Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Crunch & Munch

Four.

It's not even noon and I've already vacuumed four times, not counting the Dirt Devil's victory lap around the bar stools after it sucked up the final nugget of dog food. Pigpen the Boxerbeast is on a new diet, one suggested by his veterinarian that costs more per bowl than any of the freezer-burn flavored fish I'll extract from a battered cardboard box and deposit into my own digestive system.

The good news is that he loves each expensive scoop of food that comes out of the forty pound bag that currently slumps in the corner of the kitchen. Well, he likes most of it. It's Blue Buffalo kibble, their bison-shaped logo constantly reminding me that it probably would've been more cost-efficient to raise, slaughter and serve up an actual buffalo, and it definitely wouldn't be any harder to store. Anyway, Blue Buffalo garnishes their food with dark brown pellets they call LifeSource® bits, an unsettingly named addition that makes me think that my dog is actually consuming the souls of other dogs.

Or he would if he didn't spit them all out.

When Pigpen eats, he buries his face in the dish, scooping up an oversized mouthful before turning to deposit it all on the rug to his right. Then he sifts through it, scarfing the pieces not made of DogSouls® LifeSource® before doing it again until the floor has been covered with a trail of pellets that make it look like I'm setting a trap for PacMan.

My options are to either leave my kitchen boobytrapped like Kevin McAllister's MicroMachine covered bedroom--and inevitably end up splayed on the floor watching as shards of my femur go skittering across the room--or to vacuum. Again.

So my question is whether any of you have ever faced (and hopefully fixed) a problem like this. Can you change the way a dog eats or is that embedded in his genetic code like his floppy ears or willingness to impregnate the throw pillows? I can't spend my entire day emptying LifeSource® bits into the trash can, not when there are other, less productive ways to procrastinate.

Unfortunately since I have enough LifeSource® to feed the Forsyth County school system, switching to a new brand isn't an option. I can't afford it and I don't know what I'd do with this oversized bag of Blue Buffalo, other than burrow inside it for warmth after I use all of my spare cash to purchase another vacuum cleaner. So one of us is gonna have to eat that shit--OUT OF THEIR BOWL--and I'm not sure it goes with fish sticks.

Your move, Pigpen.

34 comments:

Christin said...

You might mix the food in something that coats it all with the same stuff, so that he has trouble sorting it. Lots of dogs really like plain oatmeal, and it's good for them; a plop of oatmeal stirred in to coat the SoulBits might get him to eat the whole thing. Ditto for some chicken broth.

Or it might just make the whole affair exponentially messier. One or the other.

badmuthafudrucker said...

Dr. Khuly at Dolitter just blogged about some products that are supposed to help fight pet obesity, but a couple look like they might be right up your alley, namely the Brake-Fast Bowl and the Neater Feeder.

I mean, since you've already invested an obscene amount of money in bison food, what's $60 more dollars on a dog food bowl? Cheaper than a broken leg. Or a new vacuum.

Grace said...

Pureed pumpkin. It's really good for their digestion and they love it. I have a boston/pug mix (that actually looks quite a bit like a shrunken version of Pigpen) and we had SO MANY ISSUES finding a food that he liked and didn't destroy his system. We finally found a food that is working out (Natural Balance Potato and Duck formula) and when he's feeling picky about eating it, I stir in about a tablespoon of pureed pumpkin. He scarfs it down immediately.

Anonymous said...

I have a boxer/am-staff mix and he eats the same way you're dog does! It may be a breed specific thing...we do buy him the food that has large bites instead of the normal size bites because he seems to make less of a mess with it...in his 9 years of life it's the only thing that has helped! (I still sweep up after him about every other day though)

ems said...

Feed him less. I guarantee it will work. My cat and dog both had the same problem of taking a bite and either scattering half eaten pieces everywhere (cat) or scattering whole pieces in an arc around the food dish (dog.)

But once they were put on a diet where they were fed the proper amount of food (less than what the bag tells you which also saves money, BONUS!) they ate every single piece of food given to them. Problem solved.

And now they look hot for their dog/cat friends also. Well, notsomuch the cat yet, but we're working on it.

Scribe said...

I'm having the same issue with my boxer dropping the "nuggets" on the floor, but at least he eats them afterwards. I'd go with the pureed pumpkin. Can't go wrong with pumpkin!

Good luck Jelissa!

Katie said...

My dog likes to bring a mouthful of dog food pellets at a time into a carpeted area, but she does eat all the chunks. Anything she won't eat that she should, I dip in olive oil, low sodium/low fat chicken broth or peanut butter:)

And I agree with the guys about "feeding him less." My dog would sort of leisurely eat and leave food in her bowl, but now, she's getting the amount the vet suggested and she wastes no time or food.

Jennifer said...

If you do go with pureed pumpkin, be careful with the amount you give -- too much gives dogs loose stools. Great knowledge if you have a constipated dog... but deadly info if you don't and you feed them too much! (And you don't want to have to put your vacuum to *that* kind of test!)

I have always fed my dogs with just enough water (cold in summer, slightly lukewarm in winter) to peek through the nuggets and let the kibble slide around in the bowl. The water a) slows down their eating and b) fills them up!

You didn't mention WHY Pig is on a special diet, but if you're having an issue with weight you can always give him less of a kibble that he likes entirely, and mix in some mostly-cooked (still al dente) peas and baby carrots. You can buy these cheaply in bulk, steam them up a large tupperware full in the microwave, drain and then keep for a week, week and a half in the fridge. Dogs love peas and baby carrots, but they're almost zero calories and fill up their stomachs so they're not crying for more food all the time.

Good luck with the Boxerbeast!! :)

Julie said...

Two ideas, one of them stupid:

1. Try a feedbag. I don't see horse owners bitching about the mess in the barn.

2. Place the bowl in a larger container with sides (like, say, a cat litter box, just to fuck with his head). After he eats, take the bowl out and tip the food back into the bowl. Voila!

Can you tell which idea was the stupid one?

Misplaced Country Girl said...

My dog does this and it makes me bat shit crazy. Only she carries the food all over the house and so there are deposits of dog food everywhere. If you find the magic cure for this please post it immediately. You would save my sanity.

Java Joggers said...

My sister's dog eats the same way. She spreads the food out in a cookie sheet (one with edges)instead of putting it in a bowl. She said that her dog has to eat more slowly (can't just dive in) and makes much less mess.

Grace said...

Actually, about the pumpkin, I'm not sure where someone heard it gives them loose stools, because it's what we give my dog when he has the runs and it clears them right up. We just use about a tablespoon of the pumpkin puree in 3/4 cup of food (he's only about 20 lbs., so he doesn't eat that much).

Fen said...

ha ha, my cat likes to pick out each biscuit and crunch it over the floor, leaving a sprinkling of chewed biscuits on the floor. I just have to sweep them up with a dustpan and brush every day or so. As she eats I tell her, in the bowl young lady but for some reason she doesn't understand ;)

Anonymous said...

My vet suggested this for Great Danes - get a couple of softballs and place them in the dish.

That way the pooch has to roll the balls around to get to the food, which slows the hoovering up of kibble. That can reduce the chances of bloat as well as making him "work" a little harder for the food, which will probably be eaten instead of scatted on the floor.

Cari Lyn said...

Hey Pigpen! It's me Gabby! Your mom says you can't eat right! I'm in a cage! I miss you Pigpen, do you remember me? I'm your best friend! Hey Pigpen! It's me, Gabby!

yoritomo said...

I don't know how much it's worth but if you take it to the humane society over on miller you might be able to get a tax reduction. It might depend on whether or not you have unopened bags of it.

yoritomo said...

deduction. you can tell i'm good at life.

ps: my letters were fighorn

Forest Green said...

So apparently now you just have to find a pumpkin and puree it. So that's nice.

Philly said...

Our dog eats the same way and he's not a boxer...not even close. I think it's just the way most "normal" dogs eat. So, leave him alone!

Mackenzies Momma said...

We have a boxerbeast as well. He does the food thing but he does it with more...flair.

He'll scoop up a mouthful wander out to the living room and deposit it on the rug. Leaving....a trail of damp food across the tile and rug.

So...I think its a genetic thing. He's almost 10 and has been doing it since we got him almost 3 years ago now.

Pam F. said...

My Bella eats Blue Buffalo, too. :)

Before my Lucy passed away, she had to be put on a prescription diet that she didn't find very tasty at all, but because of medical conditions we couldn't switch her. The vet recommended we put a little bit of fish oil on it so it would appeal to her more. And HOLY SHIT, did it ever. It totally smells like dead fish, but it got her to eat. Maybe if you toss some in with your DogSoul, BoxerBeast wouldn't mind so much!

Janet Isserlis said...

holy crap
your people know a LOT about dog feeding, which is good. because I know nothing, but i think it's amazing that pigpen can read WATER upside down.

that's something you just do not see every day.

Janet Isserlis said...

and, also I was reading about Pig's eating habits as I was shoveling raisin brand out of a paper cup into my own mouth. (it is a smalll cup, but you know, I might go back for more).
hmm.

Kim said...

Cracked me up on so many levels! My beagle is also on an obscenely expensive vet diet due to crystals in his urine (which leads to kidney stones if he isn't on a low protein diet, no LifeSource for him!) - it's a Hill's Veterinary one that comes in GIANT chunks. My boyfriend and I call it dinosaur kibble. He savages them and leaves chunks all over the floor. Sometimes he cleans them up, but mostly I sweep after each meal.

Kim said...

Oh, also, some pet stores (I'm in Canada, imagine selection would be way better in US) sell special dog food bowls that are sectioned to force dogs to eat slower (especially broad chested breeds that are prone to stomach torsion - my neighbours have had to get one for their lab who was choking, she was eating so fast). Maybe that would help?

Kim said...

Sorry to be an uber commenter. One more thing - re: the pumpkin puree - you do not have to buy a fresh pumpkin and puree it yourself. Grocery stores sell it in the baking aisle - you just have to get the one that is just pumpkin without sugar/seasonings (sometimes it has a bit of squash in it too). It's worked a treat for my dog's dodgy stomach and it's made his stools regular and better texture. Gotta love us dog owners talking about diet and poop.

Anonymous said...

To Grace -- pumpkin in the small amounts you are giving does indeed provide a small amount of fiber that helps settle the dogs stomach and firm the stool. In larger amounts it has the opposite effect and is a cure for constipation.
Jmoney - I feed raw. Yes thats right raw. Dogs dont need all the filler and extra crap in their food - they cant digest it, they are allergic to alot of it, and it makes their poop huge. They also do not need their food cooked, they have short digestive systems with tons of enzymes designed to digest meat and bones. Feed raw - it's cheap, easy, eliminates gas, cleans teeth, and makes poop tiny with no smell.

The Lily said...

I've got two boxers and neither of them really has an eating problem, they usually finish each meal with a paw in the bowl and licking non-existant crumbs.

When Little dog decides she doesn't want to eat, I soak her food in chicken stock/broth. Soaking in general is a good option because then it eliminates gas and bloating problems and squishes if you step on it.

Kind of a lesser evil because you can still break something but hey at least the food-trodding doesn't hurt. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

To the Anonymous above--"you feed raw. . . " Raw WHAT??? I get what you're saying about the benefits for the dog's digestive system. But I don't know what you're saying the dog should be fed.

Mary@Holy Mackerel said...

Can you maybe put Pigpen in a wee chokehold and wait until the urge to drop food on the floor subsides? No?

OK then...

I think you can return unused dog food if it's not working for you. At least, you can in Canada...not that we're better than the States or anything...

I also know a dog who would drop his food on the floor, but he would eat it.

Sorry, can't help you with your problem, although I had fun writing this.

dallasdiva said...

Um, in case it hasn't been mentioned, you have a seriously cute dog. I say let him make a mess!!

Kalli said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kalli said...

I really dont have any ideas for you but I have to say that Pigpen is adorable. I also have a boxer. He ahs a lot of allergies and we have had to change his food a lot but he like all of them but sometimes they dont like him. (take a peek at http://mommyseverydaylife.blogspot.com/2011/02/poor-puppy.html )

I hope you can come up with something. I have heard of a bowl that slows down dogs eating. Here is a link. http://www.orvis.com/store/product.aspx?pf_id=0H67 I am sure that there are cheaper ones out there.

I think the oatmeal idea sounds like it might work. but then again it might just make a big mess! Good Luck!

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