Is your dog refusing to eat his food? Are you feeding him delicious and nutritious food and he’s still not eating it? Is it time for next meal and your dog’s kibble is still there from the previous meal? You might have a picky eater! In this blog, you will find out what the reason could be and what are the solutions.
What could be the reason?
- Too many treats: The most common problem that dog owners make, is giving too many treats. Therefor your dog will already be full when it comes to his scheduled meal. Treats are also more delicious, so your dog may reserve his tummy for yummy treats, instead of eating his meal.
- Spoiled dog: You might have unintentionally trained your dog to hold out for something better. For example, giving your dog too many food options that he can choose may lead to picky eating.
- Anxious dog: If your dog has anxiety, he can lose his appetite. Picky eating can also result from constantly changing his food, serving in an unfamiliar environment or making changes at home.
- Health issues: There are a lot of potential medical causes of picky eating. It can go from serious illnesses like cancer, kidney or liver issues, and pyometra to less serious like digestive problems (gas, vomiting, and diarrhea), oral injury and dental complications. You should visit a vet, if your dog is losing weight and not eating.
- Bad experience: Dogs can associate a bad memory with a type of food. If he had an upset stomach or he was punished after eating a meal, he may not want to eat that food next time you serve it to him.
Tricks to help your dog
1.Take away his meal
This method may seem mean, but it works really well. Give your dog his food and ignore him for 20 minutes. If he doesn’t eat within 20 minutes take away his food. When it’s time for his next meal give him the food and do the same thing. Make sure the food is fresh and was not left sitting out overnight. This method works great, because a healthy dog won’t starve himself! When he will be hungry, he will definitely eat the food you gave him.
2.Change up his food
It’s possible that your dog just doesn’t like the taste of the food. You should try switching up the food and the flavor of the food. For example, if your dog doesn’t like turkey flavor, give him beef, salmon or venison flavor instead. A lot of dogs prefer fish flavored food.
When you are switching up your dog’s food, do it slowly. Over 10 days, slowly increase the amount of the new one. With this method your dog will more likely get used to it.
3.Add food topper
Many dog owners add a food topper to dog’s food, because it will improve its flavor. Great alternative for food topper is dog salmon oil. It doesn’t only make the food tastier, but it also contains omega fatty acids, that have a lot of health benefits.
You can also try feeding him wet food or mixing wet food with kibble. Canned wet food is a little bit more expensive than kibble, but it tastes much better!
4.Make his meal interesting and fun
Dogs love feeding toys, because they make meals more interesting and fun. Placing dog food in a toy will encourage him to eat it. This is a great method for small and medium sized dogs because they don’t need as much food as larger dogs. When it comes to large breeds, this method just isn’t that practical, because you would need to refill the toy, to many times.
5.Exercise your dog more
Exercise will make your dog hungry, because it takes some energy from them. You can try walking longer than regular or go for a run with your dog. For example, go for 1 hour walk before the dinner. And for best results give him the meal at least 15 minutes after the exercise.
Treats should only represent 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake. Dog’s apatite might be ruined, if you give him too much treats. You have to be especially careful with small dogs, because you can quickly pass the daily limit. If your dog is not eating his food, you should give him less treats or cut out the treats completely.
7.Warm up the food
The solution could be as simple as warming up the food. Heating up the food improves the flavor and releases a strong aroma. You can pour warm water over the kibble. If you have wet food, you can just microwave it or heat it up in a pot. But be sure you don’t overheat it.
8.No table scraps
I know is hard to not share a little bit of your dinner with your dog, when he’s looking at you with his cute eyes. But you shouldn’t! It could turn him into picky eater, because dog food doesn’t nearly taste as good as human food and he might start rejecting his food.