How to Get a Picky Dog to Eat

by Hannah Roundy

Does your pup have a picky palate? Don’t fret – we’ve got you covered with tips on how to get a picky dog to eat their food.

Why is my dog a picky eater?

First off, don’t feel guilty if you have a picky eater dog. It’s actually more common than most pet parents would expect. Picky eating in dogs can be caused by a few different factors, including their breed, environment, or even underlying health problems. 

Some breeds will happily eat anything you give them. Labrador Retrievers, for example, are known to quickly scarf down any food in sight! On the other hand, there are breeds that are more prone to picky eating habits. Boston Terriers, Dachshunds, Maltese, and Greyhounds are just a few breeds that are famously fussy eaters

The environment your dog is in can also play a role in their motivation to eat. Pups can avoid eating when they are stressed or lonely. Even if you set out food before leaving the house, your dog may wait until you get home to eat their meal. 

Consider your dog’s medications and special health conditions. Antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs may curb your pup’s appetite or make them feel nauseous. If your pup is showing other symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, or lethargy, their picky eating may be caused by an underlying illness. 

The reason for picky eating may even be as simple as your dog’s taste and texture preferences. It’s not abnormal for pups to dislike the taste of certain ingredients in their food. That’s why it’s crucial to feed them the best dog food for picky eaters that includes tasty and naturally nutritious ingredients. 

Solutions for Picky Eating 

Set a regular feeding routine 

Start eliminating picky eating in dogs by setting a regular feeding schedule. We recommend feeding your pup two meals a day in the morning and the afternoon. Smaller portions allow your dog to eat their food and avoid an upset stomach. 

Avoid leaving a large amount of food out for your dog to eat throughout the day. Dogs can lose mealtime excitement and motivation to eat when there is a constant supply of food in their bowl. Two mealtimes also make it easier for you to track your pup’s portion sizes and food intake.

Give your picky eater dog around 15 to 20 minutes to finish their food. If they haven’t touched their food by then, take the bowl away for a bit and try feeding again a bit later. If scheduled feedings aren’t kicking your dog’s fussy eating habits, then it’s time to add some excitement to their bowl. 

Add toppers or treats

If your picky pup used to enjoy their food, their taste preferences may have changed over time. Just like humans, dogs can get sick of eating the same thing over and over again. Before switching their diet, consider adding treats or toppers to their food to motivate them to eat.