When your dog has eating issues try these four ideas. Here a black lab sits happily with his tongue out waiting for a snack to eat while playing outside.

When Your Dog Has Eating Issues Try These Ideas

When Your Dog Has Eating Issues Try These Ideas

Both our dogs have issues. Their issues are personal and not shared. All their issues are food or food bowl related. The solutions start with their noses.

Dante DuBois, American Staffordshire Terrier (Pitbull if you must) is allergic to all kinds of food ingredients. From Botswana in joint meds, to rice hidden as a binder in kibble, to freshly mowed grass. It’s taken these 3 years to cypher him out of constant ear infections, hives, skin problems, and woofing. Woofers see meals as an eating contest. Chewing be damned. Eating slowly is beyond Dante’s mental capabilities. He is so overwhelmingly happy to be eating. Smells trigger a bowl to be attacked. I slowed that down a heartbeat by requesting a kiss before he gets his bowl. Dante scrambles around the corner into the kitchen, eyes lit up, tail wagging, mouth wide, smiling, and sliding into a wall to stop himself where his bowls wait. He sits tall, not still, but tall. “Kiss!” He drives his snout into my cheek to make sure he doesn’t miss. I set his bowl into his elevated dog bowl slot. His head disappears.


Angus Lee, Catahoula and Black Lab (99% Catahoula, the Lab makes little difference) can’t stand bowls that aren’t literally fresh. If Dante stuck his nose in a water bowl, there is no way Angus will take a drink from it. If the water has been sitting for a few hours, there is no way he is going to drink it. If the water bowl, by chance, contains a little flotsam, there is absolutely no way he’s coming into the kitchen. Food bores him. Food bores him because his nose tells him what’s in his bowl is not what the humans are eating, nor is it that other smell he’s picking up from the neighbor barbequing four blocks away. This shall not stand. He’s a state food inspector in a bad mood with a citation quota to make his bonus. He’ll walk away from fresh kibble if it isn’t what his nose is demanding. Freshening water bowls and finding dog food flavoring tricks is a career path here. Angus is also a very slow eater. So slow he’ll walk away mid meal to take a stroll through a few rooms to come back and finish eating on the opposite side of the bowl where he started. It’s the walking away part that triggers the Woofer to run over and rescue an abandoned meal.

When your dog has eating issued remember, taste starts with the nose, first. Smells are where a dog starts when thinking about food. Here a black and white herding class dog sits in the kitchen waiting for lunch. A close up photo of his face.

Ideas that helped our dogs and their issues.

  1. Homemade joint jelly to replace all the joint supplements that Dante can’t eat without exploding into the Hive Monster.
  2. Flavor is actually smell first. Win over a dog’s nose first. That’s the forgotten bit about picky dogs. Most likely, it’s the smell you’re battling. After 4 years, I picked Angus’s nose lock. Beef and Barley Soup. Until I accidentally found this, Angus never asked for a meal that wasn’t being cooked for humans. The day I added a spoonful of my lunch to Angus’ bowl is the day Angus became a Woofer that still chewed. I add just enough to coat his kibble and leave behind a bit of barley and beef.
  3. Elevated bowls. Dante, with the short neck and short snout, has benefited with less eating struggles.
  4. Woofer eating puzzles! The trick to Woofers is in their brain. Rebooting a Woofer brain requires rethinking how food is accessed. This puzzle bowl set offers configuration options and change out bowls when you’ve successfully rebooted your Woofer.
When your dog has eating issues talk to their nose instead.

Dogs don’t have issues as much as humans have issues thinking like dogs. Once you think like a dog, it all makes more sense. And that's what we're really talking about, scents. I’m still working on Dante’s issues about white feathers in the backyard. He’s convinced they are venomous viper assassins hunting him down, which makes no sense to a human.

Kathy LaFollett is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.


  • good info! i will dry the beef and barley truck!

    cindy on

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