How to get a dog to eat their food?

Graham says:

“If your dog happens to be a fussy eater then there are a few tricks you can try to help improve their appetite:

Don’t leave food out all day. Often, if a dog knows it can go back to its bowl anytime to eat it is less likely to be motivated to eat at “mealtimes”. Instead, put down their feed 2-3 times per day for no more than 20-30 minutes, so the dog starts to learn to eat when food is available. This will also give them time to build up an appetite between meals.

Scrap the metal. As odd as it might sound, some dogs do not like eating out of metallic bowls. This is either due to the sensory feel/smell/taste or because of their metal collar tag clinking loudly on the bowl as they eat. I’d recommend trying a plastic bowl if this is the case, which can also be good for the next tip…

Warming foods. If your dog is fussy, or if they’re simply very nervous, elderly or convalescing, sometimes warming their food up can increase their interest in it. It’s a bit like how for us a hot meal can sometimes be more appetising than a cold one! If you use a microwave to heat the food be sure not to use a metallic bowl and always ensure the food is not too hot before serving.

Warm water. Similar to the above, adding some warm water to dry kibble warms and moistens it, making it softer and more appealing to some dogs’ senses.

Mix it up. Mixing a spoonful of wet food into your dog’s kibble can encourage fussy eaters to eat dry kibbles.

Peace. Keep the feeding area quiet and free of distractions while your dog is eating. Often bowl feeding means a dog has to turn its back on other things going on in the room and if it is nervous it may not feel comfortable doing this.

By hand. In extreme situations, with very nervous, elderly or convalescing dogs, sometimes hand feeding them their dinner can help them to eat. Once they recognise their food is food you can encourage them to eat from a bowl.”