Not only are dogs a man’s best friend, they can be uncannily similar to people. You have dogs which live to eat and on the other side there are dogs which eat to live.
The second lot can be very hard to please.
They are very picky, they take a longer time to eat their meals and very often they don’t finish them at all. As you can guess already, we will devote these lines to the unfortunate ones – dog owners whose best friends just don’t plan on cooperating in the kitchen.
Meet Butters, a dog without an appetite
My own dog is a picky eater. I can share some experiences and save you a bit of time from learning the hard way. Three years ago, I adopted a mutt named Butters. It was love at first sight, and as such, it came with its ups and downs.
As time went by, Butters started to act up, and to refuse the food I gave her. Now, as a devoted millennial, I organize half my life through online shopping. I was dogless for a long time before Butters, and needed to check out what the hot dog food was, to read up the reviews, to spend a morbid amount of time arranging a virtual shopping cart…
I didn’t want to mess around with untested food, so I went for samples from the big brands – Pro Plan, Royal Canin, Hils Science – all of them great dog food, and all of them great the first two times I served them. Butters got bored, I guess, and became the stubborn, hangry shortie I learned to love. It was time to react.
But Why, Butters, Why?
Since she suddenly lost his appetite, my first step was to make sure that Butters was in good health. There are many causes for a dog to refuse to eat – dental problems can prevent even the hungriest of hounds from eating.
So I visited the vet first, as you should, and checked her mouth for growths, sores or any other uncomfortable ailments, but everything was ok.
What was the problem then?
Actually, the blame was on me. I helped develop Butters’ bad habits. Feeding her with table scraps and giving her different kinds of food to discover what suits her the most turned her into a bit of a snob. It was time to give Butters a reality check.
A solution to our problems
After a little research, we changed Butters’ everyday routine, and voilà! A few weeks later, we had our happy hungry hound. Here are some rules you can apply too, if your dog’s meals seem like ordeals.
- If your dog doesn’t eat the meal you gave it, take it away after 30 minutes, and serve it the same meal a little sooner than usual.
- Cut the treats. Unless he or she has been an especially good boy or girl, they don’t need the additional yummies.
- Take your dog for a walk before the meal, or engage it in any other physical activity.
- Give your dog a quiet and safe place to eat. If you are on the verge of force-feeding the dog, don’t distract it from the food.
- Mix a little bit of warm water into dry food if you accustomed your dog to eat the soggy sachet meals. Baby steps!
So that’s it. No big deal right? Teach your dog to eat what it needs to eat and everything will be fine. Your best friend will be happy and you will solve at least one of your problems!
Kate Flannery is passionate about boats, dogs, and pre-Raphaelite art. She is momma to Butters the Chiweenie, and as of recently, the rowdy degu brothers: Goodie and Weewee.