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The dog as a picky eater

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Some dogs like to devour everything they can: Labradors in particular just love eating too much. (We explain HERE that this can also be dangerous.) But exceptions prove the rule and picky dogs are not that rare. Here we want to explain why your four-legged friend may not be able to get used to the food bowl and what you can do to bring the two closer together.

Is your dog sick or really just picky?

What needs to be checked first is whether your dog is suffering from an illness. Various illnesses, such as a malfunction of the kidneys or thyroid gland, can lead to a loss of appetite - a disturbed hormonal balance can also contribute to your dog no longer being hungry. Other reasons for picky eating can include dental problems.

If your dog refuses food for several days, you should first go to the vet so that a diagnosis can rule out health causes. If your dog's behavior is not due to illness, other causes can be looked for. Because there can be quite a few of them:

Inferior feed | Quality tastes better

Dogs have an exceptionally good sense of smell. With their keen nose, they can quickly find out whether they are dealing with inferior ingredients or high-quality food. Therefore, switching to high-quality food with food-grade raw materials can help make the dog less picky.

Food doesn't taste good | Explore new tastes

A very banal reason that everyone can understand - the food is not to your four-legged friend's taste. After all, dogs also have different preferences when it comes to eating. Maybe the appetite will return if a variation of beef or lamb ends up in the bowl instead of the usual food.
Vegetables can also lead to a return of appetite - food enriched with carrot or sweet potato brings variety to the menu.

Stimulate appetite | Treats for in between

Treats are a great addition to nutritious meals and they always stimulate the appetite. When the scent of meat reaches your sensitive nose, saliva begins to flow and your dog's body is prepared for the fact that there is now something tasty to eat. Therefore, particularly natural, freeze-dried snacks can help ensure that the food bowl is emptied quickly.

stress | Loss of appetite due to tension

Stress can also cause your dog to become a picky eater. If your four-legged friend is afraid or there are changes in his environment, it upsets him. It doesn't necessarily have to be a huge change that causes stress: even small things like a new food bowl can confuse and stress dogs. If you recognize such a trigger and remove it from your dog's life, the appetite may return.
If it is not possible to reverse the change - for example if you move - you can calm your dog down by playing with him, talking to him or simply cuddling him a little.

Energy consumption and age | Naturally less hunger

A lot of exercise means high energy consumption. Your dog's activity is directly related to his diet. If your four-legged friend spends a lot of time on the sofa and sleeps, he will usually not be as hungry as when he is romping through forests and meadows. Speaking of running around: as dogs get older, they generally have less desire to play and run extensively. In addition to the reduced activity, there is also a slow metabolism as we age. Less appetite and sometimes picky eating are completely normal in older dogs.


If your four-legged friend looks up from his food bowl at a loss, he's not necessarily a diva - because picky dogs often have good reasons for refusing their food. After the vet has ruled out illness, you should check your best friend's food and environment again. Switching to a high-quality complete food can help bring back hunger. As you get older or after a particularly lazy day, it's natural to lose your appetite.

An additional tip to increase the acceptance of dry food : warm water can work wonders! The softened croquettes are often better accepted and the heat releases additional aromas that smell particularly intense to dogs' noses.