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If you have a picky eater like my dog Baloo, you’ve probably wondered already: do dogs get tired of the same food?
Baloo is a super high energy Miniature Poodle. He literally has boundless energy and loves nothing more than action! So, naturally you’d think he’s eating a lot to fuel his engines, right?
Well, nope, not at all!
He eats super little and therefore is veeery slender. When he was a puppy I was really concerned that something’s wrong with him. I changed his food a couple of times and even went to see my vet.
So, if you’ve got a similar pooch, I’m answering all the questions around a dog not wanting to eat in this post.
Do dogs get tired of the same food?
So, do dogs get tired of the same food?
Well, dogs are naturally curious. The love the new, it’s exciting and fun. What’s fun isn’t always what’s good and healthy, though.
First of all, you need to know that dogs don’t work the same as people. They have different taste buds and sense of smell. In fact, dogs only have around 1’700 taste buds, while people have around 9’000. Their sense of smell, on the other hands, is about 100’000 times stronger than ours.
If your dog loves sniffing, check out my other article to find out why your dog is sniffing so much.
This means that they’re drawn to food that smells good. However, they can’t really make a difference in taste.
So, while dogs can indeed look like they’re getting tired of the same food, the reason for it is more that they’re looking for a new smell.
Can dogs stop liking their food?
So, while they can get tired of it, it’s very very unlikely that they’ll suddenly stop liking their food.
If you think about dogs in the wild, what would they eat? Probably a lot of meat and maybe some food and vegetable they’d find.
Domestic dogs have a different life, of course. They don’t need to hunt their food and they don’t need to worry about their next meal. So, they can get a little spoiled and feel like different food would be nice.
That doesn’t mean we have to give in to our dog’s wish, though. I’ll tell you why in a minute.
Can dogs distinguish different food?
Yes, they can but it’s much less distinct as for us.
As I’ve mentioned before, dogs have far less taste buts than we do. They can distinguish between the 4 main taste classifications, just as we do. This means they can distinguish between sweet, salty, sour and bitter. Plus, they have a special taste bud for water.
Would be interesting to know how water tastes for dogs…
Are some dogs pickier than others?
I grew up with a Golden Retriever and he gobbled up ANYTHING he could find! The only exceptions were salad and onions. All the rest would disappear in his mouth within milliseconds!
So, for the longest time I thought, this is just what dogs are. They love food, no matter what it is. As you can imagine, I was very surprised and worried when I saw that Baloo was the complete opposite.
So, after changing his food a couple of times, I finally consulted my vet. Thankfully, there wasn’t anything wrong with him. My vet told me: well, he just has other priorities in life… Clearly the opposite of me 😉
Apparently, smart dogs seem to try to pull that trick on you sometimes. And most times it works.
He doesn’t want to eat his kibble so you get him some wet food. Jackpot! Your pup clearly just twisted you around his paw. I certainly fell for it with Baloo…
Do puppies get bored of their food?
Yes, it’s quite common for puppies to test their boundaries.
This is why they might test if they get something new (which is always more exciting than the old thing) by refusing to eat.
Why is my dog not eating his food anymore?
When your dog refuses to eat his food there are different possible reasons for it.
It also quite depends on how your dog was before he stopped eating his food. Is he normally a eating machine who can’t get the kibble down fast enough?
Then there might be something wrong.
Or is your dog a picky kind like Baloo? Well, then he might just try to test you.
He’s getting bored and tries to trick you
If your dog usually eats well and suddenly stops, then there’s probably something wrong. In those cases I would see a vet pretty quickly.
For the other dogs it’s possible that they’re just testing you. If your pup is acting normal and drinks water, then you should wait about 48 hours before going to the vet. Dogs can perfectly well go without food for a couple of days. They might just wait until you give them something new. Eventually, their hunger will win, though, and they’ll get back to eating.
If he still refuses their food after 2 or 3 days, try giving them their most favorite treat. He refuses that too? Then one of the following reasons could cause his loss in appetite.
He’s got a tummy ache
Baloo once had runny poo for 2 or 3 days in a row and didn’t eat. It’s normal for him to sometimes skip a day of his food and he also gets a runny poo every once in a while. So I wanted to wait and see. On the third day he wouldn’t take his favorite liverwurst anymore, so I slightly panicked.
I rushed to the emergency vet (it was Sunday evening) and thankfully it wasn’t anything bad. He just had a terrible tummy ache. He must have eaten something bad and he got a shot (don’t remember what it was).
Thankfully, everything was fine again the next day.
Another reason why your dog refuses to eat might be a dental disease. This can cause chewing to be painful which is why your dog might avoid his food.
New surroundings or uncomfortable settings
If your dog is very sensitive, it’s also possible that he temporarily loses his appetite because he feels stressed.
I don’t know about you but whenever I’m nervous, I’m not hungry at all. In fact, I probably wouldn’t be able to eat anything at that moment.
This should go back to normal within 2 or 3 days, though.
There are a number of other possible reasons for your dog’s loss in appetite.
However, it doesn’t matter too much. More important is to observe your dog.
For dogs that usually eat well you can assume that something’s wrong when they skip a meal. In that case, call your vet straight away.
Should I change my dog’s food regularly?
Now that we know that dogs can get bored of their food, the next question inevitably is: should I change my dog’s food regularly?
The general answer is no, you shouldn’t.
As I’ve said before, dogs’ taste buds aren’t the same as ours. Some of our pooches are just spoiled and try to get something more. That’s like when we eat junk food.
Can we have it?
Does that mean we need it?
In fact, changing your dog’s food regularly can actually cause problems in your dog’s digestion. A dog’s stomach has to get used to his nutrition. If you change it, this causes sort of a disruption in your dog’s routine (dogs love routine). This can cause some discomfort in your pup’s tummy, until he’s used to his new nutrition.
If you do that regularly, your dog’s stomach is constantly stressed.
Related article: my dog’s stomach is gurgling very loudly
So, as you can see changing your dog’s food is actually more harmful than good.
Exceptions: puppies and senior dogs
There are a few exceptions, though. As you’ve probably noticed, there are different kinds of kibble for puppies, adult dogs and senior dogs. And that has a good reason.
Puppies and senior dogs have different nutritional needs than adult dogs. This is why it makes sense to change your dog’s food once he’s becoming and adult and then again once he’s coming to his senior years.
Other than that, I really wouldn’t mess too much with his food. When you do change it, make sure to take it slow. Slowly make a little of the new food with his known food. Increase the amount of new food over the course of a week until you only give him his new kibble.
I’ve now changed Baloo’s food twice so far: once from puppy food to normal dog food. And then once again because I realized that he likes another mix from the same brand a little better. I told to myself: ok, I’ll give him one chance for a different food. And while he’s not eating much more, I feel like it’s now at a healthy level.
So, if your pup really doesn’t seem to enjoy his food over a long period of time, I think it’s okay to change it once. The important thing is that you don’t do it all the time!
What to do if your dog doesn’t eat for an extended period
If your picky dog doesn’t eat for 2 or 3 days then I’d visit a vet. If he shows other signs of illness, such as diarrhea or vomiting or he also isn’t drinking water, then you might consider going earlier than that.
In case your pup seems fine and still drinks water, then I’d definitely wait for at least 48 hours. Try giving him a small amount of treats to see if he’s still able to eat. Don’t give him too many, though, as this might lead to him waiting longer.
If your pup is just picky, he’ll soon give in and will start eating again.
How can I make my dog eat better?
I’m now “spicing up” Baloo’s kibble every now and then. I usually add a spoon of coconut oil and sometimes I squish a canned sardine (in water without added salt) and mix it with his food. These are both healthy supplements to your dog’s food and he’ll love it!
You can also try mixing it with water to make it softer. I don’t do that because it’s not good for his teeth and poodles tend to have bad teeth anyway.
Other ways to make your dog’s life more exciting
If you feel sorry that your pup always gets the same food, I’ve got another idea how you can enhance your pup’s life.
While it’s important to stick to his main food, it’s no problem to switch up his treats, if you only give him small portions. New toys are also a great idea if you want to provide more variety for your pup.
The easiest way to regularly get new dog toys and treats is by subscribing to a box, such as BoxDog. You only need to subscribe once and you get a box every 3 months delivered to your house. Definitely the easiest way to make your dog happy!
I particularly like BoxDog because of 3 reasons:
- They send their boxes quarterly, so you don’t get overwhelmed by piling treats and toys from receiving a box every month.
- Each box contains handmade cookies.
- You can build your own box, so you can choose exactly which toys your dog likes. How cool is that?
They currently even have a limited promotion going on where you get a free dog mat with your first box. Get your first box here.
Let’s quickly wrap this up.
While dogs can get tired of eating the same food every day, it’s usually just because they feel like getting a new, exciting smell. They have far weaker taste buds than we do and actually quite sensitive stomachs.
This is why it’s generally not recommended to change his food regularly. If your dog isn’t sick then you only need some patience until your dog gets hungry enough to take his food again.
If you’d stick like to give your dog some more variety, I recommend to get a dog box subscription instead. I recommend getting the one from BoxDog because you only get one quarterly, they have homemade treats and you can customize it.