what do i do if my dog won't eat his food?

my dog has no interest in his food -- i will offer it to him and he will sniff it and then walk away -- somedays he won;t eat all day and then eat the next morning b/c he is so hungy. do we keep buying different brands to find something he likes or go back to a lower quality food that he used to like? i prefer to feed him nutrituous, holistic/natural food with no fillers/by-products

Asked by Member 976335 on Mar 22nd 2010 Tagged food in Food & Nutrition
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Check his ribs. If the dog never did eat very well, and has seen the vet since the problem existed, you may be over feeding it. A vet check still won't hurt. Many dogs will snarf down more than is good for them and look for more. Others refuse to eat more than than they need. Evaluate the dog as illustrated in this link, You may want the vet to confirm your judgment. Adjust the dogs food and exercise as needed to reach its ideal body condition. Some German Shepherds and other breeds may refuse to eat enough to completely hid their ribs. As long as you are feeding a concentrated, meat based chow, the best thing is to accept it.

The worst thing you can do is to bribe a dog with rich foods into eating more than it needs. Instead, Put down the dish with what the dog should eat, and give it 15 minutes to eat. Then take it up. Do not give it anything to eat until its next scheduled meal. In a few days, it should be eating what it needs. Continue to check its ribs and adjust the food as needed. This is not easy. I had a Shepherd go 3 days on a few nibbles. I was a wreck, but she was fine. It is almost unknown for a healthy dog not to eat what it needs. Unfortunately, in too many cases, it is less than the package says, and less than the owner thinks the dog should have. Many dogs are quite good at holding out for tastier chow. Like kids, sometimes it calls for tough love.

Aster answered on 3/22/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


Ah, the good food paradox! Wherein a dog prefers his old, lower quality food and the owner prefers the better quality food!

Well, let me just say you're not alone. It happens. If the switch is recent, give him a bit more time. Sometimes, the cheap stuff smells and tastes really good because it's got so much fat in it. And sometimes the better quality stuff just doesn't have enough fat for dogs to be very interested in it.

If you've been giving him this food for more than a few days, I'd not bother with the tough love stuff. He's probably never going to like it. Sometimes, you have to go through a few options before you find one that your dog will like. And it certainly seems like he's holding out because he truly doesn't like it, rather than just not being hungry enough.

I'd try another formula in the brand you're using, assuming you like the brand. Change slowly over a week or so. If no luck, try another brand like Wellness or Orijen, good brands with super tasty formulas.

Jack answered on 3/22/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


what are you feeding him and is he healthy by the word of a vet. Make sure he has total healthy bill of health. Then make sure the dog has one good food to offer.
If switching is not helping he could really be sick or he is really yanking you around.
I had to go through this with one of my dogs he didn't want to eat what was given to him so tough love and some patience he does not walk away in fact I put him in his crate and he gets no other choices, sounds mean but when you know your dog is not sick and that he is just being picky and not getting it that is what worked for us.
But make sure the vet gets in the mouth too because a dog can have an infected mouth, a loose tooth or even worse an abcess that causes pain every time he eats. just think about that , Baxter lost one tooth it was loose and was causing his problem.
But that was before the diet change. A change that I believe helped his health alot.
I went to the raw diet. something to think about also it is here on dogster

Dieta answered on 3/22/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer


I don't have the heart to do the tough love thing. 3 of my 4 dogs, were nearly starved to death when I got them. I vowed to never allow one of them to be hungry again. Picky or not. I dont' see the harm in allowing them to decide what they like, and giving it to them as long as it isn't "unhealthy." Dogs love to eat, play, and to be loved. That is all they ask, and I don't think it's too much to do to oblige them.

I make my own dog food, and combined it with a raw food diet. Very few dogs will turn away from real meat. If you select good quality meats, and all the right nutrients they need, they will be happy, healthy and vibrant for years to come. It takes the guess work out of what you are feeding. You will be happy as well, so its a win/win

All of my dogs exept Bo has gone through the not so hungry stage. It passes. But of course rule out any medical reason for the loss of appetite first. Pawmail me for recipes if you'd like. I'd be happy to share.

Good luck!!

Gidget answered on 3/22/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


My dog also does this. We put out his food and he can go hours without eating it. Since he is perfectly healthy, and will still jump (literally) at the chance of a treat, we have assumed he is just bored of his food. We got some new food and he LOVES it. So if your dog is healthy, I'd say he's just bored with his food. Dogs can do that sometimes.

Sprite answered on 3/22/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Mom works for Nutro and recommends trying Ultra or the Natural Choice herring meal formula. With dogs smell is everything! They love foods that smell yummy! The Ultra is full of protein from 3 different protein sources (chicken, lamb, and salmon). My picky pomeranian brother gulps it up! Another thing you can do is add canned food! We always eat that right up! It may be more expensive but, its just as nutritious as the dry food.

Check out:
Nutro has been around for over 80 years and does not use any ground yellow corn, chicken by-product meal (chicken heads, feet, and intestines), or artificial colors and preservatives in any of their formulas.

Maverick answered on 3/23/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Dogs can go 3-4 days without eating at all and be totally fine. My dog has done the same thing as yours, and because he has been so "picky" for the last couple months I am going to talk with the vet. It is so hard to say if it is the food, winter blues, a sickness, etc. Good luck, if it stays this way you also may want to talk to the vet.

Wyatt answered on 3/25/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


If you don't think something is medically wrong with your dog, just remember, eventually picky dogs will eat. You have to be tough, but don't give him treats if he doesn't eat his food. Take up the remainder of his food and put it back in the bag if the dog hasn't eaten the entire bowl in a half and hour. Eventually, he will learn to eat his meal or be hungry, and most dogs think hunger is the worst feeling in the world.

Just watch his condition. Keep with the more nutritious food. It's like a kid being forced to eat veggies and tea after having a diet of cheeseburgers and soda. He won;t like it initially, but in time, he'll love it, and he will love how better food makes him feel

Taggert answered on 2/27/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer