When Your Pet Won’t Eat Their Own Food: How to Handle a Picky Eater
It may seem innocent enough, but sharing scraps can contribute to a poor diet and finicky behaviour.
It can be so tempting to indulge our pets and give them the occasional table scrap. Who can resist those puppy dog eyes and soft meows next to the table? It may seem innocent enough, but sharing scraps can contribute to a poor diet and finicky behaviour. Look at it from your pet’s point of view: why eat dry kibble when you can just wait for a tastier meal later on?
That said, there are some pets who are just born with smaller appetites. These animals will pick at small amounts of food throughout the day to maintain a healthy body weight. These pets are often described as “eating to live” rather than “living to eat.” The issue arises when your dog or cat becomes picky to an extreme and doesn’t eat any of their own food. What is a pet parent to do when this happens?
Don’t worry. No matter how old your pet is, it is never too late to adjust their eating habits. While your finicky pet may never develop a ravenous appetite, there are a number of ways that you can encourage them to eat their own food.
Please note: These tips are for pets who have always been picky eaters. If there has been a sudden change in your pet’s eating habits (for example: a dog who is usually food-motivated is now refusing to eat), speak with your veterinarian to rule out any serious health conditions.
It’s often hard to admit that our well-intentioned and loving actions may be causing our pet’s bad habits. But by acknowledging your own missteps, you can start to take corrective action to address the finicky behaviour. The key word to remember is: consistency. Start a feeding strategy, get the whole household on board, and stick with it!