We have helped lots of dog owners achieve their ambition of having a dog who looks forward to their meal and simply eats it when the bowl is put down. Understanding what drives a dog to appear fussy is key to winning this battle. Consider the following 6 things:
Imagine this, you have just eaten a cooked breakfast, then half an hour later you are presented with a bowl of porridge. Will your tail wag with excitement or will you breath out heavily, shake your head and say 'maybe in a while'.
If your dog doesn't know what it feels like to be hungry, this could be your problem. If your dog is eating a little bit then leaving the rest, this will take the edge off their hunger until next time. There is nothing wrong with your dog feeling hungry and looking forward to his next meal. If you think this is your dog's problem we recommend offering the food at lunchtime, if they don't eat it, take it up after 10 mins and present again at 6 pm. No treats or alternatives but always leave fresh water available. If you are trying every couple of hours to tempt your dog they may nibble a bit and this again reduces the hunger drive. Don't be tempted, let them wait until teatime and develop a hunger. Remember: In the wild, it is normal for a wolf to not eat every day and many raw feeders 'fast' their dogs one day a week.
Are you feeding too much food?
This is really simple. Use the feeding guide on our site, weigh the food and stick to it. An overfed dog may just put on weight but others will leave the extra food which may make them appear 'fussy' when in fact they don't need it and are full. The same applies to treats so if you are topping, adding extra human food or treating between meals it can have the same effect i.e. the dog is getting too much food. By leaving it, they are telling you it is too much.
Is your treating routine affecting their meal?
You know how it goes with a child right? They say they are 'starving' so grab some biscuits before the meal then halfway through the meal put the knife and fork down and announce they are full. We recommend if you believe your dog is fussy to cut out all treats until a proper feeding routine is embedded.
Is your dog manipulating you?
We have been here ourselves and it is not until you take a step back and think about it that it dawns on you what is actually going on. Imagine this scene from a dogs point of view.
Human puts down food.
Dog walks over, sniffs and walks off.
Human bites nails and thinks dog is going to waste away.
Owner tries a different food, dog repeats the same.
Owner sweats even more and brings out some ham, chops it up and sprinkles it on top.
Dog thinks 'Finally!' and eats the ham.
Next day, the same situation only this time dog leaves the ham and looks at the owner
Owner grates some cheese, dog eats some of the food and leaves the rest, this goes on for a few days.
Owner gets fed up and says to the dog, 'You aren't getting anything until you eat your proper food!'
Dog holds out for three days, owner is devastated and next time cooks fresh steak for the dog....you can see where this is going
You don't stand any chance of establishing a healthy feeding routine if your dog knows that other foods are on offer. Make no mistake, your dog is manipulating you. Do not let this happen. The longest we have experienced a dog holding out has been 3 days. Yes, they lost some weigh-in those few days but gained it back once they began eating a healthy normal diet. You are in charge and know what is best for your dog, don't allow them to become fussy!
Do you leave food down all day?
Food scarcity can cure a dog immediately. In multi-dog households, dogs know if they don't eat it now someone else is going to eat it. If you have one dog and leave their food down all day for them to graze on this may develop into fussiness. Still stick to a routine of taking food up if it is not eaten after 10 mins. Your dog needs to know you are in charge of the food and it will sharpen their interest if you feed at set times.
Feed a nutritious, tasty food
Not all dry foods are equal in terms of ingredients. Dogs taste with their nose and a food with a high meat content will grab their attention from the smell. A dry food containing mainly grain, rice, pea fibre, white potato and other cheaper ingredients simply does not taste the same. Do not expect them to get excited about it. Wolfworthy is 80% Meat and 20% fruit and veg, we also include organ meat which is a superfood for your dog. Feed a food such as Wolfworthy and follow the advice above and you will soon have your fussy dog's ears pricked when they hear the crinkle of the pack!