How Do I Get My Picky Dog To Eat?

Have you ever put your dog’s food bowl down for them only to have them stare up at you as if to say “I certainly hope you’re not expecting me to eat this?!”

As the proud mom of two Dachshunds I can say that I have had my share of battles when it comes to the picky eating department.  I have tried everything from home-cooked wet food to just waiting them out and everything in-between and I want to share with you what I’ve found through my own personal experience and the recommendations of others.

Add A Bit Of Warm Water

It softens the food up a bit and makes a bit of a gravy which makes your dog feel like they’re getting something extra special! Wetting the dry kibble down a bit is also helpful if you have older dogs, small dogs like Chihuahuas or a dog with missing teeth.

Add Chicken Broth

Warm water not doing the trick? Step it up a notch with some chicken broth! It adds a bit of extra flavor to the food while softening it as well. It is an inexpensive option to dress up your dog’s dry food.

Add Canned Veggies

Vegetables have virtually not calories so you can add these to your dog’s food guilt free! Canned peas, carrots and green beans are the best options. Mix together with their dry kibble & a little bit of water and you’re pup gets their own little stew!

Sprinkle A Few Training Treats On Top

Just like sprinkles for ice cream you can add some healthy training treats to your dogs dry food. Mix them together so your dog doesn’t just only eat the treats right off the top!

Add Wet Food

For my ever so picky Dachshunds this was one of their favorite tricks, though the most expensive! Take a tablespoon or two of wet food and mix it together with their dry food.

Try Switching Foods

If your dog is still refusing to eat the food you’re offering, you may want to try a different type of kibble. Try a different protein or a different brand. Just like humans, each individual dog’s taste is different and they truly may not like the food you’re offering

Do Not Free Feed

Make a strict breakfast and dinnertime for your dog. They should be allowed about 15-20 minutes at the most to finish the food you put down for them otherwise it gets picked up. This allows them to have a routine and understand when it is time to eat.

“Starve” Them Out

If you’ve tried all the other options above and your dog still isn’t budging it may be time to wait them out for a day or two. A dog will not starve itself and sometimes their refusal to eat is really just a manipulation to get you to give them something different (little stinkers!). You may need to reestablish who the parent is and teach them that they will eat what they’re given or don’t eat.

Make Meal Time Fun

My last suggestion takes more work than all the other suggestions but is most effective. In the wild the wolf is not handed a bowl of food each time it is hungry. It must use it’s brain, it’s strength and agility to hunt for it’s meal. Dogs, no matter the breed, benefit greatly from mental stimulation. Put your dog’s kibble into a toy like a Kong Wobbler so they have to figure out how to get it. Teach them new tricks or have them perform commands they already know. Play “find it” with little piles of the food. You’re only limited by your creativity! Making your dog work for their food makes mealtime more interesting for them and it’s a great way to bond!


I hope you’ve found something on this list that will help you with your picky eater! Do you have a suggestion that’s not listed? I’d love to hear from you!

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