Dogs who wont eat

asked 2015-03-13 18:09:01 -0500

Hi all,

Does anyone have tips or secrets for getting a Rover dog to eat? Some of my dogs wont eat the first day or two and I've found a few tricks that have worked but curious what others have found out as well.

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answered 2015-03-13 19:10:05 -0500

Usually if a dog won't eat I'll just hold off until the next meal. A lot of our dogs will be really picky eaters, especially at the start of the stay. We can't leave food down (our dogs would eat it), so at meal times, we'll put them in a room on their own with the food for 10-15 mins, then pick up whatever they don't eat. Some of our dogs won't eat unless you stay in there with them and watch them. Some will only be encouraged to eat from our hands. But unless it's a longer stay and the behavior goes on more than a couple days, I don't worry too much about it. None of them are otherwise acting distressed (in fact, they're more than happy to eat any treats we have, and usually they really want to eat our dogs' food), so I'll let them eat when they choose. I've found especially dogs who are used to free feeding at home and aren't very food motivated take a while to adjust to a meal schedule, but they do eventually get it.

Tricks that I've used to get a dog to eat when they really need to:

  • Watching and encouraging.

  • Hand feeding a few pieces of food at a time.

  • Putting the food in a treat dispensing toy.
  • Mixing a little bit of my dogs' food in, since they all seem to want theirs.
  • Tossing small treats into the bowl one by one onto their food.
  • Adding a little chicken broth or tuna juice or peanut butter or plain yogurt.
  • When my dog was really sick on chemo and losing too much weight, I'd mix up a disgusting dog food smoothie with high-fat ingredients and feed him with a big plastic syringe.
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answered 2015-08-29 21:27:54 -0500

Most of my "guests" usually don't eat for a day or two. These are also repeats. I have talked to the pet parents who's dogs are really picky and will sniff and turn their noses up. These owners have also said they have a concern getting their dogs to eat. One is even afraid her dog is loosing weight from a comment a neighbor had said. They leave dry food out all day and something different at meals. I have asked if they considered not leaving the food out. I remind them that I can't leave food out because my dog will eat everything he see. Since it is something they have always done, they don't want to change anything, especially with their work schedules. These dogs have recently been to the vet for their check-ups and given a healthy report. One of the dogs is a little overweight and the other ( long thick coat) is at a great weight but had just been groomed. I told her not to let her neighbor's comments bother her and be re-assured by the veterinarian. In both cases, the pups are active, show not signs of illness and gobble their teats and beg for more. I will have to try the warm water and see if it works for these two dogs.

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answered 2015-03-14 14:28:32 -0500

When we had boarders at the hospital that wouldn't eat (which is totally normal the first day or two) we always started with a little warm water, which usually did the trick. For the really picky ones we used either beef or chicken broth (Low or no sodium) and even lamb or chicken baby food mixed into their dry... worked every time. Do make sure to check with owners in regards to any food allergies first though.

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I like the warm water idea, will have to try it.

Kathleen D.'s profile image Kathleen D.  ( 2015-08-29 21:28:39 -0500 ) edit
answered 2015-09-22 13:09:56 -0500

For picky eaters, I add a little water and heat up the food for 15 seconds in the microwave. This works 90% of the time. For extremely picky pups, I stir in a spoonful of sour cream. They always gobble that up!

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answered 2015-03-14 17:54:19 -0500

I'm glad someone posted this, I was also curious as to what others do. I personally have hand fed them. I've also mixed in some of my dogs wet food and I also found that if you wet the dry food with warm water it releases an aroma and they will tend to eat it, plus it's softer. I'll add any sauce I can that is suitable for dogs to eat like broth. I worry when they do not eat in my care :)

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answered 2015-08-30 07:40:36 -0500

Most of what I do is the same. I've even had a 3-month old puppy not want to eat her food! It's usually not a big deal. Make sure they're getting PLENTY of water though. Since I usually feed all the dogs together, if I have a dog not eating, I'll usually start feeding them by themselves. I'll try standing with them while they eat, and if that doesn't work, I'll try leaving them alone. My first step is adding a little warm water. Since my dogs eat wet dog food, I'll also just stir the guest dog's food with the same spoon, which is usually enough of my dog's food to get them to eat. If they still don't eat, just stay calm and add the food to their next meal. I'd suggest adding to your pre-stay questions whether they are picky eaters or have any eating quirks. The puppy I watched was used to being fed first, otherwise she'd get distracted by other dog's food. Others tend to not be hungry in the morning, etc.

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