You know you own a finicky dog when he turns up his nose at his kibble and looks at you with a disgusted face. With a past as scavengers, you would assume dogs would eat just about anything; however, just like humans, some dogs have made being finicky a way of life. Before accusing your pooch of being a picky eater, evaluate whether you're feeding too many table scraps, and don't forget about the chances for medical problems.
A Touch of Greens
Sometimes, your finicky dog's appetite can be brought back to life by adding a few enticing treats to the bowl. If you just can't resist throwing in some table scraps, at least, make sure they're healthy. Try adding to your dog's plain food choice of string beans, baby carrots, peas, sweet potatoes or squash. However, keep in mind that when it comes to feeding people foods, moderation is key. make sure you stick to the golden rule of not adding more than 10 percent to the dog’s diet according to Web MD.
At times, a little bit of lip-smacking gravy is all it takes to make your dog love his food again. You don't have to purchase a savory sauce from your local pet store, however. Instead, why not make it yourself? Warm up half a cup of low-salt beef or chicken broth that contains no onion or garlic and then whisk in a teaspoon of cornstarch to thicken the sauce. Finally, add some chopped bits of meat, allow the gravy to cool, and then serve it over your pooch's food, explain Wendy Nan Rees and Kristen Hampshire in the book "Dog Lover's Daily Companion: 365 Days of Tips, Tricks, and Techniques for Living a Rich Life With Your Dog."
Chicken and Rice Blend
If Scruffy normally is voracious and now is refusing food, you should have him seen by a vet. Anorexia is the medical term used to describe a lack of appetite. Some dogs just may require extra coaxing to eat, while others may need to be fed through a turkey baster or syringe. Try mixing equal amounts of cooked rice and chicken in the blender, adding enough water until it reaches a creamy consistency. Adding a whole tube of a high-caloric paste, such as Nutrical, adds extra nutrition according to veterinarian Ron Hines. Never force-feed your dog if you're at risk of getting bitten.
Preventing Bad Habits
Keep in mind that anything you add to your dog's food to entice him to eat has some potential drawbacks. Adding gravy or canned food to Scruffy's kibble may cause him to go on a major strike the day you run out of these tasty additions. After ruling out medical problems, alternative options to entice your dog to eat include cutting back on treats, exercising your dog more, feeding at different times, changing the location you feed the food and gradually changing food brands. If your dog is sick, your vet may prescribe appetite stimulants and special prescription diets.
Adrienne Farricelli has been writing for magazines, books and online publications since 2005. She specializes in canine topics, previously working for the American Animal Hospital Association and receiving certification from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. Her articles have appeared in "USA Today," "The APDT Chronicle of the Dog" and "Every Dog Magazine." She also contributed a chapter in the book " Puppy Socialization - An Insider's Guide to Dog Behavioral Fitness" by Caryl Wolff.