We know, it’s hard to resist those puppy eyes at the dinner table while Max is sitting there waiting for you to drop a piece of that turkey. He starts drooling as he watches you chow down your dinner, and it’s so hard to resist feeding him table scraps! Then you notice that since you’ve spoiled him so much with your leftovers, he’s not willing to eat is own kibbles.
Sometimes, like their owners, dogs are just picky eaters. How often do you get to pick and choose the food you want? “Extra cheese, no tomato, over easy, with dressing on the side,” sound familiar?
If your dog stops eating their own food, there are several factors to consider:
Are you feeding them table scraps?
Feeding them table scraps is one way to spoil their appetite. They probably learned that if they wait patiently enough that you’ll eventually give them a slice of what you’re eating. Be careful with feeding them the food we eat, because some can be toxic for them, such as grapes, garlic, and onions! Check out our blog post on the top foods you should avoid feeding your dog.
Are you feeding them one too many treats?
Although we want to give our dogs treats to reward good behavior, treats should only be given sporadically. If you are training your dog, one tip is to break the treats into smaller pieces to decrease the amount of treats they are given. Another way to prevent spoiling their appetite is to feed them treats after meals.
Are they in good health?
If your dog normally eats well, and suddenly sniffs their food and walks away, they might not be feeling well. Have they been vomiting, losing weight or having diarrhea? Check to see if their teeth and gums are in good condition. Decreased appetite can be caused by pain or discomfort from their mouths. If you notice any problems, bring them to your veterinarian for a checkup.
Don’t worry, your dog is going to have to stick to their diet! We can solve this.
Try switching diets.
If your dog is not eating the food that is given, try out another brand. With so much variety of dog foods, you want to choose one that best match to their needs. Are they allergic to any foods in particular? Palatability is very important to stimulate your dog’s appetite. When transitioning dry food, slowly add the new food to their old food. Gradually increase the amount of new food to their old food to prevent upset stomachs. Try not to switch brands frequently, it can disrupt your dog’s digestive system.
Use meal toppers.
To make dry food more enticing, use a gravy or sauce formulated for dogs as a meal topper to mix in with their kibbles. Wet canned food can be used as well to add some flavor. If your dog only picks and chooses what they want to eat, leave the food there and wait for them to eat it. Take the bowl away after a while, even if they did not finish their food.
One of the main reasons why dogs are finicky eaters is because of the response their owners give them when they are not eating their own food. Be patient and do not tempted to feed them table scraps! It will take time for them to adjust but they will eventually feel hungry and eat their own food. Remember to use positive reinforcement such as praising or giving them treats after their meals. Eating their own dog food is essential to maintaining a healthy, balanced diet.