Some Cavapoos are reputed to have sensitive stomachs and to be picky eaters. There are many valid reasons (and some that aren’t) as to why your Cavapoo is not eating her scientifically designed diet. In this article, we look at the possible reasons your Cavapoo is a picky eater and what you can do about it.
The most common reasons a Cavapoo is a picky eater is they have trained their owners to believe they are fussy with food, health problems including anxiety, boredom with food or a preference for human food, issues with the environment or they are a slow eater.
Phew, that’s a lot of possible reasons, so let’s explore each of these problems and how you can go about fixing them for a happy Cavapoo and owner.
Some Basic Cavapoo Checks
If your Cavapoo starts refusing her food, ask yourself a few questions before assuming the worst.
- Is your Cavapoo the right weight or overweight?
- Is her nose wet?
- Is her coat in good condition?
- Does her poo look right?
If the answer to all of these questions is ‘yes’, you can eliminate health-related causes, for now. Then you can start asking questions about behavior and the food itself.
- Is this new behavior?
- Is the food fresh?
- Does your Cavapoo readily eat food that you put down in place of her usual dog food?
- Will she eat if I move the bowl?
There are a few broad categories of reasons why your Cavapoo may appear to be a picky eater. They are as follows.
1. Cavapoo Does Not Like Her Food
When you acquire your Cavapoo pup from a reputable breeder, she will have been weaned off her mother’s milk and onto solid food.
Her digestive system is functioning well and hopefully, she has begun house training. It can be a bit nerve-racking to experiment with different foods. Ask yourself these questions:
Is My Cavapoo Bored With Her Food?
When I was a child I loved to eat hot dogs but now not so much. My tastes have changed. The same can happen with your pup. Sometimes dogs just get bored with their food.
If your Cavapoo puppy is being fed kibble, jazz it up a bit with a dollop of tasty wet food such as beef mince. Warm it up so that the aromas are released. Vary these trimmings from time to time.
Another approach might be to stimulate your puppy into eating, by playing games with her food or purchasing a puzzle feeder like this Dog Treat Puzzle.
Is the Dog Food Stale?
With our busy lifestyles, we often shop for convenience, and the temptation is there to buy in bulk to save costs. Even kibble gets stale and changes the flavor. This may be what your Cavapoo objects to.
Kibble has been known to become rancid, moldy and even toxic over time. The longer it is exposed to the elements, for example, air, heat and humidity, the more likely this is to happen.
It is better to buy smaller quantities of kibble and to check the sell-by date to ensure that it is edible and palatable.
Store it in the bag, in an airtight container once you have opened it. This way, if there are any problems with the food, you have the manufacturer’s information to back up any complaints.
It’s best not to decant the bag into the container and top it up with the contents of the next bag you purchase. Because the remaining food from the first bag may never get eaten and may contaminate the fresh batch.
The Vittles Vault Outback Airtight Pet Food Container comes in a range of sizes. For a dog the size of a Cavapoo, the smaller container is best.
Are You Feeding Your Cavapoo Too Much?
Cavapoos are small dogs and do not need much to sustain their bodies. Often manufacturers of dog foods overestimate the amount of food your dog needs. Or we owners are too generous in applying the recommended meal portions.
Your Cavapoo may have the best intentions and make a valiant effort to please you by finishing everything on her plate, but just cannot succeed.
Unlike most humans who will squeeze in a dessert, regardless of what our stomach is telling us, dogs tend to know when they have had enough, and actually stop eating.
Try reducing the portion size over a number of days and monitoring closely how much is eaten.
Is Your Cavapoo Overweight?
You will definitely want to reduce the size of her meals if your Cavapoo is overweight. You might also consider cutting out some of her treats and stopping the family from slipping her bits of food at the table.
A slice of cheese eaten by a teenage child is equivalent, in the energy required to burn it off, to an entire cheeseburger, when consumed by a Cavapoo.
Ask your vet or do your own research to determine what your dog’s ideal weight should be. There are several height and weight charts available. Adjust your dog’s meals accordingly.
Alternatively, or possibly in addition to the doggy diet regimen, you could build up her appetite by creating opportunities for more exercise.
Does Your Cavapoo Prefer Human Food?
Modern-day dog owners tend to spoil their animals by feeding them treats and titbits from the table. Obviously, when faced with a bowl of kibble, your Cavapoo might feel cheated.
Cavapoos are quick learners and if you replace her food after she refuses your first offering, she’ll learn that’s how to get the tasty food. It won’t take your Cavapoo long to see the benefits attached to leaving her food. And you’ll soon find yourself trained in her desired behavior.
Rather, remove the food and put it down again a while later or at the next mealtime. If your Cavapoo is healthy, one missed meal will not harm her.
One trick you can use to prevent the daily doe-eyed glances from beneath the dinner table is to feed your Cavapoo before you sit down to eat. She will probably optimistically take up her usual position at your feet but you can call her bluff with a clear conscience.
If you want to treat your pet, while at the same time watching her weight, add mashed or minced portions of chicken, fish or beef to her food.
Do not add the meat in chunks though. Cavapoos are clever dogs and they will easily pick the good meat out of the bowl and leave the dog food behind.
If your dog is still resisting the food that you would like her to eat, you need stealth and a long-term strategy. Appear to relent and feed her what she wants.
But slowly, over time, change the proportion of her food to one that is more desirable for your dog’s health, your convenience and your budget.
Should Your Cavapoo be Eating a Carnivore Diet?
Dogs are descendants of wolves who are meat-eaters. Cavapoos, and other dog breeds, digestive systems have not evolved along with their designer looks.
For modern convenience, dry pet foods were developed. But many of these have a high concentration of starches that are not easily absorbed by dogs and could lead to metabolic problems. Even high-protein kibble is made with large doses of plant matter, such as lentils and peas.
Dogs can adapt to an omnivorous diet but this is not optimum for their long-term health. A raw food diet, on the other hand, requires time and effort.
Fortunately, some of this effort has been removed and pre-packaged freeze-dried meat-based meals and treats are available commercially.
A compromise is to include both high-quality kibble and meat in your Cavapoos diet. A healthy varied diet will make for a happy and healthy dog.
2. Cavapoo Dog Psychology
Does Your Cavapoo Have Quirky Habits?
Your Cavapoo dog may be a slow eater or a late riser. You may not be feeding her at a convenient time. Let your dog inform you when she needs to eat. She will quickly learn to do so when she is hungry.
You may find your Cavapoo does not like her bowl. If it is a stainless steel bowl it may be cold on her nose or she may be spooked by seeing her reflection staring back at her.
- Related: What Size Dog Bowl For A Cavapoo
She also may not enjoy chasing after a moving target to get to her food. Provide a non-slip, non-reflective bowl, like this ceramic dog bowl set, to make her feel more secure.
If your Cavapoo is still a bit skittish, make sure that her new food bowl is not near a noisy device such as a washing machine or dishwasher. These appliances produce unpredictable noises that may startle her, making her reluctant to go near her food.
Is Your Cavapoo Seeking Attention?
Sometimes we inadvertently reinforce undesirable behavior by giving our dogs attention at the wrong time. This will happen if you make more of a fuss when your Cavapoo does not eat than when she does.
For example, you may resort to hand-feeding which is what your Cavapoo comes to consider as your role in life. Rather, praise her when she has eaten well, thereby reinforcing the desired outcome.
Is Your Cavapoo Anxious?
There are several reasons why your Cavapoo may feel anxious and lose her appetite. Events, like a thunderstorm or a Fourth of July celebration, with its attendant fireworks display, cause many dogs distress.
Cavapoos believe their mission in life is to keep you company. Your absence could create a great deal of stress or separation anxiety.
These factors could cause eating problems. There are several strategies for curing your dog’s anxieties. Work with your vet, a dog trainer or animal behaviorist to find solutions that you can both live with.
3. Cavapoo Health Problems Can Cause Picky Eating
If you have eliminated all other reasons and your Cavapoo is still not eating or is consistently losing weight, you may have to consider that she has a health problem.
Does Your Cavapoo Have Dental Problems?
Regularly check your Cavapoos teeth and gums for signs of decay or disease. A broken tooth or inflamed gums may cause pain when the dog is chewing. Understandably, she will be reluctant to eat, no matter how hungry she is.
Prevent problems by regular brushing with a dog-friendly toothbrush and toothpaste. Doggy toothpaste comes in a range of delicious flavors that will have your Cavapoo looking forward to this routine such as this poultry flavor.
Make oral hygiene part of your Cavapoos annual health check at your vet.
Does Your Cavapoo Have Any Parasites?
Even dogs from the best households can pick up ticks and fleas. These are easy to address with seasonal doses of dog-friendly preventative remedies.
They come in the form of collars, tablets or spray-on solutions. Dosage is determined by the weight of your dog.
This Frontline Flea and Tick Treatment is recommended for small dogs 5-22 pounds.
As for internal parasites, such as worms, your dog could be eating just to keep them satisfied, and have no nutrition leftover for itself.
Our vet recommends our dog has biannual doses to prevent an infestation.
There are also monthly all-in-one tablets that protect your dog from all these parasites. Find what works for you and your dog and then remember to give the correct dose at the right time.
If All Else Fails, Consult Your Vet
If your Cavapoo looks off-color, has a warm, dry nose, or has a lackluster coat, these could be signs of a more serious problem and it would be best to consult your vet.
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