My dog is too fussy, what can I do?

A healthy dog will certainly not starve if there is good quality food available. If he seems ill otherwise (lethargic, vomiting, drinking excessively etc) then he needs to see a vet. If he is bright and active, but not interested in food, then probably you are over-feeding him. There is nothing more fussy than a dog which is full.

What do you think would happen if for 2 or 3 days, you gave him just 1 teaspoon of food? (No treats, nothing else at all.) Do not do this but if you really think he would not eat a teaspoon of food per day, he really should go to the vets. If you think he would then eat very keenly, then all that is happening is the amount which you have decided he should eat, is more than he wants. You will not be able to make him eat it if he is not hungry.

Is your dog skinny? Is he plump? Is he happy otherwise? Some dogs are actually naturally quite lean in build, and are better off for it. Probably you are just trying to get him to eat more than he wants. If you halved the amount you gave him, you might well find he started to eat very keenly after a while. You would probably find that he did very well like that, was bright and happy and appeared greedy whenever you offered him food.

Many people  just over-estimate how much their dogs need to eat in a day. If this is right, you will never be happy with your dog's eating habits unless you re-adjust your expectation. Many kind hearted people just like to see their families and their pets eating well. You can have too much of a good thing though!

I would suggest you just feed your dog much less, and see how things go. Weigh him periodically to see if he is losing weight, and if he is getting too thin. The vast majority of fussy dogs are just being fed too much. They would not be at all fussy if they were looked after by someone who always underfed them. Therefore fussiness is more a product of the feeder, not the dog at all!

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Author: VioVet Published: Sunday 20th January 2013