Why has my dog stopped eating raw food?
Our dogs are like our children, and not just because they are small beings dependent on us for almost everything. Like any small child, your dog could suddenly become fussy decide it doesn’t want to eat its food. It’s not unheard of for paw parents to talk of their dog that went off raw food and eats it occasionally or not at all. This makes it difficult to offer the dog diversity of food and to
ensure it gets a balanced diet with the right rotation of proteins. If the dog absolutely refuses to eat, you might even be forced to throw perfectly good raw food away. This can be quite a concern. Out of desperation you might even offer a different brand or substitute with treats or kibble, and miraculously your dog finds its appetite once again. But this is a temporary solution. It’s not that your dog has grown tired of its old food; the real reasons could be quite different and you will be quite surprised to learn it.
Let’s talk a little more about this:
Maybe your dog just isn’t hungry
Dogs are perpetually hungry, and this might make you wonder if it’s even possible. To honestly arrive at the answer, you must analyse how much you’re feeding your dog – and this includes meals, treats as well as dining table scraps (if any). Once you figure this out you might realise that you are actually overfeeding your dog. This is more noticeable when the dog is 9-10 months old and the growth rate slows down and the pup doesn’t eat as much as earlier.
You might think the dog is just bored and switch to an alternate food source. Your dog might even eat that initially as it’s a novelty. But very soon the same pattern will repeat and your dog will no longer be interested again. You could go through the entire range of available raw foods just to release that your dog isn’t really hungry. You should try re-calculating your dog’s daily food intake
There is no hard and fixed rule that says how much a dog should eat. It varies as per dog breed, the age of the dog, the activity levels, and existing weight. Feeding guides are just that – guides – and you should take into account all these mentioned factors before feeding your dog as per the ‘right’
percentage. Most feeding guides will tell you that dogs need to eat 2-3% of their ideal body weight. But this will be too much for, say, a bulldog. Even elderly and overweight dogs will do well to not follow these numbers blindly. What typically happens is that we get used to a feeding based on the dog’s current
eating pattern and we make no deviation based on other parameters. The result is an expanding waistline.
When you calculate how much your dog should be eating daily (as per age, activity level, weight and breed), stick to it. Don’t forget to take into account treats in this daily food allowance. An overfed dog is simply NOT HUNGRY and that’s why it’s leaving food in its plate. Skip a meal and then start feeding as per the recalculated amount going forward.
Worrying about skipping a meal?
Consider this scenario. Your dog isn’t eating raw food anymore and you start to worry that he hasn’t had his last meal at the usual time and he’s going to stay hungry. Trust us; if a dog is hungry, it will eat whatever food you put in front of it. The only time even a hungry dog will not eat is if it’s unwell or there’s any other underlying issue. It is always a good idea to check with your dog’s vet to
understand the cause of food refusal.
Getting your dog back to a routine.
For your dog to return to its normal feeding habits you should become strict about its feeding routine. Here’s how you do it:
- After you’ve calculated how much you should feed in each meal, put out the correct amount you want it to eat.
- Don’t swap a regular meal with something special or with treats just to get your dog to eat something. This encourages picky eating habits and that’s the last thing you want to encourage.
- If the bowl is licked clean of the reduced amount, don’t think your dog’s hungry and feed more. Stay with the plan.
- Don’t coax or pay too much attention to your dog during meal time. Put the food down and walk away. If food isn’t eaten after 20 minutes, put it away until the next meal.
- Offer the same meal at the next feeding time, and do the same if the dog doesn’t eat even then.
- Be strict and don’t succumb out of guilt or panic.
If your dog has normal energy levels and is drinking water, it’s doing just fine. If your dog still doesn’t eat after following these steps, give it a break for a day and try again tomorrow. As your dog ages it might want to eat more on some days and less on others. And it’s perfectly fine if it doesn’t eat anything on one day.
Have you heard about fasting in dogs?
The benefits of regular fasting for dogs:
Just like humans, dogs can also benefit from fasting and giving their digestive system rest once a week.
Fasting is a well-researched part of raw feeding and is also how dogs in the wild behave. A wild dog doesn’t eat daily and if you’re feeding your dog a natural diet, it is going to behave as per its genetically pre-disposed eating habits, which includes periodic fasting. A raw diet demands all the resources of the immune system, and in order to give the digestive system a chance to recover, you
must fast your dog regularly. This might make you feel guilty or even cruel because your dog expects to be fed at a certain time every day. However, you are actually doing them a great service. A regular fast allows the immune
system detoxify and helps it to stay in peak form. You can plan to fast your dog every seventh day.
Feed the recommended quantity of food for six days, and then give nothing on the seventh. Monitor the amounts that you are feeding and keep an eye on the weight of your dog. If you notice a difference on either side of the scale, then adjust how much you feed in the main meals. Once again, don’t forget to make an allowance for treats. Very soon your dog will fall into a rhythm and will no longer be fussy about what they eat. You will be happy, and as a bonus, your dog will benefit from improved digestion and a stronger immune system.
If you notice that your dog has gone off food or is being fussy, try these points before pressing the panic button. If nothing works, then you can consider any other underlying reasons and make a trip to the vet. But in our experience, most dogs who are being fussy, happily go back to their bowls in two or three days and chomp down the raw food that you put down.