One of the most frustrating and concerning things a dog parent can experience is that moment when their dog simply refuses his dog food. I’ve been down this road, and my previous Cocker Spaniel was by far the most finicky dog I’ve had the pleasure of sharing my life. Getting my dog to eat a high quality food which allowed for healthy digestion while pleasing her palate is something I strove for the first few years of her life.
The saying about “when we know better we do better” certainly applies to this self-admitted dog mom who now can honestly say, “I think I created that finicky dog’s mindset.”
Here’s what to do if your dog simply refuses to eat his dog food and some things that worked for us that will hopefully prevent your dog from ever experiencing food rejection.
Seek Veterinary Counsel
If your dog suddenly stops eating, you should always seek medical attention to rule out any underlying causes. If your dog’s veterinarian runs a blood work panel and any other necessary tests, this will also help ease your mind.
Buy With Confidence
First and foremost, I need to feel comfortable that the dog food is nutritionally safe and sound. My dog’s best friend is Zola, a 12-year-old mixed breed. Her mom sought my advice several years ago as to what food would be good for Zola and her special needs. Zola deals with some digestive issues and the veterinarian suggested a single source protein. Zola was rescued from a local shelter after being confiscated as “evidence” in a drug bust. The shelter workers reported that Zola’s issues were emotional and that she turned her nose up at many different foods.
With some love and TLC from her dog mom, Zola began her journey as a Natural Balance® pooch. The beauty in trying this line of dog food is that you can ask questions live with an expert veterinary technician at the Natural Balance website along with having the Buy With Confidence™ guarantee.
Mix It Up
Like people, a dog’s palate is very discerning. There is one school of thought that dogs may get bored eating the same meal day after day. After all, we know that dogs are smart creatures of the highest order and have tastes and preferences just like humans do.
Instead of feeding Zola the Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet dog food in kibble only or canned only, her mom rotates and mixes up the two, along with a recently added third option!
She is very happy and digestively in check with the Duck and Potato Natural Balance LID Limited Ingredient Diet.
Allowing a dog to have different textures and tastes keeps their palate happy and may help prevent dog food boredom.
The Icing on the Cake (aka the Bonus Topper on the Dog Food)
This portable and totally clever formula from Natural Balance comes in a roll. It looks like something you would find at a the deli counter, but it is nutritionally balanced for dogs. Natural Balance Dog Food Rolls are a meaty treat that can be chopped, grated or crumbled into your dog’s daily food or served as a meal in itself.
Twice a week Zola’s mom tops the Duck and Potato canned food with a few slices of the Duck and Turkey formula. The ingredients are ones I feel good in feeding our dog, Dexter, so he gets to have some bonus treats throughout the week. And the piece de resistance: it’s accented with super healthy fruits of cranberries and apples (the former which helps support a healthy urinary tract). Finally, a way to get my dog to eat his veggies!
To Guffaw or Not to Guffaw: That Is The Question
Some dog parents might read these tips and think “now just wait a minute, you might be creating a finicky palate there like you did with your Cocker Spaniel.”
Not in the least. A big no way. Why?
Dogs that are given a selection of choices all in the same line are more likely not to develop a finicky palate and, in fact, are happier and more voracious eaters. Don’t you sometimes crave a crunch and now and then get a carb fix for say, mashed potatoes? Do you like softer foods sometimes? Well, dogs are the same way!
The mistake I made with my previous dog was food hopping from brand to brand to brand. I know better and so I do better. I am a more experienced and more learned dog mom and feel confident in how and what I feed and why. Zola’s mom let me feed Zola a recent meal topped with the dog food roll slices, and here’s the result:
Your Dog Just Won Best in Show
I consider myself to be a highly engaged, active, health conscious dog parent, and it’s safe to venture a guess that many folks reading this article can relate.
Something that I did with my dog and that Zola’s mom does with her pooch is praise them to the highest heavens when they are ready to eat and when they are finished (like they just won best in show). You want eating to be the best thing a dog can do and show them this in your tone, mannerisms, and praise. With Zola, she needed extra TLC because of her unknown and likely neglectful past.
Never bother the dog while he or she is eating.
Does your dog have a word or a happy phrase associated with eating? For my dog, it’s “Do you want your puppy food?”
For Zola, her mom says, “Okay Zola, time to eat” in a very happy, sunshine-invoking voice.
Each time you are ready to feed the dog, you should couple it with a verbal reward (praise). Say something like, “Yes!” or “Good doggie,” in a positive, happy tone of voice. Repeat after meal time with praise. I make a big to do about meal time for the dog in this household and he knows it by the wag of his tail.
My dog knows that about 10 minutes or so after dinner, he gets to play ball. He loves his food, eats it all up, and then his reward is play time.
Never scold a dog if he or she will not eat the food or seems not to respond to your praise. No matter how upset you are or what the dog did to frustrate you, remember that words carry a heavy weight and dogs have retain memories. Positive reinforcement is key.
A natural balance in a quality dog food means the protein, fat, carbs, and other nutrients are minerals are properly balanced.
Dogs, like people, deserve a nutritionally sound diet that promotes overall good health and longevity.
Zola is living proof that a combination of a loving home, plenty of exercise, vet visits, and a quality diet are the keys to life well lived. She is a very happy 12-year-old picture of good canine health.
Stay tuned because we’ll have future dog feeding tips and updates in future posts.
Go Forth and Enjoy
The next time you are at PetSmart®, check out the Natural Balance LID Limited Ingredient Line. In addition to the food, they do have a LIT Limited Ingredient Treat® selection worth checking out.
Check out the Natural Balance website to find out more and ask any questions live with the expert veterinary technician.
Visit the Buy With Confidence guarantee link to learn how the folks at Natural Balance stand behind the products.
Is your dog a good eater? Do you ever struggle with finicky food issues?
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Natural Balance. The opinions and text are all mine.