Dealing With a Picky Eater

Dealing With a Picky Eater

If you’ve noticed that your pet is not eating on a regular basis, you may have a fussy eater. Take note of when this behavior starts to help you find the best solution. Check out these ideas for dealing with a picky eater.

If none of the below suggestions help your pet, consider consulting with your veterinarian to see if there is a health issue involved.

Experiment with new foods

If you have a picky eater on your hands, the problem may be the food itself. Allow your pet to try foods from different brands and foods with varying flavors and textures. Always combine old food with new food by gradually increasing the new food for your pet to get used to the change. Keep track of what they like and dislike to direct you to what they might enjoy. For adult cats, try giving them kitten food because it has a stronger flavor and smell that will be tempting for a hungry feline. However, if you have tried more than three brands with both canned and dry food, you may want to consider another reason for their fussy eating. 

Maintain a strict feeding schedule

If you haven’t already, set a schedule for feeding your pet using equal portions for each meal. Puppies and kittens should be fed two to three times each day and an adult dog or cat should be fed once or twice daily. Slowly increase the amount of food as you decrease the frequency of feedings as your pet gets older.

Top off their food

Consider sprinkling some catnip over your feline’s food to see if that will entice them to eat. You can also use the gravy that is sometimes included in canned food over dry kibble as a way to increase your pooch’s interest in mealtime. Another option is to pour some low-sodium, plain chicken broth or a pet-created broth, like Stella & Chewy's Tetra Pack Chicken Broth or Primal Bone Broth Pork over your furry friend’s food.

Avoid giving treats

A potential reason your pet is being finicky may be because they are holding out for treats or leftover scraps. Avoid feeding your pet any human food, especially because this can reinforce begging. Additionally, save treats for training or other occasions when praise is necessary. However, praise does not have to be edible; giving your pooch attention or a belly rub can be just as effective if you’d like to steer clear of overfeeding treats.

Remove uneaten food

If you have exhausted all other options for dealing with your picky eater, try taking away uneaten food. Start by offering food at your designated morning mealtime, walk away and leave it out for 15-30 minutes. If nothing is consumed, then remove the food and repeat at the next meal. This approach works best with small food amounts (to avoid wasting food) and using dry kibble. Increase the volume of food once your pet begins eating regularly.