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My Dog Won’t Eat: Understanding and Solutions

My Dog Won’t Eat: Understanding and Solutions

It’s in our nature to fret over our family’s well-being, and when our dogs, who are no less than our children, seem off, we worry. A common concern is when dogs turn their noses up at their meals, leaving us questioning their health and happiness.

You might have heard pet parents say, “My dog only eats when I feed them by hand,” or “They refuse to eat but milk and bread.” It’s not rare for dogs in India to be picky with food. To understand this, let’s look back at the dining ways of their ancestors.

Canine Dining: From Wild Origins to Domestic Bowls

Wild canids, including wolves and foxes, hunt in packs and eat their hard-earned catch. Even stray dogs scavenge persistently to find their sustenance. This natural behavior is deeply ingrained in all dogs.

How This Relates to Our Pet Friends

So, how does this affect our domesticated fur companions, who’ve never had to hunt? In India, especially, ‘free-feeding’ is common, but we often forget that each dog breed was bred with a purpose, historically working and earning their keep.

When dogs work for their meals, their appetite is clear and natural. Without this work or exercise, food becomes more of a luxury than a need.

Addressing the Core Issue

If your dog is refusing to eat, and medical issues have been ruled out, we need to consider our own actions. Are we indulging our dogs too much?

Here’s what not to do if you want your dog to appreciate their meals and maintain a healthy eating habit:

  • Hand-feeding
  • Begging your dog to eat
  • Acting defeated when they refuse food
  • Continuously enhancing their food with tasty toppings
  • Leaving uneaten food out all day

Finding a Solution

The remedy to this issue is surprisingly simple and fundamental. If you want your dog to eat heartily and on time, they need to engage in enough physical and mental activity to feel genuinely hungry.

Structure and routine are vital. Feeding should be an orderly affair, and if your dog doesn’t eat, remove the food after 15-20 minutes. Don’t plead or chase them to eat; dogs can manage without food for up to 48 hours. In fact, occasional fasting can be beneficial.

Once the meal is served, stick to it. Adding extras only teaches your dog to expect more and undermines your role as a leader.

Wrapping It Up

As dog lovers, we must respect them as dogs, not as humans. Misplaced identity can disturb their mental well-being. Understand their psychology and, when needed, consult a behavior expert for guidance. By treating our dogs with the respect and structure they need, we’ll see happier, healthier companions around our homes.

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