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Getting a dog to eat?


Addicted Poster
We got Noshie at the beginning of May. We're having a lot of trouble getting her to eat. There's nothing wrong with her health-wise (she's been checked) she just won't eat!

We've tried everything we can think of. We've mixed in tinned meat (we've tried different types and brands), wetting the food, mixing in gravy, giving her food in a treat-dispensing toy (all she does is get all the food out, leave it on the floor and then plays with the toy).
We've changed the food we feed her twice (now on the third brand since we got her). We've tried the 15 minute routine thing where we put her food down for her, give her 15 minutes to eat it (as if), picking it up and then not giving her any food or treats until her next meal and doing the same 15 minute thing. That doesn't work. Day 1 she won't touch her food either at breakfast or in the evening, day 2 she won't eat her breakfast but she will eat her evening meal. Then day 3 is the same as day 1 and it's just a cycle of only eating once out of 4 meals.

We've only found two ways of getting her to eat and there is no way we're going to do either of them. The first way is by hand feeding her by playing fetch with every single piece of the food (we did that last night with her because Mum was getting quite desperate as she hadn't eaten in 3 days) and the second way is to get Ebbie, our labrador, to come sit in the room with her and then Noshie will eat all her food (but it takes her about 15 minutes to do so). Again, we've only done that once because it really is not fair on Ebbie (Ebbie is trained to sit and wait while we put her food down and she's only allowed to start eating it when we say she can). We feed the dogs in separate rooms (separated by a glass door. We've also tried putting Ebbie in a different room where Noshie couldn't see her. Still won't eat) as Ebbie wolfs her food and would also eat Noshie's if she could get to it.

The only other food she gets is 3 biscuits at bedtime. 2 before she goes up the garden and then 1 in her crate for her when she goes to bed (we crate her at night) and it's part of the routine all our dogs have. She will happily eat them everyday without fail.

We're getting quite worried now as she is losing weight.

So any ideas on how to get her to eat?


Why wouldn't you do either of those, if that's the only way to get her to eat? I've gone through long periods of hand feeding (actually putting food into the mouth). You do what you need to.

Have you tried human grade foods? If you really have tried all different kinds of food, and she will only eat in the presence of the other dog or if hand fed, then I would either hand feed her or put her in one room and the other dog in another room, with only a baby gate between them (and the food bowl right next to the gate), and see whether that creates enough of an aura of competition for her to eat. The glass door is too solid of a barrier.


Veteran Member
Napoli, FL
My big boy Maximus can be a fussy eater from time to time. There are days where he will lay down in front of the food bowl without any interest. My solution has been to mix in a teaspoon of PB, set the bowl on the floor in front of him, sit next to him and then he will devour every bite. It probably looks silly with me sitting on the floor next to him while he eats but will do whatever I can for the furkids to keep them healthy and happy. :D


The Lizard Queen
Have you tried mixing in wet puppy food? She'll probably eat it, but it will get her spoiled.
Maybe you can feed her all wet food instead of dry kibble. It has the same nutrients and the dry, just more water.

If she's hungry (and you seem sure she doesn't have any medical condition), she'll eat. She just sounds like a brat. :p


I don't know what to put here.
The thread title threw me for a loop. haha

What about trying something like the boiled chicken/rice/canned pumpkin thing you do for when a dog has diarrhea? You could even mix some of the dog food in with it?


My big boy Maximus can be a fussy eater from time to time. There are days where he will lay down in front of the food bowl without any interest. My solution has been to mix in a teaspoon of PB, set the bowl on the floor in front of him, sit next to him and then he will devour every bite. It probably looks silly with me sitting on the floor next to him while he eats but will do whatever I can for the furkids to keep them healthy and happy. :D
My sister-in-law's dog won't drink water unless she (or another human) puts her finger in the water bowl. Idk, he is a rescue puppy with ideas. ;)


World Class Member
I am assuming the vet also checked labs on her?

Part of it may be she is picking up on you being anxious about feeding time, which will in turn make her anxious. An anxious dog often won't eat. I'd try mixing canned food or even meat baby food (make sure there's no onion powder) and just trying to be calm about the whole matter. You can always wean that stuff off later on if you want. If seeing the other dog makes her eat, I'd use that to your advantage. While I wouldn't let a dog starve itself to death, in my experience most healthy dogs will not do this. (Cats, yes, but not most dogs.) I wouldn't hand feed her or fix her 10 different meals unless her health was really in danger. Now I will become a short order cook and hand feed ill dogs. But if you start hand feeding now you'll probably be doing it her whole life.

My dogs are far from picky but one of them loves things the others don't so much, like carrots and bananas. If my other dogs see him eating those, they will eat them too, even though they won't touch them otherwise. That's why I suggest using the other dog for motivation.

My sister's dog would often go 2-3 days without eating, especially when it was hot outside. Vet said that was fine as she was otherwise healthy and didn't skip drinking. When she got a second dog, the first dog then started eating every nugget of her food, because she knew if she didn't, dog #2 would. Dog #1 is now overweight, unfortunately. :p

Making sure she gets plenty of exercise might also help her work up an appetite. But my best advice is try not to stress. Good luck!


World Class Member
Sometimes this board won't let me edit and add more.

One thing they do at the shelter where I volunteer with dogs who have trouble keeping weight on is feed them puppy food, even if the dog is long past puppyhood. It has more calories than adult dog food and dogs seem to LOVE it, probably because of the extra goodies in it. You could always wean this later too, as an adult dog shouldn't eat puppy food forever.


I often mix meat baby food in with the cat food when my guys are being finicky. When Mandi (RIP) was feeling particularly ill she would go on hunger strikes...the baby food saved us many times...giving it to her straight would be enough to get her appetite going again.


Addicted Poster
Thanks guys. :)

Sorry it's taken me a few days to reply but I didn't want to jinx things! After I wrote this post my mother and I had another discussion about it and realised that we hadn't tried Chappie with her so we went out and got some. So far so good. She's eaten all her food for the past 3 days. It's a tinned food so we're just using a bit of it to coat her dry food to get her to eat it. First time she was a bit unsure of what it was but with some coaxing she started to eat and decided she liked it. She's now getting very excited at meal times and wants to eat instead of climbing into her bed and refusing to eat.
Anyway, it's this stuff. I'm kinda hoping that it's the fish side of it that she's liking because we would prefer not to have to give her tinned food all the time. At the moment she's on lamb James Wellbeloved so we're coating that with the Chappie. When we need to get another bag of dog food we're going to get the fish James Wellbeloved and see if it is the fish that she likes. But if she reverts back to refusing to eat when she just has dry food then we will continue doing that even though it's a pain. (She's a long-coated long-eared dog. Despite using one of the bowls designed so the ears don't go in the food, they still do. So it means we have to clean them after every meal. )


Veteran Member
when you need to change the food, instead of doing a total swap, i'd suggest you change out just a 1/4 at a time- start the packet of new food before the old one is entirely gone, and feed her 3/4 old food, 1/4 new- mixed together, the first time. the next day you can try it 1/2 and 1/2... and so on. do it slower than that, ideally- take a whole week to swap it over 1/8th at a time if you can. that way she gets her head and tastebuds around the new flavour nice and gradually, and if her tummy doesn't like it, chances are that you'll get slightly yucky poop, not explody yucky poop. :D

do they not sell little hats, bandana headbands, or soft hairclips for keeping flappy ears out of dinners? if not, they should. :p


Addicted Poster
We always change the food gradually. :D

Her ears aren't long enough to be tied up which is very annoying. We did used to tie up our Basset Hounds' ears back though. But I think we do have a dog hat somewhere so I'll hunt it out and see if it will hold her ears back and if she likes wearing it.

This is her and Ebbie.

Her ears look a bit longer than they actually are due to the hair :p


Addicted Poster
She doesn't like the hat. She doesn't try to get it off she just sits there looking like her entire world has collapsed because this thing is on her head. :rofl: It was hilarious but I won't put it on her again.


Addicted Poster
Excuse the flash on my phone.

She was not a happy dog.

And then she cheered up a bit because we were laughing (she loves laughter)