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 to help your veterinarian 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 dog foods are made with lesser-quality ingredients that might not suit her palate–or her body. She might not like the taste or may have difficulty 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?
- Lesser-quality dog foods may be lacking in nutrients and might not provide what she needs 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 extra 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? Consider thes e two methods:
- Fill her bowl with dry food in the morning and allow her to eat throughout the day whenever she’s hungry. This method allows her to eat more or less as her appetite fluctuates. This is a great plan for laid-back eaters.
- Provide rations on a twice-daily schedule, allowing her to eat for 20 minutes before removing her bowl. This establishes routine and perfectly proportions her calories. This feeding method is ideal for overeaters, large breeds, and obese dogs.
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.