The real score behind your pet’s finicky appetite

If you keep your pet active and happy by giving food, and yet your four-legged friend just sniffs it and walks away, your pet might be a picky eater. Most pets will eat everything without a moment’s hesitation, so it can be concerning why your dog or cat doesn’t show much enthusiasm during meal time.

As pet owners, you want to provide the best for your furry ones. The problem may be traced from the pet’s health or lifestyle, so a consultation from the most trusted vet is advised. To help determine the cause of your pet’s pickiness on food, the Pet Food Institute and the Veterinary Practitioners Association of the Philippines, through its Well Fed, Well Nurtured campaign, cite some contributing factors that make your pet a finicky eater.

An unhealthy body

Make sure that your pet is in good health. A sudden loss of appetite is a call for concern. Check if your pet drastically lost or gained amounts of weight and size. Occurrences of diarrhea or vomiting are indications that your furry friend should be immediately checked by the vet.

Observe if your pet is feeling any discomfort or pain that hinders them from eating their food. Let a veterinarian examine your pet’s mouth for sores, tumors, bad teeth or foreign objects.

Set feeding spot with clean food and water bowls

It is important that a pet have a quiet, clean designated place to eat and that a pet’s food and water bowls be clean. Just like people, pets want a clean, safe, calm regular place to eat. Pets can be disrupted from eating if there is a lot of action or noise around them. Food and water bowls should be washed regularly; lest they become a breeding ground for bacteria.

Spoiled food

As much as your pet wants to eat, the pet food you give them may be spoiled or out of date. Check the label if it is still within the recommended consuming dates. Your pet must eat healthy and balanced meals consistently. Changing the pet food flavor also adds variety to their meal and can stimulate the pet’s appetite, but it is best done gradually. For instance, you can mix small proportions of dry and wet food to boost flavor.

Bad habits

Another possible reason why the pet leaves the food untouched is irregular feeding routines. Your pet may acquire bad eating habits whenever you give him extra treats that are tastier and more interesting. Treats can serve many purposes, such as to strengthen the owner-pet bond, but it should be given in moderation. If overfed with treats, your pet will be encouraged to be finicky with his meals over time.

Make sure other members of the household are not sneaking in extra treats or foods that can adversely affect your pet’s health, most especially human food. Table scraps don’t have the adequate amount of nutrition that can affect a well-maintained diet and lead your pet to obesity. Pet treats, on the other hand, provide little nutrition and must not substitute proper pet food during meals. If your pet is introduced to this kind of feeding, it would only choose to eat treats and human food rather than nutritionally sound pet food. To discourage this bad habit, stick to daily recommended routine and avoid giving extra treats.

Giving verbal or physical encouragement during meal times can help your pet eat the right food at the right time. You can praise them or pat them on the head after finishing their food. Above all, veterinary guidance on proper feeding is the best source of information in keeping your pet in stable health.

Pet Food Institute encourages pet owners to provide nutritionally balanced pet foods that are also scientifically produced and safe for pets to enjoy. The Well Fed, Well Nurtured campaign of PFI and VPAP aims to bolster awareness on responsible pet ownership through expert guidance and proper nutrition. With the right time and the right attitude, your pet’s appetite should improve in no time.

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