Are Ridgebacks picky eaters?

Ridgebacks can be picky eaters and can walk away from perfectly good food if they don’t like the look of it. My ridgeback only likes certain types of dry food and will never eat fruit and vegetables if he can help it. Raw and cooked meat are usually irresistible to ridgebacks but just make sure you don’t give them cooked bones.

This article will explore more about ridgeback eating habits, what you can do to encourage them to have a balance diet and some tips from my experience.

Are Rhodesian ridgebacks picky eaters?

Some ridgebacks will eat anything they can reach, especially when they are young but I have found that my ridgeback is picky and will walk away from perfectly good food. Good quality food is essential for ridgebacks but they won’t always eat what you buy.

It is best to keep using the dog food fed by the breeder. Changing over quickly can upset their stomachs so go with what they know. If you want to switch brands, do so gradually by replacing a small amount of their food with the new food each day.

Some ridgebacks will eat carrots, apple or food scraps but many will not. I find that it is best not to feed them random food from your table anyway. Stick to good quality dry or wet food and give them cooked chicken as treats for training.

Some ridgebacks are food driven and will do anything for you if they are given a treat. My ridgeback would only care about food if there is nothing interesting going on. If there was a dog or bird around, the food would not interest him at all.

Tips to help your picky ridgeback to eat their food

If you have a picky ridgeback, here are a few tips you can use to help them to eat their food.

Mix in cooked chicken or grated cheese

A simple way to help a picky ridgeback to eat their food is to mix in cooked chicken or grated cheese. Your This will make dry and wet food more appealing. Over time you can reduce the amount of chicken added to their food and they will learn to eat it without the added treats.

Add warm water or broth

Dry dog food can be made more appetising by warming it up. Adding some warm chicken or beef broth to your dogs food just before they eat it will make it more appealing to your dog.

Take them for a walk first

Help your ridgeback to build up their appetite by taking them for a walk before dinner. It doesn’t have to be long, just 10-20 minutes can wake your dogs body up and help them to feel hungry for dinner. It is best to wait for at least 30 minutes before feeding them when you get back,. This will help their body to settle down before they eat.

Feed your dog smaller amounts more frequently

Feeding your ridgeback smaller amount 2-3 times per day can be a good way to get them to eat all they need. This will help them to digest better and to fit in the next meal. I like to feed my ridgeback breakfast and dinner now that he is older, but young dogs may need a lunchtime meal to help them to fit it all in.

Keep meal time quiet

Keep distractions away when your dog is eating. If you have other dogs it may be best to feed them in another area so they pay attention to what they are doing. Feed your ridgeback away from cats and birds as well. A quiet eating time will help them to focus.

Establish a routine

Feed your ridgebacks at the same time each day. Their body will come to expect food and they will be more likely to eat what they are given. Avoid giving them too many treats outside of their feeding times. That way they will be hungry and more likely to finish their food.

Feeding your Rhodesian ridgeback

Check out my easy tips for feeding your ridgeback whether they are picky or not.

Dietary needs

Choose a premium large breed dog food. Always use a puppy food when they are young and switch to an adult food when they are around 12-18 months old. It is essential that they get a well balanced food to make sure get all of the macro and micronutrients they need to grow well.


Choose healthy treats for your ridgeback for training like cheese squares, cooked chicken or cooked beef. Cut them into small pieces and they will be irresistible to your dog. Use these in small amounts for training otherwise your dog will fill up on treats and won’t eat their food.


When your ridgeback gets older it is time to move over to a dog food for older dogs. This will give them plenty of protein and fat to keep them healthy and strong as they are older.

Physical activity

Very active dogs will need more food than those with a more relaxed lifestyle. If your dog is very active, living on acreage or goes for long runs they will be burning more energy. Make sure you increase their food to match their energy level.

Are Ridgebacks picky eaters? | Summary

Ridgebacks can be picky eaters but it will depend on the dog. My dog will only eat premium dog food and fresh or cooked meat. Try to avoid giving them treats with loads of sugar, salt or fat to keep them healthy. Once you find a dog food they like it is a good idea to stick with it to keep your dog happy.