Fido turns his nose up to every meal, but wags his tail in delight at the sight of your leftovers. There are many reasons dogs become finicky about meals, from health problems to their love of human food. Picky dogs can be born that way, or you can inadvertently condition them to be picky, according to an article published in Whole Dog Journal. If you're worried about your dog's weight, you may worry that your fussy-eater will go hungry or fail to receive proper nutrition.
Look at the Label
Do you know what ingredients are in the dog food you feed your pet? Dogs require a high-quality diet that is able to meet all of their nutritional needs. The DogFoodAdvisor.com is an excellent way to find out what exactly is in your pet’s food and how healthy it is compared with other foods. Occasionally, the problem with your picky eater may just be the food. Some dogs simply don’t like certain ingredients, or they may prefer canned wet food over dry kibble, or vice versa.
Say No to People Food
If you’re constantly feeding Fido scraps of steak or your leftover pizza, he may avoid eating his kibble for a chance of more salivating options. According to a survey, 30 percent of dogs have no set diet by their owners, and more than 70 percent admit to feeding their dogs’ table scraps. Pets can learn to become picky eaters by their owners. Simply say no to people food and encourage a nutritionally complete and balanced diet from day one.
Provide a Variety
While some dogs thrive on a diet that consists of the same meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner, other dogs need a little variety. Pet parents should take precaution when attempting to create diverse meals for their pets to avoid deficiencies. For optimal health, canines need a balanced diet of healthy meats, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and dairy. They also need a healthy dose of exercise and regular bathroom breaks. Consider putting in pet doors if you are gone for most of the day. Letting your indoor pooch roam freely between outside and in will help him regulate his exercise and potty time. This can also improve his appetite. To ensure your furry friend is getting the nutrition he needs, get approval from your veterinarian about the change in diet.
Maintain a Schedule
Dogs should have a feeding schedule that is consistent from early on. Feed your puppy two to three times a day, and decrease the frequency as he matures. Adult dogs only need meals once or twice a day. Fussy eaters may need to be fed more often to ensure that they are getting adequate nutrition. Feed picky eaters smaller meals more often, generally three to four times per day. Clean, fresh water should also be available at all times.
Visit a Veterinarian
Sometimes a dog’s fussiness regarding food is due to an unrelated health condition. From urinary tract infections and bladder stones to inflammatory bowel disease and cancer, illnesses and ailments can make it hard for Fido to eat or work up an appetite. Too much people food can also cause health problems. According to the ASPCA, dogs that eat human food are at risk for developing vitamin and mineral imbalances, teeth and bone problems and can cause them to become obese or very picky eaters.