Feeding times

Hello all and TIA for any advice.
We have a four-year old working cocker (a pet, though, he doesn’t work) and we adopted him at 10 months from the local shelter. Initial problems with his bowel movements were resolved by putting him on a grain-free dry food (James Wellbeloved). He got bored with that and, after consulting this web site, we decided to put him on to Wainwrights grain-free trays (Pets At Home’s own make).
When we first got him, he was on 4 meals a day but soon dropped the late evening one. However, we have not been able to drop the lunch-time one. He gets 2 trays a day - 1/2 in the morning, 1/2 at lunch-time and a full tray about 6pm.
We have two issues with him: 1. He is now starting to cry and pace for food about an hour (sometimes as much as two hours) befor his meal is due (including waking at 4am or 5am for his breakfast which is usually at 6); 2. He wakes at least twice through the night and wants to go into the garden - 1 visit is usually for a pee and one for a poo.
So, how do I get him to sleep through the night? How do I get him to wait for his meals? He weighs 15.5 kgs and fits the ‘can feel his ribs but not see them’ criterion.
Sorry this is such a long first post but we really do need help.

Hello and welcome to the forum,

Have you tried giving him the whole tray first thing in the morning and maybe a small snack at lunch time or mid afternoon. Also does he have a bedtime biscuit snack.?
My dog was being a bit sick around 4ish when we first had her so I think she was hungry by the time she got her tea. A small biscuit snack around 4.00pm stopped that problem and she always has a biscuit before bed.

I am not sure why he is waking. Maybe if he is a bit hungry, that wakes him and he feels the need to go out to the toilet once awake. I have recently had a similar issue of being woken between 5.00 and 6.00am on occasion after a change in food. My dog lost some weight and was wanting to go out to eat grass. I think she was hungry. She is on a different food now and there have been no further issues so far.

Thanks for your help. He doesn’t get anything at bedtime. What kind of biscuit do you use? I can certainly try varying when he gets the biggest meal and see if that makes a difference - I never thought of that.

I usually make my own biscuits just from oats, rapeseed or coconut oil and a little honey but there are lots of things you can buy. I have also used Lily’s Kitchen bedtime biscuits before. They do a calming one. Most pet food shops will sell a variety of biscuit type treats.

I see the Recommended amount of the wainwrights is two trays per 25kg. How much does your dog weight?

He’s around 15.5 but if I drop him to 1.5 trays, he loses weight.
We’ve had him checked by the vet a couple of times, including collecting faecal samples for testing and doing bloods and there’s nothing showing up. We also tried him on a weight maintenance food from the vet but he lost weight when giving him the recommended amount so we went back to Wainwrights.

If he is maintaining, then it is probably the right amount for him. You often have to adjust RDA. I have found that I have had to feed more of some foods in the past, to avoid weight loss but not others.

He varies between 15.5 and 15.8 so I’m happy that he’s getting the right amount for him x

It does seem a lot of food for his size. Is he going to the toilet much in the day time? As mentioned before I have had to change a couple of foods because my dog lost weight and was hungry even when fed over the RDA. She seemed to go to the toilet much more than when having other foods and I just felt that for some reason they didn’t suit her and they were going through her to quickly to be nourishing.

Yes. We took him to the vet a couple of months ago to ask advice because he’s pooing 4 or 5 times a day. The vet suggested putting him on the weight maintenance food that they stock but he was pooing just as much and losing weight, so we put him back on Wainwright’s.
Because he’s a rescue, we don;t know anything about his early life or history. In the shelter he was being fed anything that had been donated and we discovered that he needs to be on grain-free, so lord knows what his digestive system went through while he was there.

A bit of a tricky one. My dog has done well on cold pressed in the past in terms of keeping her full and reducing output. Lukullus is grain free I think, you could check it out. A lot of the cold pressed foods have brown rice in. It sounds like it may be worth trying something else but since dogs are all different I am not sure what would work for your dog.

Hello Pitstop - welcome to the forum. As he is a rescue I did wonder if this problem is behavioural but not really sure now because you mention the weight issues and the five poos per day. That sounds as if the food might not be suiting him. You say that he was doing OK on the JWB grain free but got fed up of it. In this case, I wonder if it would help if you go back to that food and give him a topper? A meat/fish/egg (ie protein topper) could be useful because it would hike up the protein level and also sate appetite. The toppers that I use are white fish, sardines, cooked chicken or scrambled eggs and I add just a very few blueberries. Enhancing kibble provides variety and aroma which helps dogs to enjoy their food. It might also be useful to stick to three meals a day for now and as Tinyplanets has said, a biscuit or two at bedtime.

Rodney Habib (Planet Paws) has some videos on enhancing dog food with human food. Have a look on YouTube if you are interested - just type ‘Rodney Habib’ into the search box. Here is a starter: Why Fresh “Human Food is so Important for Dogs. He is also on Facebook.