My Dog is Refusing Raw Food: How to Get My Dog to Eat Raw Food Guide
Once you decided to switch your dog to a raw diet, you probably got really excited thinking about all the benefits your dog would soon get, including—ideally—a newfound excitement at mealtime. But what do you do if your picky pup turns up their nose at raw food?
It's not unusual for a dog who is used to eating kibble or cooked food to be circumspect of their new raw food. After all, the temperature, smell, and texture are all much different than what they're used to. It’s like a human switching from a junk food diet to a healthy one—it’s a big adjustment!
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help encourage your pup to try the new food. The key is to be patient and realize that even the pickiest pooch won’t starve themselves.
Here are our favorite ways to help your dog get used to their new food.
Change the Temperature
Many dogs new to raw food are put off by the cold, straight-from-the-fridge temperature, so warming up the food is often enough to encourage pups to try it. A few ways to heat up We Feed Raw include lightly searing it in a pan (the goal is just to warm it up, not cook it through), adding some hot water, or mixing it with warm low-sodium bone, chicken, or beef broth.
On the other hand, chopping up the We Feed Raw patty, refreezing it into smaller pieces, and serving it frozen might remind your dog of kibble and cut down on the smell if they’re not used to it. You could also stuff thawed We Feed Raw into a Kong, Toppl, or other toy and freeze it to turn mealtime into a fun challenge.
Add a Topper
Sometimes adding something interesting or enticing on top of or mixed in with the raw food will encourage picky pups to eat. Some popular toppers include:
•Vegetables (preferably cooked, so they’re easier for your dog to digest)
•Fruit (except grapes or raisins, which are toxic for dogs)
•Garlic powder (garlic is safe in small amounts)
•Warm low-sodium bone broth
•Gussy's Gut (a fermented superfood topper that’s great for gut health)
•Pumpkin puree (100% pure pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling)
•Canned or dehydrated fish (like sardines in water)
•Treats you know they like
•Their current kibble
Pretend the Food Is a Treat
Many dogs want to eat “forbidden foods” or treats, so giving your dog some raw food on a spoon like it’s a treat may make the food seem even more enticing. After a few spoonfed bites, your pup may be more willing to eat from the bowl.
Similarly, you can sit down at your table and pretend to eat the food yourself. If your dog always wants to eat what you’re having, this method could make the raw food suddenly seem much more appealing!
Try a Different Protein
If your dog doesn’t like the first We Feed Raw meal you give them, try a different “flavor.” It could be that your dog just doesn’t like chicken when it isn’t burned and mixed with fillers in kibble. That’s one reason We Feed Raw offers 6 protein options: chicken, beef, lamb, venison, turkey, and duck. Give your pup a chance to try all the proteins before giving up on them eating it.
Feed With Confidence
You probably don’t start staring at your dog after putting down a bowl of kibble, so it’s natural that you changing your behavior when you start feeding a new food could make your dog hesitant to eat. Once you put the meal down, walk away and give your pup about 20 minutes. Then, if your dog doesn’t eat, simply pick up the food without emotion and put it back in the fridge. Repeat the process at the next regular mealtime.
Use a Bit of Tough Love
During this time, DO NOT feed any other food or treats in between meals—you would simply reinforce the idea that they don’t have to eat the raw food because you’ll give them something else eventually. You should neither try to offer your dog extra love and attention because you feel bad they aren’t eating, nor punish your dog for not eating. This whole process should be very neutral.
If you cave and switch your dog’s food, your pup learns that THEY can train YOU. That’s not a message you want them to get, which is why it’s important to stay the course, no matter how difficult it is to watch your dog refuse to eat.
Generally speaking, dogs can safely go for several days without food. Eventually, when they get hungry enough, your pup will eat the raw food you put out when they realize they don’t have another choice.
You should not withhold food from these dogs for more than 24 hours:
•Dogs at risk of developing low blood sugar
•Dogs with serious pre-existing health conditions
Otherwise, you can wait several days for your dog to realize that the junk food they are used to isn’t coming back and the healthy food is what they’re getting from now on.
Problems or Questions? Contact Us!
If you’re still having problems with getting your dog to eat We Feed Raw, please contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or sending us a message on one of our social media platforms. We want to help you give your dog the healthier life they deserve!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can you warm up raw dog food?
Yes, you can warm up raw dog food to make it more appealing to your pet. Warming it up can change its temperature and aroma, which can stimulate a dog's appetite. Some methods include lightly searing it in a pan, adding hot water, or mixing it with warm low-sodium bone, chicken, or beef broth. However, be sure you don't cook the food thoroughly as it needs to stay raw.
My dog won't eat kibble; what should I do?
If your dog refuses to eat kibble, consider introducing a raw food diet gradually. You can start by mixing a bit of raw food with their kibble, gradually increasing the raw portion over time. Utilizing food toppers or presenting the food in a fun way, such as using a food-stuffed toy, can also encourage their interest.
My dog won't eat raw food anymore. What should I do?
Dogs can sometimes become bored with their food or develop new preferences. If your dog doesn't want to eat raw food anymore, try a different protein or add a topper to make it more appealing. If the refusal persists, consult a vet to rule out any underlying health issues.
My dog will not eat dog food. What options do I have?
If your dog refuses to eat traditional dog food, consider switching to a raw food diet. You can start by mixing raw food with their regular food and gradually increase the raw proportion. Also, you could try different flavors or add enticing toppers.
My dog won't eat kibble but eats everything else. Why is this happening?
Dogs may refuse to eat kibble for various reasons, such as dental problems, food boredom, or taste preference. If they're eating everything else, they still have an appetite, which is a good sign. Consider trying a raw food diet, introducing it slowly and using strategies like warming it up, adding toppers, or changing the protein source to make it more appealing.