Why Your Dog Prefers Treats Over Their Regular Food

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

As a pet parent, it can be worrying when your dog starts showing signs of decreased appetite or outright refusal to eat their regular food. However, they might still be interested in treats or table scraps, which can further deepen your confusion. 

Let's delve into some reasons why your dog might be displaying this behavior.

Medical Reasons

Firstly, any drastic changes in your dog's eating habits should warrant a visit to the vet to rule out any medical issues. Dental problems, gastrointestinal upset, or more severe conditions like pancreatitis or kidney disease can decrease appetite.

Behavioral Reasons

If you have ruled out medical issues, the reason might be behavioral. Here are some potential causes:

  • Preference for Treats: If your dog realizes that refusing to eat their regular food leads to treats, they may begin to manipulate the situation to their advantage. Treats are often more flavorful and exciting to dogs than their standard food, much like how children might prefer candy over vegetables.
  • Overfeeding of Treats: If you give your dog too many treats throughout the day, they might not feel hungry when it's time for their regular meal.
  • Boredom with Food: Dogs can become bored with their food, especially if they eat the same diet daily.
  • Stress or Anxiety: Changes in the environment or routine can make a dog anxious, which may affect their eating habits.

Solutions to the Problem

If your dog is refusing to eat but happily accepting treats, here are some solutions you can consider:

  • Reduce Treats: Limit the number of treats you give your dog daily. Treats should only comprise 10% of your dog's daily caloric intake.
  • Change the Food: Try changing the flavor or brand of your dog's food. Consider adding a bit of wet food to their dry kibble to make it more appealing.
  • Make Mealtime Fun: You can use puzzle feeders to make eating fun and engaging for your dog.
  • Stick to a Routine: Keep a regular feeding schedule and remove uneaten food after a certain time. This will help your dog understand when it's time to eat.
  • Consult a Vet or Behaviorist: If your dog refuses food, it's a good idea to consult a professional for advice.

Always remember each dog is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. It may take some time and patience to discover why your dog refuses their food and how to get them back to their regular eating habits.