By Karen A. Soukiasian
Nearly all dogs look forward to mealtime, more than anything else. But some dogs can be finicky eaters.
Don’t panic right away, if your dog isn’t showing their normal delight at feeding time. Commonly, a healthy dog can go for 3-4 days without eating before you should be concerned.
There are a number of reasons why your dog may not care to eat their food, other than a health problem.
Some dogs eat less during summer months. Sometimes we feed them too much…and they know it!
Are you leaving the food down too long? Maybe they have an upset tummy? Has there been a drastic change in their environment? Has there been the loss of a loved one…human or canine? New home? Is there a new baby in the house? Perhaps they have been spoiled with too many table scraps!
Whatever the reason, for a healthy dog there are a number of tricks to stimulate their appetites. Here are suggestions to help regain your pet’s attention at mealtime.
1. Don’t leave the food down for more than 20 minutes. If your dog has not finished in that amount of time, you are most likely feeding them too much, or they have become “grazers.” It may just appear, they are not eating as much as usual.
2. Add something new and interesting, such as a spoonful or two of plain yogurt or cottage cheese.
3. Add warm water to their dry food to make a doggie gravy.
4. Warm up canned dog food that has been refrigerated. You can also add a little water to it to make a yummy doggie stew.
5. Add a soft-boiled egg. Coating their food with something different often gets their attention.
6. Soak their food in a little low-fat, reduced salt chicken or beef broth…or if you feel ambitious, you can make your own!
7. Change or reduce feeding time. Maybe once a day is enough. Older dogs tend to eat less.
8. Add a spoonful or two of a fishy cat food. Most dogs love stinky food and/or fish…nothing stinks more than fishy cat food!
9. If all else fails, try a new brand. The general rule of thumb; the worse it smells to you, odds are the more they will like it!
Bottom line: If your dog is not eating for more than four days, and you’ve tried to motivate them by making mealtime more interesting, it’s time to see your veterinarian. Even if they are not eating, always make sure they have plenty of fresh water…a dog can dangerously dehydrate in less than 24 hours!
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