You set a bowl of nutritious and delicious food in front of your dog. Rather than eating it with much enthusiasm, your pet knocks over their bowl after a few sniffs and licks at it. Then they gaze at the bowl with a bored look and walk away, leaving it to spoil—what a waste.
Why does your pup refuse to eat? Sad to say, you may have a picky eater on your hands. Want to know how to feed a fussy dog and wipe that haughty expression whenever you served them their food?
We will help you to figure it out through this article.
Dogs and their eating habits
A saying goes like this: "Some dogs eat to live, other dogs live to eat." What does this mean?
When your dog "lives to eat," it means they are willing to consume anything you give them. But if your dog is the type that "eats to live," then you have yourself a fussy eater.
In an interview with the American Kennel Club (AKC), the Chief Veterinary Officer of AKC, Dr. Jerry Klein, explains that a dog's eating habits might be tied to genetics.
This is reiterated by veterinary specialist Dr. Louise Murray, DVM. In an interview with WebMD, he said that your pup's age, size, and breed often determine whether they adore food or not. For example, Labradors have voracious appetites. On the other hand, small dogs like Yorkies are not that food motivated.
So, perhaps your furry companion is not actually a picky eater, but their DNA is to blame. Dr. Klein said that if your dog takes about 20 minutes to finish their meal, then, unfortunately, they're a fussy eater.
How to help your furry fussy eater
Your pets can't help it if they're cute--and a picky eater. Don't let their cuteness get in the way, and be firm to put a stop to your pup's bad eating habits. Here are the tips on how to help them:
Ease up on the treats
Sometimes your doggo's fussy eating isn't rooted in their behavior. One of the reasons is how you indulge them with treats or table scraps. Yup, it is you, not them.
Although treats' sizes are relatively small, they will surely turn their nose up during their scheduled mealtime because you’ve sneaked tiny strips of bacon for them under the dining table. By then, their tummy is already full of treats or table scraps and they will lose their appetite for proper food.
Besides, treats and table scraps are tastier than their simple meal. So they would rather wait for you to feed them under the table than peacefully eat from their bowl.
Prevent this from happening by limiting the number of treats in a day. Or better yet, only give them treats during training or while they’re doing some tricks. More importantly, please don't give in when they are looking at you with puppy eyes. Believe me; it is a trap.
Dogs thrive in the predictability, meaning they prefer if everything is set on a schedule, including feeding time. WebMD suggests feeding your pup two to three times daily. You may start with small portions then gradually increase them as they grow up.
The reason behind this is some pet parents free feed their dogs. There are two types of free feeders. The first one is a dog owner who serves food with no breaks, and sometimes they will exceed the standard three-times-a-day feeding schedule. The last type of free feeder is a pet parent with a busy schedule because of work or school. They will only feed their dog as their schedule permits, and it has no definite time.
Avoid being a free feeder because your pup will get confused about why you are feeding them too much or too little and without a clear timetable. As we've mentioned above, domesticated canines will adore you more if you laid everything in front of them, like their feeding schedule.
Dr. Klein gave away a few tips on setting a feeding plan. He urges pet owners to stick to a uniform mealtime plan. During feeding time, wait for 15-20 minutes, and if your dog ignores the food you offered to them, take the bowl away from them. Remember that consistency is the key. So when you start feeding them at 7 AM, you better stick to that schedule to help them realize that it is only the time they will have their meal.
Make it a family effort
The tips mentioned above will be all for naught when all your family members are not on the same page. Ensure that your family is aware of the feeding do's and don'ts you've set for your furry family member. Or better yet, have a huddle and decide what's best for your pup.
In any case, there is always that one family member who can't resist those puppy eyes. Bargain with them to mix something healthy with the dog's kibble. This way, your furry companion maintains a well-balanced and healthy diet.
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