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I have a 1-year-old female Siberian Husky (~50 lbs) who has just recently became finicky about eating her food. We feed her 1.5 cups of food twice a day, which is the recommended amount from what I have read. A couple months ago she just stopped eating when we put her food down, and has to be coaxed into it and rarely finishes it all. We've taken the fact that she doesn't finish it all to simply mean she doesn't need as much, which is fine, but the behavior toward her food in general is what concerns us. She will simply ignore it until coaxed to eat, and while eating she acts as if it is unpleasant. When she does eat she will pick a couple bits up at a time and carry them to another corner, then nose them around for a minute before eventually maybe eating them. We have switched flavors twice, and both times she gobbled up the new flavor for the first few days but then returned to this state of disinterest. She shows no other outward signs of pain or discomfort, so I tend to discount that there is something wrong with her teeth or that she is sick, but we can't figure out exactly what brought on this change in behavior or if we should be concerned about it.

In the next few weeks she will have a couple kennel stays and I am concerned that she will end up going without food there because I don't expect the kennel workers to coax her into eating. We are also growing tired of having to do it every day and don't know if she needs a trip to the vet to evaluate the situation. Since there are no other signs of illness I feel that it's likely just a phase and she will eventually grow out of it, or perhaps we are just misunderstanding the behavior, but I'd like some other input on the subject.

  • You could try different textures as well as flavours. e.g. if on wet food go to biscuits, or mix the two together. That might help spark her interest in food. – Danny Bainbridge Oct 31 '14 at 10:55
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After switching foods a few times and talking to the vet about it what we've settled on is a rigidly-timed feeding schedule. Food goes down at the exact same times every day and it only stays down for 30 minutes. Once that time is up it goes away until the next meal. It seems to have done the trick for the most part, but we've also learned something from the experience, she simply doesn't have an appetite all the time and it seems to be related to level of activity and possibly the season.

The strict schedule got her to realize food isn't available whenever she wants it, so now she is more apt to eat right when it is put down, but there are still some meals she just has no interest in and others where she only eats a portion of it. This has not negatively impacted her health in any way we can see, and her appetite is definite higher on days where she plays with other dogs or goes on longer walks, so it just seems to be that the times she doesn't eat much or at all she simply doesn't need it. We did one overnight kennel stay and she didn't eat for them at all, but that's not surprising because any time one of us is gone on a trip she doesn't eat either, apparently due to anxiety.

Overall it's not the best resolution in the world but we at least know there's nothing wrong with her beyond some normal anxiety. Hopefully this will help out someone else in the future.

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  • My 6yo female husky has gone off her food almost completely at least twice. This happens in the summer when the weather is hot. When the weather gets cold again she suddenly decides that she needs to eat again and demands her supper the moment I get in from work. When off her food she does not seem to be losing weight so I do not worry unduly. She is a terrible scavenger so cannot be sure how much she is supplementing her diet although the neighbours have not complained about cats or children going missing! – uɐɪ Jan 30 '19 at 12:16
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I'm not a dog person, but my vet usually tells me that if you feel that your pet is behaving oddly and you are concerned, that's a sign you should go to the vet. You know your pet best.

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Huskies were bred to survive on little food and water. As puppies they eat 3 times a day and wean themselves to twice a day. As adults they mostly eat once a day but will often skip meals. They only eat when they’re hungry which is not often at all. I used to work in a daycare and experienced this finicky behavior often. I currently have a 1 year old husky who eats 2 cups maybe every other day. I offer at the same time everyday and let her decide if she wants to eat or not. If she doesn’t I simply put the food away and offer it the next day.

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