November is a month with a holiday that is very meal focused in the United States – Thanksgiving! It is easy for us to sit down and cram our faces with food on this family and food-centric holiday, but sometimes our pets don’t share our same zest for feasts, especially as they age.
As a continuation of the post from last month, we are exploring the additional ways in which you can get your dog to eat. Now on to number 5 in our list:
#5 - Ignore Your Pet
On the flip side of talking to your pet, some pets do better if they don’t receive any attention while eating. This can be hard to do if you have more than one pet and you need to monitor so they don’t eat each other’s food. It is worth a try to separate pets and try to isolate the pet who is being finicky. Once they are free from distraction or competition it may be the magic trick that rouses them to eventually dive into that dish!
#6 – Food Can Be a Game
Have you ever heard of food puzzles? Puzzles are a great way to make meal time or snack time more interesting for your pet. A quick search on Amazon reveals all kinds of fun inventions to make treats and meals more exciting. Food puzzles can help serve that hunting instinct that domestic animals don’t have to use daily, but definitely still enjoy. Food puzzles can also slow down animals who woof down their food, which can cause dangerous bloat and other issues.
#7 – Experiment and Make Adjustments
Sometimes pets eat less in the mornings, or in the warmer months. Aging can play a factor as well. Sometimes they prefer to eat inside vs. outside or vice versa. Sometimes they prefer to eat after a walk after their appetite builds, rather than before it. Maybe their food dish is too low, and they’d appreciate a raised food or water bowl for easier access. Perhaps they aren’t thrilled with the kibble they are eating – maybe it is time to change brands or switch to a senior formula. Maybe a meal once a day with treats throughout is better than two meals per day. My point is, sometimes pets need change. It is good to experiment and make adjustments to see what works for them.
So there you have it – a solid list of ways you can entice your dog to eat. I’ll never forget the client I had whose dog was knocking on deaths door (I woke up every single day of that week-long pet sit thinking I’d find the dog had died). The dog waited another month until after I was done with my stay, but still, it was difficult to see a dog so frail and an owner who couldn’t quite let go (hey, I get it, I’ve been there too). The dog was at the point where it wouldn’t eat so the owner had everything from tortillas, to spam, to cheese, to homemade dog food and everything in between to try to get the dog to eat. It worked but it wasn’t easy. I hope this post helps you and your dog!