How to Make Your Puppy Eat Dry Food (Every last bit!)

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As wet food manufacturers continue to master the art of filling their products with ingredients like sugar, salt, and fat, puppies (being the creatures of habit they are) often be a bit hesitant when you present them with dry kibble. 

This poses a challenge to pet parents who like the convenience of being able to let the dry food sit outside for hours due to their busy work schedule.

Dry kibble is also cheaper and thus, doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket. 

If you are also troubled by the constant tantrums thrown by your furry friend after seeing dry food, then you are not alone.

But don’t worry, in this article we will walk you through how you can turn the tables and prohibit your pup’s misdemeanor. 

Discovering the Root of the Problem 

To eradicate this issue, you must know if your dog is avoiding dry kibble just due to improper conditioning or is subject to an underlying health problem.

Some common health issues that may be behind this behavior are:

Once your dog has had the luxury of snacking upon human or wet food, they often start being picky when a less tasty alternative is offered to them.

Some effective ways to get your dog to eat dry kibble are: 

The Wet Food Method

Things required:

  • Wet food packet
  • good quality dry kibble
  • warm water
  • feeding bowl
  • shallow dish. 

Start by pouring some dry puppy food in a small bowl along with some hot water. Let this mixture soak in the water for 10 minutes.

When the kibble chunks become slightly mush, mix them in a 1:3 ratio along with your puppy’s regular wet food. 

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Continue feeding this mixture for a couple of days. If your puppy shows no hesitation to this transition, then you can start increasing the amount of dry food in the mixture.

Continue this process for three weeks and at the end of that time period, you’ll find your puppy eating dry food without any problems.

Make sure your puppy eats in the right amounts and is fed at least 3 times a day. 

The Hand Feed Method

Things required:

  • Puppy dry food
  • lukewarm water
  • milk suitable for dogs[1]
  • a dish. 

First and foremost, you need to prepare a pudding-like mixture called gruel (here’s a full article on making your own puppy gruel).

Mix all ingredients and let them soak until it develops a pomace-like mushy texture.

Now that you have your paste ready, drawing your pup’s interest would be the next step. 

Dip your fingers in the gruel and call your puppy.

Whip up your puppy into licking your fingers, showering constant praises while it does so.

Transition this newly formed habit to a bowl by placing your fingers inside it. 

Your puppy should get used to licking the mixture directly from the bowl in no less than 10 days.

As their tummy gets accustomed to the gruel, lower the amount of milk in the mixture overtime up to the point where the food is totally dry. 

If your puppy shows discomfort amidst the process then restart the whole process again along with giving wet food occasionally. 

The Shallow Dish Method

Things required:

  • Puppy dry food
  • lukewarm water
  • towels
  • milk suitable for dogs
  • a dish

This method entails the preparation of gruel in the same way as the hand-feed method. The only difference is that instead of using your fingers, you have to let your puppy explore the dish with gruel. 

Play around with it, jumping and rolling, walking over and trying to stick his face in it.

This allows the gruel to get deposited over your puppy’s paws and face. Now when he licks his face/fingers he will get used to its taste over time. 

Puppy eating out of shallow bowl

The Stubborn Meal Method

This method, although a bit mean, is proved to be highly effective.

It involves offering dry food to your dog and leaving the room afterwards.

Come back in fifteen minutes to check whether or not the dog has eaten his food. If not, then take out the food and don’t feed anything to your dog for at least 8-12 hours.

Serve fresh kibble again the next morning. 

Chances are that your dog will most likely eat the food this time due to being on an empty stomach. 

Using Dry Dog Food Toppers 

Switching a flavor of dry food or throwing in some food toppers like Native Pet Bone Broth or Pedigree Choice Cuts will improve the flavor of your dog’s kibble.

Boiled veggies or some beef can also encourage your dog to eat his supper. 

However, if you are on the lookout for a healthier alternative, some pet parents also recommend garnishing your dog’s dry kibble using salmon oil due to its Omega 3 reserves.

Some other intuitive strategies include : 

  • Adding hot water to soften the texture and increase chewability 
  • Using their playful nature to your advantage and getting them to exercise so spike up hunger in their abdomen 
  • Microwaving the food to release a strong aroma.
  • Pretending to eat it as dogs love to imitate their owners and will most likely end up following you. 

It’s all about the right balance 

A blend of both dry kibble and wet food is imperative for your puppy’s well-being.

While teaching your dog to eat dry food, try to keep the food training intriguing and low-pressure.

Small puppies are new to the idea of these foods and aren’t mindful that they are edible.

Allowing the puppy to get dirty and playful while licking the food will very much aid the learning process.

To minimize the mess created and reduce clean-up time, introduce the meal in a container location such as your store room or laundry room. 

Just like humans, dogs also have food preferences which differ from one dog to another[2].

It is highly imperative to stay calm and tackle the situation with love.  Teething is also a stage which may affect your puppy’s eating levels.

Tender gums make chewing dry food quite challenging for small pups.

If trying all the methods above still doesn’t help you, always feel free to contact your veterinarian for a deeper analysis. 

Resources

  1. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/can-dogs-drink-milk/#:~:text=Milk%20is%20a%20safe%20treat,the%20side%20effects%20of%20overindulgence.
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6562821/
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