Does your dog refuse to eat? Does she turn up her nose at mealtime? Does he scoff when you set down the dog bowl? If you’re dealing with a seriously picky pup and you’re looking for a little bit of support to help you get your finicky eater to enjoy dinnertime, this is the post for you. We’re talking about what to do if your dog won’t eat and sharing 6 tips to help your picky dog.
There are lots of different reasons a dog might refuse to eat his dinner. Here are some of the most common culprits:
Your dog ate something he shouldn’t have: If your pup swallowed something that is not food (like a sock or toy) or food that he is not used to consuming, it can cause a seriously upset stomach.
Your dog has dental issues: If your pet has discomfort anywhere in his mouth, it can definitely affect him at mealtime and make him more likely to refuse food.
Your pet has allergies: If your dog has a food sensitivity or an allergy to a particular ingredient, it can cause him to not want to eat because it can cause him to get an upset stomach or experience other allergy symptoms.
- Your dog has a digestive issue: If your dog has worms, GI discomfort, or another digestive issue it can make him weary of mealtime.
If your dog is not eating and you suspect there’s a health issue at the root of your dog’s behavior, make sure you discuss this with your Vet. It’s important to get a medical perspective in case there is a serious health condition to blame for your picky eater. But, if your dog does not have a serious medical condition that is causing his lack of appetite, there are lots of things you can do at home to help your pet find his appetite.
#1 Choose A New Dog Food
Your dog might not like his food if he is refusing to eat. While it might seem a little extreme, there are plenty of pets who express their distaste for a particular diet by not eating the food. And there are plenty of things that can cause them to turn up their nose to a particular food.
Taste: Your pet might like the way his diet tastes. If this is the case, try a different flavor, a different protein, or an entirely new diet to get your pet excited about eating his food again.
Texture: Pets have a surprisingly sensitive palette and that includes being sensitive to the texture of food. If you are feeding your pet a moisture-rich diet, like canned, raw, or frozen food, your pet might prefer something with a kibble-like texture. Or, if you’ve been feeding kibble, try mixing things up for your dog and feed something with a totally new texture.
Scent: Your dog also might not like the way his food smells. If there is a particularly potent ingredient that is putting your dog off, he may not want to finish his food.
If you do choose a new food to entice your picky pet, make sure that you transition to the diet slowly—don’t just swap out one bowl for the next. Instead, add a little bit of new food to your dog’s current dish and let him acclimate to the taste.
Slowly increase the new food and decrease the old food over the course of 7-14 days until you are feeding only the new food. Your picky pup will be happy to have a new diet and will avoid potential digestive upset because you’ve helped him get used to his new diet over time.
Cut Down On Snack Time
Your dog might not be eating at mealtime if you’re feeding him too many treats and snacks during the day. Your pup might be too full to want to finish his food, especially if he prefers the taste of the table scraps and treats! Keep tabs on what you are feeding your pet in between meals and cut down on snacking to help him have a bigger appetite for his dog food.
It’s also a good idea to consider the amount of food you are feeding your pet and whether or not it is appropriate for your dog. If you’re trying to feed too much at each meal, it’s no surprise your dog isn’t finishing everything in his dish. Discuss any adjustments to your dog’s diet, like decreasing meal size, with your Vet ahead of time. But, once you get the go-ahead, this can make a big impact on your pet’s appetite!
Consider Your Feeding Schedule
While many pets love having their meals delivered at the same time every morning and evening, other pets don’t like sticking to a schedule. Wild dogs graze when food is available and there are lots f pets who prefer to tap into their ancestry and prefer free-feeding. If your dog is not thrilled about digging into his dog bowl at mealtime, try leaving the dish out all day to see if your pet prefers grazing. This is a great way to entice picky pets because they can enjoy their meals on their own time without the pressure of finishing their food on a schedule.
Move The Dog Bowl
Your dog? He is a sensitive creature who needs to feel safe and secure in order to eat his food. If your pet is frightened, anxious, or worried that you might take away his dog bowl, it’s likely he won’t want to eat. If there’s a ton of commotion, lots of loud noises, or other things distracting your pet when he is trying to eat, this can also affect how much food he actually consumes. If your dog is not eating, try moving his dog bowl someplace secluded, safe and quiet. Your pet will rest easy and relax enough to enjoy his food, instead of feeling stressed in a high-traffic area!.
Get Plenty Of Exercise!
Your dog might have lost his appetite because he is not active enough. If your dog is not moving his body on a regular basis, he might not be eating because he doesn’t feel the need to. If your pup is inactive, chances are, he’ll have less of an appetite. To help your dog regain his appetite and eat at mealtime, get outside and exercise! Take your dog for daily walks, play fetch in the yard or frequent the dog park. You can even get your pet to run around indoors if there is inclement weather—try setting up an obstacle course, run up and down the stairs together, or keep your pet active with indoor training sessions.
Make Mealtime More Fun
There are countless ways to make mealtime more enjoyable for your pet and many of them can help make your dog more excited to eat. Here are just some of the ideas you can try when you want to spice things up at mealtime and entice your picky pet to eat:
- Turn his food into a treat and feed it to him after he obeys a command or does a trick
- Use a special dog food dish designed to make mealtime more fun
- Feed your dog his food on the floor (as long as it’s something like kibble that won’t make too much of a mess)
- Split his food up into smaller portions and fill multiple bowls to keep him entertained
- Hid his food so he has to sniff and sniff for it
Don’t be afraid to get creative when it comes to exciting your dog at mealtime. There are so many ways you can make mealtime interesting enough that your dog will want to eat.
PetHonesty Products To Support Your Picky Pet
When you have a picky pup, it’s important to make sure your dog is consuming the essential nutrients his body needs on a daily basis—especially if he is refusing his food. That’s where a multivitamin can come in handy! Pick up a jar of PetHonesty 10-for-1 Multivitamin Chews or Advanced Multivitamins Chews for your pet. They are made with all the vitamins, minerals, and healthy ingredients your dog needs to consume every day in order to stay healthy and they are easy to add to your dog’s daily routine because they’re formulated into a tasty chew. You don’t have to worry if your picky pet is missing out on nutrients when he is refusing food, because these multivitamins contain all the essentials!