5 tips for feeding fussy dogs
Many dogs have a reputation for eating just about anything but sometimes you may notice your dog has a very particular palate and may screw their nose up at most things you put in front of them. If you've got a dog who's always been fussy, then there's no "magic cure" but there are things you can do to help encourage them to eat.
Tip 1: Make sure they are healthy
Sudden loss of appetite can be an indicator that your dog is unwell. If they're not normally fussy eaters but suddenly stop eating, the first thing you should do is talk to your vet. They may be ill, or if there have been lots of changes around the house lately, they may just be stressed. Another possibility is they might have a problem with their teeth or their mouth. Dogs can have tooth decay and infected gums just like humans. If their mouths are sore, they'll be less likely to want to eat.
Tip 2: Change the menu
Once you've ruled out illness, the next thing to do is look at what you're feeding them now. This may seem obvious, but the most common reason your pet won't eat is they don't like the food they are given. If this is the case, the simple solution is to start looking into alternatives for your dog, whether that is changing the quality of their diet or switching from a dry to wet diet. If you are planning to change their diet, remember to do it gradually over a period of a week so their digestion has time to adjust. Begin by serving a meal comprised of 20% new food, and slowly adjust the ratio of new to old over a seven-day period until you're serving 100% new by day seven.
Learn more about Mixed Feeding here.
Tip 3: Feed them small serves at regular times
Dogs are creatures of habit. They respond well to being fed at the same time every day. Use a measuring cup to make sure they're getting the same amount every time. Keep the portions small and only leave the food there for half an hour. If it doesn't get eaten, take it away. Healthy dogs won't starve themselves and will eventually eat when they are hungry. The other upside of this is you won't be leaving a bowl full of food lying around that ends up spoiling and being wasted.
Tip 4: Don't give them your scraps
It can be tempting to give your dog scraps from your plate or off cuts from food you're cooking, but this not only spoils their appetite and encourages inappropriate begging behaviour, it can also be really bad for their health. Super Premium dog food like ROYAL CANIN® has been specifically formulated to give your dog all the nutritional support they need to live a healthy life. Scraps off your plate will most likely not be well balanced, so will cause your dog to fill up without getting all the nutrients they need.
Tip 5: Make their meals more tempting
Dogs have an acute sense of smell, but only a limited ability to taste things. Where humans have around 9,000 taste buds, dogs have less than 20% of that number. If you want to tempt a dog, it's not about making their meal taste nicer, it's about making it smell more appealing.
If you mainly feed your dog dry food, the simplest way to make that more appealing is to add a little water to help release the aromas. Of course, wet dog food has a much stronger aroma and can be even more tempting, so if you really want to tempt them, feeding them a diet of only wet food is the best option. Wet food does cost a little more, so there's always the option to serve them a combination of wet food mixed in with the dry kibble. This has the added benefit of helping to keep their teeth free from tartar build up.