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A woman feeding dogs from bowls, a dog lying down, and another dog eating from a bowl.
Pet Blog

Is Your Pet Not Eating Their Food? Find Pet Food They Love

Is your dog or cat excited about their dinner? Or do they act a little bored when you serve their meal? Here’s how to know if your pet loves their food—and how to find a food they’ll love.

How to Tell if Your Pet Likes Their Food

You know how excited you get when you know you’re going to your favorite restaurant? From the anticipation to savoring your first bite to the satisfaction after you’re done, a good meal can make your day. Your pets can (and should, if you ask us) feel the same way about their meals!

First things first, you have to know how to tell whether your cat or dog is feeling excited or unenthusiastic about their food. The next time you’re preparing their meal, watch out for these signs:

Signs Your Pet Loves Their Food

  • They come running when it’s food time and wait by your feet while you serve their meal
  • They’re excited to approach their food—look for tail wagging from dogs and a happy, upright tail from cats
  • They start eating quickly and eagerly
  • They have relaxed body posture while eating
  • If they’re being fed an appropriate portion size, they should usually keep their head in the bowl, finish all the food in their bowl in one sitting with no fidgeting, and may lick the bowl clean
  • They seem satisfied after eating, licking their lips or getting a boost of energy

Signs Your Pet Isn’t Enjoying Their Food

  • They’re ambivalent or unexcited at mealtime and may need to be convinced to eat
  • They spend a long time sniffing their food and may be reluctant or unwilling to eat it
  • When they do start eating, they may pick at the food, be distracted, or leave it and come back later
  • They show signs of displeasure while eating, like tense body posture, ears tucked back, whining or plaintive meowing, or unhappy tail flailing and thumping from cats
  • They fail to clean their bowl, leaving sauce or even full bites of food behind
  • They would rather do other activities than eat and are easily distracted, preferring to play, beg for your food, or even fall asleep

How to Find a Pet Food Your Pet Loves

If your pet already loves their food, congratulations! But if they’re a little less than enthusiastic about their normal dinner, it might be worth it to make a change in their menu and see if you can make every meal a joyful part of their day.

First, rule out any potential health concerns. Make sure you’re not feeding your pet stale kibble that’s rancid or past its expiration date. Contact your veterinarian immediately if your pet has entirely stopped eating for more than a day or two. How long your pet can go without eating depends on their size and breed, but more than a couple of days can have permanent negative effects on their health, and loss of appetite can signal serious underlying health concerns.

Thankfully, most of us pet owners are simply faced with picky eaters and pets who are bored of their same old food. Adding something new to their menu might be all it takes to have them come running for their next lip-licking good dinner!

Switch Their Proteins

Just like people, pets have unique palates and their own food preferences—especially when it comes to proteins. Try swapping out chicken for beef in their dinner (or vice versa) or generate some flavor excitement by giving them a protein they haven’t tried before!

Your dog might start wagging for the aroma of hearty lamb and bison kibble or saucy venison stew. Your cat will feel like the best hunter in the house when they’re dining on silky rabbit pâté or savory salmon and trout kibble. Best of all: finding their favorite proteins means you can also get them treats you know they’ll love!

Change Food Textures

Some pets have a distinct preference for a particular texture of food. The meaty aroma of fresh, wet food is tempting to many pets and can stimulate their appetite! On the other hand, pets who are used to the crunch of kibble might not take too kindly to being switched to a wet formula. Even the difference between a chunky stew and a smooth pâté can make or break a food for your pet!

Use a Meal Topper

If your pet is craving something saucy, meaty, and fragrant but you’re not ready to fully switch their food, consider topping their normal dinner with a little something extra!

Whether you’re trying to stick with a particular dinner for the health benefits or the price point, a dollop of a cat or dog meal topper can make the whole bowl seem much more tempting. You can try using any wet food as a meal topper, and it’s a great way to stretch premium fresh foods across more servings.

Rotate Different Formulas

While some people could happily eat their favorite food for every meal, many of us appreciate a little variety in our diets—and your pet might feel the same! Keep mealtime fresh and exciting by rotating between different foods so that your pet is tasting new flavors every day. You can keep the logistics simple by grabbing a variety pack of pet food to make selecting an exciting new menu selection a no-brainer.

No matter how picky your pet is, there’s a food (or two) that will be perfect for them! The time you take to find the food that really brings your pet joy will show them just how much you care—and probably earn you an extra-long snuggle session.