🐱 $74 OFF Cat DNA Tests | Shop Now

🐶 $64 OFF Dog DNA Tests | Shop Now

Free US shipping & returns

Why Is My Dog Not Eating Their Food But Will Eat Treats?
Dog Facts

Why Is My Dog Not Eating Their Food But Will Eat Treats?

You might have noticed your four-legged buddy turning up their nose at their dinner, while happily wolfing down treats as if they're going out of fashion. At that moment you may be wondering, “Why is my dog not eating his food but will eat treats?” Many paw-rents across the globe are dealing with the same puzzle.

Let's delve into why your dog might be skipping the main course but still has room for dessert, and discover how to get them back on track with a balanced diet. 

Why Won't My Dog Eat His Food but Will Eat Treats?

The primary reason your dog may be shunning their regular food and indulging in treats is simply a matter of preference. Just like us humans, dogs can have their food preferences, and often, the high-fat, -salt, or -sugar content in treats makes them more appealing than their regular kibble.

Treats are essentially the canine version of junk food, and just as we might prefer a bag of chips over a plate of veggies, dogs might show the same preference for their tasty tidbits.

When Your Dog Feels Under the Weather

Another reason for your dog's reluctance to eat their regular meals could be an underlying health issue. Dogs, like humans, can experience loss of appetite when they're feeling under the weather. If your dog shows any other symptoms like lethargy or vomiting, it's best to consult a veterinarian.

Behavioral and Emotional Factors

Dogs are social creatures and can be affected by changes in their environment or routine. If your dog has recently experienced a change, such as moving to a new home or having a new family member, this could cause stress and result in appetite loss.

Similarly, dogs may also experience emotional distress due to separation anxiety when their paw-rents are away. This can lead to a lack of appetite and even make them turn down their favorite meals.

Ensuring Your Dog's Food Is Fresh and Tasty

Just like us, dogs can also get bored with the same meals every day. It's important to mix things up and provide your dog with a variety of nutritious foods to keep them interested in their mealtime.

Make sure to store your dog's food properly and check the expiry dates. If you notice any changes in the smell or texture of their food, it's best to throw it away and replace it with a fresh batch.

What to Do When Your Dog Doesn't Like Their Food

If your furry friend is uninterested in their grub, you have a bunch of options to help you figure out why:

  1. Try a different brand: Not all dog food is created equal, and your dog might simply not like the taste or texture of their current food. Try switching to a different brand or flavor.

  2. Warm it up: If you're feeding your dog canned food, try warming it up a little. The heat can make the food smell more appealing to your dog's powerful nose.

  3. Mix in some extras: Try adding a little bit of something extra to their regular food like a spoonful of pumpkin puree or a sprinkle of shredded chicken. It can make their meals more enticing.

  4. Change the feeding schedule: Sometimes, feeding your dog too close to treat time can make them less interested in their regular food. Try adjusting the schedule when you give your dog their meals and treats.

  5. Consult a vet: If your dog consistently ignores their food, it's a good idea to talk to a vet. They can rule out any potential health issues and give you more specific advice about your dog's diet.

Managing Your Dog's Treat Intake

While treats are a great way to reward your furry friend and show them love, it's important not to overdo it. Too many treats can lead to obesity and other health issues in dogs.

Make sure to monitor your dog's treat intake and account for it in their overall daily calorie intake. Also, opt for healthy, low-calorie treat options like carrot sticks or apple slices to keep your dog's “waistline” in check.

Why Your Dog Might Prefer Your Food Over Their Own

We've all experienced those moments when our dog gives us puppy eyes and begs for a taste of what we're eating. While it can be tempting to give in and share our food with them, it's important to remember that dogs have different dietary needs than humans.

Human food can be harmful or even toxic to dogs, so it's best to stick to their specially formulated dog food. If you want to give your dog a special treat, opt for dog-safe human foods like plain, cooked chicken or peanut butter.

How Oral Problems Affect Your Dog's Eating Habits

If your dog has trouble eating their regular food but will happily gobble up treats, it could be a sign of dental issues. Just like humans, dogs can experience tooth decay and other oral health problems that make chewing difficult or painful.

If you suspect your dog may have dental issues, make sure to consult a vet for proper diagnosis and treatment. They may recommend a special dental diet or dental chews to help maintain your dog's oral health.

How to Encourage Your Dog to Eat Their Food

With a little patience and some creativity, you can help motivate your pup to eat their meals again. Try incorporating games or puzzles into mealtime to make it more engaging for your dog. You can also try hand-feeding them or using food-dispensing toys to make mealtime more fun and exciting.

a dog sitting next to a bowl of food
a dog sitting next to a bowl of food

Exploring New Food Options for Your Picky Eater

If your dog consistently refuses their regular food, it might be time to switch things up. Consult with your veterinarian for recommendations on different brands or types of food that may suit your picky eater better.

They may also recommend a prescription diet if your dog has specific health needs or allergies that require a specialized diet. Be patient and persistent, and you'll eventually find the perfect food for your furry friend.

The Importance of Limiting Treats and Table Scraps

While we all love spoiling our furry friends, it's important to remember that moderation is key. Too many treats and table scraps can lead to obesity and other health issues in dogs.

Stick to a regular feeding schedule and only give your dog healthy, low-calorie treats in moderation. It may be tough to say no to those puppy eyes, but keeping your dog's health in mind is essential for their overall well-being.


A dog's eating habits can be influenced by various factors, including physical and emotional well-being. As a pet owner, it's important to pay attention to your dog's eating behaviors and address any changes or issues promptly. Keep your dog's food fresh and tasty.

By monitoring treat intake, addressing oral health issues, finding creative ways to make mealtime exciting, you can help ensure your furry friend enjoys their meals and maintains a healthy diet.

Frequently Asked Questions

What to do when your dog won't eat his food but will eat treats?

It's important to first rule out any potential health issues by consulting a vet. If there are no underlying problems, try changing up your dog's food or feeding schedule, and introduce new ways to make mealtime more exciting for them.

Do dogs suddenly dislike their food?

Yes, dogs can suddenly dislike their food for various reasons such as changes in taste preferences, health issues, or even boredom with their regular diet. It's important to monitor your dog's eating habits and address any sudden changes promptly.

What happens if a dog will eat treats but not food?

If a dog eats treats and refuses their regular food, it can lead to nutritional deficiencies and other health issues. It's important to monitor treatment intake and make sure your dog receives a balanced diet with proper nutrients.

Why won't my dog eat his food but wants mine?

Dogs may show interest in human food because it smells and tastes different from their regular diet. However, sticking to their specially formulated dog food is important to avoid any potential health issues.

My dog isn't eating but acting normal. Is it okay?

The reasons can vary so consult the veterinarian and act accordingly.

Most advanced cat DNA test

Use genetics to understand what makes your cat unique

  • Breed composition 

  • Health genetic markers 

  • Oral Health report

Learn More
two kittens with DNA health insights