Finicky Dog? Try a Little Cat food!

Some of us have dogs who are finicky eaters. This distinguishes them dramatically from other of our dogs, who view everything and anything as edible that is on the ground, a counter, in a child’s hand, on our unattended dinner plates or in a guest’s handbag. But those Picky Eaters can break a Mom’s heart because food equals love — which means, in essence, that our love is being rejected along with the food that seems to bore them. And it makes us sad feeling that our Fussy Feeders are going through the whole day on an empty stomach.

There can be different reasons that dogs don’t have a hearty appetite, and certainly any dramatic change in a dog’s appetite is reason to take her into the veterinarian to rule out any medical reason for her inappetance. However, there are dogs who simply never were the proverbial “chow hound” and others whose appetite wanes as they get older. I have one of those: Jazzy is twelve years old and suffers from crippling arthritis. Getting up to eat is a big effort and food just doesn’t ring her bell. I dress up her Halo kibble with bits of meat, chicken or cottage cheese but she often seems to shrug her shoulders as if to say, “Just not worth the trouble of chewing.” At times like those I have to stand guard while she decides whether or not to eat, since my two-year-old Weimaraner Maisie is a whopping 80 lbs. and is ready to add a few more by gobbling up anything Jazzy ignores.

dog at cat dish, cat looking up But then I made a startling discovery: dry (or canned) cat food has more odor than dog food (because cats are even more driven by their sense of smell than dogs are) and a sprinkling of it on Jazzy’s dinner had her cleaning her dish! I had a little Vigor dry cat food, which Halo had sent me sample packets of to put in the VIP doggy swag bags for the upcoming Pooch Party of the Dog Film Festival (of which Halo is a major sponsor). One of the packets had opened and I was curious whether it would interest Jazzy, since dogs often try to steal cat’s food. I knew the Vigor line of foods is made with some over-the-top premium ingredients, which could only be good for a dog who was eating so little and often without enthusiasm. Boy oh boy, did she go nuts for it! She licked my hand for any crumbs that might have been left over and has been burying her snout in her bowl ever since I bought a small bag of Vigor and begun sprinkling a small handful on her dinner to stimulate her appetite and prime her desire to eat. I guess you could also use the small pieces of kibble as aromatic training treats, but for now it’s Jazzy’s appetizer — and we’re both happy now that she makes a “happy plate” and licks it clean.

—Tracie Hotchner
(Have a comment? Share it on Facebook.)

photo credit: Lucas and Maisie via photopin (license)
Halo is a sponsor on Radio Pet Lady Network, by our invitation.