January 18, 2018
So, you’ve done all the research, committed to a raw pet food diet for your dog, and thought you had everything prepared perfectly. But then, your furry friend takes one look at the food and walks away. Sound familiar? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many dog owners face this challenge, and we’re here to help you through it.
Why Some Dogs Are Picky Eaters
There can be various reasons why some dogs struggle to transition to a raw diet. Some have always been picky eaters, while others may be unsure about the texture or temperature of the food. If you already know that your dog is finicky when it comes to eating, transitioning to raw can be even trickier. Negative experiences with food, previous feeding habits, or just plain smart antics can all contribute to their hesitation. It’s crucial to establish healthy mealtime habits that encourage natural consumption and digestion.
Taste Isn’t Everything
Did you know that dogs have only about 1,760 taste buds on their tongues, compared to humans’ 9,000? So, it’s not just about the taste for our furry friends. Dogs are primarily motivated by smell when it comes to food. That’s why rotating through a variety of proteins is not only great for their taste buds but also keeps them from getting bored with their meals and provides a balanced nutrition.
When Fido Isn’t Hungry
Sometimes, dogs may skip meals or seem picky simply because they’re not hungry. As puppies grow into adolescents and then into adults, they may need less food. It’s completely normal for their caloric intake to decrease as their growth slows down. If you notice your teenage dog becoming less interested in food, it might be a good idea to vary their meal times and potentially decrease their feeding frequency to once per day.
Additionally, weather conditions can affect their appetite. Dogs tend to eat less during extreme heat or when they’re less active. Keep in mind that, like people, dogs may not require the same volume of food intake every day.
Creating a Comfortable Feeding Environment
While many dogs are fed in the bustling heart of our homes, the kitchen, some may find it uncomfortable. Consider the feeding habits of wild dogs, who often drag their meals to secluded dens or underbrush. It’s no surprise that our domesticated companions might prefer a more private feeding space. If your dog is struggling to eat, try feeding them in a crate or a closed-off room where they can have more privacy. This can be especially beneficial when they have a delicious raw meaty bone to enjoy.
The “Tough Love” Approach
If your dog is in good health, sometimes the “tough love” approach is necessary to combat their selectivity. This is particularly important if your dog is used to having extra toppers added to their meals. We recommend presenting their food for five minutes and if they don’t eat everything, simply pick up the dish, cover it, and place it back in the refrigerator. Don’t offer them anything until their next scheduled mealtime. Dogs are highly attuned to their owners, so it’s essential to remain neutral if they don’t eat right away. Avoid coaxing or enticing them with treats or scraps. Healthy dogs won’t typically starve themselves, and they will eventually learn that they won’t be getting any additional goodies. Most of the time, they will start eagerly gobbling up their meals.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Transitioning your dog to a raw diet is a wonderful gift you can give them. If you’re struggling or anticipate difficulties, remember that there is a whole community of raw feeders out there ready to help. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, seek advice, and learn from the experiences of others who have already embarked on the raw revolution. It will make the journey easier, and your pet will appreciate your efforts.
If you need assistance with transitioning to a balanced raw food diet for your dog, or if you anticipate any difficulties, contact Katten TrimSalon. We have helped guide many dogs and their owners through the transition and would be delighted to assist you too!