Breeds | Health and Grooming

Are Cockapoos Fussy Eaters? [How to Get Your Cockapoo to Eat]

Cockapoos are notoriously fussy eaters. They will refuse to eat the food that you give them and then beg for something else after a few minutes of sulking.

This is because they can be very picky about what they want to eat.

are cockapoos fussy eaters get cockapoo to eat
Are Cockapoos fussy eaters (Yes) – How to get them to eat

It doesn’t mean that you have to go out and buy every type of dog food there is. Learn how to get your Cockapoo to eat!

So are All Cockapoos are Fussy Eaters?

Dont worry reader, you are not alone. Most Cockapoo owners have googled for help before because their doodle is simply refusing to eat!

The good news is that there are plenty of things you can do to get your dog eating, and they’re not complicated.

You’ve just gotta find the approach that works, and one size does not fit every Cockapoo.

The first thing many people try is good old fashioned bribery

dealing with a fussy eater cockapoo
Dealing with a Cockapoo who is fussy eater is difficult

First thing’s first – offer a variety of food! Cockapoos (like many a small dog) have been known to be particular about what they eat so it pays off in the end if you give them options. 

Try out all types of foods until you find something yummy for your pup: kibble or dry dog food, canned or wet food, raw meat ground up finely- whatever will work as long as it tastes great!

This is NOT my recommended approach – but it is a common one every caring dog owner considers after tearing their hair out trying to get their Cockapoo dog to eat. 

The second thing people try is to KISS (Keep it SIMPLE!)

What if you go completely the OTHER way and reduce the variety of the diet.

This option would mean just getting one type of dry Cockapoo food and sticking with it? This might help reduce their fussiness with only having one flavor on hand at any given moment because then there won’t be anything else tempting them. 

This approach is close to the solution… but you will need to be a little sneakier. Indeed simple diets are usually best. Don’t let your Cockapoo puppy become a snobby foodie. Pick a healthy appropriate Cockapoo food and stick with it.

But you will need to rely on some trickery to get a fussy Cockapoo to actually eat.

cockapoo puppy dog door
A Cockapoo puppy sits patiently near a front door.

6 Actually Good Tricks to For a Cockapoo Picky Eater 

  1. Stick with the food but add in something tasty. Cheese, rice, even a touch of wet food mixed into the dried food.
  2. Portion size – try to reduce the amount of food you’re giving at any point in time. Let’s not consider it a buffet! Reduce the total availability and it can trigger some Cockapoos to actually finish their plate
  3. Change the consistency – dry food is perfect and great for their stomach and teeth – but you can make it wet food temporarily by mixing in some moisture.
    • Some people soak the kibble for 5 minutes first.
    • Others are kinder and add a tablespoon of apple sauce or mashed banana for some flavor. 
  4. If your dog DOES start to eat – it is time for some bribery. Teach them that an empty bowl means a Treat!
    • Feed them their favorite treat after each meal so that it’s always worth eating!
    • It can be difficult to get your Cockapoo to understand the connection between the finished meal and the treat. You will have go be strident and consistent.
  5. Food bowl goes down ONCE or TWICE per day and only for 10 minutes. 
  6. Utilise a special feeding equipment to make eating into a game.

Turn Dinner into a Game Show for your Fussy Cockapoo

If your Poodle mix is a fussy eater, you can trick them into eating by turning it into a game.

Three common approaches are to stuff and freeze a Kong, use a slow feeder bowl, or to play a nose work game with kibble and cheese.

  1. Freezing a Kong stuffed full of pet food is a great way to make a meal last for hours. If you have a fussy eater this sounds bad? WRONG! They can get fascinated by the frozen treat and also it stays fresh if they do get distracted. So when they do return to it – it ready to be eaten.
  2. Nose work essentially boils down to hiding bits of kibble or treats and getting your dog to search for them. It is an excruciating way to get your dog to eat bits of kibble one or two at a time – but when all else fails it is a good option.
  3. Slow feeder bowls are also great, and they come in several different styles that can slow down the rate of eating. This sounds counter intuitive but it mentally stimulates your dog as they try to find all the bits of food. A finished plate is not so shocking if you use a slow feeder bowl.

My dog Max went through a particularly stubborn and fussy eating phase – it was a combination of bribery, a slow feeder bowl and a final secret tactic (read below) that got us through. He still eats from the slow feeder puzzle bowl to this day.

happy cockapoo puppy running
Photo by Ray Larabie /CC BY

The Top Secret Technique that ALL Fussy Cockapoo Owners NEED to Know

If you don’t eat, you get hungry.

If a dog does not eat, it’ll get hungry.

If a dog is hungry enough it will eat.

No pup will ever starve itself unless there are other, underlying factors that need to be addressed.

Within reason we can simply remember this basic set of facts. Put away the treats and tricks and just… take away the food. Try again that evening or the next day.

You need to watch the calorie intake of your Cockapoo – but an occasional blip and reduction is bearable and better than giving in or panicking and buying new foods. 

Whether adult dog or puppy – your dog WILL eat if hungry enough.

Be sure not to over-treat your dog with dog treats or human food. Stick with low calorie treat in between meals like liver treats or raw food like blueberries or even a little carrot

[Here are the best dog foods for an underweight dog of any breed]