Dear Doodlebug: STUMPED!

As some of you read last week, mama has let the kitten out of the bag: I am not perfect. That means that as hard as my giant brainiac brain might try, I can’t always answer your Dear Doodlebug questions. Sometimes I write you privately and tell you I can’t answer them because you need the help of a real-live dog trainer, and sometimes I try to be funny-like and non-answer them in my column. But other times, I just don’t know! So this week, I’m asking for the help of all you other brainiacs. Here are some Dear Doodlebug questions we’ve received lately that I just can’t seem to answer. Can you help your fellow Doodle-lovers?

Virtual slobbery kisses if you leave a comment with your ideas for any of these kind folks!

Dear Doodlebug, Do you have any advices for my mama on how to make a yummy kong last longer? Right now I get some puréed fruits and a smidgen of peanut butter in a large frozen kong. I’m proud to say I lick all of those tasty treats out in less than 20 minutes. My mama says she was hoping those Kongs would last longer so I am in need of a nap right about the time she and the new baby are in need of a nap. Any suggestions? Are there other yummy things safe for me to chew on that might tire me out? I should also mention that I have an annoying fur brother who is on the chubby side so mama is trying to watch our diet. I don’t see why I need to be punished for his fatness but whateva… Sincerely, Rosie

Who has an answer for Dear Rosie? Has anybody found a magic potion to put in a kong that takes more time and more brains to yummify than mushy pureed fruits and peanut butters? We have no idea!

stevie wonder-110618-45

Hi Buggy! So I’ve been shopping for a new messenger bag lately. This time I want a pit bull themed one. But I cant find any that are less than $100! Your momma seems to know plenty of artists and rescues who sell pit bull merchandise. Have any suggestions? It can be local as I live just south of you in San Antonio! Thanks for any shops you can recommend! ♥ yours and Chicks biggest fan Chelsea

Well Chelsea, we know that BADRAP has this sweet bag available on its CafePress store:

Screen Shot 2013-03-26 at 11.29.16 AM

But we aren’t sure of your other options. Other pit bull loving fashionistas, have you found cute messenger bags with America’s favorite dog drawn proudly upon them?

Hello Doodlebug,  I chew beds…not my own bed mind you, but my furry sister Trixie’s bed.  Mom & Dad have tried wedging it in a corner so that she feels extra comfortable and it’s not in my way, but I still chew it. Mom & Dad are not happy campers and Trixie is on bed #4.  I have a lot of chew toys, fluffy, stuffed, unstuffed, Kongs, tennis balls and deer antlers.  My favorite chew toy is Trixie’s bed (but I am told even though it’s small it is NOT A CHEW TOY.  We are both otherwise well behaved and not crated in the day, but Mom & Dad are thinking about crating me so that I don’t have access to Trixie’s bed.  I really don’t want to be crated.  Can you give me any advice? XOXO, Your number 1 fan, Emma

Dear Emma,

You are a funny one, aren’t you? It probably would not be a terrible idea for you to learn to crate, at least for now while your mama and dad figure out your chewfulness. There are things that can be done to keep you from chewing Trixie’s bed (putting it out of reach, teaching you that there is a penalty for going within 6 ft of it, etc), but as for WHY you chew your sister’s bed and no others, my brother and I are thoroughly stumped! Dear other friends, has anybody seen this sort of behavior? Any ideas WHY Emma might be chewing her sister’s bed and what can be done to manage it?


Dear Doodlebug, Why do pittie feet smell like fritos? Sincerely, Rita StinkyFeeta

Dear Tootsie-stinkster,

We have looked in ALL of our reference books, everything from our homeopathic vet car book to our Sibley Guide to Birds, and no dice. All we are left with is this ponderance: aren’t you glad that our feets DO smell like Fritos? Even more mysterious, though, is this: why does our mama LOVE the way our feet smell even though she does NOT love Fritos? Does anybody have ideas about why our sweet sweet feet smell like sweet sweet corn chips?

XO, the ‘Bug

Dear Doodlebug, The dogter really seems concerned with my overwhelming low weight. I am a Siberian Husky, and whenever we meet someone new, the first thing they mention is how tiny my waist is- it’s a bit embarrassing, really. It’s not like the hoomans don’t feed me though- there’s always kibble in my bowl I’m just never hungry! And although it is a bit part of my breed to go long times without eating because our sled dog history, my dogter still wants to see my weight up. Do you have any secret recipes you could pass along? Pound it, Kenji.


Dear Kenji,

We petbulls don’t really have trouble with not eating enough. If there are snackables available, they go straight down the hatchet! When we have had troubles in the past with foster dogs not wanting to eat, we have had lucks with cottage cheese, raw goat milk, and canned food. Also, frosting is a good option that your mama should consider. Have you tried mixing any of these with your kibbles? Also, we know that some dogs get bored of their kibbles fast, so maybe having a rotation and switching frequently will help? 

What about all you friends: any luck getting picky dogs to eat? Any good nutrient-rich kong stuffing recipes you can share?

XO, ‘Bug of the always hungriness

48 responses

  1. Dear Kenji, it might be that you just don’t love your food. I always had food in my bowl for a while. I went on a hunger strike. I was SOOO hungry, but I didn’t want that bagged junk my mom was giving me. So she caved and started making me meals from meats and vegetables and some supplements to keep me strong and at a healthy weight! (and it tastes better!)
    Love Lenny the Boxador

  2. Bed chewing – Orvis makes a bed called Tough Chew ( If your dog eats it, they send you another! Not solving the problem, but would lessen the pain while it gets worked on perhaps?

    Eating – We had a foster dog who loved tortillas and Cheese and that was all she would eat for a while. I also think Lenny the Boxador has the right idea…

    Nora the Ninja and Cooper the…Cooper.

  3. Well I have some answers for the picky eaters. There are some picky 4 legged eaters in Luna’s family. Merrick Food especially the canned seems to keep mr Larry’s interest. Could try that? Also Great Life has helped many a picky clients and has 4 + varieties so you can easily rotate.

    You could also try some canned tripe. It is supposed to be an appetite inducer and very few dogs will turn it down. Beware though as I pretty much smells awful. Coconut oil or EVO might help get the appetite going too and it would be good for the coat.

    Hope that helps, sometimes it just takes
    Finding a food they enjoy more.

  4. I have a response for the picky eating dog – I was in the same boat less than a year ago – our shepherd got to 43 lbs (they wanted him at 60) and after doing every kind of test possible to get for problems internal they finally decided to try a weight gaining/anxiety pill. Our pup is a but skiddish and basically would get too anxious/depressed to eat, on top of just being plain picky. I also got a tip to put Parmesan cheese on his kibble – which worked like a charm! He’s up in the mid 50s and we have to keep him on the pill otherwise he goes back to starving himself. Ill look up the name of the meds when I’m home – it’s about 20$ a month for the pills from our vet. Hope that helps!

  5. Dear Kenji,
    I ams very very picky, sometimes the mama looks me in the eyes and says I’m too spoiled! Can you even imagine?? I also have lots of allergies. Grains, fishes, and lots of stuff outside too, so mama has to be extra careful when she gets my foods. I wasn’t eating at all for a while, even when there was kibbles in my food. Mama tried switching my foods every week, and that worked for a while. Now she’s giving me yummy dry food that I’ll pick at on my own, aaaaand she puts wet food in. The mama says I’m picky because the baby hooman keeps giving me his food. Do you have a baby hooman at your house?

    Rooney the Pibble xx

  6. RE: Kong: I’ve had success putting some larger treat in there that’s theoretically lickable, like (don’t judge) a Vienna sausage.

    RE: Frito feet: My theory was always that it had something to do with the chemicals/minerals that dogs sweat out, as well as (ahem) some bodily fluids they might be stepping in. Sweat smells salty on humans, right?

    RE: Not hungry: Although my dog does eat, and happily, there were certain good-for-him foods that he was less excited about. I tried to turn eating those into a game, an awesome reward, or something that we did together so he would value that food more and want to have it.

  7. I forgot to mention the food I feed my skinny fur baby – we tried many different types and brands – wet/dry/homemade/bagged kibble before we caved on giving him meds (the final straw was when people started mistaking him for an abused rescue). I found that he likes the brand BLUE wilderness but also has a love affair with the crap kibble – since he wouldn’t just eat the blue wilderness I mixed in the crappy brand to help entice him. I definitely understand the stresses of putting weight on a dog – any day I can’t see him hip bones or ribs is a win!

  8. Regarding the low weight question: our beloved little Ruby just couldn’t put on weight for the first year we had her. We ruled out all the possible health issues that could cause low weight and concluded it was just her supermodel metabolism. A fellow rescue friend suggested “silky balls” a disgusting recipe that pups love and packs on weight. It had lots of things our little allergy pup couldn’t eat so we tweaked it but here is what goes in “Ruby’s silky balls” (gross name I know).
    Ground lamb (the higher the fat, the better)
    Peanut butter (original recipe asked for eggs but Ruby is allergic so we use PB)
    Olive oil
    Anchovies in oil
    Full fat cottage cheese
    And a dash of molasses
    Mush it all together (we are vegan I actually had friends come over and do this for me after I got sick trying to do it for Ruby). Form tennis ball sized balls and freeze them. Thaw out one a day (more if really skinny) and feed in addition to regular meals. Ruby filled out after about two months of this. And now everyone comments on how “solid” she is. She is built like an athlete. We joke she is our little Bruce Lee, she even has a six back. But at least now we can’t see her spine!
    Happy Fattening!

  9. Hello Dear Rosie –
    Our mama had a hard time keeping up with our special chewings too. But one day she came home with her magical bag (there’s always yummies in there when she gets home so it must be magic) and after we all sat down and were very polites, she gave us these big, pinkish white chunks with soft white stuffs in the middle. She calls them marrow bones, we just call them YUMMY!!
    We especially like them out of the top cold box in mama’s big food room because then they last us for almost all day! (Did we mention that they’re YUMMY?). Mama likes them too because she says she doesn’t have to get the yellow stuff off of our teeth as much either. Our favorite Dog Doctor lady says that they are GOOD for us too (probably because they’re YUMMY). Mama says that she hunts them from a man called “butcher” who is probably a good hunter like our mama. Maybe your mama could hunt for this man “butcher” for these yummies too!
    Sloppy smooches and butt wiggles!

  10. we understand you won’t know every answer and aren’t perfect. After all you are only almost-human 🙂 love the brindle picture, I think those are my favorites.

  11. Rosie, maybe your mama could try going to the next larger size Kong. It might be a little tougher for you to get the stuff out of the bottom, which could make you a little more tired.

  12. Chloe LOVES her Kong, whenever she can find it. She likes to hide it around the house, so Mommy can find it when it’s all icky and gross. Her favorite thing is peanut butter stuffed waaaaaay down at the bottom. She also really likes busy bones, or other treat ball items that require filling with lots of treats, and then using her noodle to get all the treats out.

  13. Our dogs are quick kong eaters too. Here’s how we usually fill our medium or large kongs from bottom to top:
    Smidge of peanut butter
    Scoop of kibble, to fill it about 3/4 of the way to the top
    Smidge of peanut butter and pack it down
    Two baby carrots, wedged *sideways* so they’re tough to get out
    Smidge of peanut butter – at this point you will probably be at the opening, so this gives them incentive to get licking!

  14. Dear Rosie, I changed my Kong stuffing technique mainly because gathering, stuffing, and freezing the Kongs was a bit time consuming with two permadogs and a foster at almost all times. I now blend some canned dog food, peanut butter, (you could use anything) and water and poor them into ice cube trays to freeze. Then I pop one or two in the Kong. Part of the tiring trick is that they bounce around in the kong and they have to lick, lick, lick, lick to get anything out. That usually requires a nap afterwards. Depending on the speed of your tongue, that might take you a little longer and a little more brain work.

  15. In regards to “Frito Feet”, I too have noticed that phenomena with all my dogs. As best as I can tell, and what the vet suggested, is it could be the “corn” filler in many dog foods, and/or yeasty bacteria that thrive in the moist folds and crevices in dog paws. I used to soak my golden’s feet, and they still smelled! lol Luckily I like fritos!

  16. Dear Rosie:
    We live on Kongs at my house, and there are some power chewers in the bunch! One food that actually is really hard to get out of a KONG but tastes really great and keeps chewers occupied is Honest Kitchen dehydrated dog food. It gets kind of spongey and smushy when it’s rehydrated, and for some reason it takes a TON of licking and chewing to remove from a Kong. Mixed with some kibble and frozen, it’s like the Fort Knox of dog food toys. Good luck!

  17. Rosie,

    My momma likes to soak our kongs (and other bones) in chicken or beef broth before stuffing and/or freezing with other yummies. It gives them an extra layer of yumminess without adding too many calories for your fur brother’s waistline. Hope this helps.
    -Greta & Levi

  18. Emma, my guess on why Trixie’s bed is the most fun thing to chew out of all your chew toys is because it gets you attention from your humans. If you’re chewing one of the things they want you to chew then there’s no drama when you pick it up and start gnawing away. When you start chomping on your sister’s bed though, well then I bet a big fuss starts happening! Ask your humans to calmly redirect your attention onto a more appropriate chew toy when they catch you with Trixie’s bed. Something like “C’mon pup! Let’s get this yummy deer antler!”, maybe gently leading you by your collar if necessary. I’d also suggest not leaving all your chew toys out all the time, if they’re rotated then that makes them more exciting and chewable when you do see them.

    The last part is management, your humans need to make sure you don’t have access to Trixie’s bed when they’re not right there watching you. That does mean crating while they’re away or some sort of separation – a penned off area or closed in a room of your own. If they can keep you from chewing the bed for awhile then the habit will eventually be broken which will mean more freedom in the future.

    Hope that helps!

  19. Kenji, my first thought on your picky eating is to not have access to food all day. I know that sounds like it will make you even skinnier but free feeding tends to make dogs uninterested in food. When your humans first put it out in the morning why should you bother to go eat it when you know it will just be there any time you feel like taking a nibble? What I would do is have your humans get your food ready, call you to breakfast and put the bowl down. If in 10 minutes you haven’t touched it or you ate some but left the rest, then the humans need to pick it up and save it for your next meal. At dinner time feed the same amount you would for any meal, don’t add any extra for the skipped meal. Repeat the same process at dinner. Yes, this will result in some skipped meals and your humans may worry that you haven’t had anything to eat but tell them to be strong because it will make you a better eater in the end. Once you start seeing that you have a limited time to eat your food, I bet you’ll start getting a little more interested when that dinner bell rings. After a couple days of inconsistent eating most dogs will start eating right when that bowl is put down and finish pretty quickly.

    Now I’m not saying the humans can’t make it more enticing for you. Because the food’s not being left out all day that means you can add yummy things to it. Try adding a little canned dog food, tripe, plain yogurt or canned green beans (make sure they’re plain with no salt added). Rotating through different add-ins will keep things exciting.

    Good luck!

  20. Kenji,
    I’m a very picky eater, which worried my mama when she first got me. But, I discovered that I was quite the distinguished eater – no chicken or beef-flavored kibbles for me, I like other delicacies such as buffalo, duck and lamb! I really like Merrick food, they have a lot of awesome kibble andweb food that my mama mixes together for me. Maybe you’re a discerning eater like myself? Also, my mama tried cottage cheese, gravy and peanut butter to help me bulk up when I was just rescued and underweight!
    Love, Finn

  21. Dear Kenji,

    I didn’t like to eats either. I was very underweight when my mama and daddy adopted me and my mama is a pro at feeding doggies so she thought it would be no problems for me to eat and gain weight. But then I wasn’t too interested in foods either and I didn’t want to chew anything. She thought maybe I had some teeth issues and she was right! She and daddy got my teefers fixed and now I eats with no problems. Maybe have your dogter take you to get your teefers and gums checked out to make sure everything is okay?

  22. Dear Friends,
    Thank you for the helpful hints on chewing. Momma is going to buy a baby gate today and let Trixie sleep in the kitchen when they are away and I get to stay in the living room. I don’t chew her bed when they are home, only when they are at work. Daddy also said “I told you so” to momma about me possibly having too many toys in my toy box (she likes to buy me one everytime she’s at the store). I only get to have a few to pick from every day instead of a whole box full. Emma

  23. Hi Rosie,

    You are very clever! Maybe your mama could put pieces of fruits and veggies in your kong instead of smooshing them up… it’s harder to lick a whole frozen strawberry… or carrot. Maybe it will slow you speediness down a little… 😉

  24. Hi Rosie,
    My mom and dad say I’m the craziest eater they’ve ever met. One time? I ate an antler in less than an hour. My tummy sure was upset after that adventure.

    To make things last longer, my mom and dad measure out a portion of my daily kibble and put it in a Kong. Then they seal the bottom with some peanut butter and put it in a dish, sealing the bottom. Next they fill the Kong with water through the little hole in the top and pop it in the freezer until frozen solid.

    It lasts me for hours and it’s a big challenge to get all the food out, but I do it! They just reduce my kibble intake by the amount that was in the Kong in order to keep me looking fit and trim.

    I hope that helps!

  25. What we do with Large kongs here: Liva-snaps are a good kong-getting-out-deterent. We fill the kong with layers of kibble, mashed potatoes/pumpkin mixed with oatmeal or cheerios, we use a iced tea spoon to make sure the kong is good and stuffed, layering the kibble and potato/pumpkin mixture until it’s near full then I squish the kong to make the hole oblong, and put the liva-snap in so that it is now sideways in the hole and flush with the bottom. Then I stuff some more pumpkin/potato mixture to finish filling the hole and then freeze it overnight. This usually takes several hours to get through.
    I know liva-snaps aren’t the greatest, but one every now and again isn’t going to hurt.

  26. For Kenji – our Ollie the JRT is sometimes a picky eater, not because he doesn’t like the food, but because he finds it boring to eat out of a dish. If we put his kibble in a treat dispenser, puzzle, or a Kong, he often finds it more mentally stimulating and gobbles it up because he has to work for it. Perhaps the activity level increase of working for your food would help make it more appetizing?

    Scheduling the meals instead of free feeding and upgrading your food/mixing in some high value yummies, as mentioned earlier per the above suggestions, may also help. Good luck, I hope you find your meals more appetizing soon!

  27. Thank you so much for responding and having other friends respond too! We’ve actually tried a lot of the things suggested over the last two years. Thankfully since writing to you Kenji’s eating has gotten a bit more normal especially within the last two weeks. We finally found a kibble that he enjoys eating all on its own and he recently started enjoying a wet food that he used to not like! But as people have suggested we’ve started switching between two kibbles from the same brand every day. We don’t know why he’s had such a change of heart but well take it. And thank you again for all the responses I’m keeping them all in mind since kenji will probably start with all his shenanigans again next week!!

  28. Doodlebug…I suspect you actually ARE smart enough to answer these questions yourself or at least you could with the help of your very smart brother, mom and dad. Did you forget to do your homework or just slept too late this week? 😉

  29. I completely laughed out loud at the frito-feet question. My Pittie mix sure has some stinky, frito-like feet. She also has a lot of allergy issues, and she has had yeast issues with her feets in the past, so I am always curious if that has something to do with the stinkiness. Even weekly baths cannot take out the stinky. I have learned to love it, while also taking good care of her feets with nightly cleaning.

  30. Dear Kong Genius (aka Rosie),
    You are amaze-balls at the frozen Kong! While I do not have any suggestions to Kong ingredients that may take longer, maybe trying another type of brain-teasing toys will expend more brain-ables and wear you out body & mind? Our Hurley is a frozen Kong genius too so when I really want to work his brain-ables, I use toys he isn’t so amaze-balls at. We use Nina Ottoson toys and the Kong Wobbler to name a few. Even though it doesn’t always take longer than the frozen Kong, it works the brain-ables more and our Hurley monster is ready for a nappy afterwards. Another option is to make sure you continue to stuff Kongs with low calorie fruits & veggies along with your daily kibbles (use pureed fruits & veggies to bind the kibble when frozen). That way, maybe you can have 2 frozen Kongs and give your Mama and two-legged sibling some time to themselves!

  31. I had the same problem with my dog finishing her kong too early. I tried stuffing it with larger treats to stump her but she usually just gave up on them.

    Now what I do is give her a treasure chest of tightly packed treats and toys. Somebody else called this a busy bucket. I use a shoebox or cereal box. I wrap stuffed kongs, kibble, her favorite antler and rawhide sticks in hand towels or old strips of fabric, then pack it all very tightly into the box. To get everything tight, I fill in the gaps with her stuffies. I close the box up and put it somewhere that’s a little tricky to get to, like wedged between two chairs. The process of getting it open and unwrapping everything doubles the time it would take her to get through a stuffed kong. As she gets more used to it, I’ll make the individual parcels harder to get into or maybe put the stuffed box inside another closed box.

    This, of course, only works if your dog can be trusted not to eat the towels and things you use to wrap up the treats. My dog likes to rip apart (but not eat) the cereal boxes once the food’s gone, so that’s an added bonus.

  32. Thank you very much to all the responses about the messenger bag! Now I have too many to decide from! A much better issue to have, mind you. If only pinups wasn’t out of stock 😛 Anyway, thank you all and of course Doodlebug!

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