Does your dog turn his nose away at most foods you give him? Does he sniff his food bowl and then walk away grumbling to himself that he’s just not interested in what you serve him? Sorry to tell you but it sounds like you might have a picky dog. Fear not – Festhund is here to help!
Most dogs are excited to eat – anything – even if it’s not edible - like a sock or a crayon, but then there are dogs who are hungry, but let’s just say maybe their senses are more acute and their taste buds are more refined.
Sometimes when a dog doesn’t have an appetite, it can be a sign of a more serious issue. However, we’re referring to that dog that you know is in good health and feels good and it’s not that he doesn’t want to eat – it’s just that he doesn’t like what’s on the menu.
Since our dogs cannot tell us what they want and we cannot read their minds, we need to do some trial and error and some detective work to figure out exactly what will make our best friends happy.
A good place to start is by looking at what type of food you are giving your dog. Often, your dog might not be tempted by the type of food – the smell or texture – or it might also be the location or environment where you are feeding your dog – and for some dogs, it could even be their level of activity. An active dog is a hungry dog!
Here are a few of our favorite dog foods to feed your picky pup, along with some other Festhund tips to try! Remember to always be careful when changing or adjusting your dog’s food – do so gradually to avoid digestive upset!
✔️ Try a food with a different texture or with more moisture
Have you been feeding your dog only dry food? Maybe he doesn’t like the texture or maybe it’s just well… too dry.
Try introducing some canned or wet food into your dog’s diet. Choose a grain-free food that is high in protein with real chicken or meat as the first ingredient and avoid wheat, wheat gluten, corn, soy, by-products, and carrageenan – which can be very harmful to your pet’s digestive tract – and remember dogs are carnivores! Even if you are a vegetarian, your dog needs meat products! Although some vegetables can offer beneficial vitamins to your dog’s health, they cannot live off peas and carrots - and too many vegetables just end up being unsatisfying fillers.
Here are some of our top Festhund approved wet dog food choices. Although most of these products come in a variety of flavors, we chose to keep things simple and focus on the chicken or beef based options.
1️⃣ Nutro Grain Free Hearty Stew Wet Dog Food – Tender Chicken, Carrot & Pea Stew
Nutro Tender Chicken, Carrot & Pea Stew and Nutro Hearty Beef Stew are non-GMO, grain-free “hearty stews” made of chunks in gravy. Real chicken or beef are the first ingredient, and this food does not contain corn, wheat, soy, by-product meal, carrageenan, artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors.
*Note: these two recipes do not have carrageenan, however, check the labels because some other flavors in this line do have carrageenan.
Purina Beyond Grain Free Gravy Wet Dog Food is similar to Nutro Hearty Stew in that it has chunks of food in gravy. Both the Purina Beyond Cage-Free Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe
and the Purina Beyond Cage – Free Turkey and Green Bean Recipe
are excellent choices because the meat products – chicken and turkey in these options - are raised without steroids or hormones. Both these flavors also have natural prebiotic fiber, and are free of carrageenan, corn, wheat, soy, by-product meal, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.
I AND LOVE AND YOU
Another excellent grain free, carrageenan free dog food line is the I and Love and You Stews. The Beef Booyah Stew and Cluckin’ Good Stew both have fantastic ingredients - starting first with chicken or beef and both are free of wheat, fillers, corn, and soy.
8️⃣ Rachael Ray Nutrish Chicken Paw Pie Dog Food
Rachael Ray Nutrish grain-free dog looks like real food. Both the Hearty Beef Stew and the Chicken Paw Pie contain shreds of meat in gravy with some vegetables, such as carrots, potatoes, peas, or green beans – but mostly meat – it looks like a chunky stew. This dog food does not contain corn, wheat, soy, or gluten and is free of by-products, fillers, artificial preservatives, and flavors.
Simply Nourish Shreds grain- free dog food is similar to the Rachael Ray Nutrish Stews in that it looks like real food. There are shreds of real meat in gravy with chicken or meat as the first ingredient – like a stew – and both the Chicken & Beef Stew and the Chicken & Vegetable Stew contain mostly meat with just a few veggies. This excellent dog food is also free of fillers, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.
Not sure how to add wet food when you’ve always served dry? Try switching up the bowl – mix the wet and dry together or keep them separate – you can even serve the wet food as an appetizer and the dry food as the entree – learn your dog’s preference!
Some other tips and tricks to entice your picky dog….
✔️ Enhance the smell of your dog’s food
The stinkier the food is, the more your dog will want to eat it! You can always add some wet food, but if your dog needs to be persuaded a little more, try adding a food topper, mixer, or doggie bone broth. Also consider the temperature – some dogs are so picky that they prefer their wet food to be room temperature and not refrigerated. You could also try mixing in some warm water or warming the food a few seconds to amplify the smell.
Here are a few of our favorite ways to top off your dog’s food to make it more fragrant:
1️⃣ Kindfull Dry Meal Topper for Dog and Cat Food - 4oz – Kindfull - Chicken, Pumpkin, and Turmeric
The Target Kindfull Dry Meal Topper is a powder with chunks in it and it comes in 4 flavors – our favorite is the Chicken, Pumpkin, and Turmeric - and this topper can also be sprinkled on your cat’s food too! This Kindfull product is part of a bigger line of Target only pet foods that include high quality wet and dry food selections at a reasonable price.
2️⃣ Nature’s Recipe Easy to Digest Dog Food – Grain Free – Chicken Recipe in Broth
The Nature’s Recipe Easy to Digest Dog Food – Grain Free comes in many flavors – we especially liked the Chicken Recipe in Broth. This food is a stew-like mixture with shreds of meat in gravy – the small 2.75 ounce package makes it a great option for a smaller dog – or when you just want to give your pup a little bit of wet food.
3️⃣Purina Beyond Mixers+ Digestive Support Variety Pack Wet Dog Food Topper
Made in the USA
The Purina Beyond Mixers+ Digestive Support Variety Pack Wet Dog Food Topper are also a great option for a smaller pup or when you want to serve just a little wet food. This pack includes 6 – 3-ounce cans of two flavors - Chicken, Lamb, and Brown Rice and Alaskan Cod, Salmon, and Pumpkin – both of which are so pungent it will be impossible for your dog to ignore!
Another way to up your dog’s appetite...
✔️ Help your dog be more active!
As mentioned earlier… an active dog is a hungry dog!
Start simple. Play fetch or frisbee – or take your dog on a walk – this not only increases your dog’s appetite, but it will also help create a bond between you and your dog and improve your relationship. Just be aware that more activity may also make your pup want an extra treat or two!
✔️ Lastly, Location, location, location!
Consider the location of your dog’s feeding area and the environment where your dog is fed.
For example, if you have a rescue dog, or a dog who was a runt of the litter, it is important to consider where the dog has been and what previous environments it has lived in. Maybe your dog had to fight for food if he was fed with other animals in the room. A rescue dog or a dog who lived with other animals might be more on guard come feeding time and may feel more secure being fed in a safe place – away from other pets or family members in the house. Try creating a separate eating space – use a baby gate or a safe room and with the door shut – you can also try sitting near your pup – to let him know that you’ll fend off any predators who may want to take his food, i.e., the resident cats or other pups in the house.
📝 The information provided in this article is opinion and learned from experience with dogs. This is not meant to be clinical advice or prescriptive but is meant to be food for thought. Regardless, we hope it helps you and your pup!