Why Is My Pooch Not Eating His Food But Will Eat Treats?

Why Is My Dog Not Eating His Food But Will Eat Treats?


Dog parents know that our furry friends have their quirks just like we do. One of the more puzzling behaviors that many pet parents come across is when their dog refuses to eat their regular food, yet happily gobbles up treats. If you've ever found yourself scratching your head and asking, "Why is my dog not eating his food but will eat treats?" then you're in the right place.


1. Palatability and Flavor

Treats are often designed to be especially palatable. They may be saltier, meatier, or just more flavorful than regular kibble. The comparison might be similar to us choosing a slice of pizza over a salad. If your dog knows there's a tastier option available, they might hold out in hope of getting that instead.


2. Dental Issues or Pain

If your dog is avoiding their regular kibble, but still eats soft treats, it might be because they're experiencing dental pain. Dry dog food requires some degree of chewing, which might be painful if there are dental issues present. Check their mouth for any signs of swelling, broken teeth, or red gums, and schedule a vet appointment if you suspect this might be the case.


3. Overfeeding with Treats

If you're giving your dog too many treats throughout the day, they may not feel hungry when it's time for their regular meals. It's essential to ensure treats only constitute a small portion of their daily caloric intake.


4. Behavioral Reasons

Sometimes, dogs will refuse food as a behavioral issue. They may have learned that refusing food gets them attention, or they might be holding out for something better (like those tasty treats).


5. Medical Issues

Loss of appetite can be a sign of various medical issues, from digestive problems to more severe diseases. If your dog's refusal to eat persists, it's essential to get them checked by a veterinarian.


6. Changes in the Environment

Dogs might refuse to eat if there has been a change in their environment. A new pet in the house, a move to a new location, or even a change in your work schedule can affect their appetite.


7. Staleness or Spoiled Food

Dogs have an excellent sense of smell, and they might refuse to eat their food if it's gone stale or has spoiled. Always ensure that their food is fresh and stored in a cool, dry place.


8. Change in Diet

If you've recently switched to a new brand or type of dog food, your dog might be reluctant because they're not used to the new taste or texture. Transitioning slowly from the old food to the new one can help in such cases.


What Can You Do?

  • Monitor Their Behavior: Before jumping to conclusions, monitor your dog's behavior and eating habits. Are they avoiding all foods or just their regular kibble? How are their energy levels?
  • Visit the Vet: If you're concerned about your dog's health or their refusal to eat persists, always consult with a veterinarian.
  • Limit Treats: Ensure that treats remain a special reward rather than a regular part of their diet.
  • Establish a Routine: Dogs thrive on routine. Set regular feeding times and stick to them.
  • Try Wet Food: If your dog is reluctant to eat dry kibble, consider introducing wet food or mixing it with their dry food.


In conclusion, while it's common for dogs to occasionally refuse their food in favor of treats, it's crucial to understand the underlying reasons. By being attentive to their habits and ensuring they have a balanced diet, you'll help ensure they're both happy and healthy.