If you are reading this post you want to know how to get your picky eater dog (or cat) to eat without extra work for you. You may have a dog or cat that is a picky eater or you know someone that does. It is fairly common and as pet owners we may not know where to turn. Your concerns may be that you have a thousand things going through your head as to why your pet is not eating or you are unsure what to do. Some people may have said to you “if they are hungry, they will eat” but you are more concerned about your pet’s health and nutrition needs. Read on there is hope.
Causes may range from A – Z or be as simple as your pet is tired of eating the same thing everyday. I would be too.
Health – make sure your pet does not have any medical issues that may be the cause of them not eating. If your pet is experiencing any medical issues, a vet visit is necessary.
- Dental – your pup may be unable to eat due to a tooth issue, gum problem, or mouth sore. Check to make sure this is not the case.
- Eye problems. Yes, due to the placement of the eye, the jawbone will cause pressure on the eye area. This may make eating painful. My dog Coco, who is a Labrador mix, in the 10 years we have had her, never refused to eat until one day. Long story short she had a tumor in her eye that caused the eye pressure to rise so it was painful for her to chew.
- Age – perhaps your senior is losing their sense of smell or taste as they age.
- Recent illness or medications.
- Food quality. Low or poor quality food is a very common reason dogs will refuse to eat. Many low quality foods have fillers and insufficient meat products to make it appealing to the dog.
- Spoiled Food. Did you know that dog or cat food can spoil quickly because the the method of storage? I would by the large bag of food, bring it home and dump it in a large plastic container. The container had a rubber seal, so I thought the food was protected. But, little did I know that the food degrades each time the container is opened and can easily spoil. I didn’t know that until I was researching, and yes I made this mistake too. Below is a picture of the best method to store your pet food. Keep the food in the bag with a clip or a resealable bag, place food bags into your plastic container.
- Overweight. In a 2017 study by Pet Obesity Prevention, 59% of cats and 54% of dogs are overweight. Being overweight will have a detrimental effect on your pet’s overall health.
- Bad habits – like too many treats or snacking from the table.
- New environment or routine. Has anything changed with your household? Did you recently move into another house (congratulations), or did you move your pet’s items to a different area? Has something changed with their routine? Perhaps a new addition to the household or your schedule has changed. Any of these can affect your pet and their appetite.
- Behavioral – pets are smart and will quickly pick up on begging for treats or your food.
- Multi-pet household – food aggression or fear to eat the food. Take note of any behavior in this area so that you can address the problem and make your pet feel safe so they are comfortable to eat.
Below are some common suggestions you may find on the internet or hear from others.
- Change food or flavor
- Switch to wet or vice versa
- Add other food items to their bowl
- Schedule (eat the same time/place everyday)
- No table scraps
- Offer for 30 minutes and remove
- Change your pet’s food, flavor or moving to wet/dry. The recommended method to change food is to transition for 5-7 days. In pet food transition, you would gradually introduce your pet to the new food to help prevent tummy issues.
- Transition method: for 2 days – 1/4 new food and 3/4 current food, day 3-4 – 1/2 new food and 1/2 current food, day 5-7 – 3/4 new food and 1/4 current food
This may not be an option if your pet has a food allergy or is currently on a prescription diet. Your pet may not like the new food, then you are out the time for transition and the money you spent on new food, but still stuck with the problem of your picky eater dog (or cat).
Adding other food.
You decide to try adding other food and it works, but how healthy is it, really. In reviewing the list below note that the calories and sodium are in addition to the amounts your pet receives in their food and treats. Also if you pet has a medical condition you should speak with your vet before adding too much sodium or calories.
- Canned tuna (in water) offers a serving size of 2 oz, with 50 calories per serving, and has 180 mg of sodium.
- String cheese, 1 sick has 80 calories (50 from fat), and 200 mg of sodium.
- Chicken hot dog, 1 frank has 120 calories (70 from fat), and a whopping 620 mg of sodium.
- Canned dog food with a serving size of .32 oz has 93.5 calories, salt (mg not stated on can), and carrageenan.
- Popular brand topping with a serving size of 3 oz has 78 calories per pouch, and contains salt, beef flavor, and chicken broth.
- Grain free chicken topper, with a serving size of 2 tbsp (per 20 lbs) with 45.8 calories per tbsp.
- Table scraps may begin a cycle of poor eating habits and entices begging. Both are difficult habits to break. Many people foods are not appropriate for pets, so it is always best to avoid giving table scraps.
- The worst suggestion I have seen is from an actual pet nutrition company. Their theory is that dogs are looking for extra treats. Their stated method is: to set the food out and if uneaten in 30 minutes to remove the food. Do this for a day or 2 so the dog may learn to not check for extra treats. WHAT!? That is horrible idea. Most vets will recommend if your pet has not eaten in 24 hours to make an appointment with them for an evaluation.
There is hope for your picky eater dog (or cat):
Would you be interested, if I told you there is a better solution for your picky eater dog (or cat) to all of these above?
Are you ready to provide your pet with a healthy solution that is low calorie and can boost the immune system? A solution that is also easy to use – just sprinkle on their food, can be used for both cats and dogs, with 7 different flavors, is economical, has the NASC (National Animal Supplement Council) quality seal, and is delivered to your door. Does this sound too good to be true? Hear from a vet.
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