My dog's not interested in RAW Food!!
If you're a parent, chances are you're familiar with the sight of your kid making faces at the healthy food in her plate. There are other reactions you might see; eat with disgust, smell the food and walk away, take hours to eat or refuse to go anywhere near the food at all or just simply eat because she's hungry.
Pets are no different. You've probably seen your dog behave in the same manner with some foods and you might see it when you transition your dog over to the raw food diet
So while you're all charged up and eager to see his progress, it could be that he doesn't feel the same way about the raw food that you've placed in his bowl.
Dont fret! Think about what you would do if he were your kid. Well actually, if you're the kind of parent who would panic and go crazy , calm down! It's pretty normal for all of us and not only kids or pets to resist change or adapt to it immediately.
You can't blame them after all. Think about it: they've been eating junk food ( kids) and kibble (our pets) forever, and then suddenly they're faced with healthy, odorless, non spicy, fresh meals which will do wonders for their health. The most natural reaction is to resist it, and believe me! We would do the same thing..well, most of us anyway.
So what now?!!
Well! You can either choose to be calm and patient OR trick them into eating it with the help of a few strategies.
Lets look at the first option:
The 'You have to be cruel to be kind' strategy:
Question: So what do you do when your kid throws a tantrum?
Answer: Your reaction could be any of the following:
- Panic and give him what he wants
- Throw a fit
- Try and force him to eat
- Coax him into eating with various forms of bribery, OR,
- Simply ignore him and let him stay hungry until he eats what's given to him
I would go with Option number 5. Honestly! It has worked for me , although as a parent ( of a kid and a pup) it was tough initially. You know those blackmailing little faces are difficult to resist, but it becomes easy when you are in the know that the diet you're giving them is the best thing that could happen to them.
Same with dogs.
Once you place the raw food in front of them, they will all react differently:
- Some of them will eat immediately
- Will sniff it intently for minutes that seem like hours but that's only because you're anxious.
- Some will sniff and walk away for a few minutes
- They will stare at you sadly wondering what the hell you've put in front of them
- Some will sit and watch their plate hoping that a miracle will occur and the food will change to their familiar meal
- Some will walk away and refuse to eat
So if your dog is one of those pets that has used Option number 6, let him be. Keep the food placed for about 20 minutes and then quietly pick it up and put it away.
What to do?
Give him the same thing for his next meal. If he refuses to eat it again, do the same thing; put it away.
Don't give him anything in between, no treats , leftovers from your plate or any other chewies. Don't worry, nothing will happen to him. Trust me!
He will mope about and look sad and you will die to give in and give him other stuff to eat, but thats going to delay the transition further. A few pet owners give up and go back to their original diet, but then your pet will realise that his strategy worked and he will not eat the raw food ever! Its a case of the dog training you and not you training the dog!!
One thing to keep in mind is to check the food periodically to make sure it hasn't gone bad. It could be a reason that your dog isn't eating it.
We, as pet parents have a choice here to either be doormats or be leaders in our homes; be it with kids or dogs. Both need to understand that we're their providers and that what we're doing is in their best interests. They don't get to rule us by misbehaving, blackmailing or simply by throwing temper tantrums.
A few of us feel we're depriving our pets of food and are ill treating them by not giving them anything to eat when they're not eating their raw food. Au contraire ( On the contrary), we're doing them a favour. The period that they're starving themselves is the period when toxins are getting thrown out of their body and preparing their stomachs for healthy, fresh food.
In fact, some Obese dogs
will benefit from their own picky tantrums. They will eventually give in and eat when their bodies need the nutrition.
Remember that dogs feed off our emotions and behaviour. He might enjoy the pampering he gets when he throws a tantrum or doesn't eat and he will play with your emotions. Praise him when he eats his food and ignore him until he does. In this way you are promoting discipline and routine for him.
Now this doesn't apply to sick dogs and puppies. If they're ill, it's detrimental to their health to keep them hungry for more than 24 hours. Dogs with diabetes
fall into this category too.
It's important to network and be a part of groups and communities ( Click here to join the BARF INDIA community) that will have various tips and information for when your dog refuses RAW food.
The second strategy that you can adopt is to be a little sneaky and not in a bad way in case your dog is not eating RAW food.
Just like we mix stuff into our kids food to deceive them into eating the good stuff; for example mix prawns with cabbage, or cook chicken with spinach or veggies with noodles, in the same way we can do a few things to get our pets to eat:
If they love white meat, add a tiny bit of chicken stock or bouillon. Or beef stock for that matter.
Everyone loves cheese. Sprinkle their raw with a bit of cheese. Flash fry the meat once for a few seconds at a high temperature just to get them to eat it the first time. Do not cook it under any circumstances. The next time give it to him raw. If he still resists, flash fry once more but less.
You could occasionally add in some toppings like salmon, eggs, cottage cheese etc. It might pique their interest.
Remember that you must keep switching between proteins so that your dogs get a complete balanced meal over a period of a few weeks.
After all, 'variety is the spice of life' for our four legged babies too!!!