Finicky Eaters, Why won’t my dog eat his own food?

0 Comments Posted by tcahvet in Nutrition, Pet Health on Monday, September 16th, 2013.

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Finicky Eaters

A common complaint we hear all the time, usually involving smaller breeds that we tend to baby because they are so small … and cute. The main contributor to our pets developing a gourmet palate is our need to see them clean their plates. As soon as our little cutie walks away from a dish with food still remaining, it sets off a primal alarm in us that says “there must be something wrong.”  In reality, probably nothing is wrong, it’s just that small dogs don’t need to eat very much to be healthy and happy. Of course, we don’t understand that and our next reaction is to put a different food or non- dog food type treat to get them to eat something, after all, we can’t let the poor puppy starve, can we? Well, it doesn’t take long for the little munchkin to discover that if he holds out long enough, we will provide the gourmet treat that he has learned to love and expect, dare we say, demand.

OK, little monster created … so how do we reverse the mindset and get our lovable pets back to eating an appropriate diet? That is the kicker by the way, because if you so desire, you can cook for your little pooch as long as you are inclined to do so. Many web sites exist with lots of recipes and information regarding the fine art of being gourmet chef to our pampered pets. However, if you’d rather not, then the issue becomes how to get them to return to eating “dog food”.

That will often be a slow process and of course, will require much patience and craftiness. The first thing to know is that any change to the diet must be done slowly, try for a sudden change back to dry kibble or trust me, your little baby will make you pay dearly with plenty of guilt. When you make the switch back, start mixing in a little dog food in a way that makes it almost undetectable. This is where the craftiness comes in and also be aware that little dogs do not need to eat a lot. Sometimes canned dog foods are easier to start with, then once table food has been eliminated, you can start the transition to dry kibble, if that is your goal. Check with us if you have any concerns about your pet eating enough. It is a slow process back and there are no tricks that apply to all pets. Some are more stubborn than others, but almost all come around eventually.

-Dr. Eric Wenke (Town & Country Animal Hospital Veterinarian)

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