Do you ever wonder why dogs eat at the pace they do? What about when your dog only eats a few bites and then walks away?
Different types of breeds eat fast and eat a lot, while others may be light eaters, and pick and choose when they eat.
If you are like me, and have a dog that is an extremely picky eater, there is a solution to it!
Picking out the right dog food for your puppy can be crucial. Here is a look at some of the best options for your picky dog.
Different Breeds and how they eat
Research shows that different sized dogs, along with breeds may make the difference when it comes to picky eating.
Smaller dogs, such as dachshunds and yorkies may eat less and be much more picky than a larger breed. On the same note, German Shepherds and Boxers tend to eat extremely fast, and are constantly looking for more food.
In our household, my almost two year old boxer will eat food quickly, in which we will separate his portions to make sure he doesn’t choke. My smaller Labrador is quite the picky eater, and will pick and choose when she feels like eating.
Adjusting your expectations to your dogs preferences will allow you to be at peace if your dog shows signs of not always being hungry.
Different areas of concern to look for in Picky Eaters
While picky eating can be a phase, there are still warning signs to keep an eye out if your dog shows long periods of time with barely eating:
- Digestive Issues– Some dogs have trouble digesting food. Whether it be because of stomach issues, or the food pieces being too large for your dog, it is something to watch.
- Dental Issues– Some dogs may have gum soreness, or sensitive teeth. Along with this, there may be a deeper root cause when it comes to teeth issues.
- Tumors or other major medical issues– While this is the last thing we want to think about, the picky eating may be because of an issue we cannot necessarily see.
If any of the issues above are a concern, please go see a vet. Regular vet check ups on your dog will help look for these issues as well.
Picky eaters will eat at random times
Tips for the Picky Eater
- Start the food plan right away: From the day you bring home your dog, be prepared. Speak with your vet, or the place you brought the dog home from. Ask what kind of food they have started them on. If a more healthy option is something you want to bring into play, do it slowly. Mix in a 1/4th of a cup with their regular food. After 4-5 days, do a half of a cup. Eventually, after two weeks or so, you can move them to the food you want.
- No Table Scraps: As much as people want to give little pieces of leftover foods to their dogs, they shouldn’t. Human food is meant to be just that. If you give them table scraps, they will constantly begin to beg for more. They may not want to eat their food. Table scraps can also cause digestion problems.
- Stick with the schedule: Once you start feeding your dog twice a day, stick with it. After a short time, you will begin to notice what times your dog likes to eat. (Example: My older dog, a picky eater, often doesn’t eat her dinner until closer to 8 p.m.) Once you begin to notice these trends, you will panic less if your dog doesn’t eat right when you expect them to.
- Don’t overfeed: If you force your dog to eat, it will only end poorly for you in the future. It is okay if your dog doesn’t eat twice a day. Your dog may even barely eat once a day. Keep an eye out for the next day. If your dog goes multiple days without eating, consult your vet.
- If all else fails, get them more exercise: Oftentimes, my older dog is picky when eating. If I get worried about her, I will tend to go get her some vigorous exercise in order to work up an appetite. Often, dogs just need an extra boost of energy to wear off in order to develop their hunger. Shaking up the routine in this sense may answer your doubts.
Food can be sectioned for picky eaters
The Honest Kitchen
A chicken recipe, this dog food is made with human-grade ingredients and is packed with a large portion organic recipe. The top 4 ingredients consist of whole grain barley, oats and flaxseed along with organically raised chicken. With a lot of healthy ingredients and vitamins, many dogs will enjoy the great flavor that this food offers.
The only downfall of this option is the food does need to be rehydrated. This is done by using some water, and allow to cool for 3-5 minutes. Making sure you do this a few minutes before dinner time will prevent your dog from going stir crazy when you are making them dinner.
The price is a little steep for this option, with a 16LB bag coming in at $44.58.
Purina One Dry Chicken and Rice Food
This food is our family’s go to for both of our dogs. Made of natural chicken along with nutrients that are crucial for dogs, this dog food has many dogs nibbling right up.
The brand also has other flavors such as lamb and rice and venison and rice as well.
Our second dog was on Blue Buffalo as a food at first, but after several months, we switched him to this option. We have noticed that our four year old dog, (who is extremely picky), will take her time with the food, but when she does go to eat, the food is gone quickly.
Both dogs get a large amount of compliments from others about how nice their coats are, and how well they both eat their food.
The price is extremely reasonable, with a 31 pound bag coming in at $33.99 on average.
Purina Pro Plan Savor Shredded Blend Beef and Rice Formula Dry Food
Another front runner for the best dog food for picky eaters comes from the Purina company again.
This food has a nice crunchy but digestible texture that your dog will enjoy. The formula that makes up the food is also highly nutritional, with all grains, real beef, and beet included.
With a lot of protein, the food is sure to build your dog’s muscle, along with high energy to balance their nutritional life.
The dog food is well priced, and at $33.88, you can get an 18LB bag.
Blue Buffalo High Protein Grain Free Dog Food
Packed with real chicken, and a smaller size grain free kibble, this option contains a lot of high quality antioxidants that help build and maintain muscle mass.
The natural ingredients with a large amount of omega 3’s gives your dog a shiny coat and supports their skin. Picky eaters may trend to this food because of the natural ingredients.
This was the dog food our second dog was on when he came to us, and is a good option for picky eaters.
The food does come in at a pricey amount, with an 11LB bag coming in at $33.
Homemade Dog Food
If none of the above tickle your fancy, making your own dog food may be the best way to go. With human grade, quality ingredients, dog owners enjoy this option as a healthier alternative.
While homemade portions don’t make as much, the consumer can double or triple the recipe to make a couple weeks worth of food. If you are willing to put the effort in, the benefits are great.
A basic recipe is listed below:
- 6 cups water
- 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 16 ounce package frozen broccoli, carrots and cauliflower combination
- 2 cups brown rice
Place the water, ground turkey, rice, and rosemary into a large Dutch oven. Stir until the ground turkey is broken up and evenly distributed throughout the mixture; bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Add frozen vegetables, and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Refrigerate until using. Makes about five servings.
Whatever dog food you choose, remember, your dog may be a picky eater. It is nothing to panic about right away. Hopefully this guide narrowed down your options of feeding your picky friend the best possible food out there!
Feel free to comment below.
Jen Jones is a professional dog trainer and behavior specialist with more than 25 years of experience. As the founder of ‘Your Dog Advisor’ and the ‘Canine Connection’ rehabilitation center, she applies a holistic, empathetic approach, aiming to address root causes rather than merely treating symptoms.
Well known for her intuitive and compassionate approach, Jen adopts scientifically-proven, reward-based methods, encouraging positive reinforcement over punishment. Jen specializes in obedience training, behavior modification, and puppy socialization. Her innovative methods, particularly in addressing anxiety and aggression issues, have been widely recognized. Jen has worked with many of the world’s leading dog behaviorists and in her free time volunteers with local animal shelters and rescue groups.