Refusal To Eat

"My dog loves his food one day and refuses to eat it the next day." "My cat gives new meaning to the term 'finicky eater.'"

The food refusal these pet owners are describing is usually the result of feeding habits owners have helped their pets establish. If you have a problem eater in your house, chances are you might be the cause of the problem.

Before discussing how problem eaters are created, a word of caution. Sometimes refusal to eat is a sign of illness. If your pet is normally not picky about its food and if you have avoided creating "problem eater" habits, a trip to your veterinarian may be in order. Know your pet. Know what is normal for it in terms of eating habits, behavior and appearance. Any deviation from its normal habits may be a sign of illness.

Perhaps one of the most common reasons pets refuse to eat results from the misconception that pets need as much variety in their diets as humans do. Some pet owners forget that humans require a variety of foods to ensure the consumption of nutritionally balanced meals. A quality pet food has the proper balance of all the nutrients a pet requires together with a high level of palatability. Offering variety in pet foods encourages a pet to become a "holdout" to see what it will be offered next. When you find a nutritionally complete and balanced diet your pet enjoys, stay with it.

An indulgent family member rather than the pet may be the problem. By feeding human treats and food from the table, your pet 's hunger is satisfied with all this "good stuff" and it either refuses to eat or nibbles only a few bites of the food it should be eating.

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