A Picky Labrador??

A Labrador that is picky about their food is probably about as common as a Unicorn sighting. 😉 Or is it? I wouldn’t know because I have the typical Chow Hound of a Lab. However, LABfan and It’s a Lab Thing Showcase Superstar Christy “Mamie” Spechter have that very problem with one Finicky Labrador.

It's a Lab Thing Dear Labby Picky Eater Labrador (2)Q:

Matt-Christy Splechter “What food do you guys recommend for a picky lab? (Yes, they do exist.) My little English lab has always been that way, I’d say about 80% of the time I have to coax her and play games with her to get her going. Once she takes a bite or two, she finishes the bowl, but I don’t always have time to take a half hour to get her there.”

I am going to leave it to It’s a Lab Thing’s awesome community to help out with this one.

What advice can you give LABfan Christy and Matt to help their Female English Labrador dive in?


30 Responses

  1. Christopher

    Before my chocolate lab past away she would do the same thing, but it was because her sense of smell was starting to go. These days this could happen for any reason, especially with common cleaners and toxins that are in the world. Check with your vet to make sure that her sense of smell is still working out well. Other than that, we had to coax her with we dog food.

    • Christy

      Wow, I never thought of that, I will check on it, thanks!

      • Julie

        One of my Chocolate labs is a picky eater when it came to dry dog food. She did not like quite a few different brands. We finally tried Blue Buffalo and she loves it.

      • Christy

        Yes we tried that and she did like it for a while. She just tends to get tired of the same old thing, I think.

  2. Susan Hays

    I also have a picky eater, but now he eats with gusto, I would say first rule out anything physical going on. I started feeding my lab the rolled Natural Balance food, he loved it slowly I switched him to the roll and dry food, and now he’s only on the Natural Balance dry food and he eats with gusto and never leaves any in his bowl. The only other thing I can say is she needs to know you are the boss, I had a trainer tell me to always pretend like I was eating my lab’s food first making a fool out of myself about it, then give it to him almost like I’m sharing my food with him. All of these things combined broke him of the his habit, and I now don’t have to stand next to him and try and coax him to eat.

    • Christy

      Thanks Susan, a brand name to try is what I was after. And of course anything else I might bot have already tried/thought of. She is well trained and knows we are the boss, and I’ve played games with her which helps sometimes. She’s just so much smarter and more sensitive than any other lab I’ve seen before (prejudiced, I know, but it’s true!) and I just can’t put one over on her for very long.

  3. Sue

    I used to sprinkle my yellow Lab’s food with shredded cheese when he was a pup and wouldn’t eat much. It worked but his habits changed pretty quickly as he grew up – still eats with gusto at 13 🙂

    • Christy

      She does love cheese. I’ve put cheese in her bowl before and she actually picked it out and left the food! But I have not tried shredded cheese, which would make it harder for her to do that. Thanks for the tip!

  4. Lynn Ashworth

    We give our labs a spoonful of canned pumpkin before they eat. It’s really good for them and I think it stimulates their appetite. We have just one picky lab and two lab chow hounds.

  5. Aly Semon

    My 2 yr. old lab was very picky the first 6 months we had him. I switched from Blue Buffalo Kibble to Raw Food and he gobbled it right up. I am now able to feed him Raw and Kibble. He absolutely loves his Raw Food. I use Bravo. It has also done amazing things for coat and general health. I am a big promoter of the raw diet. Hope this is helpful!!

  6. Christy

    Thanks Aly, is that the kind they keep in the sausage tube in the fridge at the grocery store?

  7. Vicky

    I, too, have an extremely picky lab who doesn’t like anything “normal” dogs do (things like cheese, ice cream). She will only eat Blue (duck recipe, but “weaning” her over to chicken for less fat) with a few bits of some kind of “people protein” on top (a bit of leftover roast beef, chicken, etc). I feel for you….. it’s not fun. I dread the day that she may need some sort of oral medication – LOL.

    • Christy

      Thanks for the empathy, Vicky. If only she attacked her dog food the way she loves people food. I guess I can’t really blame her, there!

  8. Heidi

    Try Blue Buffalo brand. Our dogs love it!!! Our neighbor’s dog wouldn’t eat anything but milkbones until they bought it. Our friends dogs went off their arthritis medicine after eating Blue for a couple months.

    • Christy

      Thanks Vicky, I have picked that brand up before, she did like it at first, but then after a while it too got kicked to the curb.

  9. Jennifer

    We had this same problem with our lab when we got him from the rescue group. We figured out that he had a chicken allergy. We’ve switched him to a fish based food (which really smells) and he eats like a typical lab. Good luck!

  10. RL Hand

    If you free fed, go to scheduled feedings. Put the bowl down for ten minutes and then pick it up. Then put it back down at the next feeding time. She will learn she has a shorter window of time to finish her food. I do encourage changing food brands once (more just encourages her to be picky) to see if that would help, but I don’t agree with adding any added things….cheese, treats, etc…..to entice her to eat. That will only make her more finicky. Plus, she is training you instead of the other way around. JMO.

  11. Coco's mum

    We are in England and have a chocolate lab (now 7 months old) who, when we got her at 4 months, old would pick at her food. She was wormed at the vets monthly from the day we collected her, but it turned out that the wormers weren’t working very well for her. She didn’t feel hungry as the worms were making her feel full. We changed to a spot-on type wormer (Advocate) and within a fortnight she was eating well and finished everything as you would expect. This was because she had had a lot of worms and they had then cleared.
    So from my experience, I would suggest you check for worms.

    • Christy

      That is a very good suggestion and worth looking in to. Thanks!

  12. Christy

    Thanks for the tip. We don’t free feed, if we can’t get her to eat after 15 minutes or so, the bowl gets picked back up, and she has missed a couple meals lately. It’s just the daily struggle that’s wearing on us. I will say that she is very smart, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if she’s “figured out” how to get a better variety. Can’t say I blame her there!

    • Christy

      Sorry, that last comment was a reply to RL. Technically challenged today!

  13. Lis a double trouble Mum

    Also from England. One of my 10 year olds, lost her appetite and wasn’t bothered about her normal food, excited by idea but would sniff and pick. Vet checked, acid tum with Gall Bladder over producing. Change in diet to tum friendly, instant improvement ok a couple of meals and vet also said cottage cheese (the one with small curds in it like little lumps) stirred in would do it, plain, obviously ( never ever flavoured/pineapple, herbed etc etc) as its an acid leveller and they love it. course of drugs to stop the Gall Bladder I’ve action. much happier dog overall. Sometimes dog food has proteins in it that some dogs find hard to digest, and my other Lab had to change her diet as she suddenly put on weight (2kg) it took 3 attempts to find a suitable diet and I have a different dog, super shiney shiney coat, less cystitis/bladder infections, weight dropped off within 5 weeks and a more cheerful, cheekier lab than she has ever been and she’s always been the shiney coat slim comedienne. In UK we have James Wellbeloved, lots of comments on website (crown dog food) about how happier tums, skins and bladders and confident dogs once food changed and its always the protein base that seems to cause a bit of food withdrawal or tum upset, so check physically with lab frindly/experienced Vet that all is ok and see what others suggest, as above. Cottage cheese only a desert spoon per day, just stirred in, mine have treat a couple of times per week, bowls super cleaned, even for Lbs! good Luck.

  14. Toni

    I’m also from the uk and my choccy lab is as about as fussy as they come he to will get bored of his food so quickly the if we dnt notice it he will go days without eat anything at all and make his stomach growl and all kinds. Took him to the vet all his well with his health Ect but its just one of his traits he isn’t so Much of a ganit when it comes to for although if it isn’t his ofc he is starving!! We generally let him pick though his food as and when he wants it the routine his normally he will start picking at it around 9 am but it could take him to 9 pm to finish it also spoken to vet regarding this as it is very unusual in lab to not enjoy his food but all is fine with him it just literally nothing to worry about in my case he just isn’t a greedy dog xx

  15. Melissa

    Does your pup scratch, bite or have ear infections? I’ve raised labs for 20 years and the only fussy eaters I’ve had happened to have food allergies….

  16. amy

    Hi I have a black lab that was on w/d from the vet which is a high fiber dog food. hes very picky about what he eats, any ways about a month ago we found out that he had hook worm got it treated then we found out a week ago that he has a inflammed liver and is on meds for it, anyways I am having a hard time getting him to eat. he was doing really well over the weekend with the home made rice and chicken with vegetable broth which my vet told us to make, but is there a brand of dog food i can try with him to see if he will eat? he is prone to ear infections etc so I am wondering if there is a allergy somewhere since our vet figures the dog food he was on when he was diagnosed with hook caused his liver to be upset. he will eat treats but hes not touching any dog food for the last day and half including like his yogurt or anything