• Hahnbee Choi, Cert. CN

Whole Prey Troubleshooting

Updated: Dec 18, 2021

Whole prey is such a great addition to a raw food diet. But when it comes the time to feed, your dog might turn its nose up to it. Pickiness surrounding whole prey can be addressed with these tips. Remember...every dog is different. What works for one dog may or may not work for you, and that's perfectly okay! Here are some tricks to help your dog to get over its whole prey strike.

Before Feeding Prep:

*Make sure that the whole prey is high-quality and fresh. If the whole prey is rancid, don't expect your dog to eat it.

*Make sure they are going to be hungry. Introducing a new food shouldn't be done after a long training session with lots of treats. You want your dog hungry and ready to eat what I put in front of them.

The most common reason a dog will refuse whole prey is its new and unusual texture of the fur/feathers. They're not used to eating the pelt of an animal, so it makes sense they'd be a little hesitant.

Supplies Needed:

Sharp scissors or knife


Whole Prey

A dog who refuses whole prey (for now)

#1 Expose More Meat

The first approach is to expose more of the muscle meat by pulling the pelt back. To expose the meat, make a small incision, usually by the chest at a pullback. After exposing the meat, tear off some muscle meat and feed it to show this foreign meal is somewhat familiar. Since your dogs are used to eating muscle meat, they usually have no objections to this part.

#2 Small Pieces

The next strategy is to cut the whole prey into smaller, more manageable pieces. It's not fair to expect an unseasoned whole prey eater to confidently gulp down the furry new meal, though keep in mind many dogs would.

Using your scissors or knife, cut the whole prey into smaller parts. For quail, cut off the wings, legs, and head. Then take half the body as well.

#3 Presentation

The way you present the whole prey to your dog may affect if they gobble it up or not. If your dog is usually hand-fed, throwing a whole prey on the ground and walking away may not be the best strategy.

Make sure you're presenting the whole prey meal as you would any meal. If they are hand-fed, make sure to hand-feed the whole prey too.

#4 Texture

Some dogs need a change in texture! Try feeding the whole prey, either frozen or partially frozen, to change up to feel. It's not ideal to feed frozen meals, but a few times won't hurt them in this case.

You can also cut the whole prey into smaller pieces then freeze, so it's easier for the dog to eat it right out of the freezer.

#5 Tough Love

The last strategy requires some tough love. By this point, if skinning the whole prey and cutting it down doesn't work, then they don't get to eat. Now, this may sound cruel, but skipping a meal or two won't kill your dog and is actually very beneficial!

Not giving in to the refusal to eat teaches the dog, "if you're not going to eat what I give you, you don't get to eat." Eventually, they get hungry enough to give in to their pickiness.

Some dogs are very stubborn and can go days without eating. But these stubborn little housemates eventually give in... and now Stormy eats whole prey like a champ. This step should only be done for adult dogs over the age of 1.

When you're saving a meal to present it again, it's important to store it properly. Store the refused meals in a glass container and keep them in the fridge until the next meal. When the next meal comes around, go through the first and second strategies again, and if they don't work, resort to the 3rd strategy.

Now you're prepared to tackle the refusal of whole prey. Hopefully, some of these strategies will help your dog eat some whole prey. I hope you learned something new today & Always Keep Exploring!