How to ensure your puppy doesn’t turn into a fussy eater

There are so many differing opinions on what you should feed your dog and I am not here to tell you what is right and wrong. I am not a vet and I do not have a huge amount of knowledge on dog nutrition. I just know that we should all make sure we feed our dogs a balanced diet. Too much protein for example can cause aggression in dogs – so a good all round balance is key. So here is our story…

Jase and I made the decision very early on that we wanted our dog to eat dry dog food/kibble. We also decided early on that we wanted to be very strict with this and not feed our dog any human foods because we didn’t want our puppy to turn into a begging dog or a dog that annoys you when you’re eating because it wants your food. So when we brought Cooper home from the breeders we slowly transitioned him from the breeder’s food onto our puppy kibble that we had chosen. If you change your dogs diet too quickly, they will get an upset stomach and get diarrhea – so please make sure to change their diet gradually over about a week. 


At first, things were going well. Cooper was eating, although he was not guzzling his food down like you would expect a Golden to do. So we tried sprinkling some water over the kibble to try and soften it a little bit for him.  That worked at first, but slowly over a few weeks he started to become a bit fussy. We decided to buy some wet food thinking if we put a little on his dry food it would help him eat it. And it did – but only for a few days. And then he started getting picky again – he would only eat it if we put more and more wet food in his bowl. We really wanted to stick to the kibble and not fully change to wet food as the kibble is great for their teeth and overall nutrition. It got to the point where Jase and I were really worried – Goldens are meant to love their food and as a puppy, we just wanted him to eat so he could grow big and strong.
I posted my concerns on a few groups on facebook and had an enormous amount of responses! People are very strong-minded about this topic. Some say you should only feed your dog raw foods – like meat and veggies, some say cooked rice and boiled chicken, some say add grated cheese to the kibble, some say only dog food and some say only dog food is cruel, the list goes on and on.
The best piece of advice I got was from a friend of mine Dr Lisa Chimes – she is a Vet on the TV show Bondi Vet. She told me:
“A Golden Retriever should not be a fussy eater!
My advice – tough love! Don’t give into his fussiness! Try feeding him a different brand of dry food – one that he might find tastier (but don’t forget that dietary changes must be gradual over about a week). Don’t give in by giving him extras – he will have you wrapped around your little finger in no time! Trust me, if he’s really hungry, he’ll eat the dry food! If he doesn’t eat all of it, don’t panic, he will be ok.
Sorry to be tough – but fussy eaters are created by their owners!!”
That very day, Jase and I bought a different brand of kibble for Cooper and we saw a difference instantly.
A few other people suggested something similar on one of the facebook pages – and I also think this is brilliant advice that everyone should do with their dogs.
“He’s playing you. Put the food down, give him 10 minutes and then pick it up. Nothing until the next meal. Bet it takes 48 hours for him to get the message”.
This is also a good method because it shows the dog that you are the leader and the food belongs to you. If your dog or puppy is healthy – it will not starve itself. It will get the message pretty quickly.
Jase and I have also started using this method too – we now put his food down for 10 minutes and then take the bowl away. Cooper is eating his food and he is loving it!!!
Thank you everyone for all your great advice.



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