Why is my dog not eating raw food?


Here’s what to do if your dog is refusing to eat their raw food – with 11 tips to help them love it

Why is my dog not eating raw food?

Quick takeaways on dogs not eating raw


While most dogs can’t get enough of a raw food diet, there’s no need to panic if your pooch needs a bit of convincing at the start.

Particularly for pets who’ve only ever eaten dry food, making the switch to raw is a totally new experience – from the texture to the taste.

Plus, it’s worth remembering that certain processed foods can be addictive, probably because they contain additives and artificial flavours – according to this recent investigative BBC article.

Even dogs who’ve been eating a raw food diet for a while can have periods where they go off their meals, so it’s worth knowing what you can do to tempt them back to their bowl.


Why is my dog not eating their raw food?

If your dog has gone off raw food and is passing on meal times, there might be a few different factors at bay.

It could be that your dog isn’t quite used to raw food's taste, texture and temperature just yet – particularly if you’re just transitioning them from another food.

The environment in which they’re eating is worth considering too. Do they have lots of distractions or other dogs around them? Try to feed your dog in the same space every day, and keep it calm so they feel comfortable and relaxed.

Add to that, almost 40% of dog owners would describe their pets as fussy, new research shows. If you have a fussy dog on your hands, we have plenty of advice in our guide for picky eaters.

And while it can be disheartening to see your dog sniffing reluctantly at meals, there are plenty of things you can do to help.

Lots of pet owners successfully get past their dog not eating by gradually introducing new raw foods with different flavours or textures, and giving plenty of positive reinforcement at dinnertime.


11 tips to help them love their raw food

Choosing high-quality balanced raw food, like our Natures Menu nuggets can be the first step to helping your dog live a healthy, happy life.

Here’s what to do to ease the transition and help them love raw for good.


1. Take things slowly

Transitioning from dry food to raw food? Don’t be surprised if your dog takes a little while to get used to a new way of eating. As well as getting their head around things, their tummy will need time to adapt, too.

So, introduce raw meals gradually by switching out one dry meal a day – rather than going from 0-100 on day 1.

Take a look at our guide to transitioning your dog from dry to raw food for more tips.


2. Go easy on the treats

Whether your dog is new to raw food or not, if they’re filling up on snacks throughout the day, they’re going to be less inclined to devour their dinner.

This is common with puppies when you’re in the thick of rewards-based training, as they’re enjoying more treats than usual.

Try dialling down the number of between-meal snacks and you may find their appetite makes a welcome return at mealtimes.


3. Change up the texture

Dogs are just like us humans when it comes to food – they all have their own tastes and preferences. So, try switching things up a bit to see what pleases their palette.

Adding warm water to their raw food will give it a new texture and temperature, and low-sodium bone broth is another good option that will also add flavour.

Likewise, you can try mashing or chopping the nuggets to see if your dog prefers eating them that way.


4. Think about the temperature

If you’re using our frozen raw food and thawing it out in the fridge before giving it to your dog, it might still be colder than they’d like.

Dogs can sometimes prefer their raw food at room temperature, so try waiting until it’s warmed up a little more and smells a little stronger – that could be enough to kickstart their appetite and get your dog eating again.

For a quick and easy way to raise the temperature of your defrosted raw food, try floating their bowl in a larger bowl or sink of warm water to warm the food through before serving.


5. Switch up the flavours

We’ve got a whole range of frozen Natures Menu Meaty Nugget recipes to choose from, so you can pick and mix their proteins to find the ones they love.

If they’re not keen on one recipe, try another or combine a couple of flavours to see if that helps. You might find that they’re just not keen on beef, for example, so you can choose recipes based on another protein instead.


6. Stick to a routine

Try to feed your dog in the same space, at set mealtimes, every day. 

Keep distractions at bay so they can focus on their food while they’re eating. And if they’re still not feeling it, you could try moving their feeding area to a new space to see if that helps – just stick to your usual timings as much as possible so they know when to expect food.


7. Don’t leave food out for long periods

If your dog hasn’t shown any interest in their food for more than 20 minutes, cover it and pop it in the fridge until the next mealtime.

Don’t be tempted to leave raw food out for long periods.


8. Add a healthy topper

Scattering a healthy topper onto your dog’s raw food might tempt them to try it if they’re a little unsure.

That could be anything from cooked veggies to a few of their favourite treats. If they’re moving over from kibble to raw food, try sprinkling some of their usual dry food in for a couple of meals – the familiar texture and smell might just do the trick.


9. Make mealtimes more fun

If your dog is a fussy eater, it can help to build enrichment activities into mealtimes as a distraction. Slow-feeding bowls and toys can be useful.

Try praising your dog once they’ve eaten – give them lots of fuss and love so they know they’ve done the right thing.

There are some great suggestions for picky pooches in our guide to feeding dogs who are fussy eaters.


10. Give them time to adjust

Don’t panic if your dog skips a meal or two – and isn’t showing any signs of illness or any other changes. Like us, they may just not be feeling hungry – or they may even be trying their luck to see if you’ll dish out some treats instead.

Speaking of which, if they’re still begging for treats it’s highly unlikely they have a tummy upset, so it won’t do them any harm to wait until the next meal.


11. Chat with your vet

If your dog is refusing food altogether, or their loss of appetite is very sudden, talk to your vet to get your dog checked out. Also, speak to your vet if you notice that your dog is losing weight.

Complete loss of appetite can be a sign that your dog has an underlying issue, and particularly for puppies and dogs with existing health conditions it’s important for them to get regular meals.

Your vet can put your mind at ease and give you advice on how to get their tail wagging at mealtimes again.


The bottom line

A high-quality, complete and balanced raw diet is a great choice for your dog and comes with so many benefits.

While transitioning can be easy for lots of dogs, some might need more time to adapt. It can also be normal for dogs to lose their appetite from time to time.

If your dog isn’t eating their raw, it’s important to get to the bottom of it quickly, so they can stay happy and healthy. And, there are lots of things you can try to get your dog to eat again.

When you find something that works for them, and they’re eating happily, try to keep their routine consistent so they feel settled, safe and – most importantly – ready for their dinner.


Try our personalised meal plans with high-quality raw ingredients. Our experts will create a bespoke plan and help with any feeding tips, plus you can pick the proteins that suit your dog.