Why Is My Dog A Picky Eater? (Fussy Eater Fixes)

Dog Eating Food

Are you Wondering why my dog has become a picky eater? According to this study, 7 out of 10 parents say their dog is a picky eater. Picky eating in dogs is a habit where they show reluctance consistently in eating certain foods.

Picky eating in dogs, if not fixed, can lead to calorie deficit, nutritional deficiency, and other health issues. 

Want to find out why your dog has become a picky eater and how you can fix your fussy eater? Keep on reading.

why is my dog a picky eater? Find out 9 common reasons!

There can be many reasons that might lead your dog to become a picky eater. Let’s go through a few common reasons.

1. Feeding Human Food

The first and foremost reason is dogs become used to the taste of our human food. It is common in almost every house where someone regularly lets your dog eat the scratch from the table or even give them their leftover food. In such scenarios, your dog will reject his dog food as he might find your food tastier. 

It is not only a bad habit but also harmful for your dog as human food will have high salt, spices, and seasoning which your dog is not supposed to consume. 

Homemade food also contains toxic and forbidden food substances which is strictly prohibited for dogs.

Dog Being Fed Home Food

2. Poor Quality Commercial Dog Food

Another reason why dogs become picky eaters is their dislike for the commercial dog food you have selected for them which is of poor quality. Also, the ingredients of the dog food might not be liked by your dog due to which they do not find it sufficiently flavourful.

Nevertheless, even if the food quality is good, there is a possibility that your dog simply doesn’t favour that specific brand or type of feed. This brings us down to another reason your dog may not appreciate a diet solely based on commercial food.

This is where introducing a homemade mixed diet recipe for your dog could be beneficial.

3. Switching from wet to dry food

Transitioning from wet canned food to dry kibble can sometimes trigger picky eating in dogs. The change in texture, taste and moisture content can be significant factors.

Wet food tends to be more flavourful and aromatic, with high moisture content, providing a different sensory experience compared to the dry, crunchy nature of kibble. 

Dogs, being creatures of habit, may initially resist the switch, developing picky eating habits as they adjust to the new texture and taste. Therefore gradual mixing of wet and dry food, can help ease the adjustment period and reduce the likelihood of pickiness.

4. Feeding treats in excess

While rewarding your dog for good behaviour is a wonderful practice, it’s crucial to be mindful of the great balance. Excess treats can interfere with your dog’s appetite during regular meals. 

It might inadvertently communicate the wrong message if you continuously offer treats to entice them to eat. Essentially you are unintentionally telling your dog that holding out for something better is an option, potentially leading to picky eating habits. 

Therefore, you need to strike the right balance between treats and meals to ensure a healthy, regulated diet for your dog.

5. Not Feeding a breed-specific commercial food

There are commercial foods available in the market which is breed-specific. These foods are formulated specially to cater to the nutritional requirements of the dog breed and their palatability.

Even the kibble size is tailor-made as per the size of the dog. Small breed formula food will have smaller kibble size as compared to large breed food. This makes chewing and digestion easy for the respective size of dogs.

If not tried earlier, you can switch to a breed-specific commercial food. As discussed, this could be a reason that can be counted for your dog being a picky eater.

6. Health issues

The next obvious reason is they could be sick. Sickness will lead to loss of appetite. Picky eating in dogs might signal an underlying health issue that should not be ignored. 

Becoming choosy all of a sudden or refusing food could indicate discomfort or illness. You need to pay attention to their eating behaviour as it might be a red flag for issues such as dental, digestive, or even more serious. Here consulting a vet is needed for prompt treatment.

7. Excessive Feeding

The next reason could be that you are offering too much. The variety of choices could lead them to become selective or hold out for something they enjoy. 

It’s like having a buffet laid out in front of them. When they have a lot of options available, your dog might start to become more particular about what they want to eat, making it challenging to stick to a consistent diet.

8. Environmental Changes

Environmental changes can impact a dog’s eating habits, contributing to picky eating tendencies. Instances such as anxiety, separation from their owners, or any alterations in their usual behaviour can lead to loss of appetite or changes in eating patterns.

9. Personality

Just like us, dogs too have different personalities. There are some full of energy and excitement, while there are others who are more cautious and reserved. 

Understanding these traits is the first step in figuring out why your dog might be picky when it comes to food. If your dog is an adventurer, he will always be eager to try new things. 

Dogs with lively personalities usually enjoy a variety of foods and aren’t too picky. Dogs experience the world through their senses and some personalities are more sensitive than others. 

Understanding these sensitivities helps us cater to their preferences.

Picky Eater Dog Ignoring His Food

How do you fix a picky eater dog?

1. Feeding High-quality dog food

Feed your dog good quality dog food. Check the ingredients of the food brand you are selecting for your dog. They should not contain any artificial additives or fillers.

A blend that includes real meat (Fish or meat in high percentages), wholesome grains or vegetables will make it highly palatable for your picky dog.

2. Try Different Flavours/Food Combination

There will be instances where your dog becomes bored of the same flavoured food or the home food that you feed regularly.

If you are keeping your dog purely on a commercial dog food diet, try switching the flavours of either the same brand or a different one. Suppose, your dog does not like the fish flavour, try switching to chicken/lamb/fish-flavoured dog food or vice versa.

Also, mixing wet/canned food with dry dog food can help a boring plate of food tastier for your picky eater with its real meat chunks.

3. Follow Strict feeding guidelines

Being a responsible dog parent, one thing you should not do is overfeed them. You must feed your dog according to their weight, physical activity level and follow and strict guidelines.

If your dog had a meal and is full, they won’t eat the food in front of them. It’s as simple as that. In such cases, you should let them digest their meal before feeding them again.

Don’t make it a habit of leaving food out for longer periods as it encourages bad eating habits and is unsanitary.

4. Stop/Reduce feeding home food

Home food like rice, different kinds of meat, fish, milk, etc will any day make your dog drool over any commercial dog food. 

If your dog gets to taste these, especially during puppyhood, they will develop a picky taste bud. They will ignore any other food you provide them with.

Therefore, you need to either limit or feed these home foods in a balanced manner.

5. visit to the vet

Dogs can develop picky eating when there is an underlying health issue. Visiting a vet to get it diagnosed will be the best way to get your dog to return to natural eating habits

Is it normal for dogs to be picky eaters?

Yes, it is perfectly normal for dogs to be picky eaters. The taste preferences of your dog will develop based on what is available in their environment. Just like humans, dogs too have their distinct likes and dislikes when it comes to food. 

While breed tendencies, age and health status are factors contributing to your dog’s picky eating, it’s crucial to recognize that specific habits play a significant role.

Regardless of breed, if a particular habit is consistently reinforced, your dog can become habituated to it, fostering a tendency towards picky eating.

It’s also worth noting that skipping a meal is not a cause for concern; it is normal for your picky dog eater. If your dog displays picky eating behaviour and doesn’t consume the offered food, there is no need to panic, especially if they maintain a healthy weight. It is completely okay to skip a meal for your picky dog eater.

10 Dog Breeds that are picky eaters

With over 360 breeds of dogs, some dogs aren’t as simple as others when it comes to food. There are some breeds whose preferences change a lot regarding food. We will talk about 9 such breeds who are picky eaters and we feel you should know them.

1. Greyhound

Greyhound is a breed that is known to follow a structured routine and introducing any changes to his diet may result in food refusal which makes him a picky eater.

2. Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise appreciates diversity in his diet, feeding him the same food every day results in denial of food which makes him a picky eater, but their susceptibility to allergies calls for careful consideration.

3. Dachshund

Dachshunds are most likely considered to be moody towards their food. They might like the food today and might refuse it the other day which makes them a picky eater.

4. Boston Terrier

The treasure lies in discovering the food they genuinely like. Dealing with the Boston Terrier’s diet is a trial and error experimentation.

5. French Bulldog

Dealing with a picky eater like a French Bulldog is a real challenge. Strategies like serving their meals in a cooler environment, adding chicken broth to their food or hand-feeding them are some that have worked.

6. Poodle

Poodles are picky eaters who have a special fondness towards treats because of which they refuse their mealtime food. Maintaining a consistent routine and avoiding excessive treats can help.

7. Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniel is also considered to be a picky eater. Experimenting with varieties will help you find the right fix for his food.

8. Maltese

Maltese are also breeds that get bored of the same food every day. It’s time to introduce a different flavour or texture if they refuse to eat the same.

9. Pugs

The most common reason pugs are considered to be picky eaters is because of dental issues. Their habit of swallowing food without chewing makes them picky to choose their food.


Picky eating in dogs can be stressful for pet parents. But if you follow the “Fussy Eater Fixes” which we have discussed above you should be able to overcome it.