Most dogs are known to love eating, and will eat anything they are offered. After all, it’s no surprise why food is the most effective form of reward during training. However, some dog breeds have been known to be fussy eaters, but does that include the pug?
Pugs aren’t known to be picky eaters when it comes to food. They will generally eat whatever is given to them, with a few exceptions. Pugs that develop into fussy eaters tend to pick this habit up due to poor discipline.
It’s crucial for owners to take a step back and review their pug’s eating habits. Pugs are natural food lovers, so figuring out the reason behind this behavior and putting a halt to it will quickly get your dog’s nutrition back on track.
How Pugs Develop Into Fussy Eaters
Pugs aren’t generally picky when it comes to the food they’re served. While it’s important to note that dogs do have tastebuds, and will have varying preferences when it comes to food, pugs will usually eat everything in one sitting and without fail. So, what can change a food loving dog to develop into a picky eater? These are the questions to ask.
1. Are You Overfeeding?
When it comes to serving sizes, pug puppies should be fed an ounce of food per pound of their body weight. When they reach adulthood (from two years old), that amount should be halved. Although, lifestyle factors and their daily energy consumption will also determine what is most appropriate.
This general guideline exists for a reason, as overfeeding your pug can lead to them developing poor dietary habits. If your dog is overly satiated from massive servings, then they may not be willing to finish their meals. As a result, they become more fussy with what’re they’re eating, since they know that they will always have leftover food left behind.
Eating a very high quantity of food that they’re not willing to eat can lead to a poor appetite. Instead of finishing whatever is served to them, they will likely try and seek out table scraps, treats, and snacks. It’s for this reason why we believe meal frequency should be taken into consideration.
Rather than providing one big meal each day, we recommend spacing that amount out to 2-3 smaller meals each day. Providing a meal in the morning and evening with snacks in between can keep your dog adequately satiated at a constant level throughout the dog.
2. Snacks & Treats
A healthy adult pug should weigh between 14-18 pounds. This involves having a healthy diet and a daily exercise routine. A well fed pug shouldn’t need too many snacks in between meals to get them by. Additionally, commercial dog treats are usually full of calories and are quite unhealthy.
When snacks are part of your dog’s daily routine, it’s possible that they may start to prefer them over their regular meals. Having a preference in these foods is natural, but it does become a problem when they forego their meals for it.
We’re not saying that you shouldn’t give your pug any snacks or treats, but there is a time and a place for them. For instance, use them for training as a form of positive reinforcement, and make them earn it. Don’t just give them out prior to eating their kibble because it’s just part of their routine. That’s poor discipline, and each dog should recognize the value of it. Being constantly spoiled will only lead to bad habits.
Additionally, snacks and treats shouldn’t be fed just because they’re tasty. They should contain some sort of benefit for your dog. Think of it as a reason to provide them with more nutrients or a way to clean their teeth (e.g. long lasting dental chews). If possible, look at some low calorie health options such as vegetables and fruits.
3. Food Quality
Not all dog food is created equally, whether it’s wet, dry, or frozen. The quality of the ingredients used to make them will vary depending on the brand you purchase. Why does this matter? Well, the food needs to provide your pug with enough nutrients and energy to live healthily and prosper.
For that reason, prices of dog food can ran range from cheap to expensive. Higher quality foods that cost more will usually contain more real meat, less fillers, and avoid artificial preservatives. While these are factors that are important to us, your pug won’t really care for it. The most important factor for them will be the taste of it.
Most would assume that the more you pay, the tastier it will be for their pug. But that’s not always the case, since some dogs may actually prefer the taste of cheaper and lower quality kibble. If your pug isn’t enjoying the food that they’re eating everyday, it’s easy to develop a picky eating habit.
You might need to try another brand of food that is more suitable to your pug’s palate. Remember to ease them into it, by slowly transitioning them over to their new food. Otherwise, it could cause them to develop an upset stomach that may lead to diarrhea and vomiting.
4. How Disciplined Are You?
The actions of a dog usually comes down to how well their owner has trained them. Pugs can be very obedient, but if their owner isn’t disciplined with setting standards, then it’s easy for a pug to learn unwanted behaviors. In this section, we’ll look at what begging behavior is, and why it should never be enabled.
What are the signs of begging behavior? It will usually consist of pawing, whinging, and barking when a dog wants something. Most commonly, it will happen when you’re eating and have food to potentially offer your pug. They are notorious food lovers, but if not ignored, it can result in them developing some terrible eating habits.
Not only is feeding your pug table scraps terrible for their health, since it usually contains lots of fats, sugar, and salt, but it can also make them fussy eaters. Compare eating dog food to your dinners, and it’s easy to understand why a dog will opt for the latter.
In a scenario where you feed your pug at the same time as when you have dinner, then don’t expect them to always finish their meals before bugging you for some leftovers. If you’re having a hard time with this, then you should try and feed your dog first, ensure that they finish their meal, before you eat.
Ultimately, no matter how much it hurts to see and hear them whimper about wanting food, you should never give in. By not enabling this behavior, your pug won’t develop into a fussy eater.
My Pug Is A Fussy Eater: How Do I Fix This?
While we do our best, we can’t all be the perfect dog trainer. Making mistakes is part of the process, but putting the effort in as owners to correct them is what’s important. If your pug has become a picky eater due to some of the aforementioned factors, then let’s look at the best way to revert this behavior. Below are some quick and easy steps you can try:
- Prepare and serve their meal in their dog bowl then walk away.
- Don’t try and convince them to eat it or provide an alternative – you must show your pug that it’s not up for debate.
- Let your pug hold out as long as they want, until they no longer can.
- After 1 hour of no response, remove their food so that it’s out of sight for at least 20 minutes.
- Place their food back down after this time passes, then repeat after each hour.
A pug’s primal instincts will eventually come out when their hunger takes over. They have an innate trigger to survive when hungry by eating the most accessible food available to them. Eventually, they will learn that this pattern of feeding will not change. Through discipline, you can ingrain this into them to eat what is given, rather than to eat what they want.
Common Foods All Dogs Avoid
Each dog has their own set of taste buds, and this can mean that some foods are more popular than others. For instance, my pug loves to eat some vegetables but not others. He’ll chomp down on cucumbers and celery quite easily, but won’t ever touch spinach or broccoli. If these are used as snacks, then it’s just about finding what works for your pet.
Naturally, there will be some things that most dogs avoid. Things like medicine and supplements are usually despised by our furry friends. They don’t know or care for the benefits that they contain, especially when the taste of it is foul to them. There are a few tips that can help you overcome this.
For their monthly worming medication, you can possibly try another brand with a different formula. After having changed once or twice, I had great success, and now my pug will slowly pick at it. It might take him up to an hour to finish the tablet, but we know that he definitely will.
Some medication can be a pill that’s really hard to swallow. Forcing it down their throats won’t work, and neither will hiding it in your pug’s food. They will filter it out without issue most of the time. The trick that works best for me is to smear it with some peanut butter. Trust me, it works every time!
Do pugs know when to stop eating? No, pugs are motivated by food with a “feast or famine” mentality. They will continue to eat until there is no more in front of them. Food isn’t spaced out like that of a cat, so you never want to leave them unattended for extended periods of time.
How many times should a pug eat a day? Pugs can be fed 2-3 times a day depending on their lifestyle and the schedule of an owner. It is open to interpretation and not all pugs are created equally. Regardless of such, as long as an adult pug weighs between 14-18 lbs (6.35kg-8.16kg) then it’s considered healthy.
What foods are bad for pugs? Chocolate, caffeine, grapes, raisins, alcohol, raw bread dough, xylitol, onions, garlic, dairy products, macadamia nuts, avocados, apple seeds, and some cooked bones.