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Tips for Picky Pups

Tips for Picky Eaters

If you’re one of the many dog parents asking “why is my dog not eating his food?” we’re here to help. While dogs are notorious for eating anything and everything they find, some dogs need a little more coaxing when it comes to mealtime, even if they’ve got the tastiest food in their bowls. As dog parents, it’s a priority to make sure our picky dogs eat their meals to get the nutrition they need. But before trying to find food-related fixes for your dog’s picky eating habits, it’s a good idea to rule out other health issues by talking to your vet since serious health issues could be at play, like dental problems, allergies, or a reaction to medication.

However, if you notice your pup ignoring their meal but still showing interest in treats and other foods (like your own!), you’ve probably got a picky eater on your hands. We’ve rounded up our favorite tips and tricks to get your pup excited about meal time.

Help! My Dog Is a Picky Eater

Fussy eating habits can be challenging, worrying, and at times frustrating. But with a few tricks up your sleeve (and a heaping spoonful of patience) you can figure out why your dog isn’t munching, how to get your dog to eat, and the best food for picky dogs that you can stock your pantry with.

A big lesson to learn and remember is that how you feed your pup is just as important as what you feed them. So before digging into reasons why they aren’t eating their meals, here are some things you can do to help encourage their appetite and good eating habits:

  • Whenever they do eat their food from their bowl, praise them to create a positive association with meal time.
  • Limit the amount of treats and goodies they get during the day. This could affect their appetite when it comes time to eat their main meals. A good rule of thumb is to keep treats (including table scraps) to 10% or less of total caloric intake. Low calorie training treats make that easier!
  • Be consistent with when, where, and how you feed your dog to help them understand that it’s a routine.

How to Get a Picky Dog to Eat

If your vet has ruled out more serious health issues, then it’s time to figure out what and how to feed your picky dog. Here are some tricks you can try to entice your pup.

Make Dog “Cereal”

Some smaller dogs and older dogs have a weak sense of smell, which can make their food seem not as appealing as it used to be. Simply add a few tablespoons of warm (not hot) water to your dog’s food to help release appetizing aromas. Just be sure to not leave moistened food out for more than four hours. 

The Paw-fect Portion

Try dividing your dog’s meal(s) into smaller portions throughout the day. Just make sure you follow the recommended feeding directions for their food so you don’t accidentally under- or overfeed your pup for the day.

For Example
  • If the food you are feeding your pup says to feed 1 cup per day, that means 1 cup per day total. To divide that into 2 smaller meals, you’ll want to feed them ½ cup in the morning and ½ cup in the evening.

Top It Off

Adding a topper to your dog’s bowl of kibble can add variety and amp up the flavor. Just a sprinkle of our Chicken & Pumpkin Topper or our award-winning Beef & Sweet Potato Topper can entice even the pickiest of pups. 

You can also try incorporating wet food or toppers into their kibble for an extra boost of flavor and texture. Jinx created our Homemades lineup specifically to give your dog the taste and benefits of an enticing home cooked meal, without the hassle.

For a DIY option, try some plain yogurt or plain boiled chicken. You can also add steamed veggies as another nutritious option that can help win over even the most refined puppy palates.

Don’t Leave It Out

Allow your dog a certain window of time to eat (e.g., 20 minutes), then take away the remaining food and wait until their next meal to offer it again. This helps let your dog know not to wait around for something better to be offered instead. 

Consistency Is Key

When you find a routine, stick to it. Feed your dog at the same time, in the same place each day. Once you decide how much time to give them to eat, remove the bowl at the same time each meal.

Try the Old Switcheroo

If you’re still not having success with your picky eater, you can try switching up their food. What’s the best kibble for picky dogs? Well, that depends! Some people like to try recipes that are highly palatable (aka yummy) to dogs and/or are easily digestible. Luckily, Jinx kibble rates high on both, and you can try a sampler pack to see which your pup likes the most!

Remember to introduce any new food gradually so you don’t upset their stomach.


The Final, No-Fuss Thoughts

It goes without saying that every dog is different, so every dog’s reason for not eating much might also be different. While some pups may not be as active and therefore don’t crave food as much, others may be older, dulling their sense of taste and smell.

If your dog is otherwise healthy and happy, and you’ve checked with your vet, you shouldn’t worry too much.

We created Jinx to not only be healthy but to be something that dogs will love to eat. If you need help with a picky pup or aren’t sure which recipe your dog will like best, reach out to us for one-on-one support anytime at 


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