Having a finicky fur child is a reality for many pet parents. It can be stressful day in and day out when a dog refuses to eat. While you obviously want your dog to be getting the proper nutrition, at the end of the day, you can’t force them to eat. No need to fret anymore – there are many things that can help get your dog to eat! Here’s 11 tips for how to get your dog to eat for dogs dealing with dog hyporexia (reduced eating) and anorexia (not eating at all):
1. Stick to a schedule
Many dogs get use to a routine so serve their meals at the same time every day. Being on a routine not only trains your pet on when to expect food, but it’s also more likely that your dog will be hungrier at these same times.
2. 30 minute rule
Only let the food be served/sitting out for 30 minutes before taking it away. Often times, allowing the food to sit out for a while and allowing your dog to graze can contribute and encourage picky eating behavior. Your dog will quickly learn they need to eat it or lose it.
3. Go raw
Sometimes there is only so much that a schedule and a timeline can do. Our Frozen Raw Patties and Freeze-Dried Raw Patties can often be a huge game changer for pets and pet parents. These options mirror a dog’s ancestral diet with 90-95% meat, organs, and bone and bring more meat and more flavor to mealtime which dogs go crazy for!
4. Top it
If you’re not ready to completely change your dog’s diet, try topping what you’re feeding with our freeze-dried raw Meal Mixers to switch it up and bring something different to their bowl. You can also try adding warm water or pet-safe bone broth that will bring out the aroma of your dog’s food and may help entice them to eat.
5. Switch it up
Imagine eating chicken every single day. It’s not a stretch to imagine that it might get a little boring for your dog. If there are no food allergies or sensitivities, we recommend regularly rotating recipes.
6. Exercise before meals
A quick bout of exercise (whether a game of fetch or a brisk 30 minute walk) before mealtime can stimulate your dog’s metabolism and hunger. We recommend giving your pet a chance to cool down before eating right away, if your dog is susceptible to bloat we recommend a longer cool down period of 45 minutes before eating.
7. Play favorites
If your dog has a favorite human, have that person serve the meals. Your dog’s favorite human can also try watching them eat or sitting down to eat their own meal as your dog eats theirs. Dogs are social animals and eating in a “pack” may encourage them to eat.
8. New dish
Trying a different style dish, whether it be a bowl, a plate, or a placemat, might make an impact. If your dog seems to be bending down quite a bit to get to their food, you can also try an elevated feeder or use something quick, like a box, to put their dish on.
9. Location, location, location
Try a different location when it comes to feeding times. This can be particularly impactful if you have more than one dog; be sure to feed each dog in a different location that is distinctly theirs.
10. Don’t treat it
Too many treats can cause a lack of hunger or excitement for mealtime. Reduce or completely cut out treats to see if this can help solve the problem.
11. Something more serious
Dental or medical issues can cause your dog to not want to eat or have a loss in appetite. Check your dog’s mouth for obvious issues. If none of these tips have proved helpful or relevant for your dog it’s time to consult your vet as loss of appetite can be a sign your dog has a more serious medical condition.
*If continued non-eating is going on with your dog we always recommend consulting your vet. Our information comes from consultation with our food science experts and veterinarians. For each dog we always recommend consulting with that dog’s veterinarian as they are most likely to know the needs for that particular dog.