Fri, Jan 13, 23
Have you noticed that your dog isn’t showing a ton of interest in their food? Maybe they’re pushing the kibble around the bowl without really eating it, or maybe they’re barely eating. If you’re wondering what to do about your dog who seems to be tired of their food, you’re in the right place.
Although dogs don’t have as many taste buds as humans, they can sometimes get bored if they eat the same food every day, especially if they are used to various foods. However, if your dog suddenly and inexplicably stops eating their food, it may signify something more serious.
This article will cover what to do if your dog gets tired of their food and signs that boredom isn’t why they’re not eating.
Is My Dog Bored of Their Kibble or Wet Food?
Unfortunately, dogs can’t pipe up and answer this question for us, but it does seem that dogs can get bored with their dry kibble or wet food. You might notice that your dog shows less enthusiasm around meal times if you are constantly feeding the same type of food.
How Do Dogs Taste Their Food?
To better understand what happens when dogs get bored with their food, we have to understand how they taste their food in the first place. Dogs have approximately 1,700 taste buds, whereas humans have a remarkable 9,000.
This means that dogs do not experience the same range of flavors that we do. However, they can still distinguish between basic flavors such as sour, salty, bitter, and sweet.
What’s more, dogs have a remarkable sense of smell. Their sense of smell is roughly 100,000 times stronger than ours.
For this reason, you may notice that your dog is drawn to pet food that smells strongly or has a new smell. If you’ve ever opened a bag of kibble and your dog has come running immediately, chances are they smelt the food before they saw the bag or heard it opening.
Can Dogs Tell the Difference Between Different Types of Food?
Given that dogs don’t have a very complex sense of taste, they can only distinguish between the four main flavor groups. However, they can absolutely smell the difference between different types of food which is why they seem to be most attracted to food with a strong meaty smell.
Generally, dogs carefully smell and observe something before eating it. But once dogs decide to eat something, they tend to eat it all in one bite. On the other hand, humans tend to eat food and process the taste of it once we’re already eating.
Dogs also tend to prefer moist food, which is why many dog owners add water or a little bit of low-sodium broth to their dog’s food. They also tend to be more attracted to warm food.
If your pup seems bored, you can try adding a little liquid to their food and heating it. The only thing to remember is not to make the food so hot that your dog burns their mouth.
Are Some Dogs More Selective Than Others?
Just like humans, some dogs are pickier. A few factors will influence how selective your dog is when it comes to their food. First, if you give them a wide variety of food, including human food, while they are young, they will likely grow tired quickly of their dog food.
Another factor that may influence whether your dog is a picky eater is how intelligent they are. Sometimes smarter dogs will figure out that if they act bored of the kibble in their bowl, they may get a tasty topping.
Can Puppies Get Bored of Food?
Yes, puppies can get bored of their food too! Given that they are trying to test their boundaries and explore their world, you might notice your puppy trying to put anything they can find in their mouth. They are constantly looking for new experiences, including at dinner time.
What Do I Do if My Dog Is Bored of Their Food?
Now that you know your dog can get bored of their food, you might wonder what to do when it seems like your pup is sick of their usual kibble. Two common solutions to this problem are to switch your dog’s food or try a process called contrafreeloading.
How Can I Switch My Dog’s Food?
Switching your dog’s food is an easy way to get your pup eating again if they are bored with their food. Remember that dogs are sensitive to smell, and the meatier the kibble or wet food smells, the more alluring it will be for your pup.
However, if you decide to change your dog’s food, do so gradually to avoid upsetting their stomach. Try to introduce the new food slowly by giving them a quarter of the new food in their bowl for two or three days.
If they seem to handle the new food well, you can try giving them half new food and half old food for a couple of days. After that, transition to 75% new food and 25% old food in their bowl for two days. This process should take about a week and will ensure that your pup doesn’t respond badly to the new food.
What Is Contrafreeloading?
Another method to try for a pup who is bored of their food is contrafreeloading. This method suggests that a dog has to work for their food by completing a food puzzle or task instead of just eating the boring food readily available.
The idea behind contrafreeloading is that your furry friend might not actually be tired of their food but rather the way they are getting their food. There are toys specially made for contrafreeloading. If you want to try something simpler, you can hide your dog’s food around the house. This allows dogs to use their natural food-finding instincts.
You don’t need to make your dog always work for their food, especially if the puzzles can be frustrating. Finding a good balance between normal meals and contrafreeloading may help entice your dog to eat full, healthy meals again.
Why Has My Dog Stopped Eating Their Food?
Although dogs sometimes stop eating simply because they are bored with their food, a few medical conditions may cause your dog to lose their appetite. If you are worried that your dog is suffering from one of the following illnesses, it is always a good idea to bring them to a veterinarian to get an informed second opinion.
However, before you rush to the vet, check the food first. Dog food can go bad or become infected with pests. If either of these things has occurred, your dog will likely be able to tell before you and may not touch their food. If the food looks okay and your four-legged friend isn’t eating, you may want to seek a veterinarian.
Your pup may skip meal times if they have a stomach ache. If your dog has an upset stomach, they likely won’t feel like eating, just like with humans.
They may also be suffering from one of the following ailments:
- Dental problems
- Kidney disease
- Intestinal parasites
- Inflammatory bowel disease
It is important to take note of whether or not your dog won’t eat the one particular type of food you are offering or if they won’t eat any food at all. Generally speaking, if your dog is not interested in any type of food, it may be a sign of a severe medical problem, including the ones listed above.
The longer your dog refuses food, the more serious the problem may be. Keep in mind that sometimes dogs have a smaller appetite depending on how much physical exercise they did that day. If your dog completely skips more than one meal, you may want to consider bringing them to be seen by a vet as soon as possible.
Do I Need To Regularly Change My Dog's Food?
There is no need to regularly change your dog’s food unless they are actively refusing to eat the food you’re giving them (and you have ruled out any serious medical issues and determined that their refusal is purely based on boredom).
Changing your dog’s food frequently can actually be harmful to your dog. Your dog’s stomach has to acclimate itself to different types of food. If you constantly change the type of food they’re eating; it will disrupt their normal digestive routine and cause an upset stomach.
Should I Change My Dog's Food Depending on Their Age?
The one exception to the rule of only changing your dog’s food when you absolutely have to is that dogs of different ages require different foods. Puppies, adult dogs, and senior dogs have different nutritional needs, so it makes sense to change your dog’s food as they move through different stages of life.
Do Dogs Have To Eat Kibble?
Technically speaking, dogs do not have to eat kibble. Dogs can survive on a scavenged diet and do so in the wild. However, the main benefit of feeding your dog kibble is that it is an easy way to ensure they get all the nutrients they need.
There are alternatives to kibble that you can make at home, such as a home-cooked diet, a raw diet, and homemade dog food. If you choose to prepare your dog’s food at home, you must be aware of all the nutrients your dog needs to stay healthy.
Given that so many vitamins and nutrients are added to dog food, it is usually recommended by veterinarians so that your dog gets a proper, balanced diet.
The other potential risk associated with fresh food is that it may be more likely to have bacteria or parasites, regardless of if it is store-bought or made at home. If you are sure that you do not want to feed your dog kibble for whatever reason, make sure you talk to your vet first to discuss what their new diet will look like.
Your dog’s loss of appetite may be due to boredom, but luckily you can try several things to make your dog’s diet more interesting. You can switch from dry food to wet food or vice versa, or you could try contrafreeloading.
Remember, if your dog is not eating, it may not be because they don’t like their food's flavors, and it may signify a serious illness. Regardless of the cause of your dog’s loss of appetite, you can always talk with your vet about finding a new high-quality food for them or to better understand your dog’s behavior.