Is your Dog really Fussy?

Is your Dog really Fussy?

The term "fussy" gets tossed around quite often, typically referring to dogs that don't readily chomp down the same food in their bowl day after day.

First things first, let's talk about that language. Put yourself in their paws – imagine eating the same thing for every meal. Is it really "fussy" to crave a little variety? Dogs, by nature, are foragers, after all.

Now, let's shift our focus to how we feed our hairy faced homies.

Ever heard of the term "contra-freeloading"?

It's a fancy term to describe a behaviour seen in captive animals. When given the choice between free food and food that requires a bit of effort, these animals often prefer the food that demands a bit of work. This tendency is thought to fulfil a species-specific need, possibly linked to sniffing and foraging. For dogs, this is a big deal.

So, if your dog isn't showing enthusiasm for their meal, maybe it's time to change things up:

- Try scatter feeding.
- Engage them in training games.
- Use their walks as mealtime.
- Bring in food-dispensing toys like a Licki-mat, Kong, or Kong wobbler.

Sure, there are dogs out there who crave variety and wouldn't mind dining at a new "restaurant" every week – kudos to them. But let's not forget that food is essential for a dog's survival. It sustains life.

If your dog seems "fussy" – perhaps they enjoyed a particular food for a while and now avoid it – there's likely a valid reason behind it (hint: dogs aren't masterminds plotting for a better meal). It might be a genuine dislike of the texture or flavour, or there could be underlying issues like intolerances or GI problems.

Here are some things to look out for:

- Loose or stinky poops
- Bad breath
- Dull coat
- Yeasty ears and feet
- Itchiness
- Red skin
- Reactivity
- Digging for roots
- An insatiable appetite
- And many more!

Another factor to consider is whether we've "poisoned" the value of that food for them. Maybe we used it to lure them into situations they didn't enjoy, like baths, encounters with strangers, or vet visits.

Lastly, when dogs go for "treats" but ignore their regular food, remember that treats are a human concept. To dogs, food is food. If they like it, they'll eat it – even if it's something as bizarre as wallaby poop. It's all about taste!

Think about what's in those "treats" that your dog fancies. Can you incorporate that flavour into their regular meals? Consider how you give treats – is it part of training or a fun game? Is it about the enjoyment and foraging experience?

It could also be because your dog sees you with the treats, and in their eyes, that food becomes more valuable – just like when one dog has a toy, and suddenly, every dog wants the exact same one, even if there are plenty of toys around.

These are all aspects to ponder before simply labelling your dog as "fussy."

Remember, a refusal to eat can be your dog's way of communicating something valuable to you.

Let us know what you think below.

Back to blog

Leave a comment