Finny is a fussy eater.
It’s probably because I’m a fussing mommy, and if he doesn’t eat something I swoop in and make him something else before he has time to reconsider.
This isn’t a good thing, and I’ve created a finicky little monster, so if your pup will eat whatever you put down, kudos to you!
When we first got Finnegan, he was on a kibble veterinary diet. I’m not a vet, nor do I play one on the internet, but I spend a lot of time researching things and have an active interest in nutrition both for myself and family, and my puppy-son.
We have an excellent vet. I trust her opinion, and recommendations, except when it comes to Finny’s food. I initially promised her I'd keep him on the diet for his first six months, but he ended up with struvite crystals in his urine (which appears to have a correlation with eating a grain-full diet), so I went with my gut and switched his food.
It's a personal belief, but I don't think people or dogs are meant to eat grains.
Sure we can, and we do, as a recovering bread addict, I can agree that they’re delicious. I especially like pastries... flaky gooey pastries.... but I don’t think they’re good for us, or for our pets.
The kibble that Finny was prescribed has these first five ingredients:
Chicken by-product meal, brewers rice, corn, chicken fat, wheat gluten. Yuck!
Another personal opinion, please forgive me, but I think corn is worse for us than wheat is. So here we have both of them, snuggled nicely with some chicken by-product meal and chicken fat. Now Finny loves chicken, but what type of chicken is this?
Chicken meal is one thing, chicken by-product meal is another. And then, are the chickens pumped full of antibiotics? Hormones? I'm thinking unless it says otherwise these are the scary chemical chickens I avoid at the grocery store.
I want Finny to be around as long as I can have him, healthy, and happy. I don’t want to feed my dog something that I wouldn’t eat myself or feed to my family.
So the search started, looking for a better quality food to feed him.
Finny loved his kibble… and he didn’t love the new alternatives I kept introducing.
Luckily, he seems to have an iron stomach, and we had no upset with all the changes, but going through every five star rated dog food I could get my hands on, Finny didn’t like any of them.
Now what?! Out of desperation, we tried raw food. I was a bit hesitant, not about him getting e coli (dogs are pretty resilient against it) but about him passing it on to us humans, in his saliva. He initially ate it the first day, but by the second he’d decided it wasn’t for him, and was, as usual, more interested in what we were eating.
Finny doesn't get fed from the table. There are a number of healthy “people foods” that I do feed him, but that’s in his own bowl, in the kitchen, after the people have eaten. It broke my heart, in the beginning, to do it this way, but I wanted him to be happy, and not beg for food, and he doesn’t know any differently so it seems to be working for all of us.
What to feed your dog when he won’t eat anything you buy him.
Argghhhh…. insert frustration and lots of half cans of dog food thrown out!
I again started researching…. this time not top dog foods, but people food ingredients that were beneficial to dogs, and could be part of a homemade diet. The intent was not to make all of Finny’s meals from scratch but to decide what he could eat, and what he shouldn’t, and what things were really great for him.
In doing this, I uncovered a bunch of “doggie superfoods” that are an excellent addition to their diets, and as a bonus, adding these to their otherwise uninteresting dog food, it makes it much more enticing.
Three great and simple ways to add nutrition, and flavor to your dog’s diet:
Years ago we were under the impression that eggs while healthy in small doses, would lead to high cholesterol. We now know this to be untrue, and were able to enjoy both the whites and yokes without any worry or guilt. Turns out eggs are actually superfoods!
There is a great article here, if you’re interested, about why eggs are possibly the healthiest food on the planet. They’re not just great for us, but they’re fantastic for our dogs as well. Rich in easily digestible protein, essential nutrients, and omega-3s, eggs are healthy and dogs love them!
I feed Finny somewhere between 3-5 eggs a week. Generally, he gets one every second day for breakfast, either on its own or mixed in with other food. Eggs hard boiled and crumbled make an excellent flavor supplement to kibble that’s not too appealing. If you try it, let me know how it goes for you in the comments below!
Another great flavor supplement… and nutrient-rich option. Now, I apologize in advance, they’re disgusting looking. You couldn’t pay me to eat them. But dogs love them, they’re super stinky, and a little goes a long way.
Sardines have a bunch of healthy nutrients and are also a great source of omega-3.
Because of their place in the food chain, they don’t have the heavy exposure to harmful contaminants that bigger fish can have.
Sardines are available canned or dried. If you purchase the canned ones, they come in small and large-sized fish, you can buy whichever you feel is a fit for your dog’s size. They're available in a number of liquids so be sure to read the packages. Packed in water or olive oil is best, as some of the options can cause upset or even be harmful (watch out for onion!). One fresh sardine a day makes for a nice nutritional supplement.
I buy the dried ones. I find them a little less awful to deal with, and I'm using them to supplement and get Finny to eat his other food. I use sardines as a seasoning. It sounds nasty (and it is) but I grind dried sardine up in a coffee grinder and then sprinkle it on his other food. Finny loves it, and I get him to eat his healthy, organic food that he otherwise would turn his little nose up at. Win-win, minus the stink!
3. Brewer's Yeast
This is very different from baking yeast, so make sure you get the right one, the other will cause stomach upset. Brewer’s yeast has a lot of health benefits, it's packed full of vitamins and minerals, and a taste dogs love!
Some people supplement this to their dogs in pill form, and there is a great article here on the Pet MD website about how it can be used to treat anxiety and diabetes in dogs. Personally, I use it just as a healthy spice… an effective flavor improver that’s much less gross than the sardines are.
So that’s it, three simple ways that you can make your dog more excited about his or her diet, save you throwing out perfectly good healthy dog food that your dog rejects, and add some great nutrients to his or her diet! Happy Feeding!