It is a horrible feeling when your dog won’t eat their food. It is a bit like when a child refuses to eat; there is a need to feed them, to make sure they are OK, balanced by frustration they won’t do it. There are many reasons why your four-legged friend may not be tucking in to what’s in their bowl. Before leaping in the car and going to the vet, have a scan over this list and see if any of these things seem familiar, it may just save you, and your dog, some trouble. These are our top reasons why your dog may not be eating their food:
- They have had too many treats in the day. Have you ever had a day where snacks are everywhere? A bag of crisps in the morning, a chocolate bar with your tea around lunch, some nuts before dinner. By the time the evening rolls around you probably aren’t nearly as hungry as you usually are!
Dogs are much the same, if you are feeding them treats all day, they won’t be hungry by the time you want to feed them dinner. Be wary of just how many treats you are giving them, it’s unlikely to hear a dog say ‘Oh no I couldn’t possibly have another one, that last cookie has already gone straight to my hips’.
- They have had too much human food. Every now and then giving your dog a bit of food from the table is a nice treat for them (and sometimes a handy way of getting rid of some leftover meat). However if you feed your dog too much, too regularly from the table, they may simply refuse to go back to regular dog food. It’s a more rare occurrence, but worth baring in mind.
- The food doesn’t smell good enough. Many people make the mistake of thinking the taste is what is important to dogs. Whilst it is true that dogs like things that taste good (don’t we all), they are much more motivated by good smells.
If a food doesn’t smell great your dog won’t be terribly excited about eating it so adding something, such as sardines, is a great way to make it more appealing. If you don’t have anything…fragrant… to add then pouring over some hot water can work well to release some good smells too.
- The food is always available. The most common mistake people make when their dog won’t eat is leaving the food down and available to them the whole time. The idea being, if they aren’t hungry now then it is ready for when they are hungry. Think of it this way: Imagine you were at a buffet. At this buffet they had every type of food you could ever want, and every time you took something from it, it was magically replenished. While this sounds good to start with, after a while it would get a bit…dull.
Having the food constantly available would make it lest interesting, less exciting. Knowing you could eat your fill whenever you wanted would make you less likely to start. The same is true for dogs; if they constantly have access to the food they won’t anticipate it. Anticipation is a good part of the eating experience; so don’t deny them of it. If your dog hasn’t eaten or finished eating in the morning mealtime, then remove whatever is left. That way they will learn to anticipate and enjoy their mealtimes, and most importantly, eat their food.
Hopefully this list has given you a few ideas if your dog won’t eat. However bear in mind if your dog is refusing to eat for a sustained period, and not much seems to helping, then a trip to vet is essential.
That’s it for today! We’ll be back next week with some more tips for you are your pets, and if there is a topic you want us to cover then get in contact!
Lots of Love,
Pam, Sue and the Woof House dogs.