As a pet owner, you obviously want to do what is best for your companions. You want to make sure they are fed the best foods and well cared for. Unfortunately the dog does not always know or agree as to what the best food is. Just like children, dogs often like “junk food” better than healthy food. It is sometimes said that German Shepherd Dogs can be picky eaters, however that is not true, unless you allow it.
You (as the responsible owner) know better than your dog does when it comes to a healthy diet. If your dog suddenly begins skipping his meal or not eating like he normally does, the first thing to consider is a health problem. A vet visit may be in order, just to check and make sure your GSD is healthy. Once you are sure there is no health issue causing this new behavior, you can look at other possibilities.
It is important to remember that a healthy dog will not starve itself. Sometimes a dog may become bored with the same food day in and day out. Or maybe the dog has learned that if he holds out, you will add something better to his food to entice him. People often feel bad if the dog does not want to eat, so try to add extras mixed in to make it more appealing. While there is nothing wrong with adding extra healthy foods to the dog’s meal, but doing this to entice him will simply create a picky eater.
Once you know that your dog is healthy, simply put his food down. If he walks away and does not eat it, pick the bowl up and put it away. He gets nothing until his next meal time. No treats, no snacks from the counter/table, nothing! At his next meal time, put the bowl down. If he walks away and does not eat it again, simply pick it up and put it away. A healthy dog will eat when he is hungry enough. The dog is probably holding out and wanting you to give him something “better” (in his mind). If you cave in and give him something “better”, you are just making the situation worse and he will continue with his picky eating habits.
If a dog is overweight, he may be missing meals or leaving food behind because his body is telling him that he does not need it. Make sure your dog is in correct weight before you try to encourage him to eat more.
You will also want to take a look at what you are feeding your dog. If you are feeding a poor quality food, your dog’s body may be trying to tell you something! Whether you choose to feed raw, home cooked or kibble, be sure that it is a good quality diet. It is true that some dogs just naturally have better appetites than others. Some dogs will eagerly overeat as much as you give them, while others eat just enough to survive.
As with anything, if you have concerns or need guidance it is always a good idea to contact your veterinarian.
If you would like to read more of my articles and receive a notification when a new article is published, be sure to click on the “subscribe” option below.