There are many reasons why your dog might not be eating properly, including digestive issues, allergies, stress or the side effects of medication. On the other hand, you may simply have a fussy pet who has decided that the food they have eaten and enjoyed for the last few months is simply not for them anymore! Whatever the reason, you will have to take some steps to help them learn to love their food again. Here are some tips to help you along the way.
What’s Causing a Loss of Appetite?
First of all, determining the cause of their change in appetite is vital in making the correct decision about which food to move them onto. If your pet is simply bored with their current diet, this won’t be much of an issue, as you can simply try them on whatever food you think they will enjoy. However, if they have an underlying health problem that is causing them to go off their food, this will need careful treatment, and possibly even medication.
Book a vet consultation to help you figure out what’s going on. Vets can run various tests that will detect allergies, gut issues, and more serious health problems. Once you know there is nothing seriously wrong, you can start looking at different dietary options.
Choose the Right Food
There are quite a few options to choose from when it comes to doggy diets, so you might want to check these detailed reviews if your current food isn’t hitting the sweet spot. Look out for food samples so you don’t end up wasting money on food your dog refuses to eat. Be careful when transitioning to a new food, however, as it can cause havoc with a dog’s digestive system.
Try tempting your dog with something new and tasty. They may be bored with their regular food, so add some cooked meat or rice to kibble and see if it perks them up. Some dogs prefer dry food whereas other dogs prefer wet food. If your dog usually has dry food, switch to wet food, and vice versa.
If in doubt, ask other dog owners what their pet likes. If you own a pedigree dog, speak to dog owners with the same breed. Some breeds have sensitive stomachs and react badly to food made with grains or other potentially problematic ingredients.
It might also be worth considering a “raw” diet, as some dogs prefer to eat fresh meat.
When switching to a new, tasty food doesn’t do the trick, it’s time to play hardball.
The more you capitulate to a fussy eater, the worse they will get. Dogs are very good at manipulating us and pampered pooches are experts at emotional blackmail. You need to show some tough love. When your dog turns his nose up at his food bowl, wait 10 minutes and then remove it. Do not put it back down again until the next mealtime. Remember to store the food correctly if there is a chance it could “go off”. The last thing you need is an upset stomach!
A fussy dog will often reconsider his options if there is nothing else available. Most dogs won’t starve themselves, unless they are sick, of course.
Introduce Some Competition
In the wild, food is worth fighting over; to the death if necessary. Domestic dogs have evolved into lazy creatures, as they know food appears at set times and they don’t have to lift a paw. A fussy dog often has a change of heart if there is another animal salivating when his food bowl appears. Instead of walking away, he’s more inclined to eat up in record time.
Try inviting another dog your pooch is familiar with for a playdate when it’s mealtime. It’s likely that your dog will suddenly decide his food is much more interesting when the other dog is there. And if he doesn’t make a move, let the other dog eat his dinner. Being left hungry might encourage him to eat up next time. Repeat this several times to make the point that dilly-dallying over food is a bad idea.
Be patient if your dog is a fussy eater. And if he won’t eat at all, consult your vet to rule out anything more serious.