Have you ever wondered by your dog might refuse to eat their kibble or treats, or why they might become picky about the types of food that they eat, even when you buy the most nutritious and mouth-watering food on the market? Here’s a few reasons why your dog might be a picky eater, and steps you could take to solve this problem! After all, it is important to make sure your dog receives the nutrients they require from their daily meals in order to stay healthy, and to monitor your dog’s eating habits to make sure their appetite doesn’t disappear completely!
What Are The Causes?
There’s a range of causes that could lead your dog to being a fussy eater, from health-related issues to behavioral and environmental influences.
Is your dog in good health? Before one considers the other influences which might be affecting your dog’s eating habits, it’s important to overrule the presence of any health issues that could be contributing to this problem.
Things to watch out for if you’re trying to figure out whether your dog’s fussy eating is due to a health related issue or not include:
- if the loss in appetite was sudden and without an apparent change in diet
- if the dog displays signs of vomiting or diarrhea
- if the dog displays unusual signs of lethargy and tiredness
- if the dog has lost significant weight suddenly
- if your dog is displaying discomfort or pain in their mouth, which includes sores, unhealthy teeth or even objects that may have gotten stuck in their gums
If you believe any of the above signs are present in your dog, taking them for a veterinary examination would be the best option to explore whether your dog’s picky eating is actually a sign of some other health problem!
Once you have ruled out the possibility of an underlying medical issue and your dog appears to be in top shape and good health, other factors should start to be recognized. Environmental factors could include a range of influences, whether they are influences from the feeding habits of owners to their dogs, or due to your dog’s own emotional well-being. Here’s a list of some environmental factors and ways to deal with them.
- Overfeeding. Overfeeding your dog could include giving them too many treats, or feeding them scraps of food at time that are not their designated meal time. This would put your dog off eating their actual food and will mess up any daily feeding routine that your dog might be getting used to! Overfeeding also usually does not give your dog the necessary nutrients they deserve, and can also lead to obesity. During this time, try to avoid giving your dog any treats until they’re back on track with their eating, and also keep treats to limited portions.
- Feeding your dog human food. While it might be tempting to give your dog some of the food that you enjoy, this might actually be putting your dog off eating their own food and in turn will turn them into a picky eater.
- Brands of food. One of the reasons that your day may be refusing to eat their food is due to their distaste to the type of food they’re being given. Monitor whether this problem occurred after you changed the brand of food your dog usually eats, and attempt to return to what they’re used to. If that does not work, try other brands of food, making sure they’re all healthy and nutritious by looking at their ingredients, and insure that they will provide the dog with all the vitamins they require.
- Stale or old food. Dogs will usually refuse to eat old or stale food that has been left in the bowl for a few hours, therefore try to only give your dog food at their designated meal times and remove the bowl if the dog doesn’t finish it. Repeat the steps until your dog gives in and enjoys the fresh food they are being given.
Above all, remaining patient and observant of your dog is the best action a dog owner could take when trying to sort this problem out. Monitor your dog’s eating habits after taking the required steps, and try your best to discipline them into eating the designated food. If you are still having problems, contacting a dog trainer or even your vet can give you more solutions catered specifically to your case!