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Picky Eaters: Why won't my dog eat?

A dog sitting in a field with dog food in front of it.
A dog sitting in a field with dog food in front of it.

Sometimes, gastrointestinal issues look like picky eating.

Commonly, these could be caused by switching foods too often or too quickly, by many pharmaceutical medications like antibiotics, steroids and allergy suppressants and other complications, such as pancreatitis or parasites.

Some disruptions of the gastrointestinal system take quite a while to heal. If continued irritation occurs, it can literally take years, even a lifetime.

If you have a dog that acts hungry, or asks to be fed, or goes to their food, smells it then walks away - sometimes it's because as their gastric juices begin to flow, it makes their compromised system feel uncomfortable. They may be afraid that the food will give them a tummy ache.

Often holistic vets suggest a very bland diet of simmered organic chicken breast and raw fermented goats milk to help develop beneficial bacteria quicker and to soothe the tummy. The raw fermented goats milk is jam packed with beneficial nutrition, too! 

Often, when customers are recommended to us by their holistic vets, after a week or 2 of the bland diet they use the same goat's milk to hydrate our food.

It's not a cure all fast pill but you may wish to ask your vet if this would be appropriate for your sweetie.

Close-up of a dog's nose.
Close-up of a dog's nose.

Some dogs who refuse to eat can smell toxic ingredients and object to them. If the chicken breast you cooked isn't organic, your dog can probably smell the processing and chemical laced feed given to the chicken. Incredulous, right?  That's because you don't have 220 million receptors in your nose - only 5 million. Big difference.

Some manufactures also came up with what we call "Industrial Jargon" Industrial Jargon:  Read most ingredient labels and you are sure to find industrial jargon representing synthetic additives & chemicals.  A double whammy!  Poor quality, toxic ingredients amplified with toxic additives and processing! This is when your dog steps in and says, "Excuse me, but I'm not eating that!" Even if the Industrial Jargon says: Delicious meaty flavor fortified with vitamins! Luckily, society and their dogs are evolving. Dog lovers are recognizing that dogs are what they eat, too.  People and dogs are taking a stand and demanding better!

Refusing food can also be due to lack of variety. Dogs love variety! Who would want to eat the same thing day after day, month after month, year after year?  If you have a dog who is refusing to eat fresh healthy food, consider variety. This is where we come in. We make healthy dog food. Not only do we make healthy dog food, we make dogs healthy. Our organic dog food and treats are not complicated.  Every ingredient is pure, clean, human grade ingredients you could purchase at an organic farmers' market.  

Routine For Picky Dogs

There are a few things which will alwaysmake a difference when feeding picky eaters. (Our specialty) If you follow all 9 tips, chances are you’ll say good bye to your dog's picky eating habits! 

In the following, we are using the pronoun “she’ although we know your dog may be a “he” 😊😊 

1.) RELAX.She can sense your anxiety. Talk about how good the food is while you are preparing it. Tell her what it is: This one is Beef and it's really good. Tell her the ingredients. Smell it in front of her and tell her it smells really good. But relax. When preparing our food, ALWAYS USE HOT WATER – it brings out the delicious aroma dogs love.

2.)  Dogs need routine and schedules to avoid a nervous disposition. Dogs do best when they know what to expect. Follow a very strict feeding schedule and routine every single day. If breakfast is at 6:30 today, it is at 6:30 everyday. Same for lunch and dinner and snack treats! 

3.) Make sure she knows it's time to eat. Call her while you are preparing it.Tell her it’s almost time to eat. Always put her food down in the same place as usual. If she isn’t waiting for it, make sure she knows it’s there. To help establish an eating routine, leave the food down for a specific amount of time... say only 5 minutes. Then pick it up and don't make it available until the next meal time. Unless she is eating - she can have all the time she needs. 

4.) Make sure she gets enough exerciseand fresh air to build up an appetite. Follow a strict schedule for her walks

5.) Make sure she is having a bowel movement daily. An organic probiotic is always recommended. 

6.) Some dogs do not eat as often as others. If she is not losing weight or acting peculiar as though in pain or uncomfortable- she might only eat when she gets hungry. When in doubt, see your holistic vet. 

7.) Some dogs prefer to eat off a flat mat, saucer or plate. Dogs with furry, long hair around their mouths do not like to put their fur/hair/ face in a bowl or to get their face dirty with food. Try a different shape bowl. Many dogs respond immediately to a small saucer which enables them to eat from the edge of the food into the center.

8.) Consider where she is being fed. Is her back facing activity, commotion or noise? Does she feel uncomfortable going to her dish? Does she take food out of her dish to another location? Dogs are den creatures so they like to have their back protected in a corner, against a wall, or actually in their crate. Try making sure when your dog eats, she can still keep an eye on her surroundings with her back protected.  Don't make her stick her head in-between anything to get to her dish. 

9.) VERY IMPORTANT, provide variety. For example: If she has Beef for breakfast, give her Lamb for dinner then chicken for the following breakfast. Mix it up – picky dogs, love variety.

All of the above will help stabilize her eating habits and digestive system.

Remember, your dog will never starve herself and when she gets into a rhythm and schedule - she'll probably tell you when it's time to eat! 

When your dog's diet is Dogs For The Earth organic, human-grade ingredients, their overall lives improve. Our recipe not only tastes and smells delicious, it provides optimum nutrition and antioxidants. You'll see more energy, vitality, and joy! You will see a difference in hair or fur and skin condition. Mental agility improves.

You'll feel a great sense of pride and peace knowing your dog is finally eating and thriving!

100% ORIGINAL

Our dog food and dog treats are handmade with 100% human-grade ingredients. They are air dried / dehydrated and contain zero additives. 

SUSTAINABLE

All of our ingredients are from sustainable and humane farmers and ranchers. Our products grown without GMO's or harmful chemicals.

MADE IN THE USA

by hand in our own custom built restaurant quality facility. USDA registered, FDA licensed and sold in eco-friendly packaging.  

WE'RE ON THE LIST

We made the list of "MOST TRUSTED DOG FOOD 2021" by Truth About Pet Food. 

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