Always check if your dog is having any possible health issues. Confirm with your vet that there is no underlying issue causing your dog to stop eating.
Dental - Have a poke around your dog’s mouth to see if it is teething or having any gum infections. If they are teething or have pain whilst chewing, you could try feeding softened food to see if that helps encourage their appetite until they feel better.
Once you have determined that your dog is in the pink of health - Test to see if your dog is just being fussy. Try tempting your dog with something extra special – leftover roast chicken or a piece of steak is something most dogs would be unable to resist! You will know if your dog is simply being fussy if they wolf that special morsel down without hesitation.
If your dog is simply being fussy, you need to decide if you plan to keep updating your dog’s diet to suit their ever-changing palate OR you intend to train your dog to eat whatever is put in front of it. This is a personal choice that each owner will have to be accountable for.
Here are some ideas on getting their meal times going:
If your dog does not finish it’s food after 30 minutes, take the food away. If they are healthy – they will get hungry at some point and eat whatever you give them.
Skipping the occasional meal would also teach the dog to appreciate whatever food is placed in front of them. Most dogs would quickly consume food when they are unsure of when the next meal would be.
For young pups who get distracted easily, feeding them in the crate or pen often helps them to focus on their food.
For some dogs, ‘playing’ with their food encourages eating. It is also a good way to mentally stimulate your dog. There are many feeding toys that require the dog to paw at or nudge to get the food out. It is also a good way to make your dog earn their food!
A simple idea to try at home with your dog
What do I feed my dog?
There are so many options! Raw diet, kibble, freeze-dried, canned, home-cooked.
Things to consider when deciding on your dog’s diet
Ensure there are sufficient nutrients for your dog
Sustainability of feeding that chosen food eg - preparation time, ease of purchase
Finances – is it within your budget for the next 10-15 years?
My top recommendations
DO NOT hand feed your dog – unless you plan to be there for every single meal for the rest of your dog’s life
Keep your dog’s food away after 30 minutes. Do not leave food lying around all day. It is not hygienic and the food can easily become rancid when left out. Also, when your dog is left with a boarder, it is very unlikely that your dog’s food would be left around all day – it would be quickly eaten up by the other dogs!
With whatever method or type of food you feed your dog, ensure it is sustainable for your lifestyle and your dog’s health.