In partnership withThe Farmer's Dog

5 Ways to Improve Mealtime If Your Dog Is a Picky Eater

updated Jun 9, 2020
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Credit: The Farmer's Dog

If you think “picky dog” is an oxymoron, then you’ve never seen the look mine gives me when I’m holding out on the fancy treats. (Special occasions only, Jasper!) Just because dogs need a consistent diet doesn’t mean they’re eager to eat whatever you put in front of them. Is your pup turning up his adorable snout at dinner? These five tips will help get mealtime back on track.

1. Establish a routine.

Doggos love predictability, so set a regular mealtime in a calm spot where your pup can dine without distraction. But it’s just as important to set a regular end to mealtime, too: When you pick up the bowl after 20 or 30 minutes, your dog learns that they better eat before the food gets taken away. After a few days of this new routine, they’ll know that dinnertime = go time.

Credit: The Farmer's Dog

2. Switch to fresh food.

Maybe your dog just doesn’t like kibble. We don’t blame them: Kibble is often highly processed and made with harsh cooking methods, and sometimes unsavory ingredients. Fresh food is more palatable and easier for dogs to eat and digest, and I recommend The Farmer’s Dog. Their reviews show it’s perfect for all dogs, especially picky eaters thanks to its fresh, nutritionally balanced recipes that are designed by veterinary nutritionists. Each plan is designed specifically for your dog, while perfectly timed deliveries to your door make sure you never run out. If you think about it, it’s really a life hack for both of you. Take a quick survey to find your pup’s personalized plan.

3. Minimize treats.

Don’t worry, they’re still the best boy in the whole world, yes they are. It’s just that if you’re tossing them high-calorie treats all day, they’re not going to be that hungry when dinner’s ready — and then they won’t get the nutrients they need. Cut down on treats and watch their appetites perk up. (If you need treats for training, try lower-calorie options like green beans.) You can always reward them with cuddles instead. Win-win!

Credit: The Farmer's Dog

4. Drizzle a healthy fat on top of their food.

If you feel like you’ve tried everything and your dog’s still picky, pull this ace out of your sleeve: Add a healthy fat to their food dish. Try mixing anchovy oil, flaxseed oil, or even salmon into their bowl to make dinner even more enticing. Bonus: They’ll get a healthy dose of omega fatty acids, too. It’s a small trick that can go a long way.

5. Rule out health-related causes.

Often pickiness is a behavioral issue, but it could also point to more serious concerns. Your dog could be acting picky because they’re experiencing oral injury or disease, or because their food causes them digestive problems. If you’re worried, or if the pickiness comes on suddenly and lasts longer than a couple of days, call your vet to see what’s up.