The Best Ways To Turn Around A Picky Eater

30 May 2020 | Written by Tori Holmes

You serve your dog their food twice a day but each time they give it a sniff, maybe take a bite or two, and walk away. Does this sound familiar? Then you’re likely dealing with a picky eater. Dealing with a dog who is selective about what they eat can be stressful, but fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to turn this behavior around.

Switch to Freshpet

Dogs that either pick at their food or simply refuse to eat it would benefit from a switch to Freshpet. Pups get excited when they’re served our food because we only use real, fresh ingredients that we slowly steam cook to maintain nutrition and taste. When it comes to preservatives, the fridge is all we use. We never use any pre-processed meat powders, “chicken meals,” or by-products – just real meat as the #1 ingredient, and real veggies you can see. Picky pets can taste (and smell) the difference, which is why we’re proud to say we’re “Picky Eater Approved”. But don’t just take our word for it, read Rudy’s story.

Serve some tough love

When a dog is hungry it will eat, so it’s important to show them that no other options exist once their food has been served. Training your dog to understand this can take some time and perseverance, but if you follow through even the pickiest dog should start to eat. The process itself is very simply: set your dog’s food out for 30 minutes – if they don’t eat it, take it away. Follow this same process each time you feed them. Over time, they will understand that the food that is served to them is what they need to eat. Of course, if they go more than 24 hours without eating, consult your vet to ensure that there isn’t an underlying medical issue.

Turn feeding time into a game

If your dog enjoys playing, using interactive food puzzles is an easy way to turn feeding time into a game. These toys provide a fun mental and physical challenge that makes your pet work for their food. This way, they aren’t being served their full portion right away, instead, they need to work to get their food and are rewarded each time they solve the puzzle. This encourages them to keep going and makes the entire process of eating a fun activity they look forward to.

Mix up their food

Some pets simply don’t enjoy eating the same thing every day. For these selective eaters, it can require some creativity to mix up their food in a way that keeps them interested, without upsetting their stomach. An easy way to do this is with Freshpet Homestyle Creations. Each recipe is made with natural proteins and vitamin-rich fruits & vegetables, then gently cooked in small batches to create complete & balanced recipes your dog will love. Like all Freshpet recipes, each meal is nutritionally balanced and made with fresh, whole ingredients, gently cooked without preservatives so your pup is getting everything they need to live a healthy, happy, tail-wagging life.

Try feeding at different times of the day

While it may seem logical to feed your pup when you first wake up and then again in the evening, not all dogs enjoy eating on this schedule. If they’re not eating at the times you serve them their meals, try shifting them to different times in the day. Instead of first thing in the morning, wait a few hours until after they’ve had some time to wake up and go for a walk. You could also try feeding them later in the evening instead of around your dinner time. It may take a few tries to find a schedule that they’re happy with, so don’t fret if you don’t see an improvement right away.

No matter which method you try, it’s important to be patient when trying to turn around your picky eater – you may need to try a few things before you find what works. If you’re not seeing any progress or your dog stops eating for more than 24 hours, be sure to contact your veterinarian as there may be underlying health issues that need to be addressed.

Responses to this Post

Sandra Barker
26 Jun, 2020 at 05:09 pm
I have a 17 year old small Jack Russell And 10 year old Westie. For years I fought to find a food they would eat. I have been feeding FreshPet over 2 years now and they are still sometimes picky about eating but eventually do. My problem is the carrots. They don’t seem to digest them. Chunks of carrots are in their poop and sometimes throw up with carrots in it. So we have started picking them out before feeding. Any ideas on why this is happening?
10 Jul, 2020 at 02:34 pm
Hi Sandra - Thank you for reaching out. If you're open to it, please reach out to our Consumer Care Team at 1-866-789-3737, so that we can gather more info and offer our guidance about your current question. Thank you!
Ann Volkots
28 Jun, 2020 at 05:03 pm
My 3 Y.O. Persian cat has been on Freshpet grain free roll and Blue Buffalo dry since birth. When the pandemic hit, we were hit with hard times. My husband and I lost our jobs and it has been really tough. We switched to Sheena and noticed that our cat was getting crusty stuff on her skin. Even though we are struggling, we decided to switch back a week ago. The crusty stuff is going away and her hair is getting thicker. We know we have to feed her this because it's the best thing for HER.
Dave Widau
3 Jul, 2020 at 03:53 pm
Our dog was a picky eater as we had to cook up ground turkey, chicken livers, ground chicken and beef liver to get him to eat as he has Cushing's Disease and has to take meds for it. We switched to Freshpet and boy does he like it. He cleans his dish every meal. Thanks so much for giving him a great alternative. Our Jack Russell at 12 years old acts like a new dog with more pep and even looks a little thinner. No more enhancing his food or cooking up special meals to get him to eat
7 Jul, 2020 at 04:53 pm
Thank you for sharing your Freshpet story with us, Dave. We're so happy to hear that your pup's thriving on our food!
Amy Fleury
14 Jan, 2022 at 11:57 am
Our pittie Ace has been a picky eater since day one. He also suffers from a sensitive tummy and skin allergies. I finally made the decision to try freshpet and am amazed at the difference in one week. He licks his bowl clean and asks for more! So happy to have tried Freshpet???
Lisa Durham
1 Mar, 2022 at 10:57 pm
I have a very picky eater in my German Shepherd, Isabella. I’ve tried everything to get her to eat and it’s been a struggle but when I stumbled across fresh pet and started adding it to her science diet, she started nibbling a little quicker and has finished her bowl more times than not. But the biggest thing I most grateful for is the incredible difference in the softness of her coat in less than two weeks of eating fresh pet! I’m so glad I found this great food for her! It has really made doggie dinner time more pleasant in our house!

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