• Sarah Groves

My dog is a really fussy eater!

By Sarah Groves Dog Training - your puppy training specialist covering Neath, Port Talbot and Swansea

Most dogs will absolutely LOVE their food - whatever you put down for them, they will gobble up in seconds! BUT some dogs just don't seem to be as interested in eating their food.

Why is this and what can you do about it?

I often speak to owners who refer to their dog as 'not food mtoivated' because their dog does not eat their own food very well, will possibly pick at it through the day or will wait until they're REALLY hungry to eat.

In my experience, there are a hanful of reasons to why your dog may not be eating their food as much as you'd like:

1. Some dog's don't like eating from a reflective, metallic bowl

The metallic bowls come with pro's and cons.

Pro: They are easy to clean

Con: some dogs don't like their reflection in the bowl and this will stop them from eating.

Some dogs who wear name tags can be put off from eating from the bowl when their tag hits the bowl and makes a noise.

If you have a dog who you would consider a fussy eater/not much of a drinker and they are being fed from a metallic bowl, then try changing it to a more solid colour bowl.


2. Some dogs prefer playing with their food

Eating from a bowl is not a natural experience!

Many years ago I worked in a pet store, and as a part of the job I would need to clean out and feed the bunnies and guinea pigs.

These animals were fed from a bowl on a daily basis and I often thought how unnatural and boring this experience must have been for them - feeding time appeared to be the time of day which they were looking forward to the most, all for it to be eaten within minutes from a bowl.

If we were talking about animals in the wild, they would naturally spend all of their day forraging for food - you would never see a bunny hopping around looking for a bowl to eat from!

Why should it be different for our dogs?

Many dog's prefer playing with and working for their food.

Try taking a handful of your dog's food out of their bowl and scattering it accross the floor - what does your dog do? Do they start eating?

If so, make mealtimes more exciting by scatter feeding, putting it in enrichment toys such as treat balls or Kongs, or even use your dog's own food allowance for training.

3. Your dog might simply just not enjoy the food they're on and may find it bland/boring

Every dog is an individual, and some dog's just prefer some flavours to others.

If you have been feeding your dog chicken flavoured food up until now, consider changing the flavour or even the brand of food.

It may just be that your dog needs a change.

If you do change food brands, make sure to slowly phase the old food out, and gradually introdce the new food in, just to avoid any stomach upsets.

4. Consider a vet check

Not often, but every now and then when I'm speaking to a dog owner about their dog's eating habits, something doesn't quite seem right about a dog not wanting to eat. In these situations I will always suggest a vet check to make sure there isn't any underlying condition, pain or discomfort physically stopping the dog from eating.

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