So my boxer dog Roxy is almost 10 years old, and her appetite is going down as she gets older, but we've finally figured out how to get her to eat all her food relatively quick! Just figured I'd share just in case someone is looking for advice.
- We have to give her kibble, since she has a prescription food. Her teeth aren't in very good shape, so she has a hard time chewing. I pour ~1/2 cup of unsalted chicken stock (no onions or seasonings) in her food and let it sit for a while, so the food soaks up the liquid and gets softer.
- After the food has soaked for a while, I mix in a spoonful or two of wet food; I think it's Purina Beneful. It's just for added flavor, to make it more appetizing.
- If we've had meat for dinner recently and we have some left over, I'll cut some into really small pieces and mix that in too, as long as it's not too heavily seasoned. Again, just to make it tastier.
- She gets a small treat before her food, then I give her the food in her kennel (she likes being in the kennel, and she can't eat outside or else my other dog will eat her food) and just sit in front of the kennel with her. I'll just read a book or something since she does take a little while to eat, but I'll encourage her to eat her food and praise her when she does. Sitting with her is important because she doesn't like to eat alone. Some dogs are fine with eating alone and some just entirely won't, it depends on the dog.
- I replace her water frequently while she eats. She's a boxer, so she drools a ton, and food gets stuck in her jowls, so the water gets really gross after she drinks from it a couple times, so I make sure to keep a close eye on her water since she won't eat without a nice cold drink.
- When she's finally eaten all her food, she gets lots of praise. I let her out of the kennel and give her lots of pets and butt scratches (her favorite haha), then we go cuddle on the couch for a little while since she loves cuddling. This part is important too since I want to communicate with her that eating all her food is good and gets her lots of loving.
I hope this helps somebody! I just wanted to put it out there in case anyone is struggling to get their dog to eat. <3 <3 <3