It’s quite rare to find a dog who would hesitate to chow down on food that he is offered. Food is a great motivating factor for canines, so if your pup isn’t showing much enthusiasm when faced with a tasty meal or treat, then consider this a red flag.
Does your dog ignore his food during mealtime? A Dubai-based pet food supplier and delivery service shares the following possible reasons why your pup is being picky.
1. Age or health problems
When a dog isn’t feeling well, it’s natural for him to lose his appetite. But before you panic, verify first if your canine pal is in good health by heading to the vet for a checkup.
If your canine has always been a good eater but has suddenly lost his appetite, this may be a concern. If he has recently lost weight and develops diarrhea and vomiting as well, then it’s time for a vet visit. For senior canines or those with health problems, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on them from time to time and see how much and how frequently they eat.
Being nervous can zap your canine’s appetite. Just like humans, dogs don’t eat the way they usually do when they’re feeling anxious. Your furry pal may experience anxiety when he’s bored, lonely, there are noises from storms and fireworks, or when he gets separated from you.
A meal that left your dog with an upset stomach (or worse) can also cause him to stay away from that food for a while. Your pup may do the same thing if he links a problem with certain foods.
Switching to a new, top-notch dog food brand may help make a difference in your dog’s appetite.
If you think anxiety is the reason why your dog is being a picky eater, try spending more time with him, especially during mealtimes, so he can feel more at ease.
3. Bad tasting food
If the food you give your dog doesn’t taste good to him, then you may need to switch to a different one for success. However, if you’re thinking of switching food, you should be careful with the way you do it as this can cause gut problems for your canine pal.
When you decide to feed a different kind of dog food, do so little by little. Mix a small portion of the unfamiliar new dog food with your pet’s current one, increasing the amount day by day, until he completely gets used to it.
Also, before you switch food, make sure that you:
- Check the dog food label to ensure it’s not spoiled or out of date
- Offer a consistent, nutritious, and safe diet
Remember, you shouldn’t be constantly changing your dog’s food as this can upset his digestive system. Going out for a walk with your pup before his mealtime is also a good way to increase his appetite.
4. Excessive table scrap feeding or treats
If health is not an issue, you may want to consider that your pup has acquired some bad habits from you.
Feeding extra treats during the day may have become a tastier and more interesting experience for your canine, compared to his normal diet. If you stick to only feeding your dog his proper pet food at regular hours, but there are people in your house who like to give him extra treats and table scraps, this could lead to serious issues like obesity.
Excessive table scrap feeding encourages your pup to become picky and to hold out until he’s given something that tastes better than his usual dog food. If this is the case with your dog, it’s time to make some changes and stop reinforcing this bad behavior.
Table scraps and excessive treats don’t provide balanced nutrition and only cause your dog to gain weight. Here are some tips you can follow to help your canine maintain good health:
- Avoid feeding him extra food and treats
- Stick to a daily schedule when feeding
- Place only the right amount of food in his bowl
If your dog won’t eat the food you give, try again the next day as he may still be trying to get used to it. Going one to two days without eating won’t hurt your canine, as long as he’s in good health and not a very young or senior age. This will encourage your dog’s appetite for his food; after some time, he will learn that the food you give is the only thing he’ll be getting each day.
Be patient and stay positive
Feeding your canine is a ritual you need to get right to ensure that he obtains adequate nutrition. If your dog isn’t eating with much gusto, be patient and talk to your vet about it. Keep feeding times positive — consistency and self-discipline make a huge difference in curing a finicky eater.
Farah Al-Khojai is the Managing Partner of Pet’s Delight. A passionate entrepreneur, Farah holds a Bsc in Government from the London School of Economics. She is always on the lookout for new opportunities to develop and grow the pet and equestrian retail and wholesale market in the UAE and beyond, and is proud to be at the helm of the first and the largest pet care provider in the market representing world-class brands including Orijen, Applaws, Hunter, Savic, Flamingo, Ruffwear and Rogz.