Ask a Vet Archive

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  • My dog was severely malnourished when I adopted him from the animal shelter. My vet told me to give him anything he would eat, so I fed him regular dog food, as well as chicken, cheeseburgers, steak, ham, and anything else I happened to be making. Now, he goes through phases where he will not eat any dog food and only wants what I'm having. What can I do to get his diet regulated so he'll be as healthy as possible?

    There can be a few causes for him not eating. My first concern would be some kind of medical issue or disease. If he is acting normally and showing no other signs of disease, then this concern is less likely. However, it would be best to get him checked out by your veterinarian to make sure. If he does not have an underlying condition but is just being picky and holding out for people food or treats, then it will require tough love to treat.

    I recommend that you leave his dog food out in an area that he can get to at all times. During this time it is important that you do not feed him any treats or people food. If you feed him these, it only reinforces him to believe that if he does not eat his dog food he will get treats. It may take a day or two but once he gets hungry enough he will start to eat his own food. Once he starts eating his own food, then you can start to put him on the feeding schedule that you prefer.

    Your veterinarian can also talk to you about this problem. They know your pet and his history so they may have recommendations that are more specific to your pet and his environment. Good luck!


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Behavior