Most Picky Dogs are Overweight....
I work with a lot of picky dogs, and most are overweight. Sooo are they picky or are dog parents well-trained?
I really want a dog to enjoy their food, but there is a balance between enjoyment and over catering. If the dog is overweight they are not starving for calories…but I don’t know if they are starving for nutrients. That depends on what is being fed to entice them to eat. Are they getting high calorie dental treats, chews, peanut butter kongs, lots of high value training treats during the day…but then don’t want kibble or other commercial foods?
Who can blame them!?
It's unlikely they are hungry and everything else they get is much tastier than what's in the bowl. The problem is their nutrients are coming from the food not chews and treats.
If there is no medical reason for your dog's inappetence, you really have to be cautious in how you approach their feeding. Buying new bags of dog food everytime they refuse a meal or adding sardine water, etc is not a good long term strategy. Hand feeding is also not recommended... When you need someone to watch your dog, who is going to do all the things you do to get them to eat?
Also remember that you want to reserve some novel proteins - adding duck and rabbit simply for new flavours is something you will regret if allergies develop.
Some dogs do best with one meal per day.
Is your dog getting enough exercise to build up an appetite?
Leaving food out all day to graze on makes it hard to track how much your dog is eating and you are less likely to notice any signs of upset.
Your dog should enjoy their base food without toppers. If you add meat toppers, try feeding them after the meal or at least mixing them really well so they aren't picked out.
If your dog refuses to eat, pick up the bowl and offer it again 30 min later. If they still refuse it put it away until next meal time. Continue and see if that helps. Don't keep adding things to entice them because they are going to hold out. So many people have never had their dog skip a meal.
Dehydrated and freeze dried foods are often more palatable than kibble, see if those are a better fit.
𝘼 𝙘𝙤𝙣𝙘𝙚𝙧𝙣 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝 𝙥𝙞𝙘𝙠𝙮 𝙚𝙖𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙨 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙢𝙖𝙣𝙮 𝙥𝙚𝙤𝙥𝙡𝙚 𝙙𝙤𝙣'𝙩 𝙘𝙤𝙣𝙨𝙞𝙙𝙚𝙧 𝙞𝙨 - 𝙞𝙛 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙮 𝙬𝙤𝙣’𝙩 𝙚𝙖𝙩 𝙖 𝙝𝙞𝙜𝙝 𝙫𝙖𝙡𝙪𝙚 𝙛𝙤𝙤𝙙 𝙡𝙞𝙠𝙚 𝙖 𝙘𝙤𝙤𝙠𝙚𝙙 𝙗𝙚𝙚𝙛 𝙢𝙚𝙖𝙩𝙗𝙖𝙡𝙡 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝 𝙡𝙞𝙫𝙚𝙧 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙝𝙚𝙖𝙧𝙩 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙖 𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙮 𝙖𝙢𝙤𝙪𝙣𝙩 𝙤𝙛 𝙫𝙚𝙜𝙚𝙩𝙖𝙗𝙡𝙚 - 𝙤𝙧 𝙬𝙤𝙣'𝙩 𝙚𝙖𝙩 𝙞𝙩 𝙘𝙤𝙣𝙨𝙞𝙨𝙩𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙡𝙮- 𝙬𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙖𝙧𝙚 𝙬𝙚 𝙜𝙤𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙤 𝙙𝙤 𝙬𝙝𝙚𝙣 𝙖 𝙝𝙚𝙖𝙡𝙩𝙝 𝙞𝙨𝙨𝙪𝙚 𝙣𝙚𝙘𝙚𝙨𝙨𝙞𝙩𝙖𝙩𝙚𝙨 𝙖 𝙨𝙩𝙧𝙞𝙘𝙩𝙚𝙧 𝙙𝙞𝙚𝙩 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝 𝙥𝙤𝙩𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙞𝙖𝙡𝙡𝙮 𝙡𝙚𝙨𝙨 𝙢𝙚𝙖𝙩 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙝𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙚𝙧 𝙘𝙖𝙧𝙗. 𝙏𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙘𝙖𝙣 𝙗𝙚 𝙖 𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙮 𝙨𝙩𝙧𝙚𝙨𝙨𝙛𝙪𝙡 𝙥𝙧𝙤𝙗𝙡𝙚𝙢 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙄 𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙡𝙡𝙮 𝙬𝙖𝙣𝙩 𝙙𝙤𝙜 𝙥𝙖𝙧𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙨 𝙩𝙤 𝙘𝙤𝙣𝙨𝙞𝙙𝙚𝙧 𝙞𝙩 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙩𝙖𝙠𝙚 𝙞𝙩 𝙨𝙚𝙧𝙞𝙤𝙪𝙨𝙡𝙮.
I have another blog post that has more tips for picky eaters because I do respect that they have preferences for texture, smell, temperature etc. and we do want them to like their meals. But there is a balance.
Please reach out for a general email consult if you have concerns with your own dog. The longer it goes on, the harder it is to work with...