What to Do if Your Dog is a Picky Eater

Does your dog pick slowly at his food, turn his nose up, and not finish it? Perhaps he eschews the food entirely. If your dog is a picky eater, follow these tips from a Davis County veterinarian.

Rule Out Illness

Before doing anything, make a visit to your veterinarian’s office to get your dog examined. Some dogs aren’t eating because an illness, pain, or disease is preventing them from doing so. You want to get any medical concerns ruled out as the cause of your dog’s picky eating habits. This is especially likely if your dog always ate regularly and has recently become far more picky.

Avoid Table Scraps

Frequent table scraps are one of the leading reasons dogs get picky with their own food. If they can get more scrumptious morsels by begging at the table, they’ll ignore their own food until they get that slice of beef or chicken. Don’t feed your dog table scraps—not only is it contributing to the picky eating problem, it isn’t healthy for your dog and can lead to obesity and other problems.

Make sure everyone in your family is aware of the protocol—your dog’s habits won’t change if one family member thinks they are doing the dog a favor by slipping a scrap when no one’s looking.

Schedule Feeding

Feed your adult dog two times a day, and leave the food out for only a short period of time—15 or 20 minutes usually does the trick. Give equal portions every time, and feed at the same time of day every day. Even if your dog doesn’t eat the meals, take the food away after mealtime is over. It may seem cruel at first, but eventually your dog will choose his food rather than go hungry. If your dog seems to be losing weight, contact your veterinarian.

Switch Foods

Some dogs simply get tired of the food they’ve eaten for a long time. Try switching your dog to wet food if he’s always had dry kibble, or vice versa. You can also try mixing the two to switch things up. Ask your Davis County veterinarian for advice on gradually changing your dog’s diet.


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