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  • Jody

Do you have a picky eater?

Are you frustrated at the waste of food?

Something that's often overlooked when a dog turns their nose up at meal times is food texture, presentation and temperature.

Since most people have already tried enticing with toppers and broths, here are some other tips that you can try:

  • if feeding kibble, try canned or dehydrated/freeze dried for different texture

  • vice versa if they don't like dehydrated (which can be kind of runny) maybe they want the harder texture of kibble

  • some dogs like pâté style canned food vs chunky stews

  • if feeding fresh - try shaping the food into meatballs, some dogs prefer to pick up chunks of food

  • feed from a plate vs a bowl, some dogs prefer a flat surface

  • try putting separate foods in muffin tins or separate little dishes. This lets your dog show you their preferences and you can try various types of food and see what they pick! In each compartment try crunchy, warm, cold, pâté, stew, cooked veg in pieces and pulverized.

  • try feeding the meal in puzzles and hiding the puzzles. Many dogs appreciate the challenge and are more likely to eat if they have to search and find puzzles that are hidden. I see this with some dogs that may not have big appetites.

  • if raw meat is refused try cooked meat - easy!

  • try cooked veg as pieces vs pulverized - again, texture issues

  • try feeding warmed or room temperature food if you always feed right from the fridge

  • if you always top meals with fresh meat or commercial meat toppers, try adding them as they eat their base food, some during and then after.

I believe there's a balance between finding out your dog's basic preferences but not over catering. If you're used to your puppy finishing all their meals with gusto and then they start leaving some food behind, this could simply be due to a slower growth period and not needing as many calories. They may also be telling you that they are ready for twice daily feedings if you've been feeding three. It's not necessarily a reason to panic and to start changing foods.

If your dog is constantly walking away from food at meal times, give some of these ideas a try vs relying on lots of toppers and new food every meal. I see so many dogs that expect a different food to come every meal and you can easily add variety to meals in subtle ways. Instead of a veggie mix with 6 veggies, try a new single veggie weekly or daily. Try some fresh herbs or spices. You shouldn't have to feed a completely different commercial food daily to provide variety and interest in a meal.

Remember, if your dog ever needs a diet for a health support, it's unlikely a diet to address health issues can accommodate a lot of variety. This can be a very frustrating issue because you aren't able to address health issues as effectively if you can't get them to eat consistently. Something to think about!

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