My Dog Won’t Eat: Tips For Feeding Picky Dogs

You’ve probably heard horror stories about dogs eating things they’re not supposed to. From socks to rings, dogs everywhere have eaten something that shouldn’t have even gotten into their mouths. However, what if your pup has the opposite problem? Is your furry friend pickier than your baby sibling? Here are a few reasons and tips as to why your pup is a picky eater!

Why Your Pup Is Picky

First, you have to figure out why your pup is picky. Different problems have different solutions! Once you figure out why, you can decide what to do next.

Oftentimes, you may be spoiling your pup! If you feed your pup too many treats or give him too much human food, it may cause him to dislike whatever you are feeding your pup. Always avoid giving your pup too much of the good stuff, as it may cause them to become picky eaters, or even overweight!

However, it may be anxiety or stress that’s causing your pup not to eat. If their food is in a spot that loud or busy, it may get them stressed out about eating. While this may sound silly, it may make all the difference!

It could also be what your pup is eating that’s causing the issue. If the food you’re giving them tends to make their stomach upset or make them feel sick, they could be avoiding the food you’re giving them. Check with your vet if your pup may have food allergies!

Changing your pup’s diet can also be a major factor in why your pup is being picky. Dietary changes can cause your pup to lose interest in their meals, or even cause them to get sick.

Another reason that’s more common with smaller breeds is that they’re simply not food motivated. If your pup just doesn’t like food, it may cause some picky eating. However, this is very rare, even for small dogs!

Once you figure out why your pup is being picky, you can now solve the problem!

How To Help A Picky Pup

If your pup is being picky because table scraps are much more delicious than their food, you have to make them understand that the dog food they have is the only food they’re getting. First, make sure to discuss with family that the dog is no longer getting scraps! Once you’ve established that your pup can’t eat human food, next is letting them know they only have their dog food.

The next step you should take is setting out the dog food during a specific time. For breakfast and dinner, set out your pup’s meal for thirty minutes. Let them know that their dog food is the only food they’re going to have from now on. If they choose not to eat it, put it away so they can’t have it until dinner or breakfast. This way, you can establish that your pup’s eating time as well as letting them know that their dog food is the only way they can eat! Don’t worry about your pup starving, because this process will probably take less than two days. Be sure not to give your pup any treats during this time!

However, if your pup is choosing not to eat due to a food change, the process is much different. You have to ease in your pup’s new food with their old food by slowly mixing in their new food, and eventually switching over to the new food. Check out this guide by Hill’s Pets to understand how to process works and how to do it safely!

If food allergies are causing your pup to refuse to eat, check in with your vet about what to do. Some dogs may have protein or wheat allergies that cause their food to disagree with them. You could schedule an allergy test for your pup and identify what foods they may be allergic to, then change their food to something that won’t cause them to be so finicky!

If stress is a factor in why your pup isn’t eating, identify what it is. Is it too loud where your pup is eating? Do people accidentally run into him while he’s eating? Move around where your pup’s food and water is to figure out which spot will entice him to eat!

If dry food is simply not cutting it, you may have to consider wet food as an alternative. Wet food is much more enticing to dogs because it smells and tastes much better than dry food! While it is more expensive than dry food, it may help your pup finally eat food they like.

A picky puppy can be stressful, as it may seem like they may be starving. But never worry too much! All problems have a solution, and finding out what food your pup will eat will always have a solution. Good luck!

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Lovelia Horn

I’m a certified crazy dog mom, a physical therapist (for hoomans), writer, animal rescuer, and foster home provider. Together with my hubby Ryan, I’ve fostered and helped look for forever homes for over a hundred shelter dogs in the Southern Illinois area. I mostly work with Puppy Rescue 911, Inc., a certified animal rescue organization based out of Chester, IL (home of Popeye!)

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