Written by Ella White
Have you ever noticed how excited your dog gets when their food bowl gets filled each day, even though they know it’s the same meal they ate hundreds of times before? Us humans on the other hand can shudder at the monotony of eating dinner leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch.
So if you’re wondering why dogs don’t mind eating the same meals – or if they’re actually excited by the prospect of something new and then bitterly disappointed once they’ve gulped down the same old thing – we’ve looked into whether or not dogs get bored of their food.
If your dog expresses excitement at mealtimes, it’s genuine. Dogs have just 900 taste buds compared to humans’ 1,700 and are far more interested in the smell of their food than its taste. Which is why they love natural protein flavors which us humans might find off-putting. So while we crave an array of textures and flavors in our meals, dogs just don’t have the same interest.
That’s not to say they don’t want to eat the tastiest food possible, and will certainly thank you for a delicious snack as often as possible. But when it comes to eating the same foods over and over again, as long as it tastes good to them, that’s just fine with your pup.
If you’ve switched dog foods and your dog isn’t eating as much as usual, then there’s a chance they really are bored of, or simply don’t enjoy, their new menu. In this case, experiment with new options until you find something that’s healthy and nutritious, and good for their taste buds.
Try adding new flavors, like pieces of dog-friendly fruit, yogurt, or gravy on their meals to help mix up the taste. And if they often stop eating before their food is gone, take the bowl away after 20 minutes and see if they beg for food in between. If they do, it’s likely they’re hungry but unsatisfied with their food.
If your dog is pestering you for feeding between mealtimes, it’s not necessarily an indicator they weren’t satisfied with their first helping. Dogs love to snack, so it’s common for them to pester owners for food and treats throughout the day. Unless you have reason to believe they really are hungry – like if they’ve exercised a lot or didn’t eat as much as usual – they don’t need to be fed again until dinner.
Make sure you keep consistent meal times so your dog can develop a regular pattern around when they eat. This will help their stomach and their brain understand when food is incoming, and when it’s not.
This is another case where taking their bowl away after 20 minutes to test whether they’re really done or still hungry could help you understand whether they want their food or not. You could also try interactive or puzzle toys filled with food to help keep meal times more interesting for them. Some dogs crave mental stimulation as much as they love a good meal.
While it’s true that wild dogs scavenge for what they can find and, therefore, eat a wide range of foods, this isn’t necessarily what they need to survive. Depending on where they live, the variation in what scavenging dogs eat can actually be quite limited – and might not always be what they truly need to be healthy. And since you probably notice your own dog snuffling around for treats when you’re out, the chances are they are eating more than you think too.
Because dogs are so used to always eating the same thing, it’s unlikely that it even crosses their mind to think about the alternatives. So, even if they are bored of their food, as long as they’re lapping it all up you have nothing to worry about.
The fact is, dogs eat to survive, so as long as there’s a full bowl for them come dinner time they’ll be happy with almost anything that’s in it. Changing up what they eat too often can cause disruption to their digestion. But if you want to give them a little more variation, why not try different flavors of the same foods, or add some dog-safe human foods to their bowl as a surprise side dish?
If you’re concerned that your dog isn’t eating enough healthy ingredients, all natural dog foods like Front of the Pack are designed to ensure pets get all the nutrition they need.
Made only with pure, fresh foods and animal proteins, they’re free from fillers and nasties, and contain every vitamin and mineral your dog needs to live a happy and healthy life. It’s air-dried for no mess, easy to store, and is far less effort than opportunistic hunting!