How do I deal with a dog that is a very picky eater?

Our question this week was:

Dear Dr. Debra, I just adopted a 2 year old Papillon. We have had him about a month now. He was very skinny when we got him. He will not eat dog food. I heat up a few small winnies and mix it up in some Caesars dog food. Is this the right thing to do? I was feeding him twice a day but he would loose his appetite. Now I'm feeding him once a day and it seems to be better. He is only 2-years-old. He will not touch dry food. I have tried everything. Do you have any suggestions?


Jennifer Parks – Atlanta Georgia


Hi – thanks for your email. Sounds like your dog is "finicky"? That is tough – and some papillons are known a bit for being quite "particular" about their food. First, I always think it is a good idea to have a routine veterinary exam to make sure everything is okay and that there is no underlying cause for a reduced appetite. If the exam is okay – you then can probably really consider him a bit finicky. I have a really good article about tips for getting finicky dogs to eat. Go to Finicky Dogs: How to Encourage Your Picky Dog to Eat.

There is no one trick or tip for encouraging all dogs to eat. What works for one dog won't work for another dog in many cases. The most important thing you can do is to feed a high quality approved food that is formulated to meet your adult dogs needs. Give him positive reinforcement when he eats his food.

Check out the article – it has tons of tips and I think it might help you.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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