It’s normal for a sick dog not to be too interested in the content of his food bowl. But if a dog is healthy, he should eat.
However, some dogs refuse to eat their food because they are picky or think human food is more interesting than their own. Others simply love all the attention they receive when they decide not to touch their food bowl.
You can learn how to entice a dog to eat to satisfy your dog’s daily nutritional needs. Make your four-legged companion feel enthusiastic about its meals again. Here is how to entice a dog to eat more food:
1. Make sure your dog isn’t stressed or worried
Stress or anxiety could explain why your dog suddenly lacks appetite. Your dog could be stressed out for different reasons: maybe he feels challenged by other pets in your household, maybe his feeding environment is too noisy, or maybe you just moved to a new home.
Identify the problem, then do what you can to resolve it so your dog can feel calm and comfortable.
It also helps to keep your dog on a consistent feeding schedule. Feeding your dog at the same time each day makes him more likely to be hungry when you fill his food bowl.
2. Don’t give treats or table scraps to your dog
If you habitually give treats or table scraps to your dog, he probably isn’t that hungry when you feed him his dog food.
It can be hard to resist your dog when he begs for human food, but tell yourself that this is for his good. Table scraps are yummy, but they might not be that good for his health.
As for treats, it’s best to not give him too many of them and to only use them to reward him, then you teach him a new trick, for example.
3. Ignore your dog after serving his meal
Dogs are intelligent, and many of them can learn pretty quickly. If your dog realizes he gets a lot of attention when he doesn’t eat his food, he might pretend not to be hungry just to keep receiving this extra attention.
To solve this issue, ignore your dog when he is supposed to eat. Put his food bowl down, then go and do something else. Come back after half an hour, and if he hasn’t eaten anything, put his food away.
Only give him attention once he has eaten his meal, like a good boy.
4. Try feeding your dog a different type of food
To entice your dog to eat, you might simply need to feed him a different type of food. Some dogs eventually get bored of eating the same type of food or the same flavour of food each day.
If your dog always eats dry kibbles, give him some wet or raw dog food. If he always eats chicken-flavoured dog food, serve him beef or fish-flavoured meal to see if he will find it more delicious.
5. Make his food bowl more appealing
Another easy way to make your dog’s food bowl more delicious is by adding something. You could pour the juice from a can of tuna on top of his food or add a scoop of unsweetened pumpkin puree.
You can make your dog’s food more appealing with peanut butter, yogurt, gravy, crunchy carrot sticks, or delicious fruits such as blueberries.
Your dog probably won’t be able to resist the extra flavour and texture.
6. Serve smaller meals to your dog throughout the day
As they get older, dogs don’t need to eat as much as when they were puppies. Small meals are now easier for your dog to eat and digest than large ones.
Try serving a few small meals to your dog during the day instead of one or two large meals. Perhaps this will help you realize that your dog gets very hungry in the evening but won’t touch his food bowl during the first half of the day.
Again, even if you serve him many small meals, keep his feeding routine consistent.
7. Make feeding time more fun for your dog
Your dog will be more likely to be hungry if he gets some exercise during the day. But you can also entice him to eat by making feeding time more fun.
You could do this by serving his food inside an interactive feeding bowl or toy. Interactive food bowls usually feature shapes or moving parts, so your dog has to find hidden bits of food so he can eat them.
Dogs are curious, so you can bet that they will not get bored with an interactive bowl or toy.
8. Make sure everyone in your household cooperates
Finally, if you want to entice your dog to eat his food, ensure everyone in your household cooperates. You will achieve nothing if you stop giving table scraps to your dog, but someone else gives him plenty of treats all day long.