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When I got Charlie she was 8 weeks and a bony 3.5 pounds. She is going to be two on September 15. She has always been lean and never really interested in her food. I had read all the books and knew all the right things to do but I was worried about her weight so I started putting toppers on her food. At first it was just a crunched up dog biscuit - how could that hurt. It is all natural right? Then it progressed to wet dog food, table scraps then on to the hard stuff. I was cooking chicken and eggs for the dog. I finally had to admit I had a problem. I was addicted to toppings. Things might have been find but as all the books warned she became really picky. We hit rock bottom one day when she turned her nose up at some homemade chicken and rice.

With the support of DK I decided to go into topper rehab and quit cold turkey. It was hard. The worrying, the withdrawal, the whining (mine not the dog's). I switched kibble thinking that might start us off on the right track. It didn't work. I tried take the bowl away after 20 minutes but quit after 4 days of her eating nothing. I caved in and left the bowl down. Her ribs had always been prominent but suddenly you could feel every vertebra on her spine and her hip bones were protruding through her wooly doodle coat. The neighbors and people in the park began commenting. In a moment of weakness took out an egg and the frying pan but luckily the kids talked me down. I was battling the topping demons but luckily I had a great support system.

It has been a few weeks and I am proud to say I think we have that topping monkey off our backs. Charlie eats when she is hungry and usually at the end of the day there is nothing left. I've started giving her a large meal replacement cookie before bed and she is beginning to fill back out. I think I can finally breathe a sigh of relief. My dog is not going to starve to death.

So... To all you new dog parents out there. Don't let the topping demon get a hold of you. It seems so harmless in the beginning but before you know it your in too deep and looking to score bones and scraps at the local butcher.

Be strong and just say no to toppings.

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I wish you had posted this in The Food Group! We talk about this all the time there, and always say exactly this: that a dog will not starve herself to death and that adding things to get them to "like" their food not only doesn't work, but it can create a picky eater. Sorry you had to find out the hard way! 

I have to admit is is still tempting to put something on her food. Like when we get a rotisserie chicken and there all those pieces that no one will eat. I know Charlie would love them but I'm trying to be strong. It is so funny, I run such a tight ship with my children it continually surprises me how I am willing to spoil the dog.

Make chicken salad from the leftover chicken, lol.

Congratulations.
Thanks...there is nothing like the cold hard truth that can persuade someone not to follow their instincts....in this case mine...I have been teetering on adding something " interesting" to DerbyDoodle's bowl....b/c honestly the food she eats looks positively boring & yucky
But I realized from your post & recently Karen's to STAY AWAY from the "add on addiction"
Charlie is beautiful!!!

If we all just listened to Karen in the first place things would be so much easier. Some of us just have to learn things the hard way.

I am soooooooooooooo guilty of this. Ugh. Bay gets a small piece of chicken cut up in her food every night. Recently, i started adding carrot and apple pulp from my juicer. She loves it! Why is this wrong? Seems healthy and its no big deal to me. I know nutrition wise its not necessary. I give her Taste of the Wild Bison so i know she is getting all she really needs but if she enjoys the "topping" why not?

I've heard from friends that they sometimes put toppers on the food and sometimes not. It is not a problem for their dog. For me, the problem arose when Charlie wouldn't eat plain kibble, or wet food or plain chicken. She was holding out for steak or something better. She became so picky that she started skipping meals if the toppers didn't work for her and she lost weight. That is when it became a problem. For some dogs it won't become a problem. Mind must have read the dog books and went with the worst case scenario.

Congratulations on beating the addiction demon.  I have been lucky in that Haley (and the dog before him) is been very food motivated and always eats his food when put down for him.  Never have used toppers.

So lucky. It is stressful to worry if they are eating enough or maintaining their weight.

Congratulations for getting that "topping" demon off of your back.  It must've been hard seeing her getting thinner because she refused to eat.  Dougie is quite "greedy" and I can't imagine him not eating :)

I guess I am a topper addict too but I put my doodles through a test the other day and just put dry kibble down and they both ate all their kibble with no toppers.  I make poached liver (yuck - I know) and put it in the blender for a pate' and just put a tablespoon in the kibble just enough to coat the kibble.  I also make chicken in the crock pot and sprinkle warmed pieces on their food.  This is only a tablespoon full.  Is this really spoiling them ???  I'm just giving them what they like...us humans eat what we like right?  

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