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DOG / nutrition

Getting Your Picky Doggie to Eat

When they won’t eat their meal, here’s how to deal

Overview

Health first

If your dog isn’t interested in dinner (or breakfast, or even a snack), and you can’t figure out why, it’s time for a visit to the vet. Expect your dog’s doctor to ask about weight loss, vomiting and diarrhea in order to discover whether kidney, liver or pancreas problems might be causing your pet to boycott the bowl. Also on the agenda: Ruling out dental problems, which can make it tough for a dog to chew.

Check your own behavior

Sometimes, we inadvertently contribute to our pets’ bad eating habits. Dogs that often get table scraps may start turning up their nose at their own food because the people-food tastes better. Feeding dogs between-meal treats (even treats made for dogs) may also make their own meals seem less tasty by comparison.

Helping your picky pup

Try these strategies to get your dog to eat:

  • Establish regular mealtimes for your dog and stick to the schedule.
  • Praise your pet when the meal is eaten. (Good doggy! Lick those chops!)
  • After 30 minutes, take away any uneaten food. Don’t offer your dog a morsel more until the next mealtime.
  • Look for dog food with labels that say “taste” or “flavor.” Some manufacturers use scientific studies and vet advice to make their food more appealing to picky pups.
  • If you feed your dog dry food, consider switching to wet dog food. Some dogs prefer it.
  • No more people food. Seriously.
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