Picky eating can be a quirk associated with an individual puppy or a sign of something more serious. If your puppy is not eating dry food, consider the following:
Is My Puppy Healthy?
A sudden change in appetite or feeding behaviour can indicate a health issue of some variety. Your puppy may have an upset stomach, intestinal problems, or oral/ dental discomfort.
If your puppy has stopped eating altogether, and you suspect that something may be wrong, book your puppy in with the veterinarian. If your puppy will still eat other foods, it may just be a case of picky eating.
Is My Puppy Old Enough to Eat Dry Food?
Young puppies are generally not fully weaned until they are 6-8 weeks old. Prior to this time, they will feed mostly on their mother’s milk (or a substitute).
During the transitional stage (between 4-8 weeks), puppies will begin to nibble on solid foods, however, dry food will still remain out of reach. It is not until after this period of transition that puppies will be able to eat dry food.
While most owners receive their puppies after 8 weeks, if your puppy is younger than this you should be aware of their transitioning diets. You can incorporate dry food into their diet by soaking kibble in water to break it down a little and make it easier to eat.
Is My Puppy Teething?
Most puppies will eat less when they are teething. This is due to the extra strain and discomfort placed on their teeth, gums, and jaw. Teething usually takes place between 3-6 months.
If your puppy is reluctant to eat dry food during this period, considering switching to wet foods until their adult teeth have set in. Otherwise, you can soften dry food by soaking it in warm water or even by mixing it with wet food. If you do decide to add wet food to your puppy’s feeding schedule, make sure you scale back the volume of dry food to ensure you are not overfeeding them.
Am I Feeding My Puppy Regularly?
While it is less likely to be the cause of picking eating than some of the other factors on this list, your puppy’s feeding schedule may cause them to avoid certain foods. Rather than leaving your puppy’s food in a bowl all day, provide smaller meals at specific times during the day. This may help with appetite and regularity. Generally, puppies under 6 months should be fed 3 smalls meals throughout the day and puppies over 6 months should be fed 2 times a day.
Is My Puppy Just a Picky Eater?
Some puppies are born picky eaters. They may not like the taste of dry food, or they may not like the texture. If your puppy is not eating their dry food, consider experimenting with different brands and varieties. Alternatively, you can mix dry food with a small amount of wet food to entice your puppy.