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Why Are Some Dogs Picky Eaters?

Learn why some dogs seem to be picky eaters.

When we think of dogs, we often think of an animal that loves food and is continually trying to get some extra poured into the bowl, a treat from the jar, or even a bit from the table. But some dogs aren't like that. They seem to turn up their noses to most food, and their owners feel like they must work hard to entice their canine companion to eat enough every day.

Why are some dogs so picky?

Some Dogs Aren't Food Motivated

While most dogs seem to be evolutionarily wired to try and get as much food as they possibly can whenever they can get it, others don't seem to be very food motivated. In general, it seems like most of those dogs are small breeds, evolved as companions and lapdogs, rather than hunting breeds.

Is It OK for a Dog to Be So Picky?

If pickiness is your dog's default mode regarding food, it's generally not a problem. However, if your dog used to eat ravenously and suddenly turns up her nose to food, there could be a medical issue, and you should visit a veterinarian right away.

If your dog is just the picky type, seeming to hold out for something tastier all the time, the best thing to do is try to relax and choose a food that's healthy and OK'd by your vet and stick to it. Your dog will eat when she's hungry enough, but only if she knows you won't be giving her something else if she leaves it in the bowl.

Whatever you do, if you have a picky dog, don't change diets routinely to get her to eat regularly. Domesticated dogs' gastrointestinal systems don't like diet changes, so your dog could end up with chronic diarrhea and vomiting—which will further decrease her appetite. Once you're sure there's no medical problem, pick a healthy diet, and stick to it. Avoid giving people food or treats, which can further decrease your dog's desire to eat her regular food.

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