Dog Not Eating Raw Food? Try These 6 Tips
If you've ever decided to cold-turkey all junk food on your most recent health kick, you know the struggle of making the routine last. Just as it takes time to adjust to a new and healthier diet that cuts out processed foods and sugar additives in your meals, the same might be happening to your dog.
Dogs can get hooked on unhealthy ingredients, flavor additives, or what is essentially "junk food" just like humans. This tends to be extremely common with foster or rescue dogs that could potentially be used to eating a lower-quality diet.
If your dog doesn't seem to want to eat their raw food, don't fret. Give it time, stay consistent, and in mostly all cases you'll be able to wait them out. In this article, we'll give you the rundown on our top tips and tricks to chase away mealtime blues and to get your dog loving their raw food.
#1. Transition Gradually
Let's be realistic - no one likes a cold-turkey. Transiting your dog to a raw food diet can take time, and if your pup is having trouble adjusting, it might be best to introduce their new food gradually.
This can be done by mixing their old food (no matter the form) in with the new raw food. It is perfectly safe to do so and is even advisable to help adjust your dog to new textures or flavors. After all, any raw is better than no raw!
#2: Switch Things Up
Just because dogs can eat the same meal everyday, it doesn't necessarily mean they should. Dogs can get bored of their food just like us, especially those of us with picky eaters. Switching things up is a great way to combat mealtime boredom. This could mean following a rotational diet for dogs, which can be as easy as swapping out one food for another.
All of Raw Bistro's frozen raw food is formulated as a true rotational diet. We're not only swapping the protein, but the fruits and veggies as well so your dog can get a full rotation of the nutrients they need whether they're eating chicken one day and beef the next.
Rotating your dog's meals doesn't have to get crazy - the main goal is to find ways to incorporate a plethora of nutrients in whatever schedule works for you and your dog!
#3: Change Out the Protein
Different species may have different taste preferences depending on what they've evolved to eat. And like humans, dogs can even have individual taste preferences (such as liking beef over chicken) that may be due to what kind of food they ate as a puppy.
If your dog isn't liking a certain food, try changing out the protein source. There is always a possibility that a certain protein could be upsetting their stomach and even be contributing to a food sensitivity or allergy to your dog.
#4: Add a Meal Topper
Meal toppers can be like that secret ingredient that tops off your meal, making it the tasty dish that you love. With their rise in popularity, they can be a great way to add a bit of flavor to your dog's meal to get them started chowing down on their main dish.
More than just adding flavor, meal toppers can be a great way to throw in some added nutrition, if sourced right. Using a meal topper can be especially helpful for dogs who are not food-motivated or seem disinterested in eating their food.
As mentioned above, some raw is better than no raw, and meal toppers can be a great way to introduce your dog to a raw dog food diet and get them eating their raw food. Raw Bistro's dehydrated dog food or 2 oz mini patties are great options, as they're multi-functional and formulated to be used as a meal topper, treat option, or a fully balanced meal. Just break and sprinkle on top!
Another go-to option for a more tailored diet includes our limited ingredient line of frozen raw food, that perhaps may be more suitable to your dog if they suffer from any food sensitivities to a particular ingredient that may be included elsewhere.
#5: Be Patient & Consistent
Some of us dog parents know that blank stare we get after coaxing them to touch their uneaten food. You may be wondering if they are getting enough to eat or if they'll go hungry, but don't stress too much. Most dogs won't starve themselves even if they don't like their food.
More often than not, a stubborn eater will give in. But this can take some time, depending on your pup. Every dog is different and some may take longer to adjust to a new meal, especially one they're not used to. Give them some time to get used to their new food, for over a month at least. The younger your dog is, the quicker the transition is likely to be.
Showing a bit of tough love is the best thing you can do. If you keep finding a meal replacement for uneaten dinners, your dog may get confused and have a harder time transitioning. Be patient and allow your dog to sniff out their new diet.
That being said, there are a few times that you may want to avoid using a tough love method:
- Dogs with medical conditions or specialized diet plans
- Senior dogs that may have a tougher time adjusting to a new diet
- Cats: cats will starve themselves
#6: Monitor Temperature
In some cases, it could come down to a temperature issue. Most dogs prefer warmer, wet foods over cold, dry food. Warmer food mimics the meals that their ancestors and relatives instinctively ate in the wild.
Try lightly warming their food, but be careful not to heat it too hot or they may not like that either. If anything, lightly warming food could help enhance flavors and provoke an enticing aroma that might make their food more appealing.
Having trouble getting your dog to eat their food can be frustrating and worrisome, but don't panic. Remember that it might just take some time for your dog to adjust to a new diet.
Find What Works For You
At Raw Bistro, we strive to make mealtimes more enjoyable, nutritious, and stress-free. If you want to talk to us directly about anything regarding your dog's raw food journey, schedule a raw dog food consult today! We'd love to help you and your dog through any individual needs and get your dog's nutrition on the path to a healthier and happier future.