3 min. read

8 Tips for a picky dog

Bo Vanbeselaere (Veterinarian)

Just like people, different dogs have very different eating habits. Some dogs live to eat and will scoff down anything you put in front of them, while others only eat to live. Picky dogs typically eat more slowly and with less enthusiasm. It can take a while before their bowl is empty and they don't always finish their meals.

Of course, with some picky dogs, this apparent distaste for food only seems to apply to the food in their bowl and they remain pretty keen to get a taste of whatever you’re eating! How do you deal with a difficult eater? Here are a few tips and tricks that might help.

Tip 1: Rule out that you dog is feeling unwell

Firstly, try to establish if your dog’s lack of appetite has anything to do with illness or an upset stomach. Occasionally, dogs don’t want to eat because eating will upset their tummy. They may feel nauseous for some reason or sense that they won’t react well to certain foods. Dental issues or joint pain may also result in a loss of appetite. If you suspect that your dog is suffering, pay a visit to your vet as soon as possible to rule out serious health problems.

Tip 2: Choose tasty food

The next step is to look at what you feed your dog. It’s quite possible your dog isn’t eating with gusto because they just don’t like the food you’re giving them. Picky dogs often prefer to eat kibble or wet food made with plenty of fresh meat and a delicious aroma. 

We’ve noticed that wet food is more popular with picky dogs than dry food. Try mixing wet food with kibble if your dog isn’t relishing dried food.

Choose from 31 different recipes for dry & wet food
Learn more

Tip 3: Never give your dog food from the table 

When you feed your dog scraps from the table you encourage bad behaviour and undermine your leadership position as an owner. Be strict and make sure your dog understands that eating from the table simply isn’t an option. For one thing, if your dog’s already filled up on scraps it’s likely to have less of an appetite when dinner comes around. 

Teach your four-legged friend that he will get his food at a fixed time and place. 

An ideal time is just before your own meal. This way, your dog's hunger is sated before he gets a whiff of your steak!

Tip 4: Don’t go over the top with snacks

Hands up, our snacks are delicious and extremely hard to resist! But over-indulging on too many snacks isn’t very healthy and will reduce your dog's appetite. So decide in advance how many snacks your dog can have on a daily/weekly basis and stick to the plan.

Tip 5: Feeding on the same food is good for your dog

it’s recommended that you gradually introduce pet food over 4 days

It’s important to remember that your dog won’t get bored of eating the same food every day. On the contrary, dogs love routine! In fact, in some cases, a consistent diet can help to keep your dog's digestive system healthy.

We recommend to gradually introduce dog food over 4 days. Like this:

Tip 6: Exercise stimulates hunger 

Physical exercise stimulates hunger. Go for a walk, have a run around in the garden or dance! And do it just before dinnertime

Tip 7: Create a quiet eating environment 

Make sure your dog eats its food in a quiet environment without other stimuli and distractions. Stress can also play a role in a dog’s eagerness to eat. 

Tip 8: Make your four-legged friend’s meal extra tempting 

Dogs have 20% less taste buds than humans so try to appeal to their sense of smell, which is extremely acute. Do you feed your dog dry food? Then add a little water to the chunks to enhance the aromas. Wet food gives off a much stronger smell, which is extra enticing for picky dogs. Are you struggling with a picky eater? Choosing quality food can make a massive difference. At Edgard & Cooper, we provide complete food with all the essential nutrients your dog needs.

Discover your dog's favourite new food
Learn more

Like what you see?

Join thousands of other dog and cat lovers in the pet food revolution


About Edgard & Cooper


Joyful pet food

Eating is one of life’s simple joys, so why overcomplicate things? Unlike most other pet foods, we treat nature’s ingredients with respect and make food that’s naturally healthy and full of flavour.


Play nice with nature

We’re on a mission to become the world’s most sustainable pet food. We love nature, so we pledge to make real, lasting change through our targets of zero carbon, fully sustainable packaging and ethically sourced ingredients.


Friends stick together

We donate 1% of our sales to the Edgard & Cooper Foundation, which works with charities that improve the lives of cats and dogs today, while protecting them tomorrow.

© Edgard & Cooper