HOW COME MY DOG REFUSES TO EAT THEIR FOOD BUT LOVES SNACKS?

Updated on April 16, 2023

All dog owners know the joy of rewarding their pet with tasty goodies when it has done something special or simply looks adorable.

This is well and dandy, but delicacies should be enjoyed for what they are: a treat. Your dog needs nutritious, complete, balanced food to thrive; feeding it treats will never suffice.

What, though, if your dog flat-out refuses to eat their supper but gobbles up all the treats and scraps you give them? There could be a number of factors causing your dog’s behavior, but it’s still a red flag that something is wrong and you should investigate.

We’re here to assist you in pinpointing the root cause of the problem and how to solve it so that your dog once again enjoys eating and cleans its dish.

WHY WON’T MY DOG EAT HIS FOOD BUT WILL EAT TREATS?

It’s frustrating when your dog refuses to eat, because you want them to enjoy their meals as much as you do.

Dogs with partial anorexia will refuse to eat their regular meals but will happily devour treats or even the remains of your Sunday roast. Your dog may not be picky about the foods it eats, but it is clear that it is not getting the calories it needs to stay healthy. To that end, let’s jump straight into investigating the potential causes of your dog’s nose-in-food behavior.

FEELING UNDER THE WEATHER

If your dog suddenly started refusing food, it’s possible he or she is ill. Your dog might be experiencing what happens to humans when we’re sick, especially when we’re feeling nauseous: they stop eating, even though they’ve never had any trouble eating before. For the duration of the day, they may only be able to tolerate a small amount of sweets.

Hopefully, a few days will pass and their stomach will be back to normal, but if the problem persists or if you notice any other unusual symptoms (vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy), it’s advisable to visit your vet to determine the cause.

EMOTIONAL AND BEHAVIOURAL PROBLEMS

The way your dog acts during mealtime may have a lot to do with how they’re feeling (unless you have a glutton of a dog, of course). When feeling uncomfortable, frightened, or fearful, some dogs may choose to skip their meals but still be able to handle a small treat.

Anything from the introduction of a new pet or person to the household to a shift in routine to the introduction of a new food bowl or even loud noises like fireworks could set off such a strong emotional reaction. Once the trigger is removed or they have adjusted to whatever was troubling them, maybe they will resume eating normally.

If there are two pets in the house, one of them might be trying to be a pig and eat both meals. Your dog may be adopting resource guarding to force the other dog to leave its food bowl. As a result, the only treats your other dog will get all day will be the ones you give them personally.

THE FOOD IS SPOILED

If you have a Lab, you know they won’t be picky eaters no matter what you put in their bowl. How about the fussiest of dogs though, like French bulldogs? Fancy canines are justified in turning their noses up at their meal bowl and trotting away if they detect even the slightest hint of something awry, such as spoiled food.

A decent rule of thumb is to check the expiration date on the bag every few months if your dog has been eating the same food for a while. You read it right; it’s also true for dry dog food. This is especially true if your dog eats raw food, since rotten meat can harbor bacteria and cause a variety of gastrointestinal issues.

THEY DON’T LIKE THEIR FOOD

Some dogs are really picky eaters, so it’s possible that the food you’ve offered them hasn’t been to their liking. The dog is clearly spoiled rotten.

FULL UP ON TREATS

What, you can’t resist a dog with a wagging tail and a big, adoring puppy grin, can you? Yep? Us too. It’s nice to reward your dog with a treat when they’ve been behaving (or because they’re so darn cute), but make sure they’re still hungry for their regular fare.

The dog prefers treats to actual food. My dog will only eat treats and ignore his meals.
If your dog is currently undergoing training, this may be the case, as frequent treat rewards during the day are often used to ensure that the dog learns new commands with ease.

THEY’D RATHER EAT YOURS!

It’s human nature to choose a big meal of unhealthy food to a balanced, nutritious one on sometimes. Indeed, your dog may share your sentiments. Your dog may be hesitating to eat in the hopes of getting scraps from your dinner because it smells so good (although undoubtedly containing many items not suitable for our hounds).

If you know your dog hasn’t eaten, don’t be fooled by its puppy dog eyes; you might be tempted to share your food out of concern for its well-being. But that’s the very thing they want!

Our canines are exceptionally perceptive, and they will quickly learn that they have a better chance of getting some of your food if they wait a little while before devouring it. Your dog will still want to eat any yummy goodies you give it, even if it is on a hunger strike from its regular meal.

DENTAL ISSUES

An oral health problem, such as a toothache, ulcer, or infection, can make eating very uncomfortable for both you and your dog, which could explain why your dog is avoiding meals. Nonetheless, they may be able to ingest delicacies because they are so small.

The texture of most treats is very mild, and some are even small enough to ingest in a single mouthful, making them far more convenient to consume than a full serving of meals. Examine your dog’s mouth to check if there’s a problem. If that’s the case, you should take Fido to the vet ASAP so he can get back to enjoying his food.

HOW CAN I MAKE MY DOG EAT THEIR FOOD?

It’s important to identify and ideally fix the root cause of your dog’s eating issues before you can expect them to resume their normal eating habits. If this is a new issue, you should take your dog to the vet to rule out any underlying health problems, think about how many treats your dog gets on a regular basis, examine the dog’s regular meals, and assess whether anything in the surrounding environment has changed.

Pet owners are stressed out when their dog refuses to eat, so let’s look at some strategies to encourage canine nutrition.

TRY OUT A NEW FOOD

Perhaps the present fare isn’t to your dog’s liking, so why not switch things up and give him or her a treat they’ll really enjoy? If your dog’s appetite suddenly shifts, check to see if the food is still fresh and make sure the bowl is clean.

Your choosy dog needs a treat that he can’t refuse because of the delectable, high-quality ingredients. Of course, Pure is a product we wholeheartedly endorse.

We’ve converted a countless number of picky eaters with our delicious recipes, and we know that Pure will do the same for your dog. Serving your dog a warm meal of Pure, which smells far more appetizing than dry kibble, is likely to make them drool.

STOP HANDING OUT TREATS AND TABLE SCRAPS

Even though those adorable puppy dog eyes will make you want to give in, you need to be a firm pet parent and refrain from giving your dog any treats. Train your dog that they will only get a treat when they have finished their meal. Sometimes it feels like you’re parenting a human kid while you’re caring for a canine.

The dog just won’t eat it; what’s wrong?

The dog just won’t eat it; what’s wrong?
In addition, any food left on the table must be completely off limits, so put it in a high, inaccessible place. When your dog realizes you’ve run out of treats, he or she will likely stop asking and return to eating from the dish.

Maintaining uniformity is paramount here. If they don’t finish their meal within 10 minutes, pick it up and store it in the fridge until the next mealtime, at which point you should not feed them again. It’s upsetting to know your dog isn’t eating, but once they realize they’re not getting anything in return for their food, they’ll consume it.

Don’t just hand out rewards whenever you feel like it; only reward good behavior during training. It’s frustrating to try to break the behavior, but staying strong through the pleading and cuteness will pay off in the long run.

CHECK YOUR SURROUNDINGS

If you suspect that your dog’s loss of appetite is environmental, you should investigate the source and take steps to address it. If you suspect that another dog in the house is the root of the problem, you could, for instance, try feeding the canines in different rooms to rule out resource guarding and intimidation as possible causes.

However, if your dog is afraid of loud noises like fireworks and is avoiding eating because of it, they should return to normal once the noise has subsided. Nobody wants their dog to be anxious and scared, so it’s a good idea to desensitize them to loud noises and help them cope with things like fireworks.

If the only change is a minor one, like a shift in routine, your dog should be back to normal in no time.

WILL MY DOG STARVE?

If your dog is otherwise healthy and hungry enough, it will eat regardless of your wishes. Although it is possible for a dog to go five days without eating, we certainly hope it doesn’t have to go to such extreme measures. You should take your dog to the vet if it has been several days since he or she last ate.

RECAP

Overall, there are a few potential causes for your dog to refuse to eat, despite your best efforts, so it’s important to consult with your pet to determine the precise issue. You’ll soon have your dog wolfing down his food.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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