Dog Eats Only Human Food (5 Common Reasons & What To Do)

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Written by: Celestine Gomez
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As intelligent creatures, dogs can differentiate by smell or taste what food tastes better. And if you are fond of feeding your pooch table scraps and leftovers, then you shouldn’t be surprised whenever he chooses human food over his kibbles.

Though you may find your day-to-day meal healthy for your body, it’s not uncommon that they may contain one or two ingredients that can harm your dog. However, there are special homemade dog food recipes that are dog-friendly and can suit your dog’s nutritional needs especially if you have some time to spare in the kitchen.

If your dog eats only human food, it’s likely that he is a picky dog or has learned to always expect table scraps, leftovers, and treats from you. It could be that your dog’s food is rancid or expired. Also, illnesses can affect your dog’s appetite so just keep an open mind but never force your dog to eat.

Suddenly feeding your dog treats after he has turned up his nose at a bowl of dog food will set him up to be a fussy eater! Learn to say NO to your pooch when you ought to.

Because loss of appetite in dogs can be caused by underlying health problems, it’s wise to take a stool sample to the vet for examination. This will help to rule out every form of infection. Regardless, always keep an eye out for any sign of illness in your pooch.

You might be interested in Can I Mix Different Brands Of Dog Food? Is It Safe?

Why Your Dog Doesn’t Eat His Food But Will Eat Human Food

1. You Always Feed Your Dog Whatever He Likes

A common mistake dog parents make is giving in to all the demands of their canine friends. It’s normal for dogs to prefer chicken, beef, eggs, and other human food and they’ll stop at nothing to beg or wait for these yummy foods if they know you’ll always fall for it. It’s not a necessity for your dog to eat these food varieties; in fact, all of the nutrients contained in high-quality dog foods are adequate for your dog to maintain a healthy life.

If your dog suddenly becomes a fussy dog, it’s possible that you over-pampered them and spoiled them with a lot of human food and treats in the past.

You can, however, add a little amount of human-grade food, such as chicken, vegetables, or broth, to their dry kibble. Just don’t feed your dog tasty treats in between meals, as this may make their food less appealing. The same applies when you always feed your dog from the table.

Beware! Dogs are clever and know how to trick you into accepting their terms. I couldn’t agree more with the Quorans when they say ” Do Not Let Your Dog Train You

2. Underlying Health Issues

Just like in humans, your dog can experience reduced appetite when they are sick affecting their eating habits. In the best-case scenario, they may manage to eat only certain types of food. If you suspect any sign of illness it’s best to consult your vet for a thorough physical examination and investigation.

Common underlying health problems in dogs that can affect their appetite include bacterial or viral infections, kidney failure, cancer, liver diseases, and heart problems. If your dog only prefers wet or soft food, it could be that he has dental problems, hence, eating dry kibble only worsens his teeth pain.

3. Issues with The Food

Well, before you conclude that your dog is a picky eater, don’t neglect to look into the dog food you have chosen for your pooch. Some low-grade dog foods are jam-packed with fillers making them unhealthy for your dog. It’s natural for your pooch to be reluctant to eat these dog foods.

You should also consider the fact that your dog kibble can last for only 2 to 3 weeks after opening, contrary to the best before date that is true for only unopened kibbles. Immediately the bag of kibble is opened and left, it loses its nutritional value. The fat content in the food is oxidized and the food becomes rancid. Rancidity can give your dog food an unpleasant taste, flavor, and smell, making them undesirable to your canine counterpart.

Besides, there are cases where your dog may be allergic to certain ingredients in the dog food. This may occur after prolonged feeding of the same ingredients to your dog. Your dog may present with loss of appetite and other symptoms like itching, vomiting, and diarrhea, in the case of allergy.

Always ensure that your dog’s food is not expired, spoiled, or allergy-provoking as this can have negative health consequences on your dog while disrupting their appetite.

Also Read: Help! My Dog Has Diarrhea at Night Only

4. Your Dog Doesn’t Like Something New

If you recently switched to new dog food, chances are that your dog could be rejecting his new food because he likes his old food better. If you notice this behavior, try mixing both the old and new food, then gradually reduce the amount of old food till the full transition is achieved.

Not only will this help to maintain your dog’s appetite but your dog’s digestive system will have enough time to adapt to the new food.

5. Bad Memories May Be Linked To His Food

Your dog might refuse to eat his food if he had bad or traumatic experiences in the past with his food. Dogs are capable of having flashbacks besides being emotional creatures.

If your pooch previously ate a food that gave off a rancid flavor or one that upset their digestive tract, you shouldn’t be surprised when he becomes hesitant to eat the same food again.

6. Mealtime

Not only does the absence of a feeding schedule (free-feeding), cause loss of appetite in dogs, you may also have a hard time monitoring their potty times because it will become intermittent. Your dog food will become more attractive if they only get 15 minutes twice or thrice a day to finish them.

7. Lack of Exercise

Exercise is a necessity for every dog no matter the breed. However, the exercise requirements often vary from one dog breed to another. While exercise is important to keep your dog healthy and strong, its benefits extend further towards boosting your dog’s appetite. Going on a walk with him before each meal will help improve his appetite.

Is Human Food Good For Your Dog?

Not all human foods are safe for your pooch. The dog’s digestive system is built differently from that of humans, such that some foods which are healthy and safe to humans are toxic to dogs. Generally, your pooch should avoid toxic human foods like onion, garlic, xylitol, chocolate, grapes, and raisins. It’s not uncommon for table scraps to have a high-fat content alongside any of these poisonous food items.

However, many human foods are dog-friendly and rich in essential nutrients for your dog. But as mentioned earlier, dogs can live healthily on kibbles alone, hence, if you should add some human foods and treats, ensure that you feed them these foods in moderate amounts and talk to your vet if you are sure about the safety of any human food.

What Happens If Your Dog Only Eats Human Food

Your dog’s dry kibble is made up of a balanced proportion of all important nutrients for your dog, but human food may not meet the nutritional needs of your dog. There is also an increased risk of toxicity and obesity due to harmful ingredients and high-fat content in human foods.

Many human staple diets are rich in carbohydrates which may be difficult for dogs to break down leading to stomach upset. They are usually high in sodium which is unhealthy for dogs. Feeding your dog table scraps, leftovers, and excess treats will definitely do more harm than to your fur-kid in the long run.

You can only ensure that the nutritional needs are met if you follow special homemade dog food recipes. These recipes have been tailored to suit your dog’s nutritional needs while exempting any harmful ingredient.

What To Do If Your Dog Doesn’t Eat Dog Food But Will Eat Human Food

Are you worried that your dog only eats human food? Here are possible ways to get your dog to start eating and liking his food once again.

  • Resist the urge to feed your dog human food anytime he begs for it or refuses to eat dog food. You can train your dog to eat only what you offer to them and not roam around your table with hopes that they’ll get something from you. You can mix their kibbles with healthy human food but don’t give them treats in between meals.
  • Create a regular feeding routine for your pooch and make sure to stick to it. If your dog learns that he has only 15 minutes till his kibble is taken away, he’ll value it more. While feeding routines will help to better shape your dog’s eating habits, it’ll also make his potty times more predictable.
  • Like humans, dogs can discern if a food has an off-flavor or smell. Hence, make sure your dog kibble is not rancid, expired, or of low quality. Also, ensure he is not allergic to any ingredient in his food.
  • If your dog is already obsessed with the idea of eating human food, try mixing his food with pieces of minced chicken vegetables, probiotics, or chicken broth, to make it more palatable. You can cut down on the size of these human foods gradually in subsequent meals.
  • You may need to take a trip to the vet if you are worried about your dog’s eating habits or suspect more serious health problems. Look out for common symptoms like nausea, diarrhea, dental issues, lethargy, or pain.

Will A Picky Dog Starve?

Your dog is unlikely to starve to death if you stick to a regular feeding schedule. Even the picky eaters will give in to eating when they are starving. However, some health conditions, such as intestinal blockage, may prevent your dog from eating. If your dog refuses to eat his food for 3 days, take him to the vet as soon as possible.

Final Thoughts: My Dog Eats Only Human Food

You may feel terrible for not sharing your food with your furry friend but if your dog must be properly fed, you need to inculcate good feeding habits in his mind.

Dogs most times can refuse to eat his food because they always trust you to show up with yum-yum goodies. Don’t let your dog outsmart you. While it could be that your dog has developed finicky habits, you should not neglect the possibility of the food being in a bad condition.

Although dogs can survive with only kibbles, they are comparable to humans in that they prefer varieties. As previously mentioned, there are several ways to make your dog food more palatable without any negative health or behavioral impacts. Lastly, ensure the exercise needs of your pooch are adequately met.

Hope this article answers your questions? And I’m glad to see that you are doing what’s within your power to ensure that your four-legged friend is happy and healthy.

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Celestine Gomez

I'm Celestine Gomez, worked for 5 years in an animal shelter in Los Angeles, California. Having noticed the inherent passion and zeal in me to care for pets, I took a step further to create a team of I and like-minded individuals to provide an informative resource in order to broaden the knowledge base of a regular pet owners.