Ask any Rottie owner where their Rottweiler most wants to be and you are likely to hear “my dog wants to be with me doing whatever I am doing – and eating whatever I am eating.”
Rottweilers love their people. This dog breed is known to be intensely people-focused and very bonded to their owners. In most ways, this is an ideal trait and one most dog lovers treasure in their companion canines.
But where things can get a little bit difficult is when it comes to mealtimes. Rottweilers may not immediately understand why they can’t share your plate!
Of course, some Rottweilers can also grow up to be picky eaters. No one understands exactly why this happens and why it can affect some dogs more than others even within a litter.
This article is designed to help you learn more about Rottweilers who are picky eaters. Why would a Rottweiler be picky about what they eat? Is there a genetic or medical explanation? Is this a problem that can be fixed? Find out what you need to know.
Are Rottweilers Picky Eaters? Yes, They Can Be
VCA Animal Hospital highlights the all-too-common problem of dogs that are picky eaters.
Rottweilers tend to fall into one of two camps. Either they like to eat everything, including things that really shouldn’t be eaten like the stuffing out of dog toys and cardboard boxes and all the cat’s food, or they are very picky about what they eat.
No one is quite sure why this happens, but luckily there are some things you can do to help a picky Rottweiler start to enjoy a variety of foods.
But you also need to know that there can be different reasons why Rottweilers might be picky about what they eat. Many Rottie owners don’t know this and so don’t know what kinds of things to try to fix the issue.
Why Are Rottweilers Picky Eaters?
As this Rottweiler owner thread on Reddit highlights, there can be a number of different reasons why a Rottweiler might be a picky eater.
This behavior may be present from puppyhood or it may develop as your dog grows up. In either case, knowing some of the main reasons why picky eating develops can help you identify the right approach to get your dog to eat more readily.
1. The food is causing allergies or discomfort
As Guardian Rottweilers breeder and kennel explains, Rottweilers can be particularly prone to developing food allergies and skin allergies.
Sometimes these conditions are made worse by certain commercial dog foods that have ingredients Rottweilers may not tolerate well.
These are the main dog food ingredients that can cause a Rottweiler to experience discomfort and become a picky eater:
- Poultry (chicken, turkey)
- Flavor additives
- Sugar and empty carbohydrates
There are some dog foods that are particularly packed with these types of ingredients, while others are much simpler and may only have four or eight ingredients.
2. Your Rottweiler isn’t really hungry!
This one is often a real surprise to Rottie owners, especially because Rottweilers are such big dogs and it would seem they need to eat more to sustain themselves.
But when your dog is healthy in all other ways and is getting enough activity and exercise and playtime and you-time, they may not be tempted to eat unless they are very hungry. And the only way you can know how hungry your Rottie is is to try some tests like the ones we share here below.
3. Your Rottweiler is bored and wants something different
Rottweilers are incredibly smart dogs. As WebMD for Pets explains, Rottweilers are in the top 10 most intelligent dog breeds.
What does this mean when it comes to meals, treats, and feeding time? Sometimes it can mean your Rottie is just holding out for something better.
Don’t put it past a savvy Rottie puppy or a beloved adult Rottweiler to display picky eating behavior when your dog thinks this will convince you to give them a tastier treat.
This may especially be the case if you have ever fallen for this trick in the past. Your dog probably remembers and hopes you will bring out the good stuff again.
It may also be possible that someone else in your family has gotten into the habit of feeding your dog under the table or at other times during the day and your Rottie gets full before dinner time. It is always worth asking around before assuming, however.
4. Your Rottie really just wants your attention instead
As this adorable YouTube video highlights, it is quite possible that behavior you interpret as picky eating is really just a desire for something better than food or treats – you!
In the video, you see how the Rottweiler will eat many of the new foods when his owner is hand-feeding them. But when the owner just gives the Rottie a plate of foods – many of which the dog previously enjoyed – he isn’t the least bit interested.
5. Your Rottie is afraid of change
Rottweilers are not just one of the smartest dog breeds. They are also one of the most emotionally sensitive and tuned in to their people.
This means some Rottweilers may get so stressed out during a time of transition that they stop eating. Moving to a new home, a divorce, even a change in their daily routine may provoke stress that interferes with a Rottweiler’s drive to eat.
Some dog experts now advocate switching up your dog’s food every few months, as Canine Journal explains. The theory is that it will expose your dog to a more balanced array of nutrients and help make future health-related food changes easier to tolerate.
But even if you are eager to try this, your Rottweiler may not be. Some dogs get very attached to having the same thing for dinner every night and there can be deeply embedded survival instincts fueling this.
If the food suddenly looks or smells different, a part of your dog’s brain may think “danger! warning!” In the wild, one bite of the wrong thing can mean the end of you. So your Rottie may be genuinely afraid to try the new food for fear it isn’t safe.
How to Help a Picky Rottweiler to Eat
Here are some excellent ideas to help you encourage your dog to eat, whether you are dealing with a dog that doesn’t want to eat their regular food or a dog that won’t try any new foods.
1. Take the food away
Is this mean? If taking the food away is the only way for you to start figuring out if your dog is not really hungry, is afraid, just wants you, wants a treat instead, or has some other reason for not eating, it may be worth a try.
If your Rottweiler eats eagerly at the next meal, you have your answer.
2. Only leave the food out for 15 minutes
A Rottweiler that seems to “stall” at dinner time may just be holding out for you-time or for something better.
When you only leave the food down a short amount of time, your dog will learn that when it is chow time they’d better get in there if they want to eat.
3. Give your Rottie more exercise
Sometimes your Rottweiler may simply not be getting enough activity to really work up an appetite. Add in an extra walk or more interactive play and see if eating gets easier.
4. Change foods slowly
Those transition times, such as from puppy food to adult food, can be challenging for both you and your Rottweiler. To make it easier, plan the transition over eight days by mixing in more and more of the new food until your dog gets used to it.
5. Make mealtimes more fun
Try feeding the food in a treat ball, Kong toy, or sensory snuffle mat. Or do a training period just before meals so your Rottweiler gets more interaction with you around mealtimes, thus increasing the anticipation.
6. Pretend to eat the food yourself
You may not feel very excited about this one! But you don’t have to actually eat your dog’s food. You can pretend and see if that gets your Rottie more interesting since Rottweilers are usually keen to do whatever their people are doing.
7. Check that the food is still fresh
It can be worth giving your dog’s kibble a sniff test yourself every now and then. And definitely pay attention to expiration dates!
Do you have a picky Rottweiler dog? What tips do you have to share to encourage a picky eater to get excited about dinner?