October 03, 2022 3 min read

While there are many dog owners who claim that their dog will eat just about anything, there are many dog owners who struggle with picky eaters, and much like Goldilocks, they will only eat their food if it is “just right!”

So how do you get your picky dog to eat their food and get enough variety in their meals? We have some considerations and tips that you can try with your pet to entice your dog to eat at mealtime. 

Bring the food to room temperature
We suggest (especially when first introducing raw) to make sure the food is served at room temperature as opposed to the temperature straight from the fridge. You can do this by leaving food out for 10-15 minutes before serving it or by mixing some warm water into the food. 

Hand feeding your dog
Hand feeding your dog can be a good way to introduce a new food to your dog (like when first transitioning to raw dog food from kibble). Dogs trust their owners and are likely to trust new food more if it is being fed straight from the hand of a trusted companion.

Be mindful of treats & toppers
If your dog doesn’t want to eat, it could simply be that they are not hungry. This may mean you may need to eliminate treats or decrease the number of treats your dog is getting throughout the day or the meal toppers you are adding to their bowl. Meals should be fed (when feeding  2 meals a day) at least 8 hours apart. 

Add some additional flavour
On the flip side, you may find it helpful to add a topper to food such as a small amount of goat’s milk or bone broth. This adds some additional/different tastes & textures to the raw food that may entice your pet. 

Enrichment tools
Enrichment toys and tools like a lick mat or a stuffed Toppl can keep dogs interested in their food (it becomes a game) and can entertain them as well! These are available at your local pet store.

Consider the environment
Your dog may be shy at mealtime and requires a peaceful and private space to eat their meals. Try feeding them their meals in a separate area (e.g. another room from where you are or even their crate) where they may feel more comfortable and safer to eat in peace with fewer distractions.

Mix it up!
Variety is not only good for your dog so that they get an assortment of different nutrients, but it is also good to keep meals interesting and keep pets from getting bored. We suggest rotating proteins regularly (For more information on rotating proteins, read our bloghere). If your dog is picky about a certain protein, try mixing that protein with another variety before deciding to eliminate that protein from their diet completely. 

Skip a meal
Often the best way to encourage dogs to eat is to show some tough love by skipping a meal they refuse to eat.. Some dogs think that if they refuse to eat the food that is offered, something else will be given in its place. If they do not eat at mealtime, take their food away and store it back in the fridge until their next mealtime. This teaches your dog that this is their meal option and if they don't eat this, there isn’t another option available.

Ask your community
There are many raw feeders who have experienced this issue so feel free to message your raw feeding community on Facebook groups or message boards to see what advice others have!

If your dog is refusing to eat for a prolonged period, consult with your veterinarian as there could be an underlying medical issue.