Sorry, no sugar coating here! Perhaps THE MOST IRRITATING part of my job as a veterinarian is when dog owners whose dog may not be particularly food motivated go out of their way find new foods to entice him to eat. Often, they resort for the most unhealthy dog food options that are loaded with fillers and sodium that may be attractive to the dog but in reality he would be better off being fed road kill. In other cases they resort to feeding people food and usually fail in providing well rounded nutrition.
Stop the madness people! Dogs will not starve. If they turn their nose up at food, leave it down for 30 minutes then pick it up and try again 12 hours later. If he refuses again, leave it down for 30 minutes and again pick it up…and so on. I guarantee you they within a day or two he will figure out that this is all he is getting fed, this when he is getting fed, and he has a finite period of time to eat it. In this manner YOU will dictate when and what the dog eats, not the other way around.
During the times a dog refuses food, with few exceptions, it will not harm their health. The one exception is toy breed puppies up to about 3 months of age that can be prone to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Other than than that, all that may happen is that the dog may lose a little weight which is probably a good thing, because more often than not, these dogs that have their appetite catered to ironically are overweight and even morbidly obese.
My favorite is when a recommend a weight control diet for a dog that is morbidly obese and was fed everything under the sun and the owner calls stating that the dog dog won’t eat the diet. My answer is always, GOOD! Great way to start a weight loss program!
Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and highly regarded media personality through a number of topics and platforms. He is the author of The Man In The White Coat: A Veterinarian’s Tail Of Love. In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a globally recognized expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport. He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , general partner of Grant Animal Clinic, and runs the successful veterinary/animal health blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care. Dr. Welton fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.