Feeding treats and snacks between the meals can lead to a lack of appetite at mealtimes, as well as other problems such as begging. Keep food to mealtimes and your pet will stay healthier.
Here are a few other tips for a stress-free feeding time.
– Offer about two meals a day — some might prefer only one, and this is OK. Puppies will need meals more frequently.
– Don’t feed your pet at the table. Keep feeding times completely separate and try to keep your dog out of the room when you eat.
– If your dog begs, intermittent treats or occasional scraps fed from the table can encourage worse begging behaviour than doing it every day. Stop it altogether. If using treats as rewards for behaviour, substitute these with kind words, a cuddle, playing a game, giving a toy or a walk.
– Don’t feed out of guilt — keep food for mealtimes only.
– Food should always be offered in clean bowls alongside some water.
– Canned food should be allowed to come to room temperature, so it mimics the temperature of blood as closely as possible. A small amount should be given — don’t overfeed.
– Once you’ve put the food into their bowl then that’s your cue to leave. Don’t stand over your dog while he’s eating. Your observation of him makes him think he’s higher than you in the pecking order.
– Don’t encourage him to eat by hand-feeding him (unless he’s sick). By showing that you really want him to eat, you lower your position in the social order and encourage him to refuse the food more to gain status.
– If it helps, ritualize the feeding time by feeding at the same time, in the same bowl, in the same place, by the same person.
To help avoid your pet becoming a finicky eater, be mindful that feeding and mealtimes mean so much more to him than a simple food transaction!