What to Feed a Dog That Won't Eat

Is your dog normally a chow hound but today won’t touch his dinner? Maybe you have a dog who is picky pretty much all of the time. It can be frustrating and worrying when a dog won’t eat. If a dog who usually eats well suddenly stops and misses more than one meal, you should call your veterinarian. If your dog is always picky or is usually a good eater but isn’t interested in one meal, here are some things you can try to coax him to eat.

Mix in Something Delicious

Mix in Something Delicious

Just like humans, dogs sometimes get sick of the same-old same-old. While there are many things that your dog should not eat from your plate or refrigerator, there are also plenty that he can eat. Mixing in something new can pique your pooch’s curiosity and appetite.

Add Human Food

While table foods are often not good for dogs, the reason is that it can contain ingredients that are harmful to our canine friends. Anything cooked with onion, mushrooms, garlic, salt, and many seasonings can be harmful or even toxic. If you have plain chicken or beef that hasn’t had anything added to it, though, you can dice some up and stir that into your dog’s food. (Don’t give him beef fat or chicken skin, and of course avoid any cooked bones.)

Dog-friendly items that you probably already have in your fridge include shredded cheese, plain yogurt (not the sugar-free kind, though!), cottage cheese, and eggs. Cook the eggs first; you can scramble them or serve them over easy. Stir any of these into your dog’s everyday kibble and watch him perk up!

Add Cat Food

Cat food is not good to feed dogs on a regular basis or as an entire meal, but sprinkling a small handful of cat kibble on your dog’s dry food can attract the attention of his nose. So will canned cat food. It tends to be smellier than dog food, so many dogs love it. Even a few cat treats might tempt your finicky friend to eat.

Add Canned or Fresh Dog Food

If you normally feed your dog kibble, he might enjoy a different type of dog food stirred in. Don’t add too much at once, because changing your dog’s diet quickly can cause digestive upset. A few spoonfuls of canned dog food or fresh dog food can add interest to his dry food, though. If you want to try fresh food but you don’t have time to make your own, try food from NomNomNow. This company will deliver it straight to your door for delicious convenience.

Change How You Present the Food

Presentation is everything, and that doesn’t change when it comes to your dog. Think of ways you can change things up to make him a bit more curious about his dinner.

Change the Temperature

If the weather is hot, try refrigerating your dog’s food. Sometimes, when dogs are hot and uncomfortable, they don’t feel like eating. Putting the bowl in the fridge for a while can help coax him to eat.

Change the Container

First, make sure your dog’s food dish is nice and clean. If there are remnants of yesterday’s breakfast in the bowl, it’s no wonder he isn’t interested in chowing down. Remember that a dog’s nose is more sensitive than yours, so a dirty bowl is likely to turn him off even if you don’t smell anything.

Otherwise, try changing up the container. One favorite way to feed a dog is to put the food in a toy like a Kong. These are relatively easy for your dog to pick up and dump or shake the food out of. Stirring in some canned food or even a bit of peanut butter can make it more challenging. You can also purchase a puzzle toy to place dry kibble in or a feeding mat, which allows you dog to forage for his food. He will think it’s a game to get the food out, and that can make eating fun.

Pick Up the Food Between Meals

Pick Up the Food Between Meals

If you are leaving uneaten food out during the day between your dog’s meals, this could be why he’s not hungry at each meal. He could be grazing all day, so he never builds up much of an appetite for the next meal. If your dog consistently has this problem, try a twice-per-day feeding schedule. Pick up the food an hour or so after you offer it in the morning. By the time his evening feeding rolls around, he might be hungry and ready to eat it in one sitting. This can create a better eating routine.

Remember, if you are worried about your dog’s eating habits, don’t waste time in contacting your veterinarian. This is particularly true if your dog suddenly stops eating, misses a few meals in a row, or is showing other signs of illness like vomiting, diarrhea, or listlessness. If he’s just picky, try some of the above solutions to get him to become a better eater.

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