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The Blue Dog Blog: Moderate Eaters

By Dr. John Schoettle, DVM

In the world of dogs, there are two types of eaters. The first type is what most of us would call “normal” and is best described as any dog which eats its food in 5 seconds or less. We all know and understand this dog. My first dog, Hampton, could hear a potato chip hit the ground from two rooms away in a dead sleep. My puppy, Blue, rechecks his food bowl every 30 minutes and has dreams of eating, which wake me up at night with his chomping. I call this common personality type a “Ravenous Eater”.

The second type is often labeled “picky” or “finicky”. They are the square peg trying to be fit into the round hole. For the first decade of my veterinary career, I was always perplexed by these “defective” dogs; then I got one. I rescued Bayou, found starving in the streets of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, at four months of age. As she recovered, she seemed disinterested in food. Like many others before me, I added chicken or canned food and went through several diet changes before realizing that this did not make sense. So, I stopped trying to fit the square peg in the round hole and just put quality dry food in her bowl once a day. Nine years later, she has never been an ounce overweight and only eats on “her schedule,” which is more aggressive when she is exercising regularly, but other times, she seems to just nibble on her kibble. I call this personality type a “Moderate Eater.” They eat to live instead of live to eat.

Interestingly, this model crosses species. If you have ever owned cats, they easily fit into the same paradigm. Either you fill up their bowl once a day and they are always in perfect shape or they constantly beg for food and are always overweight. We humans are no different in that most of us know to stop eating when our plate is clean and “all you can eat” means exactly that. Others only eat a half a sandwich or just a few French fries and are credited with a high metabolism because they are perpetually thin.

The take home message here is that if you are blessed with a moderate eater, then stop trying to entice them to eat when you think they should eat. Pour a quality dry food, like one of Paula Deen’s new Hugs Premium Select line, in their bowl once a day, and let them eat on their schedule. The benefit is that they will always be in perfect shape and avoid many of the gastrointestinal and orthopedic diseases we create by trying to fit them into our sense of “normal.”

Paula Deen Premium Select is the newest line of high-quality dog food that is manufactured right here in America.  It is available in Chicken and Rice, Beef and Rice, and Lamb Meal and Rice.  It is also available online at the Paula Deen’s General Store, at Food City Grocery Stores, and on


Dr. John Schoettle, DVM - Dr. John Schoettle was born in Pennsylvania and raised on Saint Simon's Island in Coastal Georgia. A graduate from Auburn University, John has lived in Savannah since 1992. He founded Innovative Veterinary Medicine in 2006 and has been caring for Paula's pups ever since. An animal lover like Paula, John is active in Savannah’s animal community and plays dad to a black lab named Blue and a Hurricane Katrina rescue dog named Bayou.