Introducing Treats to Picky Eaters: Tips for Encouraging Healthy Snacking
Ever noticed that your dog occasionally turns their nose up to a tantalising treat? It could be a general distrust of food or the occasional aversion to their usual faves. Either way, it can be confusing and concerning when your pet is acting unexpectedly around food.
Just like people, some pets can be a little choosy when it comes to mealtimes and treats. While there are circumstances when exhibiting food-related behaviour changes is a real source of concern, some animals can sometimes just be picky. So, you’re confident that your dog is in perfect health, and they’re still not interested in a tantalising treat? We have some great tips for you to get them eager for treat time and get back to playing, learning and all the good, fun things you enjoy with your pet.
Try out new flavours and textures
With such powerful noses, it’s no wonder that rich, wonderful flavours are the primary motivator for treat selection. And, if your pet isn’t showing the same eagerness for their usual favourite snack, then maybe it’s time to try something a little different.
Try to introduce treats that are made to appeal specifically to your dog's sense of smell and taste. Peanut butter is a renowned allure for most canine pals - they love the rich, umami, meaty smell, and the consistency leads to a lot of licks and a long aftertaste. Bow Wow Peamutt-Butter Rolls are a great way to introduce the well-known flavour to your pet with a healthy, natural treat.
Another easy flavour to try is a classic: chicken. Dogs love chicken, but they’re often frequently exposed to the all-too-boring texture and confused flavour of kibble or wet food. Try offering them Dried Chicken Fillet instead to give them a great burst of goodness without nasty preservatives or additives. Think of it like a fresh rose compared to a potpourri, one strong, tantalising note rather than a general mish-mash of scents.
Rather than finding a different flavour to offer your pet, it might be a good idea to try some different textures. While dogs don’t often take the time to savour a snack (or even chew!), new textures shouldn’t be undersold! A great first step would be to present your canine companion with a delicious bone to chew on, like our Prosciutto Bone or Pork Bones. But you have other options, too. Try breaking a bar into smaller pieces for easy bites, or scoop some peanut butter into a dog toy for an easy treat.
Fresh experiences are both exciting as well as very necessary for dogs of all ages, and providing them with new treat options can be a good way to keep them interested. Read our article on Enrichment Training for the full scope.
Ease them into new experiences
Some dogs are just a little cautious about the prospect of regular feeding, and that includes treats and rewards. So, we find it helpful to employ a few simple tips to get them on board with the idea and feel more comfortable trying something new.
Warm up their treats
As we’ve said, dogs are often motivated through their noses, so it can be helpful to give them a stronger incentive. Try heating up their treats just a little to release some of those wonderful scents that they love, and they might be more receptive to your offer.
Build up the excitement
Even if your dog isn’t showing a lot of interest in the snack that you’re trying to share, there’s one thing that they never get bored of - you. Build up the excitement around treat time with affection and positive emotion, and make a game out of the whole experience, and you’ll often find that they’re much more interested.
Normalise treat giving
Some dogs are just sceptical of things that are unfamiliar, which can make it really tough to motivate them for training or reward them for good behaviour. First, you should encourage them to feel comfortable around receiving treats. We recommend using mealtime as a good starting place. You’ve already established the right precedence around food, so it’s a smooth transition to also offer a snack or reward. Just be sure that when they are feeling comfortable, you offer plenty of positive affection to reinforce the behaviour. When you’ve got that down-pat, you’ll be able to translate that attentiveness to training.
Treat your dog to a festive lead-in to the holidays with our Bow Wow Advent Calendar
With the runway to Christmas already in sight, don’t let your dog miss out on the family festivities this year. Our Advent Calendar is packed full of a range of Bow Wow treats, packed with delicious chicken, turkey and duck, so your dogs can enjoy the countdown to the holidays too.