Choosing the Best Dry Dog Food for Picky Eaters
While some dogs may happily eat their bowl of food and be content, other dogs can be very picky eaters. It’s not uncommon for dogs to be particular about their food, but that doesn’t make it any less unnerving when your best friend doesn’t finish their meal.
A lack of appetite can happen with dogs of all ages and breeds for several different reasons. Fortunately, there are ways that you can address the picky problem. Let’s break down how to tell if your dog is a picky eater, how to choose the best dog food for picky eaters, and how you can entice your dog to eat full meals.
How Do I Know if My Dog is a Picky Eater?
A picky dog is typically defined as a furry friend who does not consume all of their food at least once a day. If your dog has suddenly stopped eating, it is always good to be sure that there isn't another reason why your dog isn't eating all their food. There are a variety of other factors aside from fussiness that can create a lack of appetite. These include:
- A change in environment
- Separation anxiety
- Dental issues
- A sensitive stomach
If your dog is in good general health and has become less than enthusiastic about food, you may have a case of picky eating on your hands. In that situation, you'll want to take some measures to help your best friend enjoy mealtime.
What to Feed a Picky Dog?
The answer to this question can depend on the dog. Some particular pooches may prefer a specific type of flavor or texture, whereas other may hold out for something they find to be super delicious.
Dogs can’t talk, but they can communicate with their actions. You’ll want to experiment with different options to see if your finicky friend shows a preference to different types of kibble. Some dogs may also need some added incentive to chow down on their breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Don’t be afraid to try adding some wet dog food to their kibble as a mix-in or topper to incentivize your best friend to eat.
While it’s hard to determine what is the best tasting dog food for picky dogs – each furry friend will have preferences after all – there are some key characteristics that you should look for in dry food.
- How it’s made – Not all pet food is made the same way. Some dry dog foods are cooked and extruded at extreme temperatures, a process that can damage key nutrients found in the raw ingredients. Look for dry foods that are slow-cooked so that they help preserve key nutrients and natural taste that can help sway even the pickiest of dogs.
- How much animal protein it has – Our dog’s ancestors survived on animal protein, and it’s still an important part of a best friends’ diet. Food made with more high-quality animal protein can give picky dogs more of the essential amino acids they need to thrive.
- Whether there are any added flavors – Some dog food brands make up for cooking methods by adding rendered fat, powder flavoring, and more to try and make their food more appealing to dogs. While this may fool some dogs, it’s best to stick with kibble that combines great taste and nutrition without the need for spray or powder enhancers.
How to Make a Picky Dog Eat: Put Together an Action Plan
Finding the best dog food for your picky eater is just one step in helping your furry friend be less persnickety about their food. There are a few key factors that can help you entice your dog to consistently eat everything in their food bowl. Here’s a four-part action plan to get your picky eater eating again.
Step One: Have a plan and be consistent
Dogs are creatures of habit, so make sure that you’re creating a comfortable routine for feeding your dog. Changing that routine can throw off your dog and make fussy eaters less likely to commit to a full meal.
Once you find a food your dogs like, be consistent with when, where, and how you feed them. Your dog should maintain a regular schedule so that they’re less likely to feel the need to hoard food for the future.
You should also identify and maintain a regular feeding spot – changing this space can be a bit jarring for a hungry pooch. Keeping all these details consistent will help eliminate some outside factors that may keep your dog from committing to a full meal.
Step Two: Keep dog food and people food separate
While it can be awfully tempting to say yes to an adorable face and puppy dog eyes, table scraps and human food are not an ideal part of a healthy, canine diet. In fact, people food can often lead to your dog not having enough space for their own kibble – or even a refusal to eat their dog food in favor of what you have on your plate. Even worse, giving your dog the wrong people food can lead to gastric distress.
Dropping a few morsels of people food on top of your dog's kibble can quickly add unnecessary calories to your dog’s bowl. It's best to stick to a tasty, nutritious dog food to help ensure complete nutrition and avoid picky eating habits.
Step Three: Be mindful with treats
Dog treats are great for training your dog or rewarding them for being so adorable. However, it’s important to balance an appropriate amount of treats with your dog’s meals.
Treats are awfully tasty, but handing out too many snacks may make your dog less interested in regular meals. This possibility means that you’ll want to monitor how many treats you dole out to your furry friend. The American Kennel Club recommends limiting treats to no more than 10 percent of your dog’s diet.
The easiest way to accomplish this goal is to manage the number of treats you give your dog. This can be hard to accomplish if you’re in the middle of training and need those treats to reward good behaviors. In this case, you can try breaking treats into smaller pieces. You can also use a smaller reward like Bil-Jac Little-Jacs Training Treats to keep the portions manageable.
Step Four: Make it an easy transition to dog food made for picky dogs
Just switching brands may not resolve a dog’s picky eating problems. Once you find a dry dog food your picky dog prefers, you’ll want to make the transition as painless as possible.
It can be easier to make the switch from some foods than others. If you’re transitioning your dog from one brand to another, you’ll want to start adding some of the new kibble to the old kibble. Over time, you can increase the amount of the new dry dog food until you’re completely switched over to the new kibble.
Meanwhile, some dogs will take to their new food right away. For example, many dogs can easily make the transition to Bil-Jac without mixing, but if your dog is especially sensitive, it’s worth taking your time to make the change.
Picky No More: A Dog Food for the Pickiest Eaters
When you’re ready to try a dry dog food for the pickiest of pooches, Bil-Jac Picky No More Dry Dog Food should be at the top of your list. Picky No More recipes feature chicken liver, which is often used in dog treats because most dogs find it so irresistible. Even better, chicken liver helps provide high-quality protein, fat, and Vitamin A, making it a great choice to help your dog stay healthy.
Picky No More also contains Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids as well. These fatty acids help create that lush, shiny “show-ring coat” – just one reason why Bil-Jac is the preferred choice of many professional dog breeders and handlers.
Ready for the scientific stuff? Slow cooking at controlled temperatures helps protect the essential nutrients that are in your dog’s food. Part of those essential nutrients are amino acids. Amino acids help support key body functions. Arginine helps support the immune system, while leucine and lysine rebuild muscles. Different types of dogs have special dietary needs as well, which is why Picky No More comes in two different varieties.
Each formula is made to accommodate your dog’s specific needs. For example, our Picky No More Medium & Large Breed provides naturally sourced, guaranteed levels of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. These compounds are naturally sourced in our chicken ingredients, rather than through an added supplement. Bil-Jac strives to support nutrition on a holistic basis.
The Paw-fect Solution for Picky Dogs
Mealtime is meant to be a happy occasion, which is why it's important to get your picky pooch back to finishing meals. If you’re ready to get your dog back on track, check out the full line of Bil-Jac Picky No More Dry Dog Food for small breed dogs and medium & large dogs and “bring excitement to every meal®,” even for your picky eaters!
Want to learn more about what you can do to support your best friend’s health and happiness? Join our Best Friends Club to receive more helpful articles and special members-only discounts on Bil-Jac products.