Dog breeders like dry food for many reasons. It is a quality, balanced product, suitable for almost any dog. At the same time, not all animals appreciate such care from their owners and often abandon dry pellets. Whether it is necessary to fight it and properly accustom your pet to this type of food, this article will help you decide how to get a dog to eat dry food.

Why to Switch to Dry Food

Each dog owner tries to choose the most suitable food for his dog while simplifying preparation. The convenience of dry granules is undeniable, which is one of the main reasons to transfer your pet to this kind of food.

a dog is offered a bowl of dry food
a dog is offered a bowl of dry food

Also, in some cases, the animal needs a special diet because of health problems. Ready-made, industrial versions of premium, super-premium, or holistic class can solve the problem of therapeutic nutrition, the main factor to consider in a product, according to a veterinary surgeon’s recommendation.

You might also transfer from one type of drying to another because of an allergic reaction to any part of the old product or the dog’s getting used to it.

Some pets are characterized by an increased capriciousness, so they may abandon the dry food after some time. Optionally, you can replace the familiar composition with a similar product of another brand or choose a granule with a different flavor.

Do you know? According to statistics, pets of small breeds live relatively longer than their larger counterparts. Thus, dogs with a bodyweight less than 9 kg on average live up to 11-12 years, while individuals with a bodyweight over 40 kilograms barely reach 9 years.

Reasons for Dogs’ Failure to Eat Dry Food

A dog’s reason to refuse dry food is always hidden in the physiological features of its body, previous gastronomic experience, or the presence of certain deviations in its health. If an animal does not want to eat dry pellets due to the “fault” of its owner, it means that:

  • Previously, the dog was eating normally, and the new food is simply unknown to him
  • The owner tried to quickly transfer the animal to a new brand, especially a cheap one
  • The pet is too pampered, which is often relevant for small dogs (the owner tries to feed the pet at least something; as a result, the treat sometimes becomes a basic diet and snacks of cheese or pieces of meat lead to the rejection of less appetizing dry food)
  • Long-term feeding of the same kind of food mixture to the dog, with occasional treats from the host’s table, caused the rejection of dry food

Other objective reasons for ignoring the product can include a hot summer, abnormal portions (dry consumption is always less than natural) perversity or expired shelf life, and low-quality food.

Reasons for Dogs Failure to Eat Dry Food
the dog is not interested in dry food

If none of the above explains your pet’s behavior, it is worth making sure that your pet is in good health and there are no deviations in its health.

Health Problems

The one-time refusal of a dog to eat a portion of pellets does not yet indicate any health problems, of course, unless there are any other reasons to think otherwise. You should visit a veterinary clinic if your dog refuses water, acts lethargically, vomits, or has diarrhea. These symptoms are caused by a variety of diseases, which are not always associated with gastrointestinal organs. Thus, stomatitis often causes severe pain when the animal tries to chew dry pellets, and inflammation of the gums, throat, or esophagus makes it difficult to swallow food.

Some illnesses are more noticeable, while others can only be detected with more thorough examination. In any case, to make the final diagnosis, doctors will at least take the dog’s body temperature and, if necessary, perform laboratory tests.

Important: In stressful situations, the norm is to refuse food within 48 hours for adult animals and about 24 hours for puppies. If the hunger strike is longer than this duration, it is worth consulting with the veterinary surgeon. Read also about dog diseases for humans.

In addition to physical disorders, dogs may reject food when experiencing severe stress.

dry food and dog health
not a hungry dog near a bowl of food

In most cases, it is associated with moving to a new place of residence, visiting the veterinary clinic, or the appearance of new pets in the house.

Male dogs may not want to eat after meeting a bitch on a walk, and females’ appetite often spoils during pregnancy or immediately after birth. It is unnecessary to force them to eat food because their appetite will soon return to normal.

Rules of Changing of Dry Food for Puppies and Adult Dogs

How To Get A Dog To Eat Dry Food

Whatever the root cause of the dog to get used to the new food, the success of the idea needs to follow the following simple recommendations:

  1. Gradually introduce a new product into their diet. If the animal was fed natural food, the transition to dry food should take at least 1–2 weeks. In the beginning, a small number of pellets should be mixed into a familiar food for the dog, which will gradually accustom it to a new smell and texture of food. To enhance the flavor at first, you can soak the dry food, which will make it more familiar with the consistency, similar to natural food.
  2. Maintain firmness in their intentions and systematic action throughout the learning period. You can’t change the requirements, and if you’ve already decided to transfer your dog to dry food, you can’t talk about any natural foods. The pet should not receive refreshments from the owner’s table. Otherwise, the process of adaptation to the new food will not be completed soon.
  3. Feed the animal at the same time. After meals, if the animal left part of the food untouched in the bowl, remove the food and give it only during the next meal. If the portion is calculated correctly, the second time the dog will eat the entire volume, fearing to stay hungry for the whole day.
  4. Constant availability of a bowl with clean water. Dry food creates thirst, so he might refuse another portion of dry food, feeling parched after the last meal without water.

Transition from Wet food to Dry food

The wet food group usually includes canned food in tin cans and canned meat pieces packed in airtight packs. If an animal is accustomed to eating such food, its replacement with dry granules should occur in several stages, just like the transition to natural food. The main requirements in this case will be:

  1. Selection of the same brand’s dry food, which will help prevent digestive disorders
  2. Gradual transition to a new product. Wet food should be dosed and replaced with dry granules

If it is difficult for a dog to bite dry food particles, at first, they can be soaked in water, and the amount of liquid can be slowly reduced.

Transition from Wet food to Dry food
dry and wet dog food

To transition a pet properly, the following requirements must be met:

  • 1–5 days—only 25% of dry granules are injected, with 75% of the old food
  • 6–10 days—50% of dry food and the same amount of the usual natural food
  • 10–15 days—25% of natural food is combined with 75% of dry food
  • On the 16th day, the selected dry product can be given

Combined meals provide different types of dry food multiple times of day. Mixing wet and dry food in one bowl is not recommended, except when dogs flatly refuse to eat dry in pure form. In other situations, wet or natural food is given to the animal in the morning, and dry is left for evening feeding or vice versa.

Transition to Dry Food of Another Brand

Transferring a pet to a granular meal of another brand involves all the above actions. It is based on the gradual introduction of new food to the daily pet menu.

In the first 3 days, you need to use only a fourth of the new dry food in the daily diet of the pet. In the next 3 days, replace it with half of the old amount of food, and then in another three days, feed the pet 85% of the new composition, leaving only 15% of the previous food. After that, the animal is completely transferred to the new food.

After mixing different types of dry food, always watch the reaction of the dog’s body closely. If there are any symptoms of digestive disorders, it is better to reduce or completely cancel the introduction of new food, at least until a consultation with your vet.

Do you know? A wet dog nose surface is not a useless physiological feature. This state of skin helps your pet accurately capture the direction of scents.

Drinking Mode with Dry Food

The daily water rate for a puppy or adult dog is on average 70–110 ml and 40–80 ml per 1 kg body weight, respectively. At the same time, this amount depends on the pet’s biological conditions, physical activity, and the season. Given that there is almost no liquid in dry food pellets, the animal will often feel thirsty, which means that it is better to leave a bowl of water near the place of feeding, providing the dog with constant free access to it.

dog Drinking Mode with Dry Food
dog eats dry food

In the summer, it is recommended to change the liquid at least twice a day; during the rest of the year, it can be limited to one time a day, monitoring the cleanliness of the water in the bowl and its sufficient volume.

Find out if the milk is harmful to dogs

Dog’s Delicacies

Even when feeding your pet dry food, a puppy or adult dog relies on delicacies, particularly as a reward for proper command execution or as a result of the usual demonstration of obedience.

Popular dog treats are considered to be:

  • Sliced cheese in small pieces
  • Crisps (without spices)
  • Dried fruits
  • Slices of lean meat boiled or lightly baked in the oven (but no pork)
  • Special treats for dogs that are sold in veterinary drugstores or pet stores

Whatever you use, the treat cannot take up more than 10% of your pet’s daily amount of food. The dog should not eat it; otherwise, there will be problems with food consumption.

Read also how to take care of a dachshund

Errors in Getting the Dog to Dry Food

In most cases, switching a dog to a dry diet does not cause any serious problems for its owner. The most common mistakes are usually attributed to:

  • Non-systematic requirements. When deciding to dry-feed a dog, it is important to follow the recommended scheme of this process without violating its conditions by giving out more of the familiar food that the dog wants
  • Using several types of dry food at once. If the dog is not used to the new food in 1–5 days, it does not mean that it is necessary to try other types of dry food. Some animals need more time for a successful transition
  • Low-quality dry food or giving your pet a spoiled product
  • Ignorance of wool problems, digestive disorders, or any other undesired effects associated with introducing a new type of food into the diet
  • Prolonged sharing of wet and dry food, which does not allow the animal to fully get used to its desired option

After you have remained patient and accurately fulfilled all the requirements of a pet’s competent transfer to dry food, there should be no problems. Almost all dogs over time get used to dry food. The important thing is that it will be the most nutritious for their body as possible.

How To Get A Dog To Eat Dry Food: Questions and Answers

  1. Should I mix wet and dry dog food?

    Mixing dry food and canned food is possible and sometimes even recommended when you need to transfer your pet from a wet diet to a ready-made industrial diet. Since this transition should be done gradually, you first mix the dry food with canned food in a ratio of 1:4. Since the transfer process should take about two weeks, you don't have to think about the nutrient balance in this case because this period is not so long.

  2. Should puppies eat dry or wet food?

    The first feeding period during the transfer from mother's milk to puppy food is approximately 3 weeks old. The puppy will be fully fed within 7-10 days. By its composition and consistency, the food should be wet and soft. Otherwise, the little puppy will not be able to eat it.
    But your puppy needs to get used to dry food, and you can start doing this when he has his first baby teeth. From now on, the puppy can already eat solid food. A great addition to a dry food diet will be wet food, the so-called blended food. But it's worth remembering that the dry and wet food you give your puppy is better to have the same brand – so as not to disturb the nutritional balance of the food.

  3. Is cheese bad for dogs?

    If a dog, especially a small breed, is constantly treated with cheese, he is likely to gain extra weight, and this can lead to obesity. Therefore, the pet should not be given cheese as a delicacy.

  4. Is it cruel to feed a dog once a day?

    You can feed the dog 1 or 2 times a day, depending on the formed habit. Optimal ratio for 2 meals a day: 30% of the daily portion in the morning, 70% – in the evening.

  5. Is fresh dog food better than dry?

    In quality food and good canned food the first 3-5 positions will take the sources of animal protein. That's why it all depends on what kind of food you give your dog.

  6. Is it OK to add water to dry dog food?

    There is no special need to soak dry food, from the addition of water it does not become more useful or easier to digest, except that the smell will be more intense. However, there are some situations where you may need to soak it. It is possible to soak the dry food if the pet is difficult to eat. This is a great way to make the food softer without changing the pet's diet, which can sometimes be needed for oral diseases and dental problems.

Tags: dog, dog health, dog care, dog nutrition, dog food, dry and wet food for dogs

How To Get A Dog To Eat Dry Food

Article by Kate Thompson – she has always been admired and inspired by dogs and is happy to share her experience.

Read more on this topic