Do you have a dog that has always been a fussy or picky eater? Has your dog suddenly become one, after long periods of time eating with no problem? And whatever can you do about it? Here’s how to stop fussy dog eating……..
When your dog doesn’t eat, it’s very frustrating, and most pet owners have had the experience at one time or another. One reason why it’s so difficult a problem to have is that it’s frightening (what’s wrong with your beloved pet?). It also makes you feel frustrated and out of control because it puts you in a position where your dog is in charge and not you. You just can’t get him to do what you want and need him to do.
The first step in fixing the problem is to find out why she’s being a picky eater. There are many different reasons why the problem could be occurring, and one important factor is the age of the dog. Here are some of the reasons, according to age category, with suggestions for help following.
- Puppies may have difficulty eating dry dog food when they are teething.
- Dry dog food may be too large for puppies to chew comfortably.
- Your dog could be developing problems with her teeth and/or gums or a sore in her mouth.
- A developing illness could make her stop eating (parasites, diseases such as cancer) or she could be in pain from an unknown injury or arthritis.
- If your dog has recently been vaccinated, it could affect her appetite
- Some problems revolve around feeding issues: dislike of the dog food, inconsistent feeding times, giving table scraps and too many treats between meals.
- Is your dog under stress from moving or experiencing changes in her life?
- Lack of exercise can contribute to your dog’s picky eating
- Dogs who are fearful or anxious may become fussy eaters (fear of thunder, fireworks).
- Older dogs often have more difficulty chewing hard dog food
- As dogs age, their eating habits may change, and they may slow down their consumption of food
- Dogs typically stop eating when they are getting close to the end of their time
If you suspect your dog may be suffering from dental problems, injury or illness, or she is quite old, a loss of appetite is cause for concern and an assessment needs to be done by your pet’s veterinarian.
If these concerns do not exist and you suspect any of the other possible reasons listed, here are some useful suggestions that can improve your dog’s eating or even completely eliminate the problem:
1. Feed your dog a high quality, nutritional dog food that will be naturally appealing to him. Make sure that grains and corn aren’t the largest ingredient. Be sure and change your dog’s food over gradually, rather than suddenly expecting him to eat a brand new food.
2. Adding water or low sodium chicken or beef broth can help make the food more palatable. If this doesn’t work, a small amount of canned food usually will. You can also buy dog food gravy at the pet store. Another idea is to add flavored vitamins.
3. Try microwaving the dry food first, as it may be more attractive when warm and smelling better
4. Add puppy dry food chunks to a treat ball.
5. Stop feeding your dog people food and scraps from the table. Human food isn’t good for dogs anyway, and some is very harmful (chocolate, onions, and raisins).
6. Feed your dog at a consistent time, twice daily, rather than leaving food around for a long time. After 10 minutes, pick up the food whether it has been eaten or not. Eventually your dog will realize that he can’t eat on his own schedule.
There are many reasons why your dog could be a fussy eater. It’s important to determine why it’s happening and to consult your veterinarian if it could be a physical problem. Once that is determined, there are a number of suggestions here that should help you solve the problem if you use them consistently and properly, thereby eliminating fear and frustration due to your dog’s fussy eating habits.