Archive for December, 2011

21Dec
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A Picky Pooch

Author: admin

Dogs are a great delight to have around. They provide companionship, unconditional love, and a warm greeting when you walk in the door. They can also be a real pain in the neck at times. If your beloved Bela is a picky eater, you know what it’s like to pull your hair out over a dog. When she turns her nose up at brand after brand of dog food, what are you supposed to do? Let her starve?

The Cause
First of all, you will want to give some thought to the underlying cause of Bela’s pickiness. Take her to the vet to rule out any physical problems. If her pickiness is new or if she is displaying any other unusual symptoms or behaviors, a trip to the vet is especially important. She could have a hormonal imbalance, a parasite, or she could have swallowed something she shouldn’t have.

If your vet tells you that Bela is perfectly healthy, look in the mirror to find your culprit. Dogs are not naturally choosy about what they eat, so if Bela is physically well and turning her nose up at kibble, it’s probably your fault. You are letting her get away with picky behavior in some way. Maybe you feed her too many table scraps and now she insists on eating your food. Maybe you have let her get away with eating wet food and now you can’t get her on kibble again. Whatever you have done to encourage her, rest assured you can change it.

The Fix
Turning around Bela’s picky eating habits is important. You need her to eat well and to eat the right foods so that she will be healthy and live a nice long life.
1. No more treats! Stop giving Bela treats, both human and doggy. She can survive a long time on a few table scraps and tasty treats. She is not going to starve if she keeps getting these and therefore, she will continue to turn her nose up at the kibble.
2. Make a schedule. Dogs love a routine, so turn eating into one. Dogs respond very well when they know what is expected of them. Create a feeding schedule for Bela. Feeding her two times per day is best.
3. Serve the right amount of the right food. Find out from your vet exactly how much Bela should be eating each day for her weight and activity level. Also get a recommendation for the best type of food.
4. Take a walk. Giving Bela a vigorous workout before her meal means she will be more likely to eat. Take a nice long walk or play a rousing game of fetch before each meal until she gets into the swing of things.
5. Change it up. Because you are correcting a behavior, it helps to change the eating area. Bela associates her food bowl and its location with not eating. Get her a new bowl and feed her in a new spot to create new associations.
6. Make it fun. Make mealtime fun by treating it like a game. Feed her the first few bits of kibble as a reward for doing tricks. Or, try getting a toy that dispenses food. If she has to work for it, she will be more likely to eat it.
7. Be patient. Most important of all, be patient with Bela. She is not trying to annoy you and getting irritated or upset does not help. It may take several days or even a couple of weeks before she starts eating regularly.

Dealing with a picky eater can be very trying. For Bela’s health and well-being, you must correct her behavior and get her on a regular diet.