Dogs usually love to eat, and some will even eat anything you put in front of them. But some dogs have always been picky and refuse to eat the food their owners give them.
If your dog used to have a good appetite but now barely even looks at his food bowl, it’s normal to be worried. Perhaps your dog isn’t hungry anymore because he had too much to eat earlier. Or perhaps there is something wrong.
If you worry your dog might not want to eat because he is sick, you should speak to a veterinarian. This is even more important if your dog has been vomiting or having diarrhea, if he is drinking a lot of water or peeing all the time, or if he seems to have less energy than he usually does. These could show that your dog suffers from digestive issues, food intolerances, or dental disease.
However, if your dog is perfectly healthy, maybe he doesn’t want to eat because you are overfeeding him, or maybe he got bored with his favourite dog food flavour. So, how to get my dog to eat his food? Try these techniques with your dog:
1. Feed your dog at the right place and time
Dogs prefer eating in private, in a quiet place that also feels safe. If you keep your dog’s food bowl in your busy kitchen and fill it up while preparing your meals, it’s normal for your dog to feel distracted by smells, noises, and movements.
It’s best to let your dog eat his food before preparing yours. Plus, try to keep his feeding routine consistent to help avoid stress and anxiety.
2. Stop giving human food to your dog
If you always share some of your food with your dog, maybe he decided that he now prefers human food and doesn’t want to eat what’s in his food bowl anymore.
Even though that might be difficult, try to stop giving table scraps to your canine friend. When he understands that he can’t get human food anymore, he will have no choice but to eat his food.
3. Reduce the number of treats you give to your dog
Dog treats can also spoil your dog’s appetite if he receives too many. This doesn’t mean you should stop giving treats to your dog. Simply limit the number of treats you give him, so he will get hungry enough to remember the food in his bowl.
4. Try serving your dog a different type of food
Would you be happy if you had to eat the same meal day after day? Chances are, your dog might not like that either. Maybe he got tired of eating the same flavour each day, or maybe he didn’t like the new brand of dog food you purchased.
Try giving him a different type of food. For example, if your dog is used to dry kibbles, try wet dog food or raw dog food. If he always gets chicken flavoured food, he buys a different flavour.
5. Help your dog transition from one diet to another
If your veterinarian recently advised you to change your dog’s diet, this might be the reason why he is now being picky. Perhaps his new food is better for his health, but he doesn’t like it and prefers his usual food.
If that is the case, try mixing the two types of food for a few days, then gradually adding less of his old food to his bowl to help him transition.
6. Insist until your dog eats the content of his bowl
If your dog is usually stubborn, you should simply insist until he finally eats his food. Feed him at the usual time, and pick up his food bowl after 30 minutes, even if he didn’t eat.
Wait for his next scheduled mealtime, and serve him his food again. Take it back after 30 minutes. He will eventually get so hungry that he will be more than happy to eat his food.
7. Add some chicken broth to your dog’s food
Adding some low sodium chicken broth to your dog’s food could convince your dog to eat his food, especially if you are trying to transition from one diet to another. He won’t be able to resist this yummy boost of flavour!
8. Add some flavour with dog food toppers
There are other ways you can add some extra flavour to your dog’s food. Try adding fruits, veggies, unsweetened yogurt, or pumpkin puree to your dog’s dry kibble.
If your dog eats wet or raw dog food, add some flavourful kibbles on top.
9. Make sure your dog gets enough exercise
Finally, be sure your dog gets enough exercise each day. If you never take him for walks or play with him, you are probably giving him too much food for his daily needs, which could be why he won’t eat it.