How To Encourage Your Puppy to Eat

Congratulations on your new four-legged family member! As your puppy explores their new home, you may fill their doggy plate with delicious, high quality food. But there’s just one problem: your pup refuses to eat!

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A puppy’s lack of appetite is a cause for concern, especially if your fur-baby is at a young age. The vast majority of puppies will suffer from serious health conditions without enough caloric and nutritional intake. For this reason, it’s important to find out why your pooch isn’t eating so you can encourage them. 

Some common reasons your puppy won’t eat include stress from being in a new and unfamiliar environment, underlying health issues, and even picky eating. Once you make sure your pup doesn’t have a medical condition, try coaxing them to eat with these tips!

  1. Mix canned food and chicken broth. You can add a little flavor to your puppy’s dry food with a small amount of canned dog food or chicken broth. Make sure both foods are unsalted and lack unwanted ingredients. Your puppy’s chicken broth, for instance, should not have any onions (sauce and powder included!), chives, and garlic as they are toxic to dogs. 
  2. Use an engaging toy you can stuff food in. Maybe your puppy gets bored at mealtimes. Puppies are pretty similar to young children after all. Make eating a rewarding experience with an interactive toy they can play with. Kong toys and IQ balls, for example, can be filled with your puppy’s food, which allows them to play while eating. Visit any of our Petland locations to see our wide selections of puppy toys and feeders.
  3. Try a yummy flavored spray. Puppies, like all canines, are often motivated by certain scents. With a delicious-smelling flavored food spray, you can entice them to eat their food. Just spray a small amount on top of their food and wait until your puppy approaches their plate. Spraying too much will cause your puppy to continue their picky eating habits. Many sprays come in flavors like peanut butter, bacon, cheese, and chicken.
  4. Time for a new food bowl. Change up your puppy’s routine and purchase a new bowl. Once you have it, move the bowl to a new location in your home. This can renew your puppy’s appetite. You can also give your puppy control over their food with a food dispenser. 
  5. Go for a quick walk. Your puppy may need a moment to let out that pent-up energy before they eat. If so, be sure to take them on a walk around the neighborhood or at a doggy park. You may also want to engage them in exercise or a fun game before mealtime. These activities can stimulate their bellies, causing them to get hungry. Your puppy may be ill if they seem lethargic or depressed. 

We hope these tips provide some help in getting your puppy to eat. If none of the above works, it’s best to take them to your vet as soon as possible. You should also observe your puppy’s behavior and body, focusing on the gums and eyes. If you see that your pup is vomiting, has diarrhea, or yellow gums and eyes, consult your vet immediately. With enough encouragement, your puppy will be eating in no time!

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