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My black Curly-Coated Retriever, Wave, loved his food – until one day, he didn’t. He was healthy and active, and nothing had changed in his life. He just seemed to be bored with the food he previously devoured.
In contrast, my current dog, a brown Lagotto Romagnolo, does a Snoopy dance of joy every time I feed her. Mealtimes are the best times of the day. I’m convinced that no matter what I put in her food dish, she would eat it as quickly as she could.
Research on dogs and their appetites shows that my own dogs are not unusual when it comes to their food choices. Dogs like routine, which includes consistency in their food. They have fewer tastebuds than we do by a longshot – 1,700 for the average dog compared to 9,000 for humans, so they may not be as discriminating as we are in what they choose to eat. Most dogs are as content to eat from a trashcan as they are a gourmet meal.
If Your Dog Refuses Food
However, for some dogs, there comes a day when you give them a dish of their previously adored food and they lift their noses, lay on you a sorrowful look, and walk away. If and when this happens, what should you do?
- First, check the food to see if it may have expired or spoiled. Expired food can lose its flavor, as well as its nutritional value.
- Second, check your dog for any underlying health or behavioral issues that could affect his appetite. Stress, separation anxiety, dental disease, diabetes, nausea, and pain can cause loss of appetite. You might also see an appetite reduction in senior dogs.
- Third, consider whether your dog’s boredom is with the food or with life in general. Mental and physical exercise, including dog sports, therapy work, or search and rescue, may invigorate your dog and stimulate his appetite. Food puzzles and feeding toys may also liven up mealtime enough to make it more exciting.
- Finally, if it appears that your dog may simply be tired of the same old food, even though you’ve been providing a nutritional, well-balanced, high-quality diet, you might want to give a fresh dog food diet a try. After all, variety is the spice of life, and fresh food can introduce some enticing new smells, tastes, and textures to your dog’s diet. Fresh dog food delivery services, such as Ollie, work with canine nutritionists to develop yummy, personalized meals for dogs.
Spice Up Your Dog’s Diet
As the Merck Veterinary Manual reports, dogs require specific dietary nutrient concentrations based on their life stage. Energy requirements are quite variable. Animals with the same body weight can have a 3-fold variation in daily kcal requirements affected by age, neutering status, physical activity, environment, and underlying abnormalities.
“Before you make any major changes in your dog’s diet, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist,” advises Dr. Jerry Klein, AKC chief veterinary officer. “Make any changes very gradually. Sudden changes in diet are likely to result in gastrointestinal upset.”
After getting professional advice, you might want to start with a simple change. Some dogs become bored with the smell, flavor, and texture of their food. Change out one ingredient, such as swapping any chicken-based food for fish or lamb. You can also add fresh ingredients to the dog’s kibble. Both steps may awaken those sensitive noses and make an old dish more exciting.
Whenever you make changes, whether small or large, the most important responsibility involved with feeding your dog is to be sure you’re feeding a complete, nutritious, balanced food with the right amount of protein, fats, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Try Going Fresh
There are fresh dog food companies today that use human-grade ingredients and avoid fillers, artificial flavors, and preservatives. The best ones work with veterinary nutritionists, and they will customize a diet that meets the needs of your dog. You can subscribe and have the food delivered to you conveniently in the correct portion size to be refrigerated or frozen.
Ollie offers fresh, human-grade food, made with natural ingredients like chicken, beef, carrots, lamb, and blueberries. The recipes were developed with a board-certified veterinary nutritionist to create balanced and complete, human-grade recipes that abide by the AAFCO standards.
Your dog will have new flavors and aromas to try, and since there are few or no preservatives, the food may be tastier and more appealing. There are a variety of ingredient options you can try on your dog to see what he likes best – for example, chicken, beef, or lamb, which can contain butternut squash, chickpeas, cranberries, kale, carrots, blueberries, and sweet potato.
Different ingredients offer different benefits – healthy weight, shiny coats, increased energy, clean breath, good digestion, and regular stools. But if the food isn’t palatable to your dog, the benefits won’t matter. It makes sense to go with a fresh food provider that allows you to try different options with your dog and see how he reacts.
Fresh food companies like Ollie also save you the time required to cook your dog’s food at home. It may seem simple to do the cooking yourself, but unless you cook using recipes developed by a veterinary nutritionist, you may be shortchanging your dog when it comes to balance and nutrition. The right fresh food provider will combine convenience with quality, nutrition, and safety.
As dog owners and dog lovers, we know that life is infinitely more delicious because we live with our dogs. Let’s make sure their food remains infinitely delicious, too.
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