To say our dog Charlie is “picky on food” would be an understatement. He will refuse hamburgers, fried chicken, roast beef, sliced turkey, ham, bacon, meatloaf, and just about any other meat product you could imagine. One time at a family reunion, Charlie refused ribs and barbeque and weirded out many of our southern family members. We heard “What kinda dog ya’ll got here?” and “What’s wrong with him?” all day long. He did, however, eat about four pieces of corn bread that day. The only time Charlie will eat meat is when it is heavily spiced with Indian or Thai spices – he loves a good Chicken Tikka Masala, the spicier the better. He seems to be mainly a vegetarian, and favors cheese, carrots, rice, popcorn, ice cream, apples, and any type of carbohydrate he can get his paws on. For dog treats, he prefers milkbones, or if he is being really decadent, pegetables a vegetarian dog treat that runs $24.00 a bag. After 2 ½ years, our veterinarian still can’t believe that Charlie will spit out the treats she has in her office.
As such, finding appropriate dog food for Charlie has been a challenge. Ever since we have had Charlie, he has not been necessarily “food motivated” – unless it is vegetarian people food. When it comes to dog food, he will let the food in his bowl linger, picking at it through the day, only eating a full bowl in one sitting (or standing) when he has had a lot of activity that day. Sometimes, the cat will eat Charlie’s food before he has gotten around to it. We’ve been through several different dog foods – Nutro Natural Choice, Blue Buffalo, Innova, Science Diet, Iams, Eukanuba, and Beneful among a few. With many of these foods, Charlie has gone on what we have termed as “hunger strikes.” Turning his nose up at food in his bowl, looking at my husband and I with an expression that can only be described as disgust, and then not eating for a full several days. His longest strike was a full week, not eating even when we refused to give him treats or table scraps the whole time. Sometimes he will overcome these strikes for a while, starting to eat the food, only to stop again. While, logically, we know that Charlie by instinct would never really allow himself to starve, it’s hard to watch and not feel guilty (at least if you are a bleeding heart/neurotic sucker like me).
We have spent a few hundred of dollars on expensive, no-filler foods only to find that Charlie won’t eat it. We made the mistake of buying him a small bag of Kibbles and Bits one time, the McDonalds of dog foods, to find that Charlie surprisingly would eat it like it was going out of style. Since my husband and I hated the idea of feeding him crappy food, we again tried him on several different foods. Much to our embarrassment, he has settled on eating Rachael Ray Nutrish – Chicken flavor only (he refuses beef and lamb favors – we tried to shake it up flavor-wise and ended up tossing two bags of food). It’s not the best dog food, but it isn’t the worst either. Though we’ve thought about getting him on a vegetarian dog food, for the time being, we are not testing fate. Better safe than hunger-strike-sorry.
For a dog that was supposedly found as a stray in the South, you would imagine that Charlie would be willing to eat just about anything–that having a regular source of food would be well appreciated. But, this is not the case. Some days I wonder how Charlie ever managed living as a hobo-dog, eating from trashcans when he turns down steak. However, we love him dearly, and he is worth every bit of this food adventure we have been on.