Tips and Tricks
- An animal who is hungry at mealtime is more likely to eat what is offered, so don’t use perpetually full bowls or feeders that allow 24/7 snacking. Individual feeding at timed meals will give you the best results, as well as allow you to assess how much your fussy companion is really eating – especially important in multi-animal households.
- Stick to a regular meal schedule, so she learns to anticipate food at those times.
- Never feed your dog or cat from the table; this only encourages “holding out” for something tastier.
- Try a different brand or flavor of food. The “novelty” effect may help stimulate her appetite.
- If feeding wet, raw or homemade food, warm it by adding a little hot water. Warmth increases the food’s odor, which stimulates appetite. (Never microwave pet food; it can create hot spots that will burn your animal’s mouth – which definitely won’t help!)
- Feed smaller amounts more frequently; this is especially helpful for cats, who naturally eat multiple small meals per day.
- Move the food bowl; it may be in a location that your dog or cat just doesn’t want to hang out in. Put it a good distance away from water bowls and, of course, litter boxes.
- Increase your companion’s exercise level; it will increase hunger.
- Top the food with plain meat baby food (chicken, turkey, lamb, ham) – just make sure it doesn’t contain onion or garlic powder.
- Mix lightly browned, unseasoned meat into the food, or use as a topping.
- Sprinkle grated or powdered cheese on top of the food.
- For wet, raw or homemade food, sprinkle a handful of your dog or cat’s favorite kibbles or treats on top. Or, crush the kibbles or treats into crumbs, make bitesized meatballs of the wet food, and roll the meatballs in the crumbs. Bear in mind that “bite-sized” for a cat or small dog is pretty darn tiny.
- Give treats only after your animal has eaten a good meal.
- Use “tough love”– if your dog or cat hasn’t eaten her meal in 10 or 15 minutes, pick it up and put it away, then offer the exact same food at the next mealtime.