Mealtime tips for fussy dogs
One of the pleasures of having pets is choosing and providing their food - so it can be disheartening when they take one look at it and turn away, or pick at it instead of tucking in.
So how can you encourage your dog to be a less fussy eater? A recent blog by raw and natural pet food maker Natures Menu offers some great advice...
See your vet
Before you take any action, it's important to check for any medical reasons that could explain your dog's lack of appetite - including dental problems which could be causing pain.
Once you've ruled out medical issues, there are several different approaches to try.
Change their food
The simplest explanation could be that your dog just doesn't like the food you're giving them. Try offering some new flavours or textures to tempt their interest.
Change their food station
Another possibility is that your dog doesn't like their food bowl or doesn't feel comfortable in the area where they eat.
Some don't like how a plastic or metal bowl affects the taste of their food, so try them with a different bowl. You could also raise the level of the food bowl by placing it on a step, or move the bowl into a different room or a different part of the same room.
Make eating fun
It could be that your dog is simply bored of the same eating routine and needs something to make it more interesting, Natures Menu suggests. Try a slow feeder, which makes your dog work a bit more for their food, or food-rewarding toys and puzzle toys.
Although you might be anxious to see how much your dog is eating, standing over them when you put their food down might discourage them. Instead, put down their food and walk away, returning in 20 minutes. If your dog hasn't eaten, take the food away and just replace it at the next meal time.
While walking away can lessen the pressure your dog feels, removing the food after a certain period of time teaches them that they don't have forever to eat, which may encourage them to tuck in.
Add warm water
Adding a small amount of warm (not hot) water to your dog's food can make it more palatable by releasing the natural aromas and juices.
Remember that every dog is different - while some dogs might respond to changing just one of these factors, others might need a few changes to be persuaded to eat. But if you follow some of these tips and there's no improvement with your dog's eating habits, seek expert advice from your vet.
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