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What To Do If Your Dog Is A Picky Eater

Last Updated on February 8, 2022 by Dogs Vets

What To Do If Your Dog Is A Picky Eater

You provide them with a tasty and nutritious dog meal, but they only lick and sniff at it. The time for the next meal comes, but the dog is yet to finish the previous one. You might be wondering why, but the answer is simple, your furry friend might just be a picky eater.

In such situations, you tend to think that your dog requires variety. Therefore, it’s up to you to find a suitable diet for your dog. Nevertheless, knowing that your pet is a picky eater doesn’t erase your need to understand why they’re behaving that way and what to do in such circumstances. 

Fortunately, this article will discuss the causes of picky eating in dogs and what you need to do to get them to finish their food without a hassle.

What Causes Picky Eating In Dogs

Most dogs are picky eaters for various reasons, including:

  • Age And Breed

Sometimes you may wonder why your dog no longer wants the food they used to like when they were younger, but you should understand that what works at an early age might not work during older age. This is true, especially since a puppy or young adult dog might enjoy eating hard food compared to an older one who’s already experiencing teeth problems.

Also, like elder humans, older dogs are prone to mental health issues and might require a more refined diet. Working dogs like Labradors, German Shepherds, and Golden Retrievers would also need a working dog diet to meet their nutritional needs and maintain their normal level of energy.

  • Too Many Treats

The most common reason a dog becomes a picky eater isn’t because of their behavior but because of how you treat them. For instance, giving your dog too many treats or table scrap could lead to picky eating.

dog picky eater, picky eater dog

Unlike regular dog meals, treats and table scraps are far tastier. Therefore, your dog might consider preserving their tummy for such delicious goodies instead of indulging in their regular meals.

  • Bad Experience With Certain Foods

Like humans, dogs can associate some foods with bad experiences too. Maybe they have experienced an upset stomach after feeding on some foods previously. Also, they might have been punished after eating a certain food. With this in mind, you might try a new diet and see if they’ll start eating well.

  • Anxiety

Dogs, too, experience fear and anxiety that might affect their appetite. Therefore, if your dog is anxious, bored, or scared, he or she might lose interest in their meals.

  • Health Issues

When dogs are sick, they would be lethargic and would most likely prefer to sleep and recuperate. Therefore, it’s essential to take your dog for a check-up as soon as you notice they were eating less or refuse to eat at all.

What You Need To Do If Your Dog Is A Picky Eater

Some pet parents get used to their dogs being life-long picky eaters, but others discover that their dogs have become picky eaters all of a sudden. Whichever the case, it’s essential to understand the reason for your dog’s behavior and how you can help them. If you have a picky eater dog, consider the following:

  • Take Your Dog To A Vet

Has your dog been eating well but has just suddenly become a picky eater? It could be a health issue.

Many canine medical issues lead to loss of appetite. Among the most common medical conditions that might cause picky eating include:

  • Dental disease
  • Viral and bacterial infections
  • Swallowed unsuitable item
  • Allergies
  • Parasites
  • Spine issues or arthritis
  • Vaccination side effects

It’s important to know that a healthy dog is less likely to starve itself in most cases. Therefore, you should seek a vet’s help once you’ve noticed that the dog isn’t feeding properly.

  • Swap Over Tastier Food

The solution to your dog’s eating problems might be as easy as changing into tastier food. It’s so unfortunate that your dog can’t complain about the taste of a particular meal. All they do is bark or refuse to eat when trying to communicate.

Try providing your dog with different meals to know the one they prefer. Nevertheless, tasty food shouldn’t be at the cost of their health. Ensure that the food you give your dog isn’t only delicious, but nutritious as well.

  • Remove The Dog’s Meal Until Tomorrow

While this method seems to mean, it’s 100% successful. It begins by offering the dog dinner as usual. You then leave the room without interacting with your pet. If the dog follows you, try to ignore it. After 15 minutes, check whether they’ve eaten the food. If not, take the food away.

Then, wait until the following day and serve breakfast for your dog. Make sure to serve the dog fresh food, not the one from last night.

If the dog refuses to eat once again, repeat the process. By now, the dog will have gone for an entire day without food. Once you provide them with their meal, they’ll eat knowing that they aren’t getting anything else.

  • Make The Transition Slowly

If you’ve changed your dog’s meal into a new brand, it might be the reason why they’re suddenly not eating. Dogs might take some time to get used to a new routine and can still be the case when their food is changed.

To prevent your dog from refusing to eat, ensure to make the transition from one type of food to another as slow as possible.

Try mixing the current food with the new one, but ensure the ratio of the current one is higher than that of the new one. As days go by, increase the percentage of the new diet while decreasing that of the current food.

In no time, you find your dog will be eating the new type of food without them realizing it.

  • Add Some Food Topper

Food toppers refer to anything added to your dog’s food to enhance the taste. This includes bits of meat, vegetables, fruits, and even broth. Identify what your dog loves and mix it with your dog’s food. It will make the food delicious and smell even better for them.



Many dogs tend to be picky eaters from time to time due to various reasons. However, it’s important to know the reason for this kind of behavior to come up with a solution. At the same time, most reasons for a dog becoming a picky eater aren’t something to worry about.

However, it would help to take your dog to a vet for a check-up to find out if the behavior is linked to a medical issue.

Facts Check:

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