Are you feeding a very Picky Pet?
It can be frustrating for a dog or cat owner to buy nutritious food… only to have them “turn their noses up”! Establishing some feeding rituals may help your fussy friend learn to accept and actually like what’s good for him or her! Three specific practices may help feeding time become pleasant and successful in that they will WANT what’s in their bowl.
Cats and dogs both like routine, and establishing a specific time to feed, helps them to know what to expect. The best practice is to choose a convenient time when you can set the food bowl down for 10-15 minutes. You could even set a timer, which will alert the pet that food time is over! Then pick up the bowl until the next mealtime…even if some or all of it is uneaten! Most trainers would agree that free-feeding is the wrong choice for a number of reasons. First, food left out over time becomes stale and can lose nutrients. Picky eaters will become bored with their food and crave treats instead, and the cycle continues. A consistent schedule and food will teach your pet what to expect.
Eliminate barriers to eating:
Old pets and the very young may have difficulty with hard kibble. Softening it with a bit of water or unsalted broth may help so that they can comfortably chew. Of course, if there is a food allergy, it is best to have your pet evaluated by a veterinarian. For those dogs with mild digestion issues, our company has come out with a new formula with an improved Gut-Health System. The Lamb and Rice Formula might be just what you need to encourage the picky eater.
Variety is the Spice of Life, and our pets may want a change now and then. But there are those in the veterinary profession that indicate we, the pet owner, may be the source of the problem! Krista Williams, BSc, DVM; and Robin Downing, DVM, CVPP, CCRP, DAAPM have written an article on “Picky Eaters” and say, “Because dog foods are so palatable now, it is not as common to find a picky eater, but it can happen. Pet owners can actually help to create a fussy eater by taking advantage of the huge variety among dog foods – different kibble flavors and sizes, different textures and flavors among canned foods, pouches of semi-moist food, and freshly packaged meals in the refrigerator section of the grocery or pet store. For some dogs, too much of a good thing (e.g., lots of food variety) is not necessarily a good thing!” She also suggests not feeding table scraps on a regular basis, as then it becomes even more difficult to go back to the nutrient-balanced dog food. Drs. Williams and Downing also state it is actually quite difficult to balance a dog’s long-term food ration when feeding them home-prepared food.
So rather than begin the transition to a whole new food, you might want to crush up some of our freeze-dried treats, and mix that with the food. Crushed-up turkey hearts or bison kidneys can entice the pickiest eater!
When you consider what “makes up” the life of a dog or cat, mealtime should be right on the top, along with a healthy exercise/play routine, and sleep schedule. Eating, Playing, and Sleeping-Ahhhhh, the life of a pet!