Dealing with a picky Dog: causes of picky eaters

Dropping your food on the floor with a pet around can be very convenient! It’s like a built-in vacuum hanging around. But to your surprise, your furry friends can suddenly lose their appetite out of nowhere. 

The food bowl is still full after hours, they no longer run up to you when you crinkle treat packets, or they do but immediately lose interest after a few sniffs. Does your pet seem disinterested in their food lately? In this article, we’ll look into the possible causes and how you can deal with your picky eaters as a pawrent. 

Good ol’ Genetics 🧬

Certain breeds are known to be foodaholics, eating at everything and anything they see! Dogs that have a bigger appetite than most of our canine friends are: Labradors, Pugs, Beagles, Dachshunds, Corgis, and even Golden Retrievers! 

However, some pets aren’t as food-driven, smaller breeds or friends that naturally have more of a lean and athletic body (such as sighthounds) might not drool at every piece of food they spot.

Feeding Schedule ⏰

Just like us humans, our pets also need a feeding schedule they should stick to. It might seem straightforward, but not keeping a fixed time for meals can potentially cause health issues in the future. 

It’s extremely important that you feed your dog at the same time, and take away the bowls after 15 to 20 minutes. Leaving food out can lead to overeating, pests, and contribute to overall uncleanliness. No treats should be allowed during this time as well, as it can further deplete their appetite.

What’s Cooking? 🥣

What are you feeding your pups lately? Has there been any changes in the brand of food you use? Sudden changes can upset your pet’s digestive system. We recommend you gradually switch up the food by slowly introducing the new formula for four to five days, before you fully make the swap.

Here are a few methods you can experiment with: 

  • Adding water to their dry kibble and soaking for a couple of minutes. 
  • Heat canned food for a couple of minutes in the microwave
  • Adding probiotics to help with their digestion and gut health

You can also cook small amounts of human-grade ingredients for them to spark their interest again! Boiled chicken (with 0 salt added), rice, or some water-based vegetables can help them finish the plate. Check in with the veterinarian to make sure this is okay for your pup. After all, every dog is different!

Mental Wellbeing 🧠

Psychological stress can also manifest itself as loss of appetite. Are there any changes around the household? Maybe a new family member, or even a new puppy can make our friends feel overwhelmed. Festivals and celebrations that have fireworks (A.K.A loud noises), can also cause significant stress and anxiety that can potentially deplete their appeal for food. If fireworks are your worry, here’s how to help your friend cope.

Our pets are members of our family, but they can’t always communicate to us when there’s something wrong. That’s why it’s so important for us to keep an eye out for any abnormal behaviors they might be exhibiting.

There are multiple reasons why your trusted companion might be leaving the food bowl full. If there are any recent changes in their appetite that you have noticed and the symptoms aren’t getting better within 1 to 2 days, immediately contact your veterinarian for an appointment.

This article is reviewed by the veterinarian from Small Animal Teaching Hospital, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Chulalongkorn University (CUVET)

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