Meal Time Stress & Mess!


My dog is a frustratingly finicky eater. Every meal time she nuzzles through her bowl to pick out all of the tinned food that I’ve mixed with kibble and then she leaves all of the kibble scattered over the floor. She absolutely refuses to eat dry food on its own. I’ve even left her for four days with putting the same dry food down. She just sniffs it and walks away, so she doesn’t get fed. Do you have any advice?



This is venturing into territory where I need to be careful of my advice and first refer you to a trusted veterinarian. Before you do anything, find a reputable veterinarian who will conduct a series of thorough tests and hopefully rule out any physical problems that could be causing your dog’s eating issues. However, once all of the physical possibilities have been eliminated, you could reasonably conclude that your dog’s eating habits are simply that – habits that have developed over time and that can most likely be transformed.

I have experienced what you described before and, based on my experience, a dog will not starve himself…. Read that how you will. It’s very interesting how stubborn a dog can be once you try to get him to go back to some perceived “boring” foods once you’ve introduced something different and/or tastier. This is especially true of people who decide to add table scraps to their dog’s dish a few times – then when the night comes when there are no table scraps, doggie dinner time is suddenly a disaster!

I will advise, however, to make sure the dry food you’ve chosen to give to your dog is very highly quality i.e. that it’s nutrient-dense and completely free of “junk”/fillers. Generally, a dog’s body knows what it needs and it’s only natural that some dogs reject foods that are not going to serve them well in the long term. Again, I can’t get into specifics so I can’t go recommending a certain brand/type, etc., but I would advise you to do a thorough search of what’s best to feed your dog (and I’m not just talking about dry food kibbles here). Once you’ve made your decision then stick to it. Don’t go adding in any other tidbits for variety’s sake, etc. This will just exacerbate your dog’s fussiness.

Once you know for sure you’re meeting your dog’s nutritional needs on a daily basis, you’ll be in a much better and more confident position to deal with her stubbornness or fussiness at meal time. Oh, and by the way, this is where I will also have to actually caution you about asking your veterinarian about what to feed your dog. Many vets are driven to promote the foods they sell at their clinics, for obvious reasons. Again, read that as you will. You’re better off searching for a wide variety of unbiased reviews/studies online and then come up with the best conclusion from there.

Finally, you can also check out my advice under an earlier Blog post:

– Don Sullivan, “The DogFather”

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