Has your pet been turning up their nose at their food bowl? Fear not, we have some tips to help you whet their appetite. But before we get started, let’s cover some basics.
How often should I feed my pet?
- Puppies and kittens (0-6 months): 2 to 3 times daily
- Adult cats and dogs (6+ months): 1 or 2 times daily
First things first
Is loss of appetite recent or unexpected? If the answer is ‘Yes’, see a vet to rule out any illness.
The power of habit
This method works often and should take a relatively short time for your furry friend to settle into.
Place their food bowl on the floor and use soothing words to encourage them to start eating. Leave the room for 10-15 minutes and, when returning, remove the bowl until their next feeding time. This method is about repetition and association – two things that should help your pet form a healthy eating habit.
If they’re reluctant to eat at first, try feeding them off your hand and let them continue on their own.
Still a fussy eater?
- Be consistent with mealtimes. Feed small meals at regular times and stick to a routine.
- Many cats prefer to eat alone. If you have several pets, feeding them separately may help.
- Limit treats to 3 or 4 times per week and only offer them as a reward (pawing at you looking all cute doesn’t count!)
- Try warming up their food slightly. This will make it more appetising (in fact, food cold from the fridge is a no-no for most cats!).
- Food left out on the bowl will end up drying up, so it's always best to feed the right amount.
- Both cats and dogs will instinctively prefer a diet high in meat and low in grains.
- Cats will often refuse food if their bowl is dirty. Always serve food on a clean bowl.
If none of the above works, you could try switching to a new food. Choose natural ingredients whenever possible and a formula that is high in meat (for extra palatability). Our own fussy eaters love these:
- Canine Choice
- Feline Choice
- Lily's Kitchen
- Purina Pro Plan Small & Mini Adult
- Royal Canin Aroma Exigent for Cats
When introducing your pet to a new food, do it gradually by mixing it with the old food over a period of about a week (add more of the new food and less of the old one every couple of days). After that, you can switch to the new food completely.
We also recommend seeking advice from your vet before starting your pet on any veterinary diet food.