My Dog Won’t Eat: What to do About Your Picky Pup

September 13, 2021 6 min read

Everyone loves a good, hearty meal, but some humans are pickier than others when it comes to food. Like us, our pets need the right amount of nutrients to feel happy and healthy- but when your dog doesn’t want to eat, it can be worrying. Learning about your dog’s eating habits can be a great way to understand when you should be concerned or what to look out for in their health. 

Some pups are quite the voracious eaters, being happy to munch on just about anything, even if it’s not edible. Others are a bit more cautious and will only eat according to their taste or familiarity. Whether your pup suddenly stops eating or has always denied their food, a common concern from pet parents is the health issues that can result from nutritional imbalance. 

If you’re feeling hurt because your pup doesn’t want to eat the new treats you brought them, you’re not alone. Luckily, helping a picky eater is relatively simple, as long as you can find the root cause of the problem.

your dog may be picky if they are fed table scraps

Why Your Dog Is Picky

While some dogs are just naturally picky, others have a behavioral or health issue to combat. Despite the root cause, there is always some way to help if your dog is a picky eater, whether it be introducing them to new foods or scheduling mealtimes. Before we figure out how to help your dog, getting to the root cause is an essential first step.

Picky Dog Breeds

Commonly, small breeds are known to be pickier than larger-sized breeds. Breeds like Malteses, Yorkshire Terriers, Bichons Frises, and Daschunds are especially more selective than others. 

Large dog breeds, like German Shepherds and Siberian Huskies, are also known to be picky. The reason that these dogs are picky varies by breed, so it’s essential to research your dog’s breed and individual dietary needs.

Table Scraps

Another reason a dog would be a picky eater is if they became used to being fed from the table. Getting too comfortable feeding Fido from your plate can cause your furry friend to get snooty when the time comes for them to eat from their bowl. They can grow to enjoy the tastes of your food more than their own.


Dogs can also become picky about their food due to anxiety. If they’ve had a bad experience with a particular food or area, your dog may begin to avoid eating in that specific situation.

For this reason, conditioning your dog from a young age is an essential step to raising them. By positively reinforcing every experience your dog has with food, there is a much less likely chance your puppy will grow into a picky eater.


Sometimes your dog’s change in appetite is as simple as them growing a little older. With age and a decrease in activity, your dog needs to eat less food for energy. With less food, it’s extra essential to make sure your aging dog is still receiving the proper nutrients.


Unfortunately, there is also the possibility that your pup may be feeling unwell, which can play a factor in the change of eating habits. Some common issues that may cause a lack of appetite include:

  • Dental Issues
  • Allergies
  • Infections
  • Parasites
  • G.I. (Gastrointestinal) issues
  • Arthritis

Any of these medical issues could contribute to your furry friend’s lack of appetite. To prevent this, be sure to routinely take a good look at their teeth and body to make sure there’s nothing wrong.  

Even though your dog may be picky about their food, it’s essential to keep an eye on their diet, as picky eaters are prone to nutritional deficiencies. Signs like weight loss or a dry coat can also indicate that a medical issue impacts your dog’s love of food. If the loss of appetite continues for longer than 12-24 hours, you should see your vet and make sure nothing is wrong.

tips for picky dog: feed your dog on a schedule

Tips For Picky Pups

If your furry companion is becoming a picky eater, don’t panic! There are plenty of ways to spark back up their love for food.

A Consistent Routine

Keeping a consistent routine is key to making sure your dog has a regular diet, continues to eat their food, and gets their intake of essential nutrients. After all, dogs thrive with a consistent routine.

Feeding your dog at the same time every day will help with a lack of appetite since their body will adjust to when they expect their next meal. You can switch your dog's meal schedule to be twice a day instead of one large meal per day can help because a dog’s stomach empties in just a few hours.
When creating your pup’s feeding schedule, we recommend leaving their food out for a maximum of 15-20 minutes. By keeping to this time segment, your dog will learn that they better eat up; otherwise, there won’t be any more food until their next mealtime. When the time’s up, take the bowl away even if they haven’t eaten it all. Eventually, your dog will learn to adjust to a scheduled feeding time.

Use A Specific Bowl & Location 

Besides sticking to a consistent feed time, it may also help stick to a specific bowl and even a specific location for mealtime. The best place to feed your dog would be a quiet area with little activity. You want to eliminate any distractions so that your pup can concentrate on their food.

Feed Separately

If you have multiple pets, it can also sometimes help to feed them separately. Occasionally, dogs can be intimidated by others during feeding. The case usually involves the more dominant dog prompting others to leave their food or making them too anxious to eat at that time.


Changing Up The Food

Picking eating can also be caused by the taste of the food rather than the setting or mealtime. If you think this is the case, adding meal toppers or switching up their diet may be a way to help with your pup’s lack of appetite.

Toppers are a great way to encourage eating, adding more flavor to the same old meal your pup may be getting sick of. Some healthy, easy options include chicken broth, boiled veggies, and salmon oil. Adding warm water to their food is another option, as it can bring out extra good smells to get your dog drooling.

Mixing up the main protein in their foods is one way to keep things fresh and excite your dogs’ taste buds. You can also consider switching your pup’s food altogether, especially if it’s kibble.

Making a switch to raw food is an excellent option if your dog seems to have lost their appetite. Cali Raw uses the BARF model, or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food, and picky eaters love it! There are formulas for both adult dogs and puppies and various proteins to choose from- including chicken, beef, turkey, and lamb.

Need something extra for that extra picky pup? Try our single-ingredient dog treats, especially our Lamb Lung, which can be broken into small pieces and put on top of their meal to entice feeding!

Customers Who Enjoyed Cali Raw Said:

Melissa V.: “I love Cali Raw dog food for my doggo, and he loves his food too! It has everything my dog needs: raw meats, organs, veggies, calcium, and more. Cali Raw makes it so easy to feed my dog since all you have to do is know what portion your dog needs and defrost the food.”

Diana B.: “My nine-month-old Cockapoo loves their premade puppy formula. He looks forward to every meal.”

Christine T.: “Lucky likes it too. We were feeding a different raw product, and it was fine, but he was more excited with this brand.” 

Ryan C: “Our Dog has never been so happy and healthy. He licks the bowl clean after every meal. It’s funny because he was always taking it or leaving it with the kibble, now he is excited to eat with his tail wagging. My dog loves the lamb, but we get a variety, so it doesn’t get old eating the same thing over and over.”