Author’s Note: Hey cat owners! If your cat is a picky eater check out my article on dry vs. wet food to see ways to get your picky kitty eating the right food to keep them healthy!
Most dog owners wonder if their dogs even taste their food as they inhale it. For these people, dinner time is over in the blink of an eye, but for some, dinner time is a daily struggle to get their picky dog to eat. While some dogs are set in their ways and won’t stray no matter how hard it’s raining when you run out of applesauce, others don’t know what they want but they won’t eat without it. If you haven’t figured out what it is your dog will eat or if that’s a moving target here are some ideas you can try:
Moisten the kibble
Use warm water or canned dog food to help moisten the kibble making it more palatable. If you use water you won’t have to worry about weaning them off or reducing their kibble. Don’t forget! Feeding your dog canned or moistened food can really do a number on their teeth, so be sure to brush them regularly!
Check the protein source
Dogs (and cats) prefer protein from animal sources like beef, chicken, pork, lamb, and fish. Check your dog’s kibble ingredients to see where the main proteins come from. Avoid foods that mainly source their protein from soy, corn, and wheat.
Warm it up!
Warming up food can enhance the flavor. If this ends up being something your dog likes, get a plastic dish to make dinner time easier. Be careful not to heat it up too much! A burned tongue can’t taste and your dog’s already a picky eater!
There is an entire section for picky eaters at the pet store. Check out some of the gravies and broths available for dogs. Don’t use human broths and gravies as they’ll have too much sodium and fat, which can wreak havoc on your pup’s liver, pancreas, and kidneys.
Wait! Don’t get mad! Garlic in large amounts is toxic, but in very small cooked amounts it can be appetizing. Believe it or not, this is a vet recommended picky eater tip! If this makes you nervous, there are tons of other things you can try. I for one have to agree that garlic can make just about anything taste better! 🙂
Add more protein
You can try adding in freshly cooked proteins like ground beef, liver, chicken or fish. Never add salt or extra fat. You should slowly wean them down to the lowest amount they’ll continue eating. Hopefully, you’ll be able to wean them off entirely.
Dress it up!
Try using a fruit purée like applesauce, mashed bananas, or pumpkin as a kibble dressing. Sometimes a little fruit can cure a sweet tooth. Be sure the purée is unsweetened!
Snacks can fill dogs up just like humans. Don’t fill your dog up before dinner and then expect them to eat their kibble. Never give treats after they refuse dinner because it’ll teach them that they can hold out for better, tastier food.
Keep it consistent
If you end up switching up their diet to a different brand or flavor that your dog enjoys but then stops eating don’t switch it up again. By changing out the flavor every time they don’t eat it anymore you’ll teach them that they can hold out for a new food and you’ll eventually run out of options. Instead, try out one of the options above to get them interested again. Sooner or later, you’ll break them of the habit of not eating their food.
If you don’t want to have to work to wean your dog off of a method you use to get them eating again, I recommend sticking to the first three options. If you do choose to add anything to their food like wet food, gravy, or purée you’ll need to cut back on how much kibble they get to keep them from getting fat. It’s just as unhealthy for your dog to be fat as it is for you! It’s also important to remember to brush their teeth regularly, especially if you feed them moistened food. I hope that one of these tips works for you and your picky dog! Good luck!