There are times when your dog might surprise you by eating far less dog food than expected or by wanting far more. Learn what to watch out for to make sure your dog has healthy eating habits.

Feeding a Finicky Dog

If your pet sniffs her bowl then rejects all but a few bites, analyze her behavior. Here are some questions to ask to gauge her finicky behavior.

Is your dog getting treats throughout the day that suppress her appetite?

  • If so, talk frankly with those handing out the treats about the adverse impact of their good intentions. Assure them that your dog’s food provides all the nutrition she needs.

Is your dog sick?

  • You can tell if she’s sick by watching to see if she is avoiding regular play and seems disengaged from what normally interests her. Dental disease, when severe, can make dogs stop eating. Write down the details and talk to you  veterinarian so they can diagnose the problem.

Are you overfeeding your dog?

  • Your dog might be eating all she needs and leaving the rest alone. Check to make sure your portions are on target.

Does your dog dislike her dog food?

  • Some dogs have picky appetites and their food might not suit their palate. They might not like the taste or may have difficult digesting the food.

Feeding a Dog That Always Wants More

If your dog still seems hungry after she has eaten the proper serving size, it’s important to understand why. Some questions to consider are:

Is your dog getting the right kind of nutrition to satisfy her appetite?

  • Dog food that is not complete and balanced may be lacking in nutrients and might not provide what they need to be healthy and satisfied.

Are you feeding her enough?

  • If, for example, you've taken up running and your dog joins you, she may need more calories. Review the feeding guidelines on the dog food package or consult your vet to determine how much food you should serve.

Does she get fresh, clean water?

  • Dogs sometimes eat when they’re actually thirsty. Make sure your dog’s bowl is clean and contains fresh water at all times to prevent this from occurring.

Find the Best Feeding Method for Your Dog

The best method for feeding your dog depends on her size and personality. If you set a big bowl of food in front of her, would she stop eating when she’s full? Or would she eat until the food is gone, regardless of hunger?

By understanding the real reasons for your dog’s behavior before, during, and after feeding time, you’ll be able build healthy eating habits for a lifetime.