Monday, April 13, 2015

Tips for Feeding a Picky Cat or Dog

Do you have a dog or cat that is a picky eater? Picky pets come in all sizes, ages, and breeds and it can be tough to get them to eat their food. True, some dogs and cats tend to be more picky than others and there may be a few reasons for this.

First of all, if your pet isn't eating like they should be you should talk with your veterinarian and rule out any health problems. Refusal to eat is a symptom of many illnesses. Sickness is one reason why a dog or cat might be picky over their food. 

depsositphotos/okssi68

Also, many elderly pets may have a decreased appetite and tend to be more picky about what they eat. This doesn't necessarily mean they are "just old". They certainly could have underlying health problems that need attention. 

Make sure to take care of your pet's teeth while they are young too, because poor dental health at an older age can cause oral pain. And who wants to eat when their mouth hurts?

Some pets are picky because they want to be. There may be no rhyme or reason to their methods. Regardless of the reason for your dog or cat being a picky eater, here are some helpful tips that could help entice them to eat.

Add something tasty to dry food. 

If your pet normally eats a dry kibble food, but is refusing to eat it there are a couple of things you can try to coax them to eat their food. By adding something extra tasty to their regular meals, they might be more happy to eat. 

  • Broth - You can try adding a broth to your pet's regular dry kibble food. If you let the broth soak into the food for 5-10 minutes, it will become soft. 
  • Canned food - Add some canned food to your pet's regular dry food and mix it together. Most dogs and cats love eating canned food. If that doesn't work, you can always try feeding the canned food by itself.
  • Cooked meats - Try adding some unseasoned cooked meats like chicken or beef to your pet's regular food. If your pet doesn't like their dry food, they may pick out the pieces of meat. But, you won't know if this will work until you try it. 
Some might argue that this will spoil your pet and make them even pickier in the long run. Even so, if this is what works to get them to eat their food I believe it's probably worth it. 

depositphotos/MartinaOsmy

And if you're willing, there are also options in feeding your pet home cooked diets or raw diets. Just make sure you do your research before trying this. 

Serve at a warmer temperature.

For many sick pets, cats especially, this technique seems to work fairly well. Obviously, you can't put dry food in the microwave and warm it up. You'll need to try warming up canned food or dry food that has been soaked in broth or water. 

Don't overheat the food - it shouldn't take much longer than 10-30 seconds in a microwave. After you're done heating your pets food in a microwave, stir it up well and test the temperature of the food yourself. All you need to do is put your finger in the food to make sure it isn't too hot. 

Change the way you serve and store your pet's food.

To battle pet obesity, it's usually recommended that your pet's food is picked up within a certain time if they don't eat it all. Keeping food out all of the time usually leads to weight gain. If you have a pet that likes to pick at their food and needs to eat more, try leaving their food out for longer periods of time. 

Of course, you still need to think about how fresh their food is. Dry food left out that hasn't been eaten should be picked up and thrown away at the very least daily. Canned food should be thrown out after about 30 minutes to an hour maximum. No one wants to eat old yucky food. 


Also, make sure you're storing your pet's food properly! If you are leaving the bag open and not sealing it up, it's not going to be as fresh. That could be part of the reason your pet doesn't want to eat it. For canned food, you should refrigerate any of the food that hasn't been served. Make sure you place a lid on the can. There are re-usable pet food lids that can be purchased for cheap. 

You should also consider where you are feeding your pet. Maybe they want more privacy and don't want to eat in a high traffic area of your house. Try feeding them in a quiet room where they won't be disturbed. 

Save money and win free pet food from pet blogs. 

If you have a dog or cat that has no rhyme or reason to their pickiness, finding a food that they are willing to eat can be a challenge. You might find yourself spending a lot of money on new foods that Fluffy doesn't even like. To save money, try entering giveaways from pet blogs for free dog or cat food. 

In most cases, giveaways at pet blogs are not gimmicks. Most pet bloggers host giveaways at their blogs because they want to do something nice for their readers. At least, that's why I like to do them anyways. If you've been skeptical about entering these in the past, don't be! I've entered many giveaways at pet blogs in the past and have won free pet products quite regularly. 

Subscribe to your favorite pet blogs by email or follow them on social media so you can be alerted the next time they host a giveaway for pet food. Some may even post about coupons, deals, or free samples. It's a great way to save money. 

Do you have a picky eater? Share your tips with us in the comments - they could help others going through a similar situation!

34 comments:

  1. we always had to entertain the picky fox terrier with funny games .... the weirdest thing was that my granparents had to pretend to eat dog food before she sharted to eat something :o)
    easy rider

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    1. Lol! How cute and funny! It's like a child... only wanting something because you have it, but otherwise they show no interest in it.

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  2. I have several cats that will eat nothing but dry food and I don't want them to eat a lot of it since it does put the weight on them. Most of the cats do eat what I put out there for them to eat. Great post.

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    1. Interesting that you have a few picky eaters Marg. Hope this helps!

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  3. Great tips!!! I have had to use some of these in the past with my pets too!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

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  4. You have some great tips here, Ann! Carmine is somewhat picky about his wet food. If it is not fresh enough (as he deems it) he will not eat it. So we can't keep canned food for more than a day or so before we have to toss it and open a new can for him. Whatever gets him to eat, though, is okay by me. :)

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    1. I try to use up Callie's Canned food within a day too. So far, she hasn't exhibited much pickiness. Except for one can on turkey canned food that she refused to eat. Maybe she doesn't like turkey?

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  5. Harley's not so much a picky eater, he just likes specific foods and doesn't feel much like experimenting on soothing different. Right now Jax is like "Mikey" he'll eat anything in front of him. Great advice about pet blog giveaways.

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    1. Yea, Shiner is definitely not a picky eater herself. There's nothing wrong with liking your specific food Harley! Eat what you like, I say ;)

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  6. I love all the tips. Luckily enough my Charlie eats any dog food whether its hers or someone elses. Weirdly enough she does not like human food. Weird dog.

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  7. Great information, love the pictures. We tell our cat clients to start kittens out on eating canned food so that when they get older and you need them to eat canned food they are more apt to eat it if have had it before then it's not such a struggle to get them to eat.

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  8. Great post. I am a kibble addict, but Mum don't let me eat it except a little bit before bed time. I have to eat wet food, but she's careful and chose flavors I like the most. Pixie is less picky than me. Purrs, Zorro

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    1. Oh no Zorro! At least you can indulge yourself a little bit. I always thought cats loved wet food more, but have learned that's not always the case.

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  9. Fantastic post! I think some people figure animals will eat whatever you put in front of them, because they're just dogs or cats. I so disagree! This post is a perfect one to share with my family as they are sometimes clueless about this sort of thing.

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  10. Katie can be pretty picky about food and now as a senior, she often refuses to eat. Mom used to just let her go without eating, but these days, she mixes some wet food or a crushed treat with her main food to entice her to eat. Seniors deserve some extra love.

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  11. We're not overly picky about our food here, but we're darn picky about the times we like to be served!

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    1. Haha! That's another good point. Timing is everything! ;)

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  12. I have been pretty lucky. My cats are not terribly picky. That being said, they will not eat anything that is not chicken flavored (unless I happen to be eating it). Sometimes I intentionally eat things that I want to share with my cats to give their diet some variety. For example, occasionally I will eat some deli ham or beef (plain, no spices) and give pieces to my cats. It gets them to eat things other than just chicken! I see nothing wrong with spoiling your pet if it helps them to be healthier.

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    1. Well, that's funny! I am beginning to realize how much everyone's pets sound like children... I had to trick my human daughter last night to get her to eat her dinner too.

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  13. a grate post shiner & callie...all sew troo...N we loves de graffix with thiz post !! ☺

    pee ezz ta callie !!!! high paws N headbonx ...ow...two ewe...on ree fuzin..... BURD !!!!! ♥♥♥♥♥

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  14. These are great tips. We sometimes get picky about our foods and it really frustrates the mom.

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  15. Samantha can be a bit picky about her canned food...she pretty much likes salmon only, but I'd like her to have a bit more variety now and then!
    We've never really had a picky dog, but a friend of mine does, so I shared this with her.

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  16. Great tips! Most of my cats have the opposite problem, but I do add cooked chicken to the top of Lucy's canned food to get her started- she is 16.

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  17. Being a rather picky eater myself, I just can't blame pets when they're not thrilled with whatever bland, boring stuff they're served up. So I don't think it's "spoiling" them at all to add something more palatable to their food. I think it's just considerate! And let's face it, we want them to be healthy and that means they need to eat well.

    Thanks for sharing such great tips!

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  18. Cold canned food is not my cats' favorite, but they still eat it. I only have one "picky" cat, and by that I mean, she won't eat anything but her kibble (will not eat canned food nor people food). I hope the company doesn't go out of business! Nice tips!

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  19. We have picky eaters, and sometimes they just need a little variety! Or like you mentioned a little chicken on top! Even feeding raw, we rotate their proteins to add variety :)

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  20. Luckily no problem with picky eating here. But good tips. Have a terrific Tuesday.
    Best wishes Molly

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  21. Cats are notoriously picky eaters! Mom puts a few treats in the kibble sometimes just to get Rhette going! Love Dolly

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  22. Thank goodness I don't have a picky eater. Luna is happy to put just about anything in her mouth. These are great tips for picky eaters and just for adding variety!
    -Jessica from Beagles & Bargains

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  23. I just read this cos I’m a picky eater. TW used to leave Nicky’s food out 20 minutes and then pick it up. Same for Autumn. She lets me pick most of the day or I wouldn’t eat anything. I’ve been like this since I realized that I was gonna keep getting fed.

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  24. I didn't know that pets prefer heated foods. It would be nice if that was the problem my dog was having. I will probably try this first because it's quick and easy. Also, what kind of dog is that in the very first picture with the cats? It has the cutest squishy face I have ever seen!

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    1. I hope it works and that nothing serious is going on! I'd say the dog in that photo is a Brussels Griffon. Very cute little dogs :)

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