For many dog owners, it might sound strange to hear that a dog will not eat the food given to them as the majority of dogs will wolf down pretty much anything in their bowl. However, some dogs have a very discerning palette and will only eat a limited number of foods. Dog kibble is one of those foods that many particular eaters won’t touch. So how can you make dry dog food and dog kibble more appealing if your dog is one of the picky eaters?
Do not immediately abandon dry dog food as a diet option because your dog does not seem to like it. Many dry kibbles are very healthy and nutritious for your dog, and you can make it more appealing by adding some warm water or yogurt. You can also add some canned dog food for a better taste and smell.
Here are some tricks to make dry dog food more appealing and less boring to your picky pet. These simple ways of making kibble more enticing can encourage your dog to enjoy their meals without having to switch to a new type of food altogether.
What Does It Mean When Your Dog Is a Picky Eater and How Should You Deal With It?
Picky eaters, by definition, are not easy to please, so it can be difficult to accommodate their eating habits. The first thing you need to do is ensure what is causing your dog to be picky when it comes to food.
While some dogs become picky because they learn that by doing so, they can bargain for a better food, others may be doing so for health reasons.
If your dog is picky to the point that they are willing to forego meals even when they should be hungry, it is important to rule out a lack of appetite because of medical reasons. Sometimes a dog is actually sick and doesn’t want to eat at all, and we perceive them as being “picky”.
A picky eater may indicate certain illnesses, including allergies, dental problems, or reactions to medications. This is why it is good to check with the vet if their pickiness is persistent.
If you want to spot whether your dog is a picky eater, you should monitor their behavior when you give them food. For instance, if your dog does not want to eat their food, but they are interested in what you are eating or are going for their favorite treats, you can be sure that it is pickiness that is causing them not to eat.
You can usually tell whether a dog is being picky by offering them treats after they have refused food. If they accept the treat, this usually means they are just being picky. On the other hand, if your dog does not show any interest in the treats at all, it might be related to their health.
Be aware, however, that some dogs who are sick enough to refuse food may get excited by a high value treat and eat it anyway, so the “treat test” is not 100% reliable.
How To Encourage Your Dog To Eat Their Food
Once you have ruled out medical issues, the simplest and easiest thing you can do to encourage your dog to eat is to make their food more appealing. Don’t get caught in the trap of changing their diet to accommodate their desires; it’s a slippery slope and your dog may soon be dictating their diet and demanding frequent changes and variety. Dogs, much like children, are smart and know how to get what they want.
So the best approach is to try some ways to make their current dry dog food more appealing and encourage them to eat it. You should stop giving them treats for a while and stop hand-feeding if you feed your dog that way. Your dog must understand that their meals are their sole means of sustenance and that there won’t be alternatives.
Dogs Taste With Their Noses
What many don’t know is that dogs rely more on their sense of smell than their tastebuds when deciding what to eat. That’s why a dog will be super eager for a liver treat and then swallow it whole without even tasting it. For dogs, taste is almost all in the smell.
How To Make Dry Dog Food More Appealing
Dry dog food is nutritious for canines, keeps the dog’s teeth and gums healthy and strong, and .it is easy to store and simple to use. So there is good incentive to get your dog to eat it.
Here are some ways to make your dog’s kibble more appealing.
Keep The Food Fresh
This may sound obvious, but we’ve witnessed it as the culprit on several occasions. One of the big advantages of dry dog food is that it is easy to store and simple to use. However, it is important that you keep the food fresh. Kibble left open and exposed to the air can go bad quickly, and dogs are very good at knowing if food has spoiled (I know, it sounds crazy when the same dog will eat out of trash can, but it’s true!).
Store your kibble in an airtight container and in a cool location. To be on the safe side, always read the directions given on the package for proper storage of the particular type of dry food.
Add Warm Water To Dry Dog Food
The simplest way to make dry food more tasty is by adding some warm water to it and letting it soak for a few minutes. The meal will become more broth-like and flavorful for the dog. For some dogs, simply doing this is enough to get them to eat their meal.
This method also has added benefits for dogs who may dislike the hard crunchiness of raw kibble as the water softens it. Some dogs with digestive issues also find soaked kibble to be easier to digest.
Add Chicken Broth to Dry Dog Food
If you want to mix it up a little, add some chicken broth or bone broth to the dry food. This will give it a different smell and texture. Dogs generally love chicken or beef flavors, so this often will make the kibble appealing to your dog’s palette.
Add Yogurt To Dog Kibble
If warm water does not solve your problem, try adding a dollop or two of plain yogurt to your dog’s dry food. The yogurt will give the food a new aroma, texture and taste, and it will also include some digestive benefits for your pet.
Be sure not to use flavored yogurt, as they contain sugars that may not be healthy for your dog. Also make sure you mix the yogurt in with the food or your dog may just lap up the yogurt and leave the kibble.
Add Canned Wet Dog Food to Dry Kibble
If your dog is particularly stubborn, you can resort to adding a small amount of canned wet food to their dry dog food. Just like the yogurt, mixing it in with the kibble should get your pup excited about the meal.
Again, don’t add more than a spoon or two of wet food or you’ll be defeating the purpose of adding to the dry food. You don’t want to end up feeding your dog canned food with a little kibble mixed in! Usually wet dog food containing a meat or poultry protein source will get even the pickiest eater’s attention.
Add Liver or an Egg to Kibble
As noted above, dogs taste with their nose, so adding a very small amount of food with a potent smell that dogs love can make the whole meal “taste” better. Cooked liver or an egg can go a long ways towards accomplishing this.
Add Fish Oil to Dry Dog Food
Fish oil (usually salmon) can also be added to dry dog food as a flavor enticement. Make sure you get one that’s specifically for dogs, and be mindful of the dosage.
There are a number of additional benefits to giving fish oil to your dog, but be sure to run it by your vet to see if it is appropriate for your dog. Also, store the oil properly per the instructions so that it doesn’t get exposed to air or light, which can render the oil unusable. Again, refer to the product documentation.
As seen from above, there are a number of ways to make dry dog food more appealing for your picky eaters. Hopefully, one of them convinces your dog to start chowing down.