Dogs are known for a lot of things; jumping up to greet you, tearing manically after a thrown toy, wagging their tongue out of an open car window… and in most cases, eating anything they can get their snouts on.
What if your dog has lost their appetite, though, or just won’t eat their regular food - is that a cause for concern? The short answer is ‘maybe’, as there are lots of reasons your pooch might be turning their nose up at dinner.
Read our full guide to fussy eaters to assess why your dog might not be eating, and get them back to cleaning the bowl as usual.
If your dog could usually pass for a canine vacuum cleaner, it can be worrying to see they’ve left food behind at meal times. However, the cause of this could be very simple.
The first thing to consider is whether your dog is suffering from a health issue, and if it could warrant a visit to the vet. The cause for snubbing food could be as simple as a stomach upset, or it could be a sign of something more serious.
Dogs are anxious creatures, and even the calmest, most placid dog can suffer from a stressed stomach if their surroundings have changed. Your dog may be off his food as a behavioural reaction to scenarios such as:
If you can’t seem to pinpoint a reason for your dog not eating; they’re not eating anything, including treats or home-cooked food, and they leave their food for more than one day, this is the time to pay attention in case something more serious is going on. Take your dog to the vet for a checkover. The vet will ask questions about your dog’s recent activities and be able to examine them for certain symptoms.
Perhaps less concerning, but still a problem to be rectified, is when your dog is happy to eat treats or specific snacks but won’t eat regular meals. Believe it or not, this has a term - Partial Anorexia - and it doesn’t have entirely the same meaning as in humans.
Partial Anorexia in dogs is when a dog is only happy to eat certain foods, and therefore isn’t getting the nutrition they usually would from a regular, balanced diet. It can often stem from the dog eating too many treats (perhaps because all household members are sneaking the dog a treat throughout the day), and in time, they become savvy enough to refuse all food to the alternative.
If the above sounds familiar, it could be worth analysing whether you are overfeeding your dog or puppy with too many scraps, snacks and treats. Ask yourself the following:
If you realise that your dog is a fussy eater due to disorganised feeding habits, it could be worth getting back to basics around feeding routines for your dog. If they’re a puppy, be sure to consult a puppy feeding guide.
All is not lost if your dog has become a fussy pooch! Follow the below steps and keep at them - until your dog is in a regular routine and looks forward to their meals again.
For dogs that are fussy or picky eaters, it’s a good idea to choose foods that are more palatable and nutritious for them than commercial dog foods. A high-protein food for dogs, for example, should encourage your pooch to eat while still providing essential nutrients to keep them healthy and functioning from the inside out.
If you’d like to chat more about feeding a fussy dog, get in touch with us. Or try Pooch & Mutt’s range of hypoallergenic, grain-free dog foods and healthy dog treats - packed with tasty whole proteins, vitamins, minerals and nutritional supplements.