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Old 10-26-2009, 12:32 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Dexter is not eating new food. Advice needed.

Hi there.

Dexter is about 5 months old now. He's getting big! We have been feeding him the food that the breeder had provided us with (mostly a mix of several Purina cat foods), but we decided after reading here on the Diet & Nutrition forum that those foods were not the best choice for keeping our little Dexter happy and healthy.

Unfortunately, we lost track of his food supply, and before we realized it we had run out of the breeder-supplied mix. I bought him some new foods (Wellness, Blue Buffalo Spa, and another organic food of which I forget the name right now - forgive me, I'm at work and don't have the brand name handy). Basically, I mixed these three new food brands equally and have been feeding Dexter this new mix for the past couple of nights. Tonight will be his third night on the new food.

The problem: he is not eating very much of it. I am cursing myself for not noticing his food supply was running low earlier than I did so that I could ween him onto new food, and I have certainly learned my lesson on that front and really I feel just awful. I know that it was irresponsible and will definitely be sure to keep on top of his food supply from here on out.

So, here we stand, new food mix introduced without weening and now I have a hedgehog that is not eating much. This is where I would appreciate your advice.

I don't really know what to do. Would it be a bad plan to just let him get used to it, and when he's hungry he will hopefully eat? Or, should I take emergency measures and go buy some of his old 'not great for him' food to add to his mix and add less and less of the old Purina as weeks pass to slowly ween him off of it? Would this just result in him sifting out the Purina and leaving the new food and therefore having no benefit toward getting him to eat the new mix? I would hate for him to starve himself to death.

Thanks in advance for all of your replies. I feel just awful about the situation.
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Old 10-26-2009, 01:56 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dexter is not eating new food. Advice needed.

I'd run out and buy some of the old stuff and mix it in. My main concern being that if he's eating substantially less than he has before, it could cause some problems for him health-wise. I'd probably put in something like 50% "old" and 50% "new" at this point and let him choose what he wants to do. After his eating has stabilized and you're not seeing any weight loss, I'd start increasing the amount of "new" to "old."

How's he doing with his weight and activity?
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Old 10-26-2009, 02:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dexter is not eating new food. Advice needed.

His weight and activity is fine. If anything, he's a little overweight (he gets a little bit of a "double chin" when he rolls into a ball). We hear his wheel squeaking away overnight and it's always poo-filled in the morning. So we know he's exercising, but we don't necessarily know how much. Since he's starting to gain a little weight, we assume that he's a light runner unless his old food was really high in fat.

I suppose I can go and get some of the old Purina junk, but I know that he will just pick that out and leave the new healthy food. I guess he will decide what he eats, but I wish there was a way to "persuade" him to move to the new stuff.
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Old 10-26-2009, 03:09 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dexter is not eating new food. Advice needed.

The problem with the immediate switch like that, is that you could've caused an upset stomach, which would explain the lack of eating. His tummy could be hurting.

How is his poop? Is it solid, or is it like diarrhea? You may want to think about picking up a can on unseasoned pumpkin on the way home from work, as a precaution. (You can spoon them into an ice cube tray and freeze them to store).I hear squash baby food works too.

Wellness is also one of the richer foods, and some hedgies have a problem digesting it properly, so many who feed Wellness feed it in lesser quantity compared to the other brands.(That being said, my boy has no problems with it, so I do an equal mix).

Also, by "not very much" How much less are we really talking about? Is he eating half of what he normally eats? Less than half?

I too would buy a very small bag(or some sample bags) of the Purina brands he's used to eating. And if he picks only Purina, you can eventually ground up the purina and sprinkle onto the new food, to entice him to eat the new stuff. (So there'd be some whole Purina kibbles, and then some of the new mix that has been sprinkled with grounded Purina). Just so hopefully, you can cut down on the severity of the upset tummy.
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Old 10-26-2009, 03:26 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dexter is not eating new food. Advice needed.

How much less is he eating? Less than half. He used to almost polish off his bowl, but now there's only a bit of a dent in the food for the past couple of nights. His poop is still normal, hard and dark brown. I haven't noticed any green or mucus poops.

I have read that unseasoned pumpkin can help with upset tummies, so I am willing to try that. Should I feed him that exclusively for a few days, or just offer him some as a "treat" instead of mealworms during handling time and fill his bowl with his mix at night as usual?

And finally, about how long should I expect this adjustment period to last? A week? Two weeks? Just so that I know how much of these various supplies I need to stock (pumpkin and Purina food)?

Thanks!
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Old 10-26-2009, 03:39 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dexter is not eating new food. Advice needed.

it took Quigley a month to eat his wellness when we switched from the pet store food. But he was not eating much at that point at all so that could have been the difference.

What I would do is aim for an adjustment of 2 weeks to a month. Also you may want to take out some of the new food so you are just introducing one new food at a time you don't have to switch to a mix all at once. Doing it one food at a time can help minimize those tummy upsets too and tell you if any particular food causes an upset if one occurs.
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Old 10-26-2009, 03:44 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dexter is not eating new food. Advice needed.

Yeah, alright then. I'll stop by Petsmart on the way home and get some of his old Purina food and try to introduce the mix slowly.

Thanks, guys! Much appreciated.
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Old 10-26-2009, 03:52 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dexter is not eating new food. Advice needed.

For the pumpkin, I gave it to him as a daily "treat" when my boy had some difficulties adjusting.
I'd just pop a cube into the microwave and spoon feed him(my boy will eat just about anything if I hand feed/spoon feed or tweezer feed).

Mine also only eat it when it was warm, and when I'd leave it out for half an hour beforehand, so that the texture was slightly drier. This would obviously vary depending on what your hedgie would like, but he definitely ate more of it when it was warm.

The single can will last you a VERY long time, which is why I said to freeze them into ice cubes. They come in HUGE cans.

Also, first time feeding, keep a towel/wipe handy, cause there might be some annointing
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Old 10-31-2009, 12:32 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dexter is not eating new food. Advice needed.

I was reading your posts and thinking you might check his teeth too. Sometimes if they get a dental problem they won't eat. That happened to my Hedgie.
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Old 10-31-2009, 10:42 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dexter is not eating new food. Advice needed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Immortalia
Wellness is also one of the richer foods, and some hedgies have a problem digesting it properly, so many who feed Wellness feed it in lesser quantity compared to the other brands.
Some nights Sylvie gobbles up her Wellness, others (like last night) it's left in the bowl untouched & strategically eaten around.
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