Intelligent and high-strung, poodles can be fussy eaters since they are less food-oriented than some other types of dog breeds.
You might find that your poodle won’t touch his or her food. This can worry some pet owners since it’s easy to think that your poodle might be stressed or sick. Always talk to your vet if you see any worrying symptoms or if fussy eating continues.
Check out these 6 reasons why your poodle may be a fussy eater and 3 ways to help stop this behavior.
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Are Poodles Picky Eaters
They’re Not Hungry
Poodles usually only eat when they are hungry. They also aren’t motivated by food like some other kinds of dogs. But when they feel hungry, poodles will typically ingest enough food to give them energy until hunger hits again.
While refusing food can indicate stress or sickness, it’s more likely that your poodle just isn’t fancying a meal just now.
A healthy poodle will usually have a good appetite. Consider if you have a Standard, a Toy, or a Teacup poodle and determine the correct food ratio for your size dog.
If you notice that your poodle is happy, healthy, and has plenty of energy for exercise and playing, it’s likely that your poodle isn’t being a fussy eater. She’s just eating the right amount of food for her.
Poodles are sensitive creatures and very susceptible to stress. If they’ve experienced changes in stability or their environment due to conflict, major family changes, travel, or even visitors in the house, this can put poodles off their food.
A worried owner hovering above the dog bowl can also make your poodle feel rushed or stressed. No one likes to eat if they feel like they’re being watched. Poodles are the same and will probably relax once they’re left alone.
They Don’t Like a New Dog Food Brand
If you recently switched to a new dog food brand and noticed that your poodle has become a fussy eater, your pet might have trouble adapting to the change in food.
Poodles can struggle with sudden food changes. An ingredient in the formula might upset their digestive tract. Even if you went to great lengths to pick the perfect dog food, your dog might be allergic or sensitive to something in the contents.
If your poodle feels sick after eating their food, they’ll stop eating it. Switching food slowly can help ease your pet into a new food brand. You can also check with a vet to see if your pet is allergic or intolerant to any ingredients.
They’re Snacking Too Much
Another reason why your poodle might not feel hungry at mealtimes is that they’re snacking during the day.
Owners can find it hard to resist big puppy dog eyes begging for food. If your pet is ignoring his food bowl, check to see if he’s been getting scraps of chicken, bread, or other tasty bits scraped off dinner plates or handed to him during the day.
Keep in mind that while your dog might love snarfing down human food, these kinds of treats may not be best for her.
That’s because people often eat a diet high in processed food and grains. Since your dog doesn’t need these kinds of high-calorie foods, filling up on human food might keep your poodle from receiving the proper nutritional balance. Too much snacking on human foods can also cause your dog to gain weight or become malnourished.
Poodles are smart and will quickly discover that the fastest way to get the high-calorie human treats that they crave is to refuse their regular meal and wait for you to give them something else.
They’ve Just Had Vaccinations
If your pup has recently had his shots, this might be another thing to consider if your poodle suddenly becomes a fussy eater.
Loss of appetite after vaccinations is a normal and temporary side-effect.
They Have Dental Problems
If your poodle suddenly becomes a fussy eater or seems to have trouble eating, this can indicate dental issues.
Gum sensitivity can cause pain that prevents your poodle from eating normally.
How to Stop This Behavior
Give it Time
It’s normal to worry if your poodle isn’t eating. If your pet doesn’t seem sick, but if your dog has experienced something that’s upset her daily routines such as visitors, a visit to the vet, or vaccinations, this can cause fussy eating.
If your pet has just had a vaccination, give him a day or two to start feeling like himself again.
Once things return to normal, your poodle should start eating properly again
If your poodle’s food or environment hasn’t changed, it’s all right to back away and give your pet some space.
If fussy eating or food refusal isn’t a regular occurrence, you can leave the food out to give your pet time to feel hungry. It’s likely he’ll wander back and start eating on his own once your back is turned.
Cut Out Snacking
Cutting out snacking on human foods and establishing a regular meal routine can help you keep track of how much your poodle is eating. Stability and routine will also help your pet know what to expect and help trigger feelings of hunger when the bowl is set out at a proper mealtime.
Take Them to the Vet
If your poodle doesn’t eat for over 24 hours, it’s best to get a vet to check him or her out for sickness or dental issues.
With a few simple changes, it’s likely that your poodle will return to eating normally soon.
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Marko is the founder and author at PoodleHQ, where he blends profound expertise with formal training in Animal Behavior and Canine Genetics. With multiple generations of poodles under his care, he’s a breed connoisseur, honored with the Canine Care Excellence Award and lauded by the International Pet Enthusiasts Association.