A senior Labrador Retriever sitting on the lawn.

9 Tips and Tricks for Getting Your Senior Pet to Eat

What should you do if your pet stops eating? This is a common concern among pet parents, especially those with senior pets who may have lost their appetite due to illness or old age. In this article, we’ll discuss solutions for getting your senior pet to eat and share some tips for making mealtimes more enjoyable.

1. Warm Up Your Pet’s Food

Warming up your pet’s food can make it more appetizing by enhancing the smell and flavor. The easiest way to do this is by microwaving the food for a few seconds, but this can destroy some of the nutrients. A better option is to place the food in a sealable plastic bag and submerge it in a bowl of hot water. After just a few minutes, the food will be warm and ready for your pet to enjoy.

2. Experiment With New Flavors and Textures

Just like humans, pets can get bored of eating the same foods day after day. If your pet is no longer interested in their food, try mixing things up by experimenting with different flavors and textures. This can be as simple as adding a small amount of wet food to kibble or stirring in a little warm water to soften dry food. You can also add variety to your senior pet’s diet with rotation feeding. This involves alternating between different types of foods such as raw, dry, freeze-dried, and wet.

3. Add Food Toppers to Your Pet’s Regular Meals

If your pet is still refusing to eat their meals, you may want to try adding some tasty toppings. Many pet food companies offer ready-to-use food toppers made with ingredients like salmon, chicken, and vegetables. These can be a great option for finicky pets that need a little extra encouragement to eat. You could also try topping your pet’s food with healthy veggies or lean meats like boiled chicken breast, canned pumpkin, or mashed sweet potato.

4. Mix Some Bone Broth in with Their Food

Bone broth is a nutritious, all-natural liquid that can be added to your furry friend’s food. It’s rich in protein, collagen, glucosamine, chondroitin, and other beneficial nutrients that support your senior pet’s joints and overall health. Try mixing a little bone broth in with your pet’s regular food to make it more appetizing and nutritious. Most pets love the taste of bone broth, but if you’re dealing with a picky eater, try warming it up before adding it to their food.

5. Feed More Frequent, Smaller Meals

If your pet is having trouble finishing their food, consider feeding more frequent, smaller meals. This will not only make mealtimes less daunting, but it will also reduce strain on your pet’s gastrointestinal system and help prevent digestive problems. Start by feeding your pet three or four small meals per day instead of one or two large meals and make adjustments as needed.

6. Provide Plenty of Fresh Water

It’s important to keep your pet well-hydrated, especially if they’re not eating as much as they should be. Place bowls of fresh, clean water around your home to encourage your pet to drink. You might also want to consider investing in a water fountain, as many pets prefer drinking running water. In addition, try mixing a little water in with your pet’s food to help them stay hydrated.

7. Cut Down on Treats and Table Scraps

If your pet isn’t eating their regular food, it’s a good idea to cut back on treats and table scraps. Your pet needs to eat a nutritious, balanced diet, and too much snacking can be bad for their health. If your pet is used to getting treats, you may need to wean them off these gradually instead of cutting them out completely all at once.

8. Heap on the Praise

One of the best ways to get your senior pet to eat is by praising and encouraging them. This can be as simple as saying “good boy” or “good girl” when they finish their meal or giving them a special treat for being a good eater. Whatever you do, make sure you show your pet that you’re happy with their effort – even if they only eat a little bit.

9. Visit Your Veterinarian

If you’ve tried all of the tips listed above and your pet is still not eating, it’s time to seek professional help. Refusing to eat can be a sign of underlying health problems like dental disease, gastrointestinal issues, or more serious conditions like kidney disease or cancer. Your veterinarian will examine your pet physically and run some tests to determine the root of the problem. They will then recommend a course of treatment to help get your pet back on track.

Wrapping Up

The tips and tricks listed in this article are a great place to start if your senior pet is not eating well. Remember, it’s always best to consult with your veterinarian if you’re concerned about your pet’s health. They will be able to provide personalized advice and treatment that’s specific to your furry friend’s needs.