Got a picky eating dog?
How to turn this nightmare around

Joey’s dog Rocky used to eat everything you put in front of him. However, these days, Rocky isn’t eating so much. When Joey thinks about his dog, a picky eater comes to mind. What is Joey doing wrong? Are there underlying reasons for picky eating dogs? Are there food for picky eaters?

Read on to find out...

What made your dog a picky eater?

To many owners, their dog is like a child. They want the dog to be happy and to like them. As an expression of their love, they feed the dog all kinds of treats. Joey was feeding Rocky table scraps during Thanksgiving and during meals. What owners like Joey don’t know is that they are creating picky eating dogs.

This is not natural because dogs are supposed to desire all kinds of foods. In addition, some human food might end up hurting their pets. Much of what we eat is heavily processed. Some of the worst diseases modern humans face are heart diseases, diabetes and cancer. Much of this comes from the food we eat and the lack of exercise. The way Joey is letting Rocky eat his food, this could easily be his fate.  

Out in the wild, dogs would have to make do with whatever food there is. As a result, picky eating dogs would not survive too long. With evolution, dogs have learned to have a desire for food because without it they will starve. As with life, nothing is what it seems.

Key reasons for picky eating dogs:

#1 Health-related reasons

Some illnesses like stomach problems could make the dog less accepting of feed. Dental diseases can mean eating hurts so eating less means less pain. Inoculation shots often come with side effects like decreases in appetite. Such events should be discussed with the Vet.

#2 Bad experience with certain foods

There is a good reason why kids don’t like broccoli and spinach. The bitter taste is evolution telling them that the food might be poisonous. This type of response is not uncommon with dogs. If they don’t like the smell, they won’t eat it.

#3 Tender gums in puppies

Very sensitive conditions in their mouth during teething can make the puppy a picky eater. This usually happens when the puppy is between 3-6 months old. They will not be enthusiastic about chewing large pieces of food. Therefore, mashing their food would be a preferable approach.

#4 Canine puberty

As with adolescence of any species, it brings about many changes. Among those are the development of certain preferences. This can include food. As a result, your puppy, the picky eater may transform into a pickier eating dog. Another thing that happens during this stage is that the dog will prioritize mating over feeding. It’s best to monitor their behaviors at this stage even more.

#5 Times of stress  

INTERESTING FACT! It is proven by science that dogs can not only smell our emotions, but the way we are feeling can rub off on them too.  

A dog’s appetite may decrease dramatically in states of high anxiety. This could happen when there are extended times of unrest in their home or on New Years Eve when the exploding fireworks frighten them. A good strategy may be to move them to a more serene environment or give them some space and time to adjust.

My dog is still a picky eater though. How to fix this?

Feeding a picky dog does not need to be a nightmare. Preparing food for picky eaters does require a good strategy and a lot of patience.

Dr. Jerry Klein, Chief Veterinary Officer of the American Kennel Club has some recommendations:

Firstly, as importantly as knowing what to feed a picky dog, setting and sticking to a mealtime schedule to the degree possible is just as important. Like children, your picky eater dog needs some structure. Without a routine, it may cause some digestive problems. When a good routine has been established the dog will have a Pavlovian response at the right time of the day and its stomach will start to beg for food.

Secondly, leave food out for no longer than 15 to 20 minutes.

Feeding a picky dog can be a battle of the mind. Having a narrow window will create a sense of urgency for your friend. As a result, they will eventually try to finish it quickly as they know it will be a while till the next meal.

BONUS TIP! If your dog doesn’t eat anything, take the bowls away. We would recommend repeating this stage a few times. To show that you are in charge.

In addition to knowing what to feed a picky dog is to create the demand for that food. The best thing to do that is a bit of exercise. This means going out for a run with your friend. A little fresh air will do wonders. Anyway, staying home all the time can be quite boring.

Remember what was causing the human diseases? Rocky needs the exercise as much as Joey does. There are many things you can do like running, paying fetch at the park and just walking. An additional benefit is that it also gets you out of the house. Who knows, you might make some new friends.

Are there actual dog food for picky eaters?

INTERESTING FACT! The Maltese breed is well-known for having a picky appetite. There are Reddit threads about the topic.

Yes, there are many companies producing high-quality dog food which will make feeding a picky dog a thing of the past. However, as mentioned before, a little patience is required.

It is a bad idea to introduce the dog to the high quality food right away. It may cause some gastrointestinal problems as they are not used to the feed leading to more pickiness. At some point, the ratio of old food to new food will be almost nothing.

So at this point, you are thinking, “what exactly are these high quality dog food for picky eaters. The best ones are the ones with fresh ingredients. Many of these are raw vegetables and meats. Much of the store bought dog food may be overly processed. It lowers the nutrition content.

If you don’t have time to go to the store and prepare the food, ZENOO can help. We are professionals at knowing what to feed a picky dog. Our products are made from 100% natural ingredients.

With our personalization approach, we help monitor the progress and create a feed plan for each individual dog. The plan can change according to the dogs’ situation.  

In addition, we have vets and certified nutritionists balance the nutrients and the raw ingredients so it is high in fiber and contains the necessary proteins, fats, vitamins & antioxidants. Our goal is to get to the point where you will not say “my dog is a picky eater” again!

Ogi loves ZENOO raw food, we forgot how picky he used to be.

Also, using ZENOO properly formulated lifestyle plans we have managed to perfect Ogi's health - his blood results are ideal, he has a shinier coat, increased appetite & less digestion.

- Ogi's owner Lila

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