure out why they are being pesty, or they pace or go try to hide somewhere, get to a vet immediately because they could be going into bloat or torsion and time is of the essence!

Hormones play a big role in your dog backing off their food - bitches coming into season effect both the females and unneutered male in the house. A false pregnancy, teething around 5-7 months of age, and inactivity all have a hand in them backing off eating.

Food consumption can be directly related to the amount of free exercise your dog gets on a daily basis.

A pet owner writes:

"If we try to offer more food, it just gets left behind and they don't eat all of it."
As long as your dog is not running a fever, lethargic, vomiting, distressed or has diarrhea and you KNOW they are not sick, then it is normal for them to back off on their feed regardless of weather. This is natures way of telling you they do not need it - regardless of their weight, they are eating a nutrient dense diet and they need to take a break from it. Remember, in the wild, dogs would never eat on a daily basis, so they are telling you.."Mom, I don't need it - take it away!". They are not usually food driven like people who eat for a variety of other reasons; celebrations, misery, nervousness, pleasure etc. ...well, that is most dogs aren't. My Pug on the other hand, well that is another story!

How I Handle This:

Every week on one day I cut back on the amount by 1/2 cup each meal or 1 cup per day total - IF THIS IS A DOG THAT SELF REGULATES INTAKE and starts walking away from their food you may have to do this more frequently. My male is like clockwork...once a week he turns his up his nose and I would have to throw out half his food, if I didn't cut back once or twice a week...then the next day he is ready to eat again.

Weather is a Factor:

The heat of the summer (Indiana) which means humidity and horseflies, so my dogs are only out long enough to do their "business" a few times a day, then they come right back in the house until the sun sets.

Although they live in an in air-conditioned environment my male will drop down from 7 cups a day total to eating only 5 cups a day total --- and female will normally eat 6 cups a day total, will drop down to only 4 cups a day total consumption. This is because they do not get the free exercise they would normally get in good weather, so their intake is directly related to the enegy they expend. Less exercise means they need less food intake.

The only real exercise they get in the dead of summer is at night when the sun goes down, out the go to play. Their actual expenditure of calories is not as great in the heat or the dead of winter for that matter because of the decrease in exercise - so if you just remember that their intake is directly related to how much exercise they get you will realize you need to cut back at certain times.

If you don't remember they will let you know..they will walk away from their food. During this kind of weather it is not at all unusual for my males to eat half rations, by his own choice, for about 3 days, then back on full rations. This tells me he did not need the calories due to the fact that he is not expending much energy in extreme weather.

Changes in family environment, potential storms, adding a new dog to the house hold can all make changes in eating habits. Just make sure if your dog is off feed that he is not sick - and know what the signs of bloat and torsion are so they don't get lost in the process of you trying to avoid a vet bill.


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