Dogs have a strong desire for food. They can gulp down every bit of food on the plate in a short time.
Thus, it may be worrying if your furry friend shows no interest in his meal. The underlying causes can be stress, loss of appetite, or lack of exercise. The situation can go from bad to worse without prompt solutions or veterinarians’ treatment.
I recommend you to read the following article on how you can boost the feeding habits of your pooch so that you can know what to do in such a case.
How You Can Boost the Feeding Habits of Your Pooch
Enhance his Appetite
It’s essential to detect the potential reasons for your pup’s sudden aversion. These causes can soon disappear, but you can shorten the process.
- The animal is suffering from motion sickness while he is on the go
- The abrupt introduction of a new family member or pet into the house
- Changes in the surroundings like furniture rearrangement and doing house chores
- The feeding environment is uncomfortable, for example, the pet feeder is in the wrong place or at an unreasonable height, and other pets try to poke into his food
- The pet wants to attract your attention
- The dog is picky about the kind of food
If your companion doesn’t encounter any of these problems, an instant visit to the vet for a thorough check-up is a must. Be careful since over 50 percent of dogs in America are obese or overweight.
I suggest you cut down on treats before mealtime. Pooches prefer mashed potatoes and pieces of steak to dog food, frequent consumption of these table scraps can turn your canine friend into a finicky eater.
Add more calories
An increased intake of calories is likely to worsen feeding issues. Standard-sized backed bones often contain at least 50 calories, equal to 5 percent of the minimum amount a 50-pound dog needs. However, the total calorie amount of treats shouldn’t exceed 10 percent.
However, it is acceptable to add sweets to his regular diet so that his food will become palatable.
Besides, doing exercises can enhance the appetite of dogs. I recommend a short walk before meals to stimulate their eating habits. Though different dogs don’t share the same level of activeness, it is ideal that a dog gets exercise daily or at least several times per week. Otherwise, if you can’t spend time training with him, you can hire a dog walker or register for a doggie day at the care center.
Alter Eating Habits
Work Out a Suitable Timetable
I advise you to choose a fixed schedule to feed your dog twice a day. Otherwise, any changes will disturb his eating habits.
If you own a dog easily distracted before finishing, put down his plate and walk away. Pick it up after half an hour even if the dish isn’t empty yet. He will soon realize he needs to take every chance to eat.
Also, set a limit on the duration of eating so that he can learn to eat more readily. Large automatic dog feeders might really come handy.
Another way is to add more fun to mealtime. You can introduce toys with food hidden inside or provide food as rewards after he completes new tricks.
Make the Food Palatable
Most veterinarians suggest pouring a little warm water or stirring in some canned food to enhance the appeal of dog food. Or else, dog gravy is available at most pet stores. They are granules used to mix with warm water and dry food.
Improve the Surrounding Environment
If the situation doesn’t improve, you can consider changing the feeding environment of your furry friend.
- Keep his pet feeder beyond the reach of other animals at a proper height.
- Choose a quiet place to feed him.
- Purchase another bowl.
- Feed him directly on the floor rather than using a pet feeder.
I advise you to go for a different brand or feed your pet on wet instead of dry food. However, the process needs to be gradual and slow; otherwise, he may suffer from diarrhea and obnoxious gas.
Start mixing one-fourth new with three fourths old, then an equal portion of the new and old food. This way will leave fewer burdens on the dogs’ digestive system.
Make sure to preserve the food in a moisture-free and pest-resistant area. Don’t forget to check the expiration date in case you leave it on the shelf for too long.
I don’t recommend giving tainted food or cooked meat to dogs since they are deficient in beneficial nutrients and can cause gut diseases.
Treat Loss of Appetite
After you’ve tried all the methods mentioned above without success, it’s urgent to consult the vet for more implicit causes like toothache, mouth sores, or more severe health issues. Any loose or falling out tooth can prevent canines from eating well.
Pay attention to symptoms such as tiredness, lethargy, regular thirst, rumbling noises from the stomach, or worms in stool. In such cases, you’d better take the pooch to the vet.
More seriously, he may be suffering from deadly torsion. It happens when his stomach twists into a knot, making him groan, pace, or gag without vomiting. Refrain from letting him play rough or run within an hour after eating, minimizing the risk of torsion.
Your furry companion may be subject to a special diet of vet-prescribed food before returning to the regular menu. Despite unappealing flavors, this kind of food is sure to meet nutritional requirements recommended by experts.
The Bottom Line
Like human beings, dogs can’t endure the shortage of food intake for a long time. So, when your furry friend picks at the food, try to encourage him to eat more.
I hope that my instruction on how to enhance the feeding habits of pooches, especially with changes to their pet feeder, can help your pet lead a healthy life.