Although dogs are different in shapes, size, and personalities, they share a universal love for food. Some dogs have everything put on their plate but they still choose to remain picky. This can trouble and worry some owners about the dog not eating enough. Plus, it can become frustrating since you now need to figure out what your dog really eats.
Even though picky eating should not be a big concern but finding the solution is important. The reason is that sometimes it leads us to a disease or a problem that might be causing the issue. So let’s take a look at how you can deal with a dog that gets to your nerves whenever it is time to eat.
Is Picky Eating a Sign Of A Serious Issue?
When it comes to your dog not being excited or showing any enthusiasm like other dogs during mealtime, there might be a serious underlying health problem that needs to be addressed. Dogs love food. You rarely come across dogs that are either bored or not interested when food is served. Therefore, if you observe such behavior, you should immediately contact a veterinarian to attend to the worsening behavior. You might not even notice the minor symptoms unless a doctor identifies and points at them.
Doctors suggest that if your dog is very picky when it comes to food, it might be suffering from serious health concerns like cancer, kidney or liver issues, and dental complications or other disorders. In other cases, it might look as if your dog is picky while eating even though it would actually love to eat. This is because food intolerance makes it difficult for dogs to eat and can lead to digestive problems, diarrhea, and vomiting, etc.
Another potential problem related to being seriously picky is your dog developing an oral issue. If you observe such behavior, you should immediately check the mouth, tongue, and gums. If the teeth or gums are bleeding or there is some kind of swelling, it might be hurting the dog. Hence, the picky behavior. This usually happens when they play around with toys and other items that have sharp edges.
Finally, dogs also express their emotions through a change in eating habits. If they are bullied or harassed by other dogs, they will stress out and won’t like to eat. In that case, you should protect it from harassment and try to reduce the stress by giving it company.
So, How Do You Determine Picky Sickness?
Determining the real cause of pickiness is complicated. If you observe that your dog’s relationship with food has suddenly changed, it might due to the reasons mentioned earlier. However, if your dog has always been like that around food but the health is good overall, it might be due to a character trait.
Doctors suggest that if you observe a sudden change in your dog’s behavior within 24 hours, you should contact a veterinarian. Additionally, its health should improve within 48 hours as well.
What Are the Health Issues That Can Result From Picky Eating?
Even if picky eating in your dog is not due to a serious health problem, it can surely lead to one. Doctors state that picky behaviors in dogs usually lead to weight loss and gastrointestinal upset. When it comes to diet, dogs are unlike humans. They can work with the same meal each day. If you tend to abruptly change the diet, it can sometimes lead to diarrhea and other problems.
Furthermore, if you are forcing your dog to eat fatty foods, it can lead to symptoms such as weakness, fever, lethargy, and dehydration. Usually, when a dog is being picky, dog owners tend to offer anything and everything that might upset the stomach. It is better if the owners mix different types of food so that it receives all the essentials it needs for healthy living.
What to Feed a Picky Eater?
A picky eater due to an underlying medical condition can be tough to deal with. Only a veterinarian will tell you what to offer, considering the health complications and picky behavior. However, if it is a trait, you can simply lay down some options and see what makes your dog interested. Once it does, you should avoid changing the diet abruptly as that might influence picky eating as well.
What Can Do Owners Do To Help Their Pups Eat Better?
If the picky eating behavior in your dog is a trait, there are a few tricks in the books for dog owners. The first is that they should set up a definite time window. The dog should know when it is time to eat and it won’t be getting food after that. Therefore, free-feeding is not the effective solution in this case. This is a great way for the dogs to know that they are only offered food at a specific time during the day.
In addition to setting up a definite time window, you should also take away any leftover food after a certain amount of time. This is done to make the dog understand that the food should be consumed when offered otherwise it will go away. Moreover, if you regularly offer treats to your dog, you might want to keep a strict hand to avoid overfeeding the dog since it will feel full and avoid food as a result.
Treats should only be offered when the dog is at its best behavior. If you are training your dog or making it learn something new, only then should you be using treats. Offering treats to the dog the entire day will only get them to the point where they only want treats.
Once you have determined the root cause of the problem, it is your job to take extra steps to get it excited for the food again. Make sure that your dog receives a balanced diet and not just treats. And if you find your dog still less than eager during mealtime, you might want to change the diet and throw in more fresh homemade meals.