How to Choose the Best Tasting Dog Food for Picky Eaters
Though most dogs will happily eat anything they find along their travels in a day, some dogs are picky eaters and finding a food that meets their exacting standards can be a difficult task. The most important thing owners must take into account when dealing with a finicky eater is the circumstances surrounding their dog’s lack of interest in food. If this is a sudden phenomenon, it may be there is an underlying medical condition that is affecting the dog’s desire to eat.
Sometimes, dogs learn quickly that if they refuse the food that is offered to them their anxious owners will offer them something they like much better later in the day to get them to eat. This is a learned behavior, and in essence, is the dog taking control of the situation and training the owner to feed it food it finds preferable.
Many owners become very stressed when their dogs will not eat their food. However, dogs are very practical creatures, and thus, will not allow themselves to starve. Often, solving the problem of pickiness is simply a matter of waiting the dog out. When the dog is hungry enough, the dog WILL eat.
However, if there is a medical problem that is contributing to a lack of appetite, it will be very important to get to the bottom of the issue. When a dog suddenly refuses to eat, it is an excellent idea to schedule an appointment with a veterinarian for a wellness exam.
Typically, dogs that simply want something different from what they are being offered at mealtime will beg for food when their owners enjoy their meal. This is all the evidence an owner needs to determine that their dog is simply picky and not actually sick.
However, if a dog that normally has a hardy appetite suddenly loses complete interest in even the most appealing foods such as steak, chicken, or pork chops, it is safe to note that the dog may be ill and require veterinary care.
Among the medical problems which can affect a dog’s appetite are:
- Hormonal cycles (both boys and girls may experience a lack of appetite during this period)
- Digestive discomfort
- Dental issues
For dogs with no health conditions affecting appetite, it may be a good solution to switch diets to something with a better flavor profile. The best tasting dog foods for picky eaters often focus on extremely flavorful proteins with pungent fragrances to help whet the dog’s appetite and encourage eating.
Choosing the Correct Calorie Count for the Best Tasting Foods for Picky Dogs
In dogs with poor appetite, keeping the calorie count correct in the best tasting foods for picky eaters is very important. Prolonged lack of eating can lead to undesirable weight loss.
To ensure the dog gets adequate daily nutrition, it is critical to determine the correct portion size each meal should be. The bag of food will have a list of suggested serving sizes which can be used as a baseline measurement. This can be increased or decreased with the dog’s weight serving as a helpful guide.
With dogs that are known to be picky eaters, it is not a good idea to use their appetite as a measurement to ascertain portion size as they may not consume sufficient calories for optimal health.
Adult dogs require a high quality diet that contains a minimum of 18 percent protein and 5 percent fat while puppies do best on a food comprised of 22 percent protein and 8 percent fat.
Dietary Requirements for the Best Tasting Dog Foods for Picky Eaters
For dogs that display a pickiness when it comes to food, it is critical that the diet selected for the dog be high in both nutrition and flavor. One of the ingredients that dogs find most attractive in a meal is meat. Whole proteins that are highly fragrant are preferable, but meat meals are also an excellent alternative.
By-products and plant-based proteins are less desirable ingredients from both a human and canine standpoint. These foods tend to be comprised of lesser quality and also are not as appealing to dogs with poor appetites. They are best avoided.
Since healthy fats provide a powerful punch of taste, their inclusion in a food will also help to attract the attention of dogs that can be finicky. The best tasting dog foods for picky eaters focus on fats from animal origins such as chicken fat or oily fish. These items support coat and skin health and also increase the flavor of the diet as a whole.
No diet is complete without some carbohydrates. Many dogs love fruits and vegetables, preferring them to whole grains. Carbohydrates can come from any of these families with the most flavorful ingredients that are easy to digest preferred.
As with humans, dogs benefit from natural ingredients in their food. Artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives are the junk food of the dog world and may draw a dog to its bowl for a bite or two, but in general, foods containing these items lack staying power, leaving dogs looking for something better.
Natural flavors are always preferable to anything artificial.
Since some dogs may refuse their meals due to gastrointestinal distress, the addition of a probiotic or digestive enzymes can be a great help. Ample amounts of dietary fiber can also assist with regulating digestive processes that may be causing the dog discomfort.
Though not something that assists with developing appetite, glucosamine and chondroitin are supplements which aid greatly in promoting strong joint and hip function.
Things to Look for in the Best Tasting Dog Food for Picky Eaters
Here is a basic list of the most important things to look for in the best tasting dog food for picky eaters:
- Whole meat or meat meal proteins heading up the ingredients list (in non-veterinary diets)
- Prepared without the addition of chemicals, flavorings, fillers, or mystery ingredients
- Enriched with probiotics and helpful supplements
- Meets AAFCO nutritional requirements for a complete and balanced food
- Contains healthy amounts of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to support coat and skin health