When Your Dog Is a Picky Eater
How to get your canine to love dog food.
Tips for Encouraging Your Picky Eater Dog to Develop Healthier Eating Habits continued...
Tip 2: Don’t feed from the table. Doling out table scraps will cause your dog to eschew dry or canned food and hold out for more salivating options. It can also cause health problems, such as pancreatitis. In addition, variety or changes to the diet may cause diarrhea, as well as reinforce the inappropriate behavior of begging.
Tip 3: Keep dog food and people food separate. “Never let a dog associate your food with their food,” Hoppe says. “You have to keep it very separate. Otherwise they’ll start to think they can eat their food and their owner’s, too.” Your dog should only eat food out of his bowl, and should never see food as coming from your plate or from something you’re preparing for yourself.
Tip 4: Stick to a schedule. Feed your puppy two to three times each day, as recommended by your vet. Gradually increase the volume of food as you decrease the frequency of feedings as your puppy matures. Your adult dog should be fed once or twice daily without leaving the food out more than a short period of time. To ensure equal portions for each serving, use a measuring cup. If you do choose to incorporate healthy people food, mix it into the kibble. Variety may be the spice of life for humans, but consistency is key for your canine.
What if You Started on the Wrong Foot?
It’s never too late to start over, but if you want to transition your pup off the filet mignon and sweets, and on to strictly canine fare, it’s best to take it one step at a time.
“It’s going to be tough and require 100% compliance from the entire family,” Murray says. She suggests lessening people food and increasing dog food bit by bit every day until your pup is off human food entirely.
While you are mixing foods, it’s best to use canned dog food as opposed to dry food. That way, your pet can’t separate out and just eat the people food.
If your dog refuses to eat, he is likely holding out for people food, but it’s important to hold firm. “Just because he skips a few meals, don’t give in and give him what he wants,” Hoppe says. “Leave the bowl out for 15 minutes, and if he’s not finished, take it away.” He’ll eventually choose dog food over no food at all.
Make Sure You’re Giving Your Dog a Healthy Diet
Occasionally the problem with a picky eater may be that he doesn’t like the brand of food you’re giving him. Or it may be that he prefers canned food over dry or vice versa. Both vets tell WebMD that a high-quality commercial brand is important for a healthy diet.