Tips for A Dog That Is A Picky Eater
12 August, 2014

Most dogs have voracious appetites and will eat anything and everything.  Therefore, if your dog has suddenly developed a habit of being picky about what he eats, there could be a medical reason or something as simple as your pup no longer likes his food.  Once you rule out what the reason is for the pickiness, it is easier to address the problem and solution.

Take your dog to your veterinarian

If your dog has suddenly acquired the habit of being picky about what he eats, the first step is to take your dog to the veterinarian for a check-up. This is especially important if the finicky eating is accompanied by vomiting and/or diarrhea, your dog is showing other signs of illness, or the picky eating is affecting your dog’s weight.  Your vet visit will help you rule out any underlying medical conditions that might be causing your dog to be picky about his food.

Check your dog’s food

If your dog receives a clean bill of health from your veterinarian, the next step is to look at the food you are feeding your pup. First, make sure the food has not spoiled. Both dry and moist foods can expire, and it is also possible to buy a bad batch of food. Check the expiration date and take note of any odd odors in your dog’s food.

You should be feeding your dog a high-quality, nutritious diet which your veterinarian has approved. A quality brand of food will supply your dog with all the nutrients he needs, eliminating the need for diet variety. Dogs do not need variety in their meals like humans, because they have all the nutrients they need in their dog food.

Be consistent with your dog’s food to avoid picky eating

Consistently feed your dog only one type of food. If you have changed your dog’s food a lot in the past, you dog will continue to be picky and hold out for something tastier. Further, changing your dog’s food can also cause vomiting and diarrhea in some dogs as their stomachs adjust to the new food. Feeding human food snacks can have the same affect and can also lead to an overweight dog.

When your dog was younger, if you tried offering several different foods to determine the right fit, you may have encouraged your dog to hold out for something better. If you’re opening multiple cans of food and seeing which food your dog likes the best, he will get used to a variety and not necessarily what’s the best for your dog.

Your dog might be picky because he is getting his food elsewhere

Is there any chance your dog is eating something other than his dog food or maybe a family member slipping your dog scraps from the table? Is your dog munching on plants or possible items in your yard or on his walks? Is your dog getting into trash cans indoors or outdoors?

Most often, a dog becomes picky about what he is eating because he is getting table scraps or too many treats. Therefore, your dog avoids eating in hope of getting more exciting food than what’s in his food bowl. The best approach is to stop feeding your dog from the table and limit the number of treats. Remember that dogs have different nutritional needs than we do, so what we eat isn’t necessarily balanced for them.

Below are some tips on how to change your dog’s picky habits

Make sure that your dog understands that no other options exist except the food in front of him.  Place your dog’s food out for a half hour and if it isn’t eaten, take the food away.  When it’s time for your dog’s next meal, set out the food again and take it away in 30 minutes, whether it is eaten or not.   In a few days, your dog might start checking around for extra treats.

Maintain your strategy and try not to give in because if your dog s hungry, he or she will eat.  As hard as it is, it’s important for you to re-train your dog that this is his food and he should eat it.  If you are diligent about feeding your dog only his food and lessen the human food and extra snacks, he will become less picky with his food.  Once he eats his food again, you can slowly offer him training treats but only when necessary.

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