How to handle a fussy eater pooch

And yes even Zeus; a big male Rottweiler, who eats roughly 2gk of food a day, was a fussy eater – who would have thought 😂


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Ps. Fussy eating is not when your dog doesn’t like yogurt or turmeric. This is just a preference – we can’t all like everything. Fussy eating is when YOU as the human start encountering problems during meal times.

 A healthy dog will never allow himself/herself to starve. If you have a fussy eater on your hands, then the first thing you need to do is stop worrying whether your pooch is going to collapse from malnutrition. If you are providing well balanced food that he/she simply does not ‘feel like’ eating; when pushed to the point of real hunger, I assure you that your dog is going to eat.

PS. this is not tomato sauce ! Don’t feed your dog store bought tomato sauces ! To read more check out my Recipes

In my opinion, and from my own experience with Zeus ; fussy eating when taken to an extreme level is usually a sign of bad and sometimes dominant behaviour.

Zeus and I went through a short phase (because I nipped it in the butt from get-go) of him refusing perfectly good, expensive, dog foods. He had picked his ‘favourite’ flavour of pre-prepared 100% organic salmon & tripe wet food and this is the only thing that he wanted to eat. It got to the point that he would even refuse to eat if I mixed something else into the food; like dry kibble. The first and foremost problem with this was that it was a ridiculous waste of money. The flavour of his choice came in a 24-pack carton (that is 12kg of food) with three other flavours. This meant that every carton that I bought; he would refuse to eat 18 meals. This meant a waste of 9kg of organic meat.  Also please keep in mind that of this particular food, if fed by itself, Zeus should be eating over 2kg of food a day.

 So what did I say? I said: Get the hell out of here Zeus; we ain’t playing this game you spoiled hound. If you are going through something similar, then you should probably be saying the exact same thing.

Whatever you little stinkball 💜

Zeus refusing to eat his food, and expecting me to waste 9kg out of 12kg was simply rude and dominant behaviour. This was Zeus trying to be the boss and trying to make his own rules. Do you want to know what happens when you allow your dog, not to mention your Rottweiler, to be the boss? Expect leg lifting on all your furniture, chewing on all your belongings, lunging at strangers, excessive barking etc. just to mention a few side-effects. So basically you’re gonna have a lot of fun 🙄

The flavours he didn’t “like” 🙄

What I did to solve the problem:

  1. Stopped feeling sorry for Zeus, and rather for my wallet. He is one lucky puppy and there should always be a limit to how much he is pampered.
  2. Stopped feeding him his ‘favorite’ food.
  3. Fed smaller amounts more frequently. I would offer the food (that he supposedly did not like) in smaller amounts many times a day.
  4. I decreased the amount of time that I would leave Z’s food out; from 30 mins to 15 mins. If he hadn’t eaten his food by then I’d remove the food. NOTE: it is not good practice to leave food out all day long for your dog – he/she shouldn’t be allowed to eat whenever they want
  5. (To read more about good feeding practices click ➡️ Feeding Time), 
  6. I also decreased treats that I would give him. No HUMAN FOOD ESPECIALLY during this time.
  7. Taught him that we eat when I say we eat, and we eat what I say we eat.


If I remember correctly, it took not even three days to solve the problem and we never experienced it again. After three days of restricting treats and his favourite food, Zeus learned very quickly that he should eat what I give him to eat. After he started eating whatever damn flavour I gave him – I then started mixing his favourite food into the other flavours. Nowadays I can’t tell the difference whether he has a favourite flavour or not – I feed him whatever I want and we are both very happy. Best part about it? I get to feed him soooooo much of whatever he wants (within reason and obviously does not apply to all human foods) because he would never again snub at meal time food.

IMG_5564 (1)

If the above has not worked, and your dog is obviously eating far less than he/she should or not to mention if your dog is not eating at all then contact your vet. A long lasting (more than 3 days) lack of appetite can be a sign of allergies, gum disease, teeth problems, and of course illness. As mentioned, a healthy dog will never allow himself to starve – therefore if your dog is not getting the right amount of nutrition naturally then you need to intervene with professionals advice. Before you panic, there are many minor disorders/complications that can cause your dog to not be eating properly – however I do not recommend guessing – go get your facts straight before acting.

🐶  🐶  🐶  🐶  🐶  🐶  🐶  🐶  🐶  🐶  🐶  🐶  🐶  🐶  🐶  🐶  🐶  🐶  🐶  🐶  🐶  🐶  🐶  🐶  🐶

Love Z & A ❤️

All images © 2017 ZeusandAnna


  1. Thanks for writing this, Anna. I can’t tell you HOW much I’ve suffered. Xena was a very fussy eater for years. Thankfully it resolved itself when we got a second dog (and she would just eat Xena’s food too….problem solved) and Xena learned to value her food.

    When Emma started doing the same, my vet gave me the exact same advice. STOP OFFERING YUMMY TREATS. The dog will not starve itself! I used to freak out if my dog didnt wanna eat even 1 meal, worrying she’s sick and imagining all kinds of horrible diseases. And then I would offer yummier alternatives. Such a big mistake.

    This is a VERY good strategy. You make some excellent points


    1. I’m so glad that you guys found some pointers here that work for you !
      I had the exact same problem; I felt sorry for Zeus and I would panic and give him ANYTHING just so that I could have pleasure of watching him eat. The problem with that? He KNEW IT and milked it for ALL its worth. We need to stop underestimating the intelligence of our dogs 😉
      Image doing this with a child ; how quickly & easily it would become problematic if we only fed our kids candy because they would throw fits at regular food and then we would always cave.
      The number 1 thing that pets and kids have in common – in my opinion? KNOWING HOW TO MANIPULATE US AND MAKE US FEEL BAD 🙂

      Lets be strong! We are the adults after all 🙂


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