So your pup seems to be turning their nose up at everything you offer them. You might be asking yourself “Why is my dog not eating?”, or “Why is my dog such a fussy eater?”. We know this can be a bit worrying, but don’t worry.
It could come down to a number of harmless reasons. To rule out the more serious ones it's best to have your pup checked over by your vet right away, as there are some medical issues that can turn your dog into a fussy eater. It could be anything from certain illnesses, to an odd reaction to any medication they’re on, or even just an allergy.
If you’ve ruled out medical issues as the cause for your dog being a fussy eater, then you may simply need to start encouraging them to eat. There are many ways to do this, but some should be avoided.
Read on, and we’ll help you identify a fussy eater, and offer steps to help get them eating again.
Reasons Why Dogs Can Be Fussy Eaters
There’s a number of reasons why your dog may have become a fussy eater, and once these have been identified it's much easier to put a plan in place to get them eating again. The main reasons could include:
- They link the food with a problem they had in the past - this could be because the last time they ate this particular food it gave them an upset stomach.
- They’re anxious - like humans, dogs with anxiety are less likely to eat.
- They just don’t like the taste - maybe you’ve switched food and this is their way of saying “bring back the old stuff”.
- They prefer the taste of treats - you might have given them a few too many treats and now they prefer them over their main course.
- Eating is just boring - a metal bowl is nothing compared to a puzzle feeder.
- You’ve given them too much human food - the taste of a cooked steak is far nicer than kibble, but not necessarily as good for them.
- They’d prefer to eat on a set schedule - you might be feeding them at different times every day.
- You keep moving where they eat - as with preferring a schedule, your pup might like eating in a specific place every day.
What To Feed A Fussy Dog
Now that you’ve identified a fussy eater you’ll need to think about what you’ve been feeding them, and maybe start to change their diet and routine a bitmix it up a bit. If you feed your dog kibble, try to get the highest quality version that includes named meats - this will taste a lot better to your dog, and will include many ingredients that will keep them healthier.
Your dog may also simply prefer wet food over kibble, or vice versa, so slowly transitioning from one to the other may improve your dog's appetite. You could even introduce other foods into the mix, such as:
- Homemade vegetable or chicken stock - a simple recipe of carrots, celery, and chicken will make any kibble more desirable.
- A small amount of warm water - this will help accentuate the taste and smell of the kibble.
- Add some wet food into the kibble to make it more palpable - put this at the bottom of the bowl to encourage your dog to eat the kibble first.
How To Encourage A Fussy Dog To Eat
Along with mixing up your pup’s food, there are a few different ways to encourage them to eat. If your dog is simply bored of the food you can introduce some fun into the meal, or help them understand that there are no other options. Here are some ways you can encourage your fussy eater:
- Use a puzzle feeder - this will give your dog some mental stimulation and make eating a fun experience.
- Make them wait in a different room while you hide your dog’s bowl in different places each day - this will add some fun and stimulation to each meal, as well as improving obedience.
- Praise your dog when they do eat - this will encourage your dog to continue eating.
- Make mealtime part of the routine - set a mealtime and stick to it and your dog will begin to understand when they should expect food.
- Split their mealtime up throughout the day - your dog may simply be overwhelmed by the amount of food they are being offered at once.
- Keep their food out for half an hour, then take it away till the next mealtime - your dog won't starve and eventually their instinct will kick in.
What Not To Do When Your Dog Is A Fussy Eater
There are a few things to avoid when trying to help your fussy pup. Forcing them to eat is obviously a bad idea, but there are other things you might not realise can actually cause your dog to be even fussier.
- Offering them new food every meal - suddenly changing their food without slowly transitioning it can cause stomach issues for your dog. This will create a bad association with the food in your dog's mind, and they may be more likely to avoid eating.
- Giving them treats - too many treats in between meals may actually encourage your pup’s fasting because they may decide to hold out for the higher value food.
- Hand feeding your pup - this extra affection may make your dog even fussier and they might decide to only accept food if it's hand fed.
Tough Love To Break The Cycle
Sometimes it takes a couple of days of quite drastic action to break the cycle of new foods, hand feeding, constant treats to actually get your fussy eating dog to eat a proper meal.
One way to do this is to actually just put down a bowl of kibble for breaky and a bowl of kibble for dinner and nothing else. After a day or two of this, if you then introduce some more nutritious Pets Love Fresh, you may well find that your previously fussy dog is exceedingly happy with the high quality meaty food on offer now.
Fresh Dog Food For Fussy Dogs
Fresh dog food is packed with great ingredients that will help your dog stay active and healthy, so it’s no surprise most would prefer it over kibble. Adding fresh food to your pup’s kibble is a good start, and your dog will appreciate you for it. But why not transition over to fresh food completely and give your dog the best?
You can order a Pets Love Fresh Taster Pack, and begin transitioning your pup over to our superb blend of fresh, human-grade ingredients. Our food includes everything your dog needs for a balanced, nutritionally complete diet, and is delivered fresh and frozen directly to your door. Try it out today, and notice the difference in your fussy eater pup.