Feeding a Picky Dog

By Cathy M. Rosenthal | January 10th, 2024

Plus another ‘psychic dog’ story

havanese dog food bowl Mdorottya. For advice article on feeding a picky dog

Is something wrong if a dog won’t even eat chicken breasts? Pet advisor Cathy M. Rosenthal weighs in on feeding a picky dog, and another reader offers her psychic dog tale.

Dear Cathy,

My Havanese will not eat the chicken breasts I give him. I have tried about every kind of dog food. One time he will eat; the next day he won’t. The vet says don’t worry; he can go weeks without eating. I guess he is just picky. He is always begging for my food. If I give him chicken in his bowl, he doesn’t want it. What should I do?

— Jim, Schererville, Indiana

Dear Jim,

I am not sure your dog is just being a picky eater. It’s not normal for a dog – picky or otherwise – to go weeks without eating. Not eating can be a symptom of many illnesses that need to be ruled out. Some cancers, for example, may present as a lack of interest in food, even though the dog may also appear hungry. So, I recommend another visit with a vet to determine why your dog is not eating.

In the meantime, other foods you can try to encourage your dog to eat include plain waffles, plain cooked pasta or rice, sardines, scrambled eggs, ground hamburger or turkey, carrots, green beans, or baby food.

If your dog gets a clean bill of health and your vet feels without a doubt that your dog is just being picky, then try one of these foods as a topper on dog food to encourage him to eat.

Also, try an alternative protein source, like salmon, duck, or bison, in case your dog is sensitive or allergic to beef or chicken by-products, and not eating is his way of letting you know he can’t stomach certain foods.

Taming the ‘zoomies’ in an eight-month-old Havanese

Dear Cathy,

Here’s another psychic dog story: Our terrier mix, Sammy, was extremely loyal to me and never failed to greet me at the door when I arrived home. My husband said that Sammy would always get up and go to the door long before my (extremely quiet) Prius was in the subdivision.

Our two other dogs always followed him to the door, so I had a welcoming committee. Sammy passed away recently at age 14, and the other two seem oblivious to my return until I open the door and call for them. I sure do miss him.

— Dixie, Yorkville, Illinois

Dear Dixie,

It sounds like Sammy was the pack leader of your canine family and very in tune with you. I am sorry for your loss. Losing such a longtime companion is never easy, and I am sure you miss his presence in your life every day. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if, as your other dogs adjust to their new normal, one of them “intuitively knows” when you’re coming home too.

Dealing with Loss: When to Get a Pet After One Dies

Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, author, columnist, and pet expert who has more than 25 years in the animal welfare field. She addresses reader questions as diverse as outdoor cat safety to bizarre dog behavior. Send your pet questions, stories, and tips to cathy@petpundit.com. Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal.

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