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How to Help Your Picky Pet Eat

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With so many palatable foods on the market, selective eating among pets isn’t as common anymore. But if your pet consistently turns down a meal, you likely have a picky eater on your hands. While certain pets may have digestive issues that narrow their diet, other pets simply have different tastes that may make it harder to determine what they will eat. It may take some trial and error to find a food that your pet enjoys, but fortunately, there are a few ways to make the process easier. Our veterinarians at Blue Lake Animal Hospital offer a few tips to help a picky pet eat.

Determine What’s Causing Your Pet’s Picky Eating

Before making any changes to your pet’s diet, it’s important to confirm that your pet’s selective eating isn’t actually caused by a health problem. Chronic illnesses, such as IBS or a kidney problem, can cause appetite loss and difficulty eating. A stressed-out animal may also be less likely to eat. For instance, if you recently adopted an animal, it may take some time to adjust to its new environment. Talk to our veterinarians about the symptoms your pet has so we can rule out a health issue instead of a behavioral problem. 

Establish Strict Eating Times

If your pet’s picky eating is habitual and not health-related, there are a few ways to encourage them to eat better. One method involves limiting how long food is left out. For instance, after offering food in the morning, leave it for no longer than a half hour, and then store whatever wasn’t eaten until the next mealtime. By limiting how long the food is offered, you teach your pet that food is going to be available at a specific time of the day, and that’s when it’s time to eat. 

Keep Treats to a Minimum

A common mistake that pet owners make is feeding their pet too many treats. When your pet receives food throughout the day rather than at designated times, it will likely feel satiated and probably won’t be hungry for breakfast or dinner. Treats are filled with calories and may also contribute to weight gain, so moderation is best for your furry friend. 

Choose Fresh, Nutrient-Dense Food

Certain dog breeds, such as the Siberian Husky or Toy Poodle, are notorious for being picky eaters. Cats are also known to be selective about food, so if you have a pet with such a temperament, don’t panic. Be more careful about the kind of food you provide and avoid overwhelming your pet with different flavors. Limit treats and table scraps, and choose nutrient-dense foods to support a shiny coat, strong muscles and energy levels. You may also choose to measure out the food based on your pet’s weight, which our veterinarians can help you with.  

Talk to Our Veterinarians

Getting a picky pet to eat can be challenging, but with our veterinarians there to help, you can ensure your pet gets the nutrients it needs to live happily and healthfully. Blue Lake Animal Hospital provides nutritional guidance for cats, dogs, pocket pets, and more. For more information, call us today to schedule an appointment with our knowledgeable veterinary team. 

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