For many owners, their dog seems to be a bottomless pit, always hungry and wanting more, but other dogs simply have no appetite, especially for kibble. Your dog may be refusing to eat kibble because of his picky nature or because he just doesn’t feel like it, but it can also be a sign of a fundamental health problem. Here are some steps to take when your dog won’t eat kibble or seems to lack appetite.
What you need to know about dogs and their diet
Dogs are classified into two types. The first type exists solely for consumption. They eat whatever you put in front of them. The second type consumes to survive. They pick and choose, take longer to finish their meals and may even skip meals. Your dog’s size, breed and age usually determine whether he likes food or doesn’t care. Smaller dogs, such as Maltese and Yorkies, are more picky.
Knowing if you have a picky eater
If a dog refuses to eat dry food, it is often because he wants a better food. Indeed, when you usually feed your dog better products, such as fresh food or lots of dog treats, he may choose not to eat dry food in the hope that you will give him something else. Some dogs that are fed human food may also be dissatisfied with their dry food. In this case, limit your dog’s kibble intake for a few days and see if his appetite returns.
What should I do if my dog refuses to eat kibble?
If you take your dog to the vet and the vet has ruled out physical causes for your dog’s loss of appetite, it’s quite possible that he has a behavioral disorder or simply doesn’t want to eat. If this is the case, there are few solutions, otherwise, you can try several techniques if it is a behavioral disorder.
Change your dog’s meal times
If your dog won’t eat kibble because he wants company or a more enticing diet, one solution is to make meal times as monotonous as you can. Simply pour the kibble into the bowl and serve it coarsely if you’re hand-feeding him to eat. For dogs who are bored with the concept of food, the opposite can be effective.
Meals should be reduced
If your dog refuses to eat kibble, it may be helpful to feed him at a different time than the rest of the family. This will make him aware that there is no tasty alternative and he will be more likely to eat the kibble. This can also help make mealtime a timed event. Give your dog 15 minutes to feed after you put the food down. If he refuses to take his food, remove it and give it back to him later. When food is available, your dog can recognize that he needs to eat.
Reduce the volume of food
In the event that your dog simply doesn’t want to eat a large amount of kibble, you can continue to meet his dietary needs and maintain a healthy weight by switching to dry dog foods designed specifically for active breeds. These formulas are often more heavily dosed, which means that a smaller volume of food is needed to achieve the same level of calories.
Mealtime topping suggestions for your dog’s kibble
If you’ve tried all of the above and your dog still won’t eat his kibble, consider spicing up his food a bit. Here are some ideas:
- Give your dog goat’s milk: goat’s milk contains vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, enzymes, protein and healthy fatty acids.
- Consider feeding apples, carrots and green beans, for example, which can be roasted, dried, pureed or sliced raw.
- Onions, grapes and garlic should be avoided.
- Prepare bone broth, which is a high-quality, nutrient-rich meal that can help boost the immune system.