Is Your Dog A Picky Eater? Tips To Tell And Solutions To Try

As a veterinarian, I often hear pet owners expressing concern over their dog’s eating habits. While some dogs will eat just about anything, others can be quite picky. In this article, we’ll discuss how to tell if your dog is a picky eater and some possible solutions to try.

Is Your Dog A Picky Eater? Tips To Tell And Solutions To Try

Signs That Your Dog Is A Picky Eater

Before we dive into solutions, let’s first discuss some signs that your dog may be a picky eater:

  • Eating very slowly or not at all
  • Leaving food in their bowl for extended periods of time
  • Only eating certain types of food or treats
  • Turning their nose up at a new brand or type of food
  • Acting disinterested in food or showing signs of hunger but not eating

If your dog is exhibiting any of these signs, they may be a picky eater. However, it’s important to rule out any underlying medical conditions that could be causing their lack of appetite. Make sure to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian if you are concerned.

Possible Reasons Why Your Dog Is Picky

There are several reasons why a dog may be a picky eater. Some possible reasons include:

  • Medical issues such as dental problems, gastrointestinal issues or stress
  • Overfeeding or free feeding
  • Food allergies or sensitivities
  • Boredom with the same food
  • Poor quality food or not the right type of food for their age or breed

Tips To Encourage Your Picky Eater

Now that we’ve discussed the signs and possible reasons why your dog may be a picky eater, let’s dive into some solutions to try:

1. Change Up Their Food

Try switching to a different brand or type of food. Some dogs prefer wet food over dry, or vice versa. You can also try adding in some healthy food toppers such as cooked chicken, pumpkin or sweet potato.

2. Create A Feeding Schedule

Instead of free feeding, try creating a feeding schedule for your dog. Leave their food out for 10-15 minutes and then remove it until the next scheduled feeding time. This will help your dog learn to eat when their food is offered and prevent grazing throughout the day.

3. Avoid Table Scraps

While it can be tempting to give your dog a taste of human food, this can contribute to picky eating habits. Stick to a consistent diet and avoid giving in to begging behavior.

4. Add Some Variety

Just like humans, dogs can get bored with the same food every day. Try rotating between a few different types of food to keep things interesting. It’s also important to make sure that your dog is getting a balanced diet with all the necessary nutrients.

5. Address Any Medical Issues

If you suspect that your dog’s picky eating habits are due to underlying medical issues, make sure to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. They can perform a thorough exam and run any necessary tests to rule out any medical conditions.


In conclusion, picky eating is a common issue among dogs. While it can be frustrating, there are several solutions to try. By changing up their food, creating a feeding schedule, avoiding table scraps, adding variety and addressing any medical issues, you can help encourage your picky eater to enjoy their meals. Remember to always consult with your veterinarian if you have any concerns regarding your dog’s health and diet.


How do I know if my dog is a picky eater?

If your dog consistently refuses to eat the food you provide, or only nibbles at it before walking away, it’s likely they are a picky eater. Other signs to look for include your dog showing no interest in food or treats, only eating certain types of food, or preferring human food over their own.

What are some solutions to try if my dog is a picky eater?

First, try to identify any underlying health issues that could be causing your dog’s lack of appetite. Once any medical issues have been addressed, try offering your dog different types of food to see if they prefer a specific brand or flavor. You can also try adding a small amount of wet food or cooked meat to their kibble to entice them. Finally, make sure you’re not overfeeding your dog, as this can cause them to become more selective about their food.

Is it okay to let my dog skip a meal if they are not interested in eating?

While it’s generally not a cause for concern if your dog skips a meal every now and then, it’s important to monitor their eating habits closely. If your dog consistently refuses to eat for more than a day or two, schedule a visit with your vet to rule out any underlying medical issues. Additionally, if your dog is very young or very old, skipping meals can be more concerning and may require immediate attention.

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