Is Your Dog a Fussy Eater?

You feed tasty and nutritious dog food, and yet your dog only sniffs and licks at it. It’s time for the next meal, but the previous meal still isn’t finished. You might have a finicky dog!
You may think your dog wants or needs variety. The truth is your dog will happily eat the same food every day its entire life, so it’s up to you to make sure you provide a tasty, nutritious meal. Your dog is descended from opportunistic hunters that were accustomed to eating what they could get when they could get it.

 Don’t Teach your Dog Bad Habits

Frequently, the cause of a dog’s finicky eating isn’t a result of its behavior. Remember dog’s are not born fussy eaters , they are made in to one by their owners. It’s usually the result of their humans feeding table scraps or too many treats. Not only does this increase the risk of obesity, but it also can encourage finicky behavior. Your dog avoids eating in hope of getting more exciting food than what is in the 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.
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 options of food from the fridge and trying to coax your dog into eating something every meal, then your dog has you trained.

How To Correct This Behavior

  • Time your dog’s food bowl for 30 minutes, if he doesn’t eat it take it 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. So if the morning meal was dog food and it was not eaten the next meal should also be dog food and not another option.
  • Do not treat your dog the day he doesn’t finish his meal
  • No table scraps
  • If your dog has not eaten for 2 days. Maintain your strategy, if he is hungry he will eat. Dogs digestive systems are very different from ours and they can go a full day or two without eating and it will not cause any harm.
  • Stick to your dog’s feeding schedule
  • Stop hand feeding
  • Gradually increase levels of exercise. A tired dog is a happy dog and will eat well if his energy is spent.
  • Make sure the entire family are all agreed on the approach . If one person caves in when they see the sad eyes then this sets you right back to square one! It is also good to check with dog walkers and neighbours to make sure no one else is caving in!. Also make sure that your dog doesnt get an opportunity to raid the dust bin.

When Could Picky Eating Be A Medical Problem?

If your dog has been eating well and then becomes picky, especially if he is losing weight or looking unkempt, do not brush it off. Visit your veterinarian immediately to look for a reason. Anything from a bad/spoiled bag of food, to dental disease, to neck pain to other serious medical problems could be the cause. Before you decide to stubbornly stand firm and wait for him to start eating right again, consult your veterinarian.

Tried everything and still cant get your dog to stop being a picky eater please contact us by subscribing to our email list with any queries that you may have

44 thoughts on “Is Your Dog a Fussy Eater?

  1. Great post and love your tips for correcting bad behaviour! You’re so right it’s the pet parent that causes dogs to be fussy, by changing their food everytime they act up. You have to be more stubborn then they are.

    • I agree with you the only way to correct a picky eater is to be more stubborn than them and not make sure that you give in

    • I agree with you. With smaller dogs it is always a task to make sure that if they are picky eaters to make sure they dont fall sick when they are on that mode

  2. I call Layla Miss Picky Princess and the past week she has been doing it a lot so I have taken away all treats and that includes in the park. She was not well with a skin infection which is healing, but as she loved the food in the past I came to the conclusion that she is playing with me looking for sympathy but it is not working LOL, thanks for the info

    • Ruth keep up with your stance and i am sure Layla will soon be on track. You are right she is watching your body language to see if her being a picky eater bothers you. Wishing her a speedy recovery with her skin issues

  3. Ted’s not fussy at all, although he does enjoy a dollup of wet food or something tasty in his bowl of kibble. And lots of healthy people food treats as well.

  4. I always get concern when a dog is a fussy eater. Jasmine was a fussy eater and it turned out she had IBD. With a dog who’s fussy about their food, I’d want to rule out medical issue or issue with the food first.

  5. Great tips – we’ve followed a few when we’ve adopted seniors who were dumped. They are often so blue that they will not eat – with a lot of love and patience, and structure, nutrition helps them thrive! Great tips – thanks for sharing!

    • I know what you are saying i often fuss too with my rescues and senior dogs to get them to eat especially when they are blue but once they are on track then i make sure they dont turn in to picky eaters

  6. Very interesting! This is one way in which cats and dogs are very different. Cats are naturally picky. I’ve been very fortunate with mine, they have been good eaters. Also, a cat can not go very long without eating. If they don’t eat, they will begin developing fatty liver disease within 24-48 hours. It is interesting to see how different things are for dogs! These are great tips for working with a dog.

  7. THanks for this post. If Dexter doesn’t eat, it would be an immediate trip to the vet. 🙂 He doesn’t turn his nose up to anything, so that would be a clear sign something was wrong.

  8. Sound advice! My Husky used to be super picky as a young pup but finding the right food for her & sticking to a schedule & routine she’s become a good eater.
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  9. I tried this method with Gracie and it totally did not work. I add in food toppers and coconut oil to her food to encourage her to eat. Using this method she will not eat for an entire week, which could be harmful to her health.

    • Yes stretching it for an entire week would be detrimental to her health perhaps you should consult your vet about starting her on mutli vitamins and up her levels of exercise and try again but if the topper method works for you then you are sorted

    • Maybe if Reese chow is fed to Henry & Jack when she doesnt eat and no treats either. I am sure she will begin finishing her meals

  10. I like your mentioning it can be helpful to withhold treats to see if they’re the cause of a poor appetite. It’s also helpful to read about the importance of taking dogs to the vet if a dog had previously been eating well and then, suddenly, became a picky eater. Great post and wonderful tips!

  11. There’s always an exception to the rule. Bean has always been a picky eater, but also has a sensitive stomach, meaning she was never fed table scraps or a large number of treats. Even so, we have had difficulty with her eating ever since she joined us as a puppy. Now that we have a second dog, she’s more apt to eat simply because she doesn’t want her food to be taken by her brother. Always an adventure.

  12. Surprising a behaviour modification!! That’s the answer to it !! This post truly shows ur potential and ur understanding about the minutest problems with our pets…great post ?

  13. You’re so right. I totally agree with you. A little pet coming to our house, we need to train him, teach him good habits. If having any strange behaviour, think two ways, bad habit or health problem. Many thanks for your useful tips.

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