If you’re like most pet parents, you’ve probably had your pooch on the same food for some time now, so it’s not surprising if he has begun turning up his nose at it. Imagine if you only ate the same meal day in and day out… yuck!
A lot of dogs are finicky eaters; some dog breeds more than the others. In the wild, dogs will eat almost anything. However, at home, these pets learn that some foods are palatable, and some are just so fantastic. While picky eaters only occasionally refuse to eat and still can be readily tempted with a little slice of cheese added to his food bowl, a finicky eater, which is what we are dealing with here, is a dog who has finally decided to give up his dog food for good.
What You Can Do:
Before performing any step to change your dog’s inappropriate behavior, try to rule out any health issue first. Once your vet gives you and your pooch the thumbs up, then you can start initiating ways to get him to eat without upsetting his stomach. The following are techniques you can use to persuade your finicky eater to start snacking again:
1. Tone down your treats. A finicky eater pooch is more likely to be persuaded to eat if he does not compare his dog food to a scrumptious liver treat, for instance.
2. Feed your dog often. Try feeding your pet smaller amounts of his usual food about three or four times every day.
3. Exercise. Aside from the physical and mental benefits, exercise will also increase your pet’s hunger. Try exercising him before his meal as often as you can.
4. Consider sterilization. “Fix” your dog by spaying or neutering. Aside from many health and behavioral benefits, the procedure can sometimes prevent him/her from becoming or staying a finicky eater.
5. Make eating a rewarding experience. Ensure that your pet’s feeding time is a positive occurrence for him. Once your pet associates the encounter with irritability or any form of punishment from you, he will less likely want to eat.
6. Keep things quiet. Feed your pooch in a quiet area where there are no children or other animals mulling around distracting her.
7. Be flexible. Try feeding your dog at different times. Some pets eat better in the afternoon while others eat better a few hours right after you get home. Test his preferences and see what time and circumstance works best for your dog.
8. Try resisting temptations. Make use of the other tips before you give in to the urge to entice your finicky eater to eat people food. You might find a few pieces of roasted chicken perhaps tempt him for a while, but expect that he will soon grow bored of that as well.
9. Add gravy! There are many healthy, vitamin-rich food additives made especially for dogs. One of our favorites, Clear Conscience Pet’s SuperGravy Food Topper will not only entice Fido to eat, but will add a boost of important nutrients, protein, and fiber to his diet. Just remember, if you do add a food topper, to reduce the amount of food you give your pet to avoid any weight gain.
Remember that the right amount of food is necessary for a healthy pooch. A finicky eater is likely to be underweight or even overweight due to the goodies his master lures him with. If all else fail, try hamming it up. Before you try serving him his dinner, think about raising it close to your face and pretending to eat it as you say “Yum!” or “Hmm, hmm!”. Don’t worry, your pooch won’t tell on you!
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