Guelph, ON (CNW) Are picky eaters born or made?  Pets want to eat and they have a strong drive to do so.  However, there can be several reasons your pet may turn its nose up at dinner, and its overall behaviour around the food bowl may give us clues about the underlying reason.

Is your pet not finishing everything in the bowl?  It may be that too much food is being offered.  Cats and small dogs in particular eat a very small number of daily calories compared to humans. Ask your veterinarian to help determine an appropriate feeding amount for your pet.  Remember that calorie content can vary dramatically between different diets.  Measuring, or ideally weighing, daily feeding amounts will help your pet maintain a healthy weight.

Does your pet love treats and extras?  Eating too many snacks will make him/her less hungry when it comes time for meals.  Additionally, if your pet comes to expect a tasty top-dressing on its food, he/she may wait for this before eating.  Filling up on treats and extras may also make your pet less likely to eat its regular diet.  Ensure no more than 10 per cent of its daily calories come from treats.

Does your pet lose interest in the bottom half of the bag of food?  Once a bag of food is opened, exposure to air will make kibble stale over time.  Ensure that the food is stored in the bag in which it was packaged and if possible put the entire bag in a sealable container protected from extreme temperatures.  Ideally, a bag of kibble should last one month and not longer.  Canned food should be consumed within three days of opening, kept covered, and refrigerated.  Uneaten canned food that has been served to your pet should be discarded after 20-30 minutes.

Does your pet drop its food?  If your pet seems reluctant to pick up or chew its food or is dropping it from its mouth, the cause could be a sore tooth or other oral health issues.  Your veterinarian can check your pet’s teeth and mouth for any concerns.

Is your pet eating less than he/she used to?  If your pet’s appetite has decreased or he/she has refused more than one diet, it could be a sign of a change in your pet’s health – a visit to the veterinary team is worthwhile!

SOURCE Canadian Animal Health Institute

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