The saying goes, “Some dogs eat to live, other dogs live to eat,” Is your dog a picky eater? At some point in our dog-parenting lives, we could possibly face the dilemma of having to deal with a fussy dog. Not all dogs are food motivated, and there are times where this behaviour is caused by us, their owners. Regardless, a picky dog can be a challenge.
Before we look into solutions for a picky dog, be sure to rule out any medical issues that are causing your dog to refuse to eat. There are circumstances whereby picky eating could be a signal of an underlying health problem. You should consult a vet if your dog experiences a significant appetite change that lasts longer than 12 to 24 hours and does not return to normal.
For young puppies (less than six months of age), pets experiencing change of appetite with vomiting and diarrhoea, dogs with a diabetes diagnosis, and dogs (especially senior dogs) that seem to want to eat but do not or will only eat soft food, notify a vet as soon as possible for advice. It is important to bring your dog for routine check-ups to the vet to ensure that it is always in good health.
Having to deal with fussy dogs can be frustrating. As pet parents, we could find ourselves continuously rotating between different dog food and spending lots of money to try and satisfy our dog’s cravings. Well, here are some of the things we can do to curb a picky dog!
Don’t Over-Indulge Your Dog
Over-indulging could be one of the reasons why your dog refuses to eat. Feeding them from the dining table or showering them with abundance of treats all day long will dull their appetite and cause them to not favour their dog food any longer. The general rule of thumb is offering a treat not more than two or three times a day! Put a couple of treats in a container that everyone is aware of, and once the container is empty, that’s all the treats that can be fed for the day!
Set A Feeding Schedule
Different owners have different feeding styles. While some owners tend to free feed, leaving food down for their dogs throughout the day might not be the best idea for picky dogs. It would be beneficial to set a feeding schedule and stick to it. This is to teach and convince your dog that they should eat on time if they don’t want to go hungry. At specific timings, give them some time to finish their meal, and if they don’t touch it, pick it up. They will soon learn and figure out what’s going on.
Create A Designated Feeding Area
Some dogs are more sensitive to their surroundings and happenings around them when they’re eating. If you have multiple dogs in your household, the dogs that are more dominant may send out signals that prompt your picky eater to walk away from their food. It is recommended to provide your dog with a quiet area free of any forms of distractions for your dogs in cases like these. It could be a crate, or simply an area in the house that is designated for them to eat comfortably.
Be Excited About Their Meal For Them
You are the pack leader, your dog takes cues from your behaviour to make decisions. Be excited about the food you are giving them before you give it to them. Make them sit in anticipation of the meal, then let them have the food and leave them to it. If they refuse to eat, show that you are a little disappointed and leave the room, showing that your involvement in the meal is done.
Try Combination Feeding
Combination feeding involves a variety of food in your dog’s diet – possibly dry and wet dog food. If your dog is currently feeding on a dry food diet, try adding some wet food into the mix. You could also consider adding in a new texture and flavour that could entice your dog.
It is crucial that these rules are such that the entire family agrees to follow. Any difference in the application of the rules may cause your dog to be confused and could potentially lead to the habit of refusing to eat. Changing a dog’s eating habit is not an easy task, and it takes the effort and cooperation of every single family member in the house for it to take effect and change for the better.
Consistency is more important than variety when it comes to their food. Found a formula that works exceptionally well for your dog? Be sure to stick with it. Consistency on your part will bring about consistency on theirs.
Any views or opinions communicated on this page belong to the author and do not represent the views or opinions of any other organizations. This article is meant for us to share our own views and opinions in general. Kindly consult a professional if you would like to seek professional advice.
Adopted from sources
– How To Feed Your Picky Dog. By Shirley Culpin, Go Solutions.
– Why Is My Dog A Picky Eater. Mary Kearl, American Kennel Club.
– Tips For Feeding Fussy Dogs. By Feed My Furbaby.
– Images of dogs, Pexels, Pixabay.