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Your Picky Pup

Your Picky Pup

Have you ever offered your dog a certain type of dog treat that they’ve sniffed and then backed away from? Or a certain piece of human food that they’ve spit out onto the floor and stared at, as if it to say “what in the heck was that?”

How do dogs decide that they don’t like something before even trying it? I did some research on what makes our pups picky eaters, and which ‘people foods’ we should steer clear of giving our furry friends.

In the Lab

Science suggests that pets are able to sense nutrients in their food sources. So if your dog is backing away from certain foods, yet eating weird things that it finds in the house or yard, it could be because the food you’re providing isn’t high enough in proteins and amino acids.

Pet Health 101 explains that: “Some animals reject food because the food doesn't have enough amino acids. Pets have nutrient sensors in their brains that tell them when food is deficient in amino acids. The pet's brain (anterior piriform cortex) sends signals to the nerves controlling food intake, and if there is insufficient protein then the pet isn't stimulated to eat. Thus, pets have evolved with a natural preference for foods with nutritious levels of protein.”

Follow the Scent

We all know that dogs have an incredible sense of smell, but how much does this affect their taste?

“A dog can usually tell you if a batch of dog food is bad without tasting it; his sense of smell kicks in and he'll refuse it….When it comes to smell, dogs have it all over humans. Dogs have an estimated 125 million sensory cells in their noses depending on the breed, as opposed to 5 to 10 million for humans.” (Article by Ann Compton, The Nest)

So maybe if you dog’s refusing food, it’s because he knows it’s going to taste bad before he even tries it? Or maybe they can even smell what’s going to be harmful to them? As humans, we use our sense of smell to see if the milk has gone bad, or if a piece of meat is too old to eat. Dogs are using their noses to do the exact same thing. Our four legged pals are so smart!

The Grazer

Ever wondered why your dog eats grass? Pet MD says, “Grass contains essential nutrients that a dog might crave, especially if they're on a commercial diet.” This means your dog can tell when their diet is missing an essential nutrient or vitamin and seek it out in other places. Although drawn more to protein, dog’s still need a healthy balanced diet that consists of a variety of nutrients.

I got great advice from my veterinarian the other day, she said that puppies are much more inclined to eat and try anything, so feel free to give your pup lots of fruits and vegetables to really get them off to a healthy start in life.

Foods to Avoid

With all that said, there are some foods you should leave out of your beloved pup’s diet because they can be harmful to their health.

I visited the Canine Journal website to check out their list of foods that can be toxic to your dog’s health. Some of the items on their comprehensive list are:

Apple Seeds

Corn on the cob

Grapes and Raisins

Macadamia nuts

Onions and Chives


For the full detailed list, visit the Canine Journal website!

So maybe our precious pups aren’t as ‘picky’ as they are health conscious? Dogs are equipped with the anatomy to determine which nutrients their bodies need to stay healthy. Through smell, evolution, and sensors in their brain, they can tell if they’re going to like or need something without even having to taste it. The lesson: never force your dog to eat something they aren’t interested in. The best way to determine what they need in their diet is to give them options and let them smell it out.

What’s the best way to give them options you ask? Sign up with The BARK’N FUN Company and receive a different box of nutritious treats every month. They’ll smell it coming from a mile away!


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