If your dog is turning its nose up at its regular bowl of food but sniffing around your dinner and happily munching any treats on offer, it sounds like you may have a fussy eater.
Picking eating habits can suggest that your dog is very smart as they are successfully creating and demanding attention, which can become a very challenging habit is left unaddressed. Prompt action is recommended to get to the bottom of why they are behaving this way, then putting some corrective actions and practices in place to get your dog back eating healthily at mealtimes.
In this article, we'll help you to understand why your dog may have become a fussy eater, as well as giving you some tried and tested tips on how to overcome this problem.
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Health problem or behavioural problem?
Most of the time, picking eating habits are behavioural problems, but it is important to rule out any health issues first. Health issues are usually linked to a dog suddenly not eating rather than being fussy or picky and will often be accompanied by other symptoms, such as diarrhoea, vomiting, lethargy or poor coat condition. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should seek help from a vet immediately.
What causes fussy eating?
Once you've ruled out any health problems, here's a few questions to think about in terms of behaviour that may be affecting your dog's normal eating habits:
- Are you feeding your dog with the right diet for its breed, age and health?
- Are they bored with the same recipe?
- Is your dog getting treats and snacks between meals?
- Are you feeding your dog scraps from the dining table?
- Does your dog have its own regular mealtimes?
10 TOP TIPS to stop fussy eating
- Ensure your dog is receiving the right type and quality of food
- Be consistent and persistent with regular, scheduled mealtimes
- Avoid giving them snacks, treats and food from your plate
- Only give them treats when training them as a treat-based reward
- Keep their mealtimes separate from your own
- Provide a calm, quiet place from them to eat without distraction
- Give them lots of praise when eating their own food from their own bowl
- Try using toys and mental stimulation to encourage them to eat
- Try heating their food in a microwave or add warm water to release aromas
- Ensure they have enough regular exercise to help build up a healthy appetite
Choosing the right diet for your dog
Choosing a high quality, nutrition and tasty food recipe for your dog is essential, especially if they're a fussy eater. Healthy Paws premium dog food is made with the goodness or turkey, rabbit, duck and chicken meats, which are highly digestible and very appealing in taste, making it an ideal choice of food for a fussy eater.
Our nutritionists ensure that all of our recipes are packed with all the right nutrients and natural ingredients to ensure a perfectly balanced diet to meet the exact needs to each dog, according to their size, breed, age, and health profile. Whether you have a puppy, an adult dog, or an older dog with a sensitive stomach, Healthy Paws premium dog food has the right recipe and best diet for your dog.
Our customers love it so we know you will too!
"After trying many different wet & dry foods my local pet store recommended Healthy Paws. Our lovely and very fussy dog would rarely finish a bowl and often had tummy troubles, however with the dry food from Healthy Paws we had clean bowls and happy toilet times!"- Melanie Thom
Introduce the '15 MINUTE RULE'
Once you know you've got the right food for your dog and you've found a quiet, calm place for them to eat their regular, scheduled meals, our nutritionists advice you try the '15 minute rule' at feeding time.
Simply place the food down at the scheduled time, but only give your dog 15 minutes to eat the food. If they don't eat it all within that time then take the bowl away and do not give them any further food or treats until the next scheduled mealtime.
This is a tried and tested technique to help suppress picky eating and train your dog to eat properly and healthily at the right times. If they know food is only available for a short time at known times, they will take the opportunity to eat and fill their stomachs while they can. Your dog may whine, bark and beg for food in between meals at first, but it is important that you stick to the routine and trust the process. You dog's health and well-being will improve as a result and you will no longer have a fussy eater to deal with.