You know the way to a dog’s heart is through their stomach, but what do you do if you have a picky eater? We have some tips and tricks to get your dog to eat their kibble (and veggies too!)
First, it’s important to rule out any health issues that may be affecting your dog’s appetite. Sore teeth and gums, allergies, and stomach problems could be keeping your dog from enjoying their food. If your normally voracious dog is suddenly picky, a trip to the vet might be in order.
Causes of Picky Eating in Dogs
But what do you do if you’ve ruled out all health issues and your dog is still leaving food in the bowl? Potential causes for pickiness include:
- Too many treats. The prospect of mouthwatering human food could be causing your dog to turn up their nose at dinner. Keep handouts to a minimum to encourage them to enjoy their meals. And remember, some human food is downright dangerous to dogs.
- Boredom. Your dog craves variety, just like you. If they’ve eaten too much of the same thing, it might be time to carefully switch to another flavor of kibble, adding some wet food to their diet or even making your own dog food.
- Feeding too much. As your dog grows older, their dietary needs change. A growing puppy needs a different amount of food than an adult or elderly dog. Make sure you’ve measured out portions according to weight and age.
- Feeding area problems. Is your dog’s bowl in a busy hallway or loud kitchen? Find a quiet place for your dog to eat where no one will bother them.
More Tips for Helping a Picky Dog
Here are a few tips and tricks to get picky eaters to clean their plates. Encourage your dog to eat by:
- Eliminating table scraps from their diet; be strict about this until their picky eating subsides.
- Making mealtimes the same time every day.
- Creating a fun, yet predictable routine around food. For example, asking your dog to perform a trick before eating makes mealtime more of a reward!
- Putting the food up when your dog walks away from the bowl. Free feeding can encourage picky eaters. Limiting the time in which your dog can eat will help them eat more readily.
- Using a puzzle toy. Dogs love to play, and using a food-dispensing puzzle toy is a great way to stimulate your dog’s mind while filling their stomachs.
- Adding healthy snacks to your dog’s bowl. Some chopped carrot or a palmful of peas are a great way to get your dog interested in food without sacrificing their health.
The Bottom Line
If your dog is disinterested in their food, rule out any health issues first, and try to get to the root of the problem. By following our easy tips and tricks, your picky eater will be enjoying their meals in no time.