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Help, My Dog Won’t Eat Their Supplements!

A tan dog laying in bed looking at a spoonful of supplements.

There are dogs that are not picky about anything they eat, then there are dogs that will turn their nose up at everything that comes their way. This can make things especially tricky when your dog needs supplements. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the ways to give your dog supplements and make the process more enjoyable for both you and them.

Figuring Out What They Do Like

Some dogs may have very specific tastes, while others don’t care what they’re eating, as long as it’s food (sometimes even if it isn’t food). The dogs that will eat anything make the process of giving them supplements extremely easy for everyone involved. 

For dogs that sniff and turn away from things they don’t like, the process becomes a bit more tricky. The first step is finding out what they DO like. What about their food makes them want to eat it? What treats do you give them that they like?

Look specifically for the flavors and ingredients of the foods and treats that they eat willingly, as this can help give insight into what they enjoy eating. Most flavors and ingredients of dog treats and foods will be meats (like chicken, beef, turkey, bison, etc.), fish (typically salmon), cheese, or peanut butter. If your dog is picky about most things but likes and will eat the food you give them, that is a great starting point to make the supplement-taking process better.

Knowing What They Don’t Like

Similar to figuring what your dog actually likes, it is just as important to figure out what they don’t like. What are the similarities in the supplements/treats/foods that they didn’t like? Just as with figuring out what they do like, look at the flavors and ingredients. 

Some dogs really like the taste and ingredient of fish and won’t touch cheese or meats. Some dogs will only like one specific meat, and hate everything else. It all comes down to the individual dog, and figuring this out can be as useful as knowing what they do like when giving supplements.

Play To Their Tastes

So now you’ve figured out what your pup likes and dislikes, what’s the next step? The first thing you can do is look for the supplements you’d like to give in different flavors.

Typically, what a dog likes and dislikes will be a flavor issue, more than an ingredient issue. If, for example, you want to give your dog CBD for anxiety, allergies, or pain, look for alternative flavors that play into what your dog likes.

Sold out

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Natural Doggie offers two flavors of their CBD Oil in two strengths, their 250mg oil is a bacon flavor, while the 500mg oil is a peanut butter flavor.

If you can’t find the supplements in a flavor your dog likes, don’t worry, there is another way! The easiest way of getting around this problem is to mix the supplement with something that your dog does like. This is easiest to do with oil supplements, like CBD oil or fish oil.

If your dog doesn’t like the taste of the fish oil, just mix it into the food that they do like, and the flavor of the food should overwhelm the taste and make it enjoyable for them to eat.

For supplements that aren’t oils, there are still options. If your dog likes cheese, wrap the supplement in a small piece of cheese and they probably won’t know the difference! Similarly, if your dog likes turkey, wrap the supplement in a small piece of turkey and they’ll eat it right up!

Just make sure that if you use this method, you do it away from the kitchen and table, and next to where you’d normally give them supplements, that way they associate it as something that is meant for them, rather than thinking they are getting human food.

Other Food Alternatives

As we’ve described in detail before, there are many human foods that are safe and healthy for your pup to enjoy too.

Supplement Time as Treat Time

If your dog really won’t take their supplements no matter what you try, consider substituting their supplements for treats. This may work best when training a dog, but it’s never too late to start rewarding good behavior!

If you give your dog treats at a random point in the day, try doing the same but instead of a treat, use a supplement.

You may still have to use the tactics described earlier, like wrapping the supplement in cheese or turkey, but the process will make them as excited for supplement time as they are for treat time.

For us, taking our medicines and supplements in the morning definitely makes sense, but for our furry friends, this sense of time doesn’t apply, and it won’t hurt giving them a supplement in the morning one day and in the afternoon the next.

Reward their best behavior! Make it as exciting as a treat! Get them excited enough and they should scarf it down!

The Simple Steps

There shouldn’t be much to it to get your dog to enjoy their supplements, making both owner’s and pup’s daily life better.

Follow these few simple steps, and you’re well on your way to a healthier pup and a less-irritated you:

  1. Figure out theflavors your dog likes (look at the treats and foods they like)
  2. Figure out theflavors your dog doesn’t like (look at the treats/foods/supplements that haven’t worked before)
  3. Play to their tastes (look at alternative flavors, mix up oil supplements with their foods, wrap chew-supplements in something they’ll eat like cheese or turkey)
  4. Substitute supplements for treats (reward good behavior, get them excited about treat time and give them a supplement instead).

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Meet The Author 

Grant Withers

Canine Specialist & Writer

Grant is an award-winning writer for SitStay with a passion for pets and especially dogs! Grant loves writing about furry little goofballs and aims to educate pet parents about anything and everything regarding their dogs.

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