When feeding a raw dog food diet, it’s essential that your dog eats a balanced diet of 80% muscle meat, 10% raw bones and 10% organ. Variety is very important, but as some raw feeders come to realize, introducing new proteins is sometimes easier said than done.
It’s understandable that some dogs find organs like liver difficult to swallow (no pun intended) and some also prefer certain muscle meats over others, but a dog’s pickiness should never get in the way of his or her health. With the help of these tips and tricks your raw fed dog should eat everything you put in front of them and reap all the nutritional benefits in return.
Now, keep in mind that there’s a difference between a picky eater and a dog who is self-regulating and simply not finishing his/her meals. Self-regulating is natural. Dogs that don’t finish their meals (not necessarily leaving one item uneaten, but instead not finishing all of their food) are simply saying “I’m full. I’ve had enough.”
Self-regulating aside, let’s take a look at several ways to combat your picky eater.
Freeze: Freezing meats and organs that your dog has a tough time eating is the single best way to mask texture and dull the taste. Organs such as liver can be frozen in ice cube molds or you can freeze your dog’s entire meal and feed as one big frozen chunk.
Mix with Raw Eggs: Raw eggs are an excellent source of nutrition and can be fed daily. Few dogs turn their noses up at eggs. Slathering meats and organs in raw eggs is an easy way to entice your dog to eat everything on their plate.
Feed Smaller Pieces: Sometimes dogs will be picky simply because a piece of meat or organ is too big for them to handle. What they dislike in large pieces is generally much more tolerable in small bites.
Hid Inside Other Meats: This one is a bit tricky and doesn’t always work as well as freezing or mixing with eggs, but stuffing bites of organs and meats underneath chicken or duck skin might just be the answer to your problems. This works best for larger breeds who will eat entire leg quarters in one bite and are less likely to pick at their food.
Invest in a Meat Grinder: If your dog is chronically picky and a master at eating around his/her least favorite meats and organs you can invest in a meat grinder and make homemade ground mixes.
With ground mixes it’s impossible for your dog to pick and choose what they do and don’t want to eat. The only downside of ground meats and organs is that your dog will miss out on the benefits of chewing on large pieces of meat. To make sure they still benefit from the practice of using their jaw muscles, feed ground meats in frozen chunks and continue to feed bones whole (unground). Over time you can mince less and less while reintroducing whole pieces of meats and organs back into their meals.
Practice Tough Love: Wen feeding your dog a raw food diet, at some time or another you’ll likely need to show them some tough love.
It’s understandable that your dog will be unsure about new meats and organs when you first introduce them to their diet. However, it’s important for you to show your dog that they don’t get to pick and choose what ends up on their dinner plates, mainly because everything you feed your raw fed dog has its own nutritional benefits and a well-rounded diet is a must. The more variety, the better.
Remember that canines are opportunistic eaters and in the wild they wouldn’t be the least bit picky. Picky eaters are picky because they think they have the luxury to be. So, when your dog looks at his meal like he wants to send it back to the chef it’s time to instill tough love.
- Don’t let uneaten food sit for longer than 5 minutes. Anything left uneaten should be picked up right away and kept for your dog’s next meal. Leaving uneaten food out for too long will cause your dog to become a lazy eater on top of being picky.
- Feed only what your dog refuses. If your dog is refusing to eat a particular meat (pork heart, for instance), offer them pork hearts (and pork hearts only) until your dog realizes that it’s all they have to choose from and decide that they aren’t all that bad after all. Feed this meat in different forms (frozen, in smaller bites, etc.) until your dog successfully eats what’s in front of him. Most dog’s will refuse something once or twice before giving in. Then you can return to their normal diet (pork hearts now included).
The only time you don’t want to opt for tough love is when feeding a puppy or sick dog whose health could be threatened if they don’t eat regular meals.
The more you get to know your picky eater the better you’ll be able to feed them accordingly. Give each of these tips a try until you find what works best for you.
Disclaimer: All content provided on WhitneyLiving.com is for informational purposes only. The materials contained here are not intended to be used for the diagnosis or treatment of a health problem or as a substitute for consulting a licensed veterinary professional.
These suggestions are based on research and personal experiences. Whitney Bryson, the author of this site, assumes no responsibility or liability for the use of this information. This content is not meant to replace veterinary advice.