brown and white australian shepherd dog lying in front of bowl of dry food looking away from it

Dog Won’t Eat Dry Food? Try This.


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Most dogs will eat everything in their sight… even if it’s not intended for them. But sometimes, your dog won’t eat dry food. Or maybe it’s more that your dog doesn’t want to eat dry food. Either way, if a fussy dog won’t eat kibble (whether regularly or just occasionally) you have to take some preventative steps.

Usually, it’s just a case of getting the ball rolling so they eat a little, and they’ll then finish their food. Here are five tips to help if your dog doesn’t eat their kibble.

We’ll also help you figure out whether it’s the behaviour or the food. Because let’s be honest, our pups have amazing tastebuds. And sometimes it’s actually the food that’s the issue, not the dog.

My dog doesn’t eat dry food or kibble

The best way to convince your dog to eat their dry food is to get them taste testing. There are several ways you can do this. The best approach tends to depend upon the dog and the situation.

If you have a puppy who’s moving on to their first kibble ever, you might use a different approach to a dog who’s eaten their food happily for months and suddenly doesn’t want to.

small hite fluffy dog sitting on floor in front of bowl of dry food kibble and staring at camera but not eating

Five tips to help your dog eat dry food

Check out these options, and decide which one’s most likely to solve the problem of your dog not eating kibble anymore:

1. Moisten dry food.

Try adding a little warm (not hot) water to your dog’s kibble. If you do this before you feed them, it softens the food a bit and changes the texture – some dogs find this more palatable. If your dog is still fussy and won’t eat their kibble, kick it up a notch with broth or gravy instead. This can soften and add flavour.

Be sure to only use dog safe ingredients (find them in our things that can poison your pet article). That means no onions or garlic!

2. Peanut butter or other treats.

Adding something your dog loves to their dry food can make it irresistible. Sort of like how we disguise cauliflower with cheese sauce…?

Mix your temptation of choice (peanut butter, shredded chicken, tuna, pumpkin etc) and let your dog lick whatever’s left on the spoon. This often stimulates their appetite and convinces them to munch on their kibble.

3. Feed the right amount of dry food to your dog.

Stick to the recommended portion guide on the bag, or follow vet recommendation. If your dog refuses to eat all the dry food or seems indifferent about meals, they could simply be full. Try cutting back to see if it helps with your dog not eating kibble anymore.

If you can, couple this with some exercise to stimulate appetite.

4. Treat them.

Try introducing dry kibble as a treat. By training or playing with your dog and giving them one piece of kibble at a time as a reward, they can gradually get used to the taste. Plus, they’ll positively associate eating dry food with being rewarded.

5. Switching foods.

Sometimes, a dog doesn’t want to eat dry food simply because they don’t like it. And no matter how hard you try, they won’t ever like it. If you suspect this is the case, switching food isn’t a bad idea. But when making the switch, try to go for a totally different flavour. If your dog won’t eat kibble that’s chicken flavoured, for example, try something beef or lamb flavoured next time.

NB: Peanut butter for dogs

If you try the peanut butter option be absolutely sure to use a sugar free, salt free and xylitol free peanut butter. Basically, an all-natural peanut butter. Xylitol toxicity in dogs can be fatal and plenty of sugar-free peanut butters include xylitol. So make sure you check the label thoroughly.

According to The Conversation, many commercial dog foods have 20% – 40% protein. If your dog won't eat dry food try this instead.

Other reasons your dog is not eating food

Sometimes the reason why your dog doesn’t want to eat dry food isn’t actually about the dog being picky or fussy. On occasion, there’s something wrong with the kibble itself. Or with the dog.

If your dog has suddenly stopped eating kibble, it could be for one of these reasons.

A sick dog might not eat food at all, dry or wet

Another reason your dog could decide not to eat dry food is if they’re sick or injured. In these cases, they might go as far as refusing to eat even their favourite treats. It could be as simple as their teeth hurting or an upset stomach from eating a dead bird, or it could be something more serious.

If your dog normally has a voracious appetite but now won’t eat kibble anymore, a vet check could be in order. Also check out why dogs eat grass.

The food is wrong

Not all kibble is created equal! Just like not all human diets are equal either. Lots of commercial kibbles contain “filler” ingredients that don’t add nutritional value. If your dog food lacks quality ingredients, it might cause digestive issues, skin problems, allergies, stinky breath, and more. Some dogs are more sensitive to this than others and refuse to eat low-quality food, which doesn’t help them feel their best.   

So while you might love the occasional Big Mac, you probably know you’d be reluctant to eat it every day. And who knows, you might even crave quality, fresh ingredients like lean protein and vegetables after a while. Your dog might be doing the same!

If you think this might be why the reason for your dog’s reluctance to eat dry food and kibble, then try switching foods. Ask your vet for a recommendation or check out some eco-friendly dog food options if you want to feed quality, sustainable food that supports local.

Or if you’re interested in other options, we’ve also weighed up the pros and cons of feeding raw food.

tall black dog eats dry food from bowl on counter top on kitchen

Protection via pet insurance

If your dog won’t eat dry food anymore, you’ll probably want to visit a vet to rule out any illnesses or other problems. That’s why, in addition to helping your dog move past the ‘won’t eat kibble’ stage by providing them with the right one, you need a dog insurance plan. Your pet’s plan will cover a variety of things that might otherwise leave your bank balance looking pretty sad.

It’s important to safeguard your pets even if you give them the equivalent of a cordon bleu, organically grown gourmet meal. Because with the best will (and the best diet) in the world, our pups can still get sick or injured. PD Insurance provides customers with FREE pet insurance for one or more months when you sign up online. So you can splurge on that fancy food with the savings.

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