Some dogs live to eat, while others eat to live. If your dog is a fussy eater and you’re having trouble encouraging them to eat their meals, here are some techniques to help them overcome this.
The first step is to ensure you’re feeding your dog a complete and balanced diet. Use our Dog Food Finder Tool to understand which diet is best suited for your unique dog’s age, breed and lifestyle. If you know that your dog is getting the right nutrition, then you can feel assured that you will not need to supplement this with any additional food and can focus on encouraging your dog to eat their main meal.
Rule out other issues
Dogs who have had a long history of ignoring their meals or picking and choosing what they want to consume are definitely fussy eaters. However watch out for dogs who usually have healthy appetites and have suddenly lost interest in their food. Especially if they also become lethargic and depressed, this could indicate that your dog has a health issue, for example dental disease or gastrointestinal upsets, and need to be taken for a checkup at their local Greencross Vets.
Maintain their routine
Whether you feed your dog once or twice a day, keeping the time you feed them consistent will ensure their digestive system stays regular. For fussy eaters, this technique can see dogs feel hungry in anticipation of their regular meal times and learning to enjoy their food.
Restrict the treats
Even if you only feed your dog healthy treats, it’s best to keep an eye on how many they eat. One of the reasons your dog may be disinterested in their main meals could be because they are eating too much outside of their routine. Try to stop feeding your dog any treats at all, instead rewarding them with a cuddle or with toys, and soon your fussy eating dog will understand that their meals are their sole source of food and be more likely to eat what they’ve been given.
Ensure they get enough exercise
Just like humans, dogs are likely to see their appetite increase when they exercise regularly. Of course, exercise and regular walks should be a priority for all pet parents and their dogs, but if your dog is a fussy eater you might find that their appetite increases when you get into a habit of longer walks. That said, try not to feed them immediately before or after exercise, as they will need time for their stomach to settle.
These are the easiest ways to help coax your dog into consistent eating patterns but, if you’re still concerned, book a consultation with your local Greencross Vets. For more advice on choosing the right food for your dog, our Dog Food Finder Tool and your local Petbarn team member will be able to guide you in the right direction.