Canine Troubleshooting Guide
By Lynn Madden
Edited by Emily Hendren
Why are they refusing their meal/organs?
There are a few reasons your dog may refuse certain meats or organs. For those first starting out it's completely normal for them not to eat their raw meal. Sometimes they're just confused and don't recognize it as food. Other reasons could be they just don't like the texture or the smell. Let's look at some other possibilities before heading into the troubleshooting tips.
Are there any ulcer's or wound's in their mouth? If so, look to finding a way of healing the wound and feed a bland food like chicken or use bone broth to ensure your dog is receiving nutrients.
Cracked tooth or a toothache perhaps? Check for mouth odor and see your vet if this seems likely.
Any recent changes in their routine or surroundings? Stress could be the cause. Dogs can be stressed by moving house, changes in the household, death of a fellow pet or family member, loud noises etc. A supplement may help (zylkene, chill drops, tryptophan supplements) but should be investigated by the vet first to ensure that its only stress causing them not to eat.
If your dog has recently been vaccinated and suddenly lost his/her appetite it could indicate an adverse response to the vaccination. See your vet immediately.
If there is any chance there could be a blockage possibility of disease being the underlying cause see your vet as soon as possible.
Something else to consider is self regulation- A lot of times, especially with females in heat or coming into season often go off their food. Puppies will also do this on their own from time to time and its okay to reduce meals to match hunger. Allow them to self-regulate if there are no other worrying symptoms.
Above all else if your dog is lethargic, drinking in excess, and is no their normal self please see your vet as soon as possible.
Now on to some troubleshooting tips!
It takes care of the smell and texture , worth a try. If this method works, offer it gradually less a frozen until they are eating it with no issues.
Heat a pan so its really hot add the meat they're refusing or organ for a few seconds on one side do the same to the other side. This will change the smell and texture, will help if you have a fuss pot. Gradually you flash fry less and less and hopefully problem solved. DO NOT DO THIS WITH BONES!
Hand Feed: This works great for those first introducing bone or the beginner who seems to be a bit confused as to what to do with their raw meal. Hand feed a few pieces with encouragement and praise. As for bone, hold it for them and allow them to chomp on it a few good times to help them along.
Hide it (for organs):
Cut your organs up into the smallest possible bits and mix it with some minced meat whichever is your dog's favorite. Try making a meatball and feeding, if that doesn't work try freezing it and offering again. You could even try hiding the organ under chicken skin of say a thigh or drumstick or stuffing a carcass with the minced and organ mixture.
Puree (for organs):
Add your organs into the blender and give it a blitz. Mix that with some bone broth pour it over meal.
Change the Texture or Size:
Sometimes it's the texture that's throwing them off. If feeding mince try chunks and vice versa. You can also freeze mince into meatballs to create chunks. Another thing could be the size. If feeding small chunks try larger, if feeding larger try smaller.
Offer as many different options as you're able to find. You can try with different sources and types to find what works.
Tough love: The tough love approach can work. Tough love is offering and waiting, not offering anything else until they've eaten their meal/organ. If they refuse pick it up, back in the fridge, offer again at the next meal time. Go down battle of wills, your dog should get the idea.
*** Please do not use this method if your dog is not well and requires medication with food.***
Is another option and has been accepted by the stubborn dogs. DO NOT DEHYDRATE ANY BONE!