Are Basset Hounds Picky Eaters? (Owners weigh in!)

There’s nothing more troubling than when you try and feed your furry friend a good meal and they just look at you with puppy dog eyes as if to say “that’s all you got?” If you are a Basset Hound owner who has a dog with a picky pallet it’s likely you have faced this battle.

I wanted to find out just how picky Basset Hounds are and what owners do to battle the mealtime blues so I’ve dug my heels in and done to do a lot of research and find the answers to a lot of questions.

Basset Hounds are generally rarely picky eaters. Most Basset Hound owners say their dog has a healthy appetite and they need to be watched to make sure they don’t overeat. A small percentage of owners, however, do say their dog is a picky eater.

So if you are one of the unfortunate small percentages dealing with a picky pooch, don’t fear, we’ve uncovered all the tips and tricks that have helped other Basset owners make sure that they got the nutrition they needed.

What Makes a Basset Hound a Picky Eater

  • Fussing over a fussy eater – It’s understandable if you are concerned about your Bassets eating habits and you want to be close by during mealtime in order to monitor if they are actually eating anything, but it’s important to realize that your dog can sense your anxiety about the situation and that may prompt them to also have anxiety when it’s mealtime.

Solution: Give them some space. Don’t make a big deal or fuss about it. Leave the room if you need to and monitor the amount left in the bowl rather than watching your dog while they eat.

  • Leaving the food out all the time – By leaving your dog’s food out all the time and letting them have it whenever they want it makes it seem less important that they eat an appropriate meal. They may also feel like since the food has been sitting out for a while it’s no longer appetizing or appealing.

Just think about how you would feel about having your dinner sitting out on the counter all day long, day after day. Yuck!

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Solution: Start feeding your dog on a schedule. When you give them their food allow them 15-20 minutes to eat it, some Basset Hound owners report success leaving it out for 2 hours at a time, then pick up any unused food.

Depending on the type of food you may have to throw it out. Start with smaller portions so if they are not eating it you don’t have to waste very much.

  • Low-quality dog food – Be sure to know what ingredients are in the dog food you are buying. Many pet food companies will use fillers like byproducts and additives to make their dog food cheaper to produce. It may be cheaper for you to buy, but in the long run, it could cost you additional vet bills from a sick dog.

Dog foods with fillers or byproducts are not a healthy option for your dog. If your dog is refusing to eat, it could be that the food is making him feel poorly.

Also, be wary of added coloring in your dog food. It may look pretty, but it’s completely unnecessary and could also cause irritation for your dog.

Solution: Use high-quality dog food. Many owners recommend Instinct Natural Raw Boost.

Chess Dog 300 x 600
  • Underlying medical conditions – If being a picky eater is something that has happened suddenly and you notice other worrisome signs like diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, or lethargy there could be a medical reason your Basset is not eating.

If you notice that your dog is trying to eat but only takes a few bites then backs away, that may be another indication that something more concerning may be happening.

Solution: Take them to your vet. Your vet will ask questions about when your dog started to lose his appetite, other symptoms that you have noticed, and recent medical history.

They will also perform an exam and may take blood, fecal, and/or urine samples, as well as do x-rays, or an ultrasound.

  • Bored of the same food  This one is tricky. You don’t want to be changing your Basset Hounds food all the time just because they might be bored, that could actually cause more problems rather than fix them.
    If you have ruled out medical issues for your dog and they still have gradually stopped eating the food they once liked it could be boredom.

Solution: Start with a high-quality dry kibble. Choose two flavors of the same brand and rotate them every few months. This provides them with a little bit of variety but without catering to their whim of wanting new and different food all the time.

A second option is to add some wet food toppings (Amazon Link) as a flavoring and change those every so often. Some owners add their own mix-ins like scrambled eggs or broccoli. Just be careful if you go that route, some picky eaters will only eat the mix-ins and leave the kibble in the bowl.

I will sometimes add a little water to Luna’s kibble it will help release the smell and make it more tasty.

Barbara P.
  • Too many table scraps or treats – Feeding your dog your leftover scraps can seem like a good idea, but if your dog is a picky eater think again. Basset hounds are smart and they easily figure out that if they hold out long enough the good stuff will come sooner or later especially from a very concerned owner.

Solution: No more table scraps, no matter what! It may take your dog a while to understand that you are serious, but don’t give in.

  • Distractions– If there are other things that seem more exciting and pleasing to your Basset Hound they are not going to want to take time out to eat. Playing and giving you attention can be a lot more fun to some Hounds than anything else, especially dogs that are not food motivated!

Solution: During feeding time make sure your dog is in a calm quiet place free from distractions. Don’t play with or talk to your dog while they are eating. Try making sure your dog gets plenty of exercise before you feed them.

You could also try some puzzle toys to make the food a reward for their working effort.

  • Change in schedule or routine- If you’ve moved recently, changed jobs and are away from home more, had a new baby, or any other big change, it could be something that is making your dog feel unsettled.

Solution: When you have a schedule change or big event try to ease your dog into it with smaller changes. Be as consistent as possible with everything else. Be patient and try not to stress, sometimes it just takes some time for your dog to adapt.

  • Food allergies or sensitivities – Since Basset Hounds were originally bred to be working dogs they can be full of energy and such hard workers that they need a diet that is able to keep up with them.

    Basset Hound diets should be high-quality protein, high in healthy fats with some complex carbs. Some foods like grains, soy, or even different proteins like chicken can cause sensitivities or allergies.

Look for other signs like itching, diarrhea, upset stomach, or increased aggression. Whenever you change your Basset Hounds’ food, always be observant of how it is affecting them.

Solution: Choose a high-quality grain-free food like Taste of the Wild. Check out this article for more information on food allergies in dogs.

  • Changing foods too suddenly – Switching your dog’s food too quickly can cause stomach problems, poop problems, and well…. just problems. Their digestive tract is sensitive and when eating a new food their not use to it takes some time for them to adjust.

Solution: Whenever you want to change your dog’s food to a different kind you should always make it a slow smooth transition, adding just a little more of the new food to the old food each day. Transitioning over 5-7 days is ideal.

Thank you Jamie P. for use of your photo

Some additional questions to ask yourself

Has my dog always been a picky eater?

If it’s something you have noticed since your dog was a puppy then it’s most likely just part of your pup’s personality. If it is a consistent pattern for your dog to be generally picky, but they are still maintaining a healthy weight then you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

If something has changed and your dog has gone from a good eater to a picky eater quite suddenly or over the space of a few days or months then you should take them to the vet for further evaluation.

Are there other signs or symptoms?

Pay close attention to see if there is more going on than just picky eating. If you also notice a change in their poop, vomiting, drinking more or less than normal, pain, discomfort, or other abnormal behaviors for your dog you should take your dog to your vet right away.

Is his picky eating really a problem?

If your Basset Hound is a healthy weight and has no underlying medical issues, a change in appetite or being a picky eater won’t be detrimental to him.

Pro Tip: This article lists what a healthy weight should be for your Basset Hound and how to tell if it is underweight.

As long as they aren’t experiencing any other problems and you are doing what you can to be consistent, your dog will eat what he needs.

Your Basset Hound could go 2-3 days without eating and be ok (however it’s very unlikely he’ll hold out that long). If he goes more than 48 hrs without eating or has other issues like lethargy, vomiting, or diarrhea, contact your vet.

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Another problem with your dog not eating, especially as a puppy is because of their small size their blood sugar levels could drop lower than is healthy and could lead them to become hypoglycemic.

If your dog is shaking or shivering this could be a sign that your dog’s blood sugar levels are too low.

This is not true for puppies. Puppies should never go more than 12-24 hours without food and you should contact your vet immediately.

Should I use treats to train?

Using treats to train your Basset Hound is most likely a great idea and will work really well. Basset Hounds are naturally easier to train than some breeds since they are so smart and want nothing more than to please you.

For Basset Hounds that are not treat motivated using a favorite toy or lots of cuddles and praise can be better than training with treats. Sometimes it just takes finding the right treat that your dog loves. Try a variety of different options to train before mealtimes when your dog is hungry can help you know what works best for your pup.

Thank you Jana B. for use of your photo!

On the other hand, if you have a high-strung Hound and he scarfs his food down any chance he can get, then using treats to train may still prove to not work very well.

Your dog may be able to focus much more when rewarded with toys and praise. Bring out the food and his concentration is blown, all he can focus on is getting the food no matter what!

What if my Basset Hound puppy is a picky eater?

You will still need to use your investigative skills to try and figure out what may be causing his picky eating. One of the biggest differences between treating a picky eater as a puppy instead of an adult is the amount of time you can safely let them carry on with their pickiness.

If your puppy is not eating after 12-24 hrs, you should definitely contact your vet.

When you bring home a new puppy you may want to change his food from what the breeder or his previous owner had been feeding him. 

Make sure you give him some time to adjust to his new home first. Puppies go through a lot of changes and transitions when they go to a new home and may experience a slight loss of appetite at first. Changing their food right away may make it a more stressful transition than it needs to be.

After about a month in their new home, you should be just fine to start slowly transitioning their food. Puppies need different food than adult dogs. This high-quality puppy food is recommended by owners: Taste of the Wild High Protein Puppy Food.

What Should I Do if My Basset Hound is a Picky Eater

If you feel like you have tried everything including taking your dog to the vet and you’re still worried that your Basset Hound is not eating enough here are some more tips from Basset Hound owners.

Raw food- Although controversial some owners have had great success feeding their picky eaters with this diet. A raw food diet is based on what dogs ate before they became domesticated. On this diet dogs eat raw muscle meat and bones, raw organ meats, safe fruits and vegetables, and some dairy products. Here’s an article you can read to learn more.

Warm it up – Sometimes a warm meal will do the trick. You can heat it up for a minute in the microwave, just make sure not to get it too hot!

Get rid of the bowl – It sounds strange, but some dogs actually prefer to eat their meal straight from the floor.

Pretend to eat it – Yes, dogs can sometimes act like stubborn toddlers, and yes pet owners have actually said when they pretend to eat the food first their dog is more willing to dig in!

Check for teeth problems – No one likes to eat when you have a toothache! Check for extra tarter buildup, sore or swollen gums, bad breath, and discoloration or brown teeth.

Check the expiration date – Sometimes it’s the most simple things we miss. Has the food gone bad? Check the expiration date. You may also want to check to see if there is a recall by looking at this website?

Up Next: Is my Basset Hound too Skinny? (How to tell & What to do)

While we strive to give the most accurate and helpful information about your pet’s health that we can, this article is meant to be informational only and not medical advice. Never disregard, avoid or delay in obtaining medical advice from your veterinarian or other qualified veterinary health care provider regardless of what you have read on this site or elsewhere.