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How to: Deal with a Picky Dog Eaters

dog-not-hungry

What could it be? Chances are that it’s a bad habit…

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your dog just refuses to eat their dinner. And it really is hard to explain, are they sick, did they eat something they shouldn’t have? Maybe they’re just a bit depressed. Who knows really, but sometimes dogs become finicky with their food, without any real explanation.

Our puppy, ate voraciously for the first two years of her puppy-hood, but ever since she turned two, she stopped and has become a lot more selective with her food. Sometime she’ll skip a meal altogether. However, the moment she hears the fridge cheese drawer open, she’s already there waiting for a treat. The truth is that our bad habits can create this condition.

So, what do you do with a finicky dog? Here are a few steps that you can take to prevent it, and recondition your dog to eat their food without much fuss.

1. Stick with a feeding window

Allow sufficient time for your dog to eat it’s food (30 mins or so), and if they don’t eat it, then put it up. This will create the condition of  eating under a schedule, and a bit of pressure. Don’t worry about the dog skipping a meal, they will not starve. Simply, have the discipline to instill discipline on your dog. If they skip a meal, they’ll be hungry enough to scarf down their food next time you put down the plate.

2. Have a dedicated mealtime that doesn’t correspond with yours

If you’re the kind of loving pet owner that feeds their dogs off the table during dinner, then expect your dog to have irregular eating times. Or skipping their kibble altogether. No dog food in the world will compare to your family’s steak dinner, and so they’ll always prefer eating that to their plain, ol’ boring kibble. Train your dog by breaking this habit of begging for food during dinner time by having a set time either before or after your own dinner for the dog to eat. Also, stop feeding them off the table.

3. Be consistent

Create lasting habits for your pet. Feed them and take them out at the same time each day so that they’re can associate a time of day with these actions. If the dog has an irregular feeding schedule, then their body will never know to trigger their hunger instincts to let the know that it’s time to eat. If it’s once or twice a day, feed them at the same time consistently, and you’ll find that when it’s mealtime, your dog will be asking for their food.

4. Garnish it!

To help kick off all of these healthy habits try adding flavorful garnishes to their boring ‘ol kibble. Try adding a splash of chicken or beef stock directly to the kibble, or maybe a bit of rice flavored with chicken or beef stock. Whatever it is, only add things that wouldn’t throw the balance of the formulated kibble out of kilter. Nothing too protein heavy, or starch heavy. Add just enough flavor to entice the dog’s appetite.

As a loving pet owner, it’s difficult to deny your dog food. Especially, when they give you those sad, teary puppy-dog eyes. But for the sake of their health, we must. After all, it is our responsibility to instill healthy habits, and conditions that will allow us all happily and healthily coexist.