How to Get a Fussy Dog to Eat Its Food
Many dog owners find themselves with a fussy dog, one that refuses to eat its food unless the owner does something special to the dog's food. Often this “something special" means the owner takes to adding canned food to the dogs food, adding gravy, or even raw egg. This article will explore why feeding canned food, adding gravy, and feeding raw eggs, may not be good ideas, and will give tips to help you get your fussy dog to eat its food.
Adding Canned Food
Feeding canned dog food is in itself not a problem, adding the canned food to the dry can be a concern, as the dog may only eat the canned food and leave its dry kibble, effectively training their owner to feed them more canned food.
Canned dog food is usually more fattening, and more expensive, but it also contains more meat, which is why dogs like it so much. Canned food is easier to eat, and smells good, some debate is on as to the fact that it contributes to tooth decay. In some dogs canned food causes diarrhea, so this is not always a good option.
Gravy has been recently introduced to dog owners as a way of helping them to get their pets to eat their food, but gravy is carbohydrates so no food value is added. In fact feeding gravy may only serve to fatten a dog up, and will contribute to health problems as the result of obesity. Gravy is a gimmick and should not be used to encourage a dog to eat unless the animal is in dire health and needs the extra food.
Eggs are good sources of protein. Many people find the egg helps their dogs coat to shine, however experts recommend against feeding raw egg for a few reasons. The main concern is they dog may contract salmonella poisoning, or a biotin deficiency. This biotin deficiency develops because the raw whites of an egg bond with the Vitamin biotin making it indigestible as well. Ironically one symptom of biotin deficiency is a poor coat. Raw eggs should never be fed to a dog.
What Should You do to Get your Fussy Dog to Eat its Food
Ideally start off right, by not giving in when the dog refuses to eat its food.
If you have a fussy dog who will not eat its food there are things you should do. Firstly do not fall into the role of feeling sorry for your dog and offering it some of the things we just mentioned above. The dog will train you because it knows you will eventually give in. Do not let the dog be in charge of meal times.
Even fussy dogs will get hungry and eventually it will eat. It might go a day or two before eating, but eventually it will eat. *To be fair we are assuming the dog food you are offering is good quality and fresh, not out dated or stale.
Put the fussy dog's kibble in the microwave for a few seconds to bring out its oils (no more than 10 seconds). This will make the food smell more appealing.
If you are switching the dog to a new food, do so gradually by mixing a bit of new food with the old over a period of a few days, eventually having more new food than old, and then all new food. This can be done over a period as long as two weeks.
Finally double check that the food you are feeding is actually a food the dog should like. So many foods on the market contain a lot of filler, such as corn, and very little meat. Foods with more meat will smell better, HOWEVER... some companies use fat to add flavor, fat is addictive and some dogs will prefer foods that smell like fat rather than ones that smell like nutrition. This is why the foods some dogs like, are not foods that are good for the dog (read more here). When switching from a junky dog food to a good dog food it is fairly common for the dog to refuse to eat its good food. A caring owner must be consistent in offering only healthy food.