Dogs come in all sorts of sizes, colors, and personalities. But one thing most people believe is universal: all dogs have a ravenous appetite. From Border Collies to Poodles, Mastiffs to Schnauzers, they’re all probably scarfing down everything in sight as we speak. Some love jerky while others can’t get enough of sweet potato topped with peanut butter.
Though this love for food is common amongst many dogs, there are those who don’t share the same consistently hearty appetite. And we know how worrisome this can be for dog owners who are always worried about what to feed a picky dog.
You may be asking yourself:
- Is my dog getting the needed nutrients?
- If my dog’s a fussy eater, does that mean there’s some sort of underlying disease?
- Should I offer more treats? Less treats?
- Should I stick to one specific kibble only?
While mealtime can turn into a frustrating ordeal, it’s not so easy for pups either. That’s why knowing some tricks to get a picky dog to eat is so important. Becoming proactive and introducing (or re-introducing) healthy, delicious dog food can help make mealtime your dog’s favorite part of the day again. We’re here to help you figure out what to feed a picky dog. Keep reading for more!
Is Picky Eating A Medical Concern?
Most of the time, having a picky pupper isn’t a major cause of concern. So many factors can contribute to a lack of enthusiasm during feed time. The best way to rule out any serious issues is by visiting a veterinarian.
A dog’s refusal to eat may be due to a food intolerance. Or perhaps an oral injury or disease. More serious illnesses such as cancer or liver problems could be why a dog is refusing food.
It’s always good to get a professional opinion and find the underlying cause of picky eating (if any). And if the vet gives your furry friend an all-clear, you can begin exploring new ways to rekindle their love of dog food (and treats!). This is the first step to knowing what to feed a picky dog.
Common Signs And Behaviors Of A Picky Dog
Picky eating isn’t always black and white. This is just as true for humans as it is for our pets. In fact, dog owners might not even notice the picky eating right away. Or in an opposite situation, blame pickiness for an unusual loss of appetite.
Here are some behaviors a picky dog might display:
- Taking a long time to finish their food. Usually dogs can clean their bowls in a matter of minutes. If you notice your pup constantly taking fur-ever to finish their food, you might have a picky eater on hand.
- Eating treats and table scraps while turning their nose up at dog food. This can happen a lot. Sometimes we get into a routine of offering more human food and treats because ummm..puppy eyes! But our dogs, consequently, get into a routine of enjoying it. Can you blame them if they refuse to eat their dog food when they’re being offered bacon, pork bones, ice cream, and several unnecessary human treats throughout the day?
- Turning down dog treats. If your dog is really picky, even tasty dog treats aren’t good enough. Like we mentioned earlier, when dogs get pampered with too much human food, they get used to it. And dog treats just aren’t a treat any more.
If those behaviors remind you of a picky pup of yours, don’t worry. We have the solution!
How To Encourage Your Picky Eater To…Eat!
If your dog’s picky eating is due to a medical issue, it’s best to follow your vet’s plan and advice. If there’s no medical concern, there are tricks pet owners can use to help give picky eaters a push in the right direction. Once you master these strategies to get a picky dog to eat, you can finally stop worrying.
- It all starts with acting fast. Establish good eating habits as soon as your dog comes home. And if you’ve just started to notice the fussy eating, make changes now. Don’t wait too long! Picky eating can progress and get much worse!
- Routine, routine, routine! Like human children, our furry kids thrive on routine. Sticking to a schedule can help establish good eating habits. If they don’t know when to expect food, and what kind of food to expect, chances are they’ll either over-indulge, or refuse.
- Don’t leave food in the bowl at all times. Instead, fill the bowl and leave it out for 15-20 minutes. This creates a much more natural feeding cycle. Think about how wolves and wild dogs eat. They don’t have access to bowls of food at all times. They typically hunt all day, then when they finally catch their prey, they eat. Also, see the tip below about exercise.
- Give your dog lots of exercise. Dogs crave exercise. And the more exercise they get, the more calories they burn. Burn enough calories and any healthy dog will get hungry. Again, think about wolves hunting all day, then eating. They burn lots of energy, then eat to refill the gas tank. It’s a natural cycle.
- Ensure a healthy diet. It’s easy to get caught up in treats and table scraps. But offering your dog a healthy diet is crucial. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up on rewarding your pup with a dog treat. Carolina Prime dog treats are not only scrumptious, but they’re full of healthy, responsibly sourced ingredients that can be part of your dog’s eating routine.
What To Feed A Picky Dog
So you’ve promised yourself you’ll try some of our tips to get a picky dog to eat, and stick to a routine when it comes to your dog’s feeding. Now that you know when to feed them, let’s talk about what to feed a picky dog.
Offering nutritious, healthy foods is your best bet. Stick to foods that will satisfy your dog while giving them the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients they need to run, play, cuddle, and get their energy back.
Another trick to get your dog to eat meals is by introducing a topper treat. You can mix them into dog food or simply place them on top; it enhances the flavor of dog food. And who knows? Your pup just might start loving food again.
The bottom line is this: picky eating in many cases can be fixed. Sticking to healthy foods like the treats offered at Carolina Prime, and a good routine can help bring your dog back to good eating habits. So, the next time you’re wondering what to feed a picky dog, be sure to check out our wide collection of healthy dog foods and food products!