dog won't eat his food but will only eat treats

Dog Won’t Eat His Food But Will Eat His Treats [Causes & Solutions]

There’s no denying that dogs love treats. Our furry friends want a tasty snack every time they sit, go on a walk, or even bark. And why not? Treats are delicious! But sometimes, it can lead your dog to prefer treats over a proper diet. So what can you do if your dog won’t eat his food but will eat his treats?

When a dog doesn’t eat their food, it’s very concerning and can signify something serious. The first thing to do is determine the cause of your dog’s appetite loss. There are many things you can do to encourage your dog to eat once you know the source of the issue. Here are some of the things you can do to get your dog to eat!


What Does It Mean If My Dog Won’t Eat His Food?

It’s never a good thing if your dog isn’t eating its food. A dog that’s not eating may have an underlying medical condition. It can also cause further complications and health concerns if left untreated.

A dog may also lose their appetite due to behavioral or situational reasons, including changes to its routine or environment.

Some dogs will also refuse to eat certain dog food. The food may be expired and stale. They may also prefer other foods after a while, including treats and human food.


Is It Common For Dogs Not to Eat Their Food?

It is not common for dogs to avoid eating. Dogs are very food motivated, and you’ve probably noticed that your dog will do almost anything for a treat. And whenever you go into the kitchen, your dog thinks they’re going to get either a bite of the food you’re preparing or a bit more kibble in their bowl.

If your dog is not eating, it’s most likely the sign of other issues you should be aware of. Here are some common reasons your dog is refusing to eat their dog food:

  • Dental disease or pain in their mouth: If your dog has loose or rotting teeth, eating kibble can hurt them.
  • Upset stomach: If your dog is vomiting or has diarrhea, they may have an ongoing upset stomach that’s causing them too much discomfort.
  • Serious health condition: Your dog may be too sluggish, sick, or uncomfortable to eat if they are a serious illness like liver disease, kidney disease, lung disease, or congenital heart failure.
  • Stress: A change to your dog’s environment might make them too anxious to eat. A new family member or the loss of a family member can also cause stress.
  • Fear: Fireworks, a stranger visiting, a storm, and other sudden events may scare your dog. This can make your furry friend lose its appetite.
  • Issues with food: The food itself may be the problem if it’s stale, expired, or spoiled. While some dogs may eat just about anything, others are more particular.
  • Your dog notices a pattern: Some dogs will realize that if they hold off eating their own food, there’s a chance you will give them “human” food or other food that they consider more desirable than their kibble.

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dog waiting for scraps


Is It Bad If My Dog Won’t Eat His Food But Will Eat His Treats?

Yes, it is unhealthy for a dog to ignore its main course and head straight for snacks. Sometimes your pup will hold off eating dog food because they notice you respond by giving them treats or human food if they don’t eat. While you may be doing this in a panic, it’s encouraging the dog’s behavior.

Dog treats do not contain the important nutrients and ingredients dogs need to be healthy and active. They often don’t have as much protein and contain more carbohydrates and other ingredients that are not supposed to be overeaten by your dog. Too many treats will make your dog overweight and unhealthy.

High-quality dog food is formulated to provide your dog with a balanced, healthy diet. They need to eat the required amount of dog food each day to thrive properly.


Why Your Dog is Eating Treats Only

If your dog will only eat treats, this is most likely a learned behavior. Just like you’d rather eat a cupcake than a salad, dogs prefer junk food over their nutritious dinner. And if you are willing to give your dog a treat when they don’t eat their food, this can give them an incentive to keep avoiding their meal to get the reward.

A dog who will only eat treats may also be suffering from a medical condition. It’s sometimes considered a form of anorexia. Call a veterinarian immediately and schedule a visit if your dog doesn’t eat their food for 24 hours (even if they are willing to eat treats).


What Can You Do If Your Dog Won’t Eat His Food?

There are natural ways you can encourage your dog to eat at home. You may need to experiment with different dog foods or avoid spoiling them with table scraps. Try some of these tips to see if you can get your canine companion to eat their dog food.


Check the Expiration Date

The bag of dog food may simply be expired. If it’s too old or the bag is left open, the food could be stale. This can bother pickier pups with more sensitive palates.

Use a Container

If you suspect that your dog’s food is stale, try using a stainless steel container. This will provide an airtight place to safely secure the food, keeping it fresh for much longer. Avoid plastic containers.

Try New Food

In rare cases, your dog may be bored of the same food. This isn’t too common, but not impossible. Try purchasing a new flavor or brand of dog food and mix it with your dog’s current food to slowly introduce them to the new kibble. The new smell and flavor may entice them.

Pet owners can also switch up the type of dog food they give their furry friends. Is your canine used to dry kibble? Try wet dog food or canned food.

Change the Food Bowl

While dogs aren’t usually too picky, there are some things you can do to improve their eating situation, such as moving the dog’s food and water bowls away from other pets if they feel anxious. Or it could be giving them a food bowl that’s a different height to see if it’s more comfortable for your pup.

dog eating from lime green bowl


Add Chicken Broth

If your dog has grown accustomed to human food, try adding some to their food to encourage them to return to the kibble. A healthy chicken broth can spice up some dog food, and you can steadily ween your dog off the broth until they’re back to just kibble.

Create a Fixed Schedule

A change of location or routine can throw a dog off, causing it to lose its appetite. Make sure you give your dog the same amount of food at the same time every day to create a fixed schedule that comforts your dog. Feed them at the same time in the morning and evening. You can also buy dog feeding calendars that help get into a routine.

Try CBD Treats

If you’re going to give your dog the occasional treat, you want to be sure it’s got plenty of wellness benefits. That’s why we recommend CBD dog treats.

CBD is a non-psychoactive phytocannabinoid found in the hemp plant that provides many advantages to pets and people. When it interacts with your dog’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), it can reduce physical discomfort and upset stomachs. It also can calm your dog, helping them feel relaxed after a stressful situation (including a move or storm).

If you believe your dog is eating too many treats, try giving your dog CBD oil. You can drop it directly into your dog’s mouth, and once your dog is willing to eat, mix some oil into their meal.

Make Mealtime Fun

Try exciting your dog with some playtime before meals. This will make dinner fun and also give them a bit of an appetite. Give your dog a walk in the morning before breakfast. You can also give your pup some dog food as a reward if they solve a puzzle or perform a trick. This will make eating a positive, social experience.

Limit Treats

Your dog may be full of treats and human food. If they’re full, they may not be as likely to bother eating their dog food. They may also know that treats are just around the corner, giving them a reason to hold back and wait for the tastier option.

Take Your Dog to the Vet

If your dog refuses to eat their food for 24 hours or more, you need to take your pup to the vet. A vet can run some tests on your dog to determine the possible cause of their appetite loss. They can also provide advice, including new foods and treatment plans.


Final Thoughts – Dog Won’t Eat His Food But Will Eat His Treats

If there’s one thing you can count on, it’s your dog wanting food anywhere, anytime. So it can be quite concerning when your dog stops eating food. When a dog refuses to eat, it is most likely dealing with something serious. It may be a medical concern or a behavioral issue. If your dog doesn’t eat for 24 hours or more, take your dog to the vet to determine what’s going on.

Sometimes dogs may still want human food and treats. This could be from conditioning or due to a medical issue. Either way, treats don’t provide the same nutrients as a healthy, balanced diet. Luckily, there are ways to encourage your dog to eat their meals, including a feeding schedule, CBD, making mealtime fun, and limiting treats. With the right help, including a vet visit and natural home remedies, your dog will be eating again in no time!

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