How can I get my dog to eat if she refuses?

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It’s not that uncommon for a dog to miss a meal or two, but if it goes any longer you want to be sure the lack of appetite isn’t caused by a health-related issue. Take her to the veterinarian for an examination and blood tests.

The veterinarian may also offer a different diet that is more appropriate to your dog or a supplement that will help provide nutrients that your dog is missing.

Other things you can try:

• Make “gravy.” Add enough water to slightly soften or cover the food you are providing. Often dogs become picky and water provides something new that may spark an interest in the food. Dogs may also pass up food if they are dehydrated and adding water to the food will provide hydration. Adding water to a meal will not upset your dog’s stomach, so it is the best option to try before anything else.
• Microwave canned food to bring out enticing aromas.
• Check expiration dates: Make sure the food isn’t stale or spoiled.
• Add a “yummy” to your dog’s food. Although this isn’t good to do on a regular basis—it can spoil the dog and make her turn up her nose at her food, holding out for something better— it’s okay to do in the short-term. “Yummies” can range from a couple of scoops of a canned dog food to a small sprinkle of cheese, apple slices, green beans or carrots. You can even mix in a little canned tuna or peanut butter. Add a small amount at first, just enough to provide a new smell and a slight flavor change
• Make mealtime more exciting: She just may be bored. Food Puzzles, those toy-like objects with openings in which you “hide” the food, will keep her active for 20 to 30 minutes while she gets the food out.

NOTE: If you plan on adding “yummies” to your dog’s food, always consult with a veterinarian first to be sure it’s healthy, and don’t do it if your dog has gastrointestinal problems.

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