A lot of dog owners have problems getting their dogs to eat even a good quality complete dry food, and when you talk to them the reasons why often become clear:
1) They are over-feeding, and see food left as a rejection rather than the dog saying 'No more, I'm full!'
2) They are adding 'extras' to the dry food, such as table scraps or gravy in order to try and tempt their dog to eat.
3) They are feeding a low quality food that is just not very palatable, or one in which the fats are going 'off' due to rancidity.
The truth is that given a choice of dry or moist food most dogs will choose the moist, but that doesn't make one better than the other - lots of moist foods contain rubbish ingredients with added flavouring and flavour enhancers.
This is not foolproof by any means, but the following hints may help!
- If you're starting from scratch with a puppy then life is easier - start with a good quality dry puppy food, don't overfeed and gradually wean onto adult food at an appropriate age. Make sure there is always an adequate supply of fresh drinking water.
- If you want to give table scraps (and lots of us do!) then DO NOT add them to the diet but give them AFTER the dog has been fed, and not until the normal daily food has been eaten.
- Feed a natural food that has small feeding quantities. Sometimes the difference between a cheap food and a better quality one is 50% more in the dish to eat. Quality foods tend to be more concentrated goodness.
- An adut dog should not be fed more than two smal meals a day. Feeding your dog too frequently when he is older can turn him appear like a fussy eater, when he is actually full.
- Dogs will not normally starve themselves just because they are a bit choosy about their food (although if your dog should go 24 hours without eating anything, consult your vet)
- A thin appearance does not necessarily mean that anything is wrong. Just like us, some dogs are naturally thinner than others.
- Don't give into your dog and give him something
else straight away if he refuses his meal, as he's effectively training
you and not the other way around!
Clever dogs will know that if they hold out just long enough, they might get offered some delicious human food instead.
- Don't feed your dog a high fat diet, or junk food, including chocolate. It's not good for them.
- If it's not consumed, remove the meal and offer a fresh bowl of food 12 hours later. As long as food is available twice daily, your fussy dog will not starve.
More than anything else BE CONSISTENT and make sure all the family abide by the rules!