I’ve been asked this question a couple times.
“My dog doesn’t eat its food, what should I do?”
I have mentioned it before, but a hungry dog will always eat, whether it is his favorite food or not. Now let me make this clear right away, DON’T STARVE YOUR DOG!
From personal experience I can tell you, if your dog is healthy and just being picky about the food then there is an easy way to take care of that:
1. Stick to a strict feeding schedule, if your dog is older than 8 months you can stick to a 2x per day feeding. I like mine to be one in the AM when I get up with the dogs and one in the PM (not too late so the dogs can go potty before bedtime). My dog Abby had a phase where she would refuse the food, she’d smell i t, look at it and left it alone. I had to establish a new set of rules.
2. Rules: First off, I do recommend exhausting your dog a little before the feeding, an exercised dog will eat more happily than a couch potato. I play fetch and tug of war in the morning with my dogs after they went potty for about 30 minutes. When we go inside they get some water and time to relax. I will then prepare the food and place it down for them to eat. If Abby refused her food I picked it up and put it away and she didn’t get any breakfast. I repeated this for the dinner. After a day she was eating her dinner, but still refused her breakfast. After a week on dinners Abby finally and happily ate her breakfast as well.
3. How to make the feeding process more exciting: My dogs love to work for toys and food. After Abby finally ate again I started to incorporate basic obedience work with the feeding. Sits, downs, stands and speak and for every correct behavior I would take some kibble and reward the good behavior. I used about 1/4 of the food as reward treats and then leave my dogs in a down position while I place the whole food bowl in front of them. After the obedience they are MORE than happy to scarf down their breakfast/dinner.
4. Change in diet: The above steps worked for me and most of the people I work with, but sometimes you get a REAL stubborn dog and nothing will do the trick until you change the food. Find another brand (or the same one with a different flavor) and slowly wean them off the old food. You should see a change in your dog and its willingness to eat.
5. If nothing works and your dog hasn’t eaten in more than 5 days I would strongly recommend a visit to your vet as there might be a medical issue that prevents your dog from eating.