What to Give a Dog That Does Not Want to Eat

by Vivian Gomez
    "This again? I'll have what you're having."

    "This again? I'll have what you're having."

    Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

    Trying to get a finicky dog to eat can be a frustrating, but not impossible, endeavor. You will have to figure out what is making your dog so picky. There can be a variety of reasons why your dog is ignoring his food, and some are health-related. Go to a veterinarian to rule out any health concerns first, then worry about getting your dog to eat.

    Health Issues

    There's a difference between being finicky and having loss of appetite. The latter can be caused by a variety of health issues. Take your pooch to the veterinarian for a checkup. The veterinarian will be able to determine whether there are any gastric-related problems or even tooth problems that may be causing your dog pain.

    Table Scraps and Spoiled Dogs

    Dogs are smart beasts. If you give your dog table scraps, he may be ignoring his dog food in the hopes of getting "people" food. While some types of people food are safe for dogs, it's important to feed him a healthy, balanced diet that gives him all the nutrients he needs for development and to maintain a healthy coat. Stop giving him table scraps, and limit him to a strict feeding schedule, peppered with dog treats throughout the day.

    Check the Food

    Even if the expiration date is OK, smell the food and examine it to make sure that it's not spoiled or stale. Your pal might simply be letting you know that his food doesn't taste good. Try a fresh bag or new can of the same food. While it's OK to try another flavor, resist the urge to try too many different types. You might end up doing more harm than good and encourage your pooch to hold out for something better.

    Feeding Schedule

    Consider splitting your dog's feeding schedule so he eats once in the morning and once at night. Your dog's a smart cookie, and will eventually eat when he's hungry. Help him by establishing a strict feeding schedule and sticking to it. Put down his bowl of food and give him a moment to check it out. Dogs typically take just a few minutes to clean their plates, so wait about 15 minutes. If your dog has not eaten in that amount of time, remove the bowl and don't try again until the next scheduled feeding time. He will pick up on the pattern.


    Your dog may be simply letting you know he's bored with the same food day in and day out. Consider mixing dry kibble with canned wet food, or even mixing in some unsalted vegetable or chicken broth. Set his bowl down and walk away. Remove the bowl after 15 minutes, so he begins to understand that he has to eat when it's mealtime.

    He's Ruining His Appetite

    Even if you avoid feeding your dog table scraps or other "people" food as snacks, he might be snacking too much and ruining his appetite. Keep track of how many doggie biscuits you are giving your four-legged pal, and make sure you're not overdoing it.

    Photo Credits

    • Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Vivian Gomez contributes to Retailing Today, the Daily Puppy, Paw Nation and other websites. She's covered the New York Comic Con for NonProductive since 2009 and writes about everything from responsible pet ownership to comic books to the manner in which smart phones are changing the way people shop. Gomez received her Bachelor of Arts in English literature from Pace University.

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