Every dog owner would agree that it can be an arduous task sometimes to get their dog to eat.
Although the furry animal is not a 70picky eater like us, they may suddenly lose interest in eating.
You would know this when they knock over their bowl or turn their head away from their meal.
While it could simply mean a change in their appetite, the prolonged picky behavior may indicate something serious.
Is My Dog's "Picky Eating" Behavior Normal?
Some dog owners complain that their dog is a lifelong picky eater, while others find that their dog suddenly becomes a picky eater.
Veterinarian Jerry Klein of the American Kennel Club points out that
Dogs that don’t empty their food bowls within a certain amount of time, usually 20 minutes, are more likely to be considered picky eaters.
Also, the dogs that avoid their food but willingly accept table scraps are considered picky eaters.
Whatever the condition, it is not normal for your dog to become a picky eater.
Hence, you should not deny the fact that your dog may have some problems.
How Diet Impacts their Appetite
Some pets develop dietary sensitivities or food allergies that may explain their loss of appetite.
In other cases, they may lose their appetite when you suddenly change their feeding habit or pet food.
How Health problem Impact their Appetite
It is often the underlying health problem that makes your dog lose their appetite.
- An illness or sickness may affect their appetite.
- Dental disease or pain in the mouth due to broken teeth or gingivitis may also affect their appetite.
- Sometimes, a recent vaccination, traumatic experiences, and behavioral issues can cause appetite loss.
In any case, it is essential to discuss with the veterinarian regarding their change in appetite to find a proper solution.
8 Tricks to Get Your Picky Dog to Eat
Here are ten proven tips to help you get you’re your dog to eat.
1. Remove Their Meal Until the Next Day
The best thing to get your fussy eater to eat again is to postpone their meal to the next day or next mealtime.
If your dog avoids breakfast, let us assume you can postpone it to the next mealtime.
Similarly, if they skip their dinner, serve them the next meal the next day.
However, ensure to provide a fresh, healthy meal but kibble or snacks.
Sometimes, they are not hungry at all. Hence, skipping a meal can increase their food craving.
2. Swap Over to Food with Tastier Flavor
One solution to get your fussy eater to start eating again is swapping over to a new food.
Dogs do get bored of eating the same food over and over again.
Therefore, swapping it with a new flavor may enhance their palette and increase their food craving.
When making the switch, avoid similar tasting foods.
If you have been serving the chicken-flavored meal, consider switching to fish or beef for a while.
If the food is tastier, your dog will surely gobble it up.
3. Change the Usual Food
Sometimes, swapping the food brand may help to get them eating.
However, they do not always react positively to a change in their meal; where most even refuse to eat it.
Therefore, consider making a gradual transition instead of switching to an entirely new food.
Introduce fresh food over ten days to get them to familiarize themselves.
- Days 1 – 3: 75% current food. 25% New food
- Days 4 – 6: 50% current food. 50% New food
- Days 7 – 9: 25% current food. 75% New food
- Day 10: 100% New food
4. Exercise Your Dog
Get your dog to exercise before eating to build up their appetite naturally.
This is especially true of high activity dogs like Fox Terriers, Dalmatians, and German Shepherds.
A hungry, tired dog is more likely to gobble up its food.
A nice long walk, a short run, some interactive playtime such as a fetch game will quickly burn a significant amount of calories.
Whichever exercise you choose, the focus should be on tiring it out.
5. Throw It on the Floor
You can take advantage of their playful nature by getting them to eat from the floor.
Sit by your dog and sprinkle dried dog food on the floor. Let them gobble it up.
They make find it a playful activity to eat from the floor.
However, it will not be as easy as you have imagined.
It may take quite a few sessions to get them used to eat from the floor.
6. Turn It into a Game
One way to get your fussy eater to eat is by turning the entire mealtime into a game.
Combine their meal with a game!
Add dry food such as kibbles to a dispenser toy and throw it at your dog.
A dispenser toy will let out the kibble after some interactive play, which will keep your dog both interactive and hungry.
Ensure to use an appropriately sized dispenser toy for a small, medium, or large-sized dog.
7. Feed the Right Amount
Stop overfeeding your dog because it will keep their belly full until the next mealtime.
This is especially true for small breed dogs like Chihuahua, Papillon, or Brussels Griffon.
Small dogs have a smaller appetite than large breed dogs; hence, overfeeding them may affect their meal schedules.
However, small breeds need more frequent feeding than large breed dogs because their calories are fleeting.
Ensure to provide only enough food in each serving to keep them hungry for the next meal.
8. Pretend to Eat It
Another way to make your dog eat their food is by imitating their eating habit.
Your dog is likely to eat something because of its instinct when you eat something.
Hence, you can pretend to eat it to make your dog eat it as well.
Add some creativity by lying on your four and keeping your hand back to imitate their eating style.
The good chance is that your dog will imitate you and eat their meal.
Another way to increase their appetite is by cutting back on the treats and table scraps.
Feeding them items other than their meals may affect their eating habit.
Keep treats for special activities like training or playing, and avoid feeding table scraps altogether.
Learn more about how to get your dog to eat their meal with Urban Pet Hospital & Resort, a pet hospital in Urbandale.