Dogster is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

How To Get A Picky Dog To Eat: 8 Tips

Written by: Dogster Team

Last Updated on March 13, 2024 by Dogster Team

weimaraner eating dog food

How To Get A Picky Dog To Eat: 8 Tips

You’ve likely had your dog on the same food for a while now so it’s no surprise if he’s starting to turn up his nose at it. Many dogs are finicky eaters, some breeds more than others. The Basenji, Siberian Husky, and the Yorkie are just a few. In the wild, dogs will eat most anything but, in our homes, they learn that some foods are edible and some are fantastic. Even if you’re diligent about not feeding your pet people food, they smell it and see it on the dining table. Never feed your pet from the table as this whets his appetite for steak and lowers your position as alpha.

There’s a difference between a picky eater and a finicky eater. A picky eater will only occasionally refuse to eat and can be easily tempted with a slice of cheese added to his bowl. A finicky eater is what we deal with here, a dog who has decided he’s giving up dog food for good. First, you want to rule any health issues out first when a dog makes any behavioral change but if your vet gives your pup the thumbs up, there are several ways to get him to eat without disrupting his stomach.

Ways to Persuade a Finicky Eater

  1. Tone Down the Treats– A finicky eater is more likely to eat if he’s not comparing his dog food to a liver treat.
  2. Feed Often – Try feeding smaller amounts of his regular food three or four times a day.
  3. Exercise – It’s good for so many things and it increases a dog’s hunger. Try always exercising your pup before a meal.
  4. Spay or Neuter – If you haven’t already, fix your pup. Besides the many health and behavioral benefits, it can help prevent a finicky eater.
  5. Make it Positive– Always make feeding time a positive experience. If your pup associates it with irritability or punishment from you, he will be less likely to want to eat.
  6. Keep It Quiet – Feed your dog in a quiet area without children or other dogs mulling around.
  7. Try Different Times – Some dogs eat better in the afternoon, others eat better an hour after you’re home. Test it and see what time and situation work best for yours.
  8. Resist Temptations – Try the other tips before giving into the urge to tempt your finicky pup to eat with people food. You’ll find that a few pieces of cooked chicken will perhaps tempt him for a time but he’ll soon grow bored of that, too.

The proper amount of food is essential for a healthy dog. A finicky eater can be underweight or even overweight because of the goodies his owner tempts him with. An underweight dog can have trouble with his bone density, and his kidneys and liver and are more prone to skin infections. An overweight dog can have heart trouble and joint trouble.

If all else fails, ham it up. Before you serve your dog his dinner, raise it close to your face and pretend to eat it saying “Yum!” and “Hmm, hmm!” You may feel silly but remember there’s no one around and your pet won’t tell on you.

Featured Image Credit: Laura Beach, Shutterstock

Get Dogster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.
Dogster Editors Choice Badge
Shopping Cart


© Pangolia Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.