Its crunchy texture helps to clean the teeth and gums, improving oral hygiene. Many super-premium dried foods also contain higher quality ingredients than the average tinned dog food.
Lastly, even the most expensive dried foods tend to work out better value.
There’s just one problem; some dogs don’t take very easily to dried food. Over the years we’ve spoken to a number of dog owners who truly tried to convert their dog to the wonders of dried food only for their pet to turn up its nose.
If you want to know how to get your dog to eat dried food then here are a few tips to experiment with…
The Two Key Problems
There are two main reasons why some dogs prefer wet food to dry. Understanding these issues helps to arm you with the knowledge to address these issues, and so encourage your dog to eat dried food.
The first of these that dogs are creatures of habit. Once they’re used to one thing – whether it’s a type of food or a person – they’ll generally be happiest to stick with this if possible. Sudden changes are not welcomes; instead you’re better to introduce changes slowly and gently, giving your dog plenty of time to get used to the change.
The second reason is that wet food manufacturers are masters of making their food as appealing as possible to dogs. Depending on the manufacturer they may add ingredients such as salt, sugar or fat, all of which are appealing to a dog’s taste buds. So while dried foods are healthier, they may not initially be as tasty. It’s rather like going on a diet. Finding ways to make dry food more appealing can go a long way to encouraging a dog to convert.
So, with that said, what can we do to encourage your dog to eat dried food?
As dogs are creatures of habit, the first tip is to introduce dry food a little at a time. Try not to just switch immediately, but instead slowly add dried food to the bowl while reducing the volume of wet food. At first your dog might try to eat around the dried food, but be patient and stick with it. Many dogs will happily chow down the dried food as a topping to their normal wet, and over time you can increase the volume of dried until this is all they’re eating.
Add It to Wet
A second alternative when introducing your dog to dried food is to serve up the recommended dose of dried food, and then mix in a small amount of their usual wet food or alternatively gravy. These should be the “icing on the cake” and will hopefully make the food that much more appealing. Dried food with a little gravy is still likely more healthy than a purely wet food diet.
Add Hot Water
Dried food doesn’t necessarily need to be served dry. When you’re getting your dog used to eating dry food a happy medium can be found by adding a small amount of hot water to the food. This water not only makes the kibble easier to consume, but the hot water makes the food smell tastier to many dogs. Over time slowly reduce the amount of water being added until your dogs will eat the dry kibble on their own.
A second alternative to adding hot water is placing your dog’s dry food in the microwave for a few seconds before feeding it. This not only increases the tempting smells but helps to bring the fat molecules to the surface of the kibble. Food that is warm but dry will still likely be better for your dog than a wet food served at room temperature.
As a final note, be aware that there are a large number of dried dog foods available in pet shops. Not all dried foods are as good as one another. Many premium dog foods – such as James Wellbeloved – have a far higher content of real meat than cheaper brands. If you’ve tried a mid-range dried dog food without success, try not just upgrading to a super-premium brand but also experiment with the flavours until you find one that your dog feels is acceptable.
If necessary buy small bags initially to minimize waste until you have found the specific food and feeding arrangement that seems to appeal most to your pet.
Whatever the case it’s worth persisting for your dog’s health. Best of luck to you!