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My dog is refusing to eat – what should I do?Updated 2 months ago

It can be frustrating and concerning if your dog won’t eat. We have worked with behaviourists and our vet team to compile a few hints and tricks you can try!
 
 Firstly, you want to eliminate a medical issue. A decreased appetite in dogs can be a sign of illness. It could also be that your dog doesn’t want to eat because something in their mouth is causing pain - a broken or loose tooth for example, or in a small number of cases it can be an abscess or tumour. 
 Recent vaccinations can cause a temporary loss of appetite, as can a change in environment due to travel or staying with a friend or at kennels.

Once you’ve eliminated any medical issues, give the following ideas a try:

➡️ One simple, and overlooked tip is to try different bowls and different locations – some dogs have preference for a steel bowl, some a fancy porcelain dish! And some dogs will only eat in a safe, quiet space - away from other pets or children.

➡️ A great tip to try is to try warming the food to release more of the aromas of the ingredients - just place some food into a microwave-safe bowl and gently heat for 10 seconds at a time, be sure to stir well to avoid hot spots.

➡️ If your dog prefers a wetter dish, or if they have poor teeth or a delicate mouth then adding a little warm water can help. Using a tasty gravy can be even better – our Taste+ toppers are great for this. They are designed to either be sprinkled on to food or mixed with water to make a delicious gravy. The flavours and aromas are specifically designed to get dogs olfactory nerves tingling! They’re a real treat for the senses and come in different flavours.

➡️ Try adding some of your dog’s favourite treats (our Brainy Bites are great for this - break them up and sprinkle them!) Don’t give them treats before dinner though!

➡️ Another trick that can work for playful pups is to use a stuff toy like a Kong bone or a licki-mat to make mealtimes fun – serve the usual food and usual portion, but bringing a game element to meal times can really make a difference for play-oriented pooches!

➡️ If your dog is motivated by praise then make sure you tell them what a good dog they are when they finish a meal.

➡️ Keeping a food diary of what recipes have been a hit or haven't quite hit the spot can really help, as well as noting any of the above ideas if you used them for that meal, or changes in schedule.

➡️ Finally, avoid feeding an alternative food from the one you want them to eat – including your own food -  try not to teach them that if they don't eat their own food you will come to the rescue with something else. Dogs can be very good at training us sometimes!

If they haven’t eaten their food after 15 minutes, simply take it away and cover it. Don’t give them an alternative, and do not feed them again until their next meal time. Dogs don’t necessarily need to eat every day – particularly if they’re not active– they simply may not be hungry. 

This may seem harsh but if you can crack the fussy eating habit your dog will be happier and healthier, so stick with it despite the looks and sounds they give you!

If you’ve eliminated any medical issues, it’s important to remember that if a dog is hungry, they will eventually eat fresh, quality food when offered.

Good luck!

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