Dealing With the Struggle of Fussy, Difficult or Picky Eater Dogs

Some dogs are crazy difficult when it comes to food. It seems like nothing we feed them is good enough. Some dogs start this way from birth and some develop this trait over time. Most common is the dog who stops eating when you switch their food. I have covered transitioning your dog to raw but did not get into immense detail on how to help a difficult eater. So in this I will cover how to help influence your dog to finish his or her meals.


Before we get into the tips and suggestions on getting your dog to finish their meals let's get a good understanding of why he or she may not want to eat. Many dogs do not want to eat simply because they do not like the taste of their food. Kibble is essentially flavorless until they run it through the final step called flavor enhancing. Flavor enhancing is essentially the kibble being ran through a mist or coating of artificial flavor and smell to entice the dog to dive into the bowl of flavorless kibble. Often times this will work and dogs will eat the kibble without asking too many questions. However from time to time their are dogs who catch on to this gimmick and stop enjoying the food. So all in all one of this biggest reasons your dog is not eating… is the food you're giving the.


Food choice is not the only issue though. If your dog is choosing not to eat canned foods raw or cooked high quality foods all of which contain flavor and you have tried a few flavor options there might be something else going on for your pooch.


Another major cause of a pet not eating is that they are having digestive issues. If your dog is getting a upset stomach or diarrhea and over all not feeling well. They will not want to eat. The cause of any of these could again come from the food they are eating. There is a real possibility that what they are consuming does not agree with them and they know better than to keep eating.


Let’s discuss a few ideas to help with our picky or non eating dogs.


Try hand or spoon feeding and coaxing. This is the best solution when introducing a new food to your guy or girl. It's brand new and they may be weary of it. Who better to trust than their owner. I have worked with many dogs introducing new foods and have been most effective with the ones I had the best bond with. Often times I would pretend to eat the new food in front of them, play with it or even hand and spoon feed it to them. Although this is the perfect solution for a new food to a dog it has been effective in coaxing non eating dogs to eat their food.


Try getting the food right to room temperature or even a little warm before feeding. I have great success from bringing foods up to room temperature or even a little on the warm side. It replicates how a dog would eat in the wild. A fresh kill would still be warm.


Some dogs will refuse food in hopes you will give them something better. If you have given your dog many foods over their life they can start to become really picky. They will start to want something different every day to keep things interesting for their palate and possibly because they know that they should be eating different proteins throughout their life to balance their nutritional needs. This is perfectly acceptable with raw feeding as I highly recommend rotating through different proteins for your dog. Often times this isn't as easy to do with large bags of kibble. I would highly recommend in this situation to get your dog comfortable with the food you are feeding them not give them any treats or scraps and ensure they understand that what you are giving them is their only option. He or She will almost guaranteed end up eating.


Feed breed specific. Try to get an understanding of your dog. Are they a Lab who will eat anything? Are they a Shitzu who is super picky and untrusting? Is it a Jack Russel who would probably love gamy meat? Or a Sleigh Dog like a husky who would die for Fish? Once you have figured out what your dogs breeds desire your one step closer to finding something or some things your dog will enjoy eating.


All this said I find that some dogs will be picky to specific food types and you may never have success with kibble or canned food. But you will never know until you try a bunch of methods. You will also find that dogs are most likely to refuse kibble and least likely to refuse a high quality raw.

Delsin Boyd,


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