Fussy Eater Dogs: Here are 5 expert tips on how to get your picky pup to eat its food - and what can cause the problem
It’s not uncommon for dogs to turn their noses up to food at mealtimes – but it’s an issue that is best addressed quickly before a pattern of behaviour is established.
A majority of dogs will happily devour pretty much anything that’s put down in front of them (we’re looking at you Labradors).
And, like ourselves our dogs’ habits can change and they may start becoming a bit more choosy when it comes to mealtimes.
Reasons why your dog might not be clearing its bowl include health issues, old age, wanting a treat, unfamiliar food or coming into season.
Warm weather, separation anxiety, sensing their owner’s stress and certain medications can also hit canine appetite, while chemical residue left over from washing their bowl can be an easily-rectified issue.
Caroline Spencer, natural canine behaviourist at pet food subscription company Bella & Duke, has shared her top tips on getting your picky dog eating again.
She explained: “It can be a worry when our pets stop eating but more times than not there is a simple reason behind it. Before racking up the vet bills consider how you can help create calm around mealtimes and think about how their meals are being presented to them.
“By adding a simple spruce to their meal or by making it more interactive can really help peak their interest”.
Here’s what she had to say.
Find the right feeding location
Creating a calm feeding environment without distractions is fundamental when it comes to fussy eaters. Spend some time in the room where you’ll feed before feeding so that you, and your dog, can relax before their meal.
Place the food on the floor where your dog is going to feel comfortable eating, avoid passageways, hallways or even the corner of the room – they need their 360 vision to eat in comfort.
Sit with your back to your dog when they’re eating so they don’t feel watched and can eat uninterrupted.
You may find that your dog, especially an anxious dog, eats better in the evening.
You are calm, the day is done, everyone is home and more relaxed. Feeding your dog once a day is perfectly fine.
Add tasty additions
Adding a favourite natural, dehydrated treat like our Supreme Sprats or a little bit of beaten raw egg to their food will encourage many fussy dog to get stuck in.
You could also sprinkle their meal with antler powder, drizzle some bone broth over it or even add a small amount of tinned sardine in spring water to enhance the aroma.
The scavenger method
Dogs are natural opportunists when it comes to kitchen scraps. Try the method of ‘obliviously’ dropping your dog’s food on the floor for them to hoover up.
By avoiding eye contact or communication this helps eliminate any added stress your dog may have.
90 per cent of dog owners have seen this method succeed with their fussy eaters.
Many dogs prefer to eat smaller dollops of food, and some will even take it back to their special places to eat.
If your dog often takes food and treats to their bed or under a table, put their meals down there for them to enjoy them where they prefer.
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