We’ve all been there. You’ve just put together a top-notch meal with all the nutrients and good stuff your pet needs – and they turn their nose up at it. You even topped it with their favorite treats, and they still won’t budge.
Maybe your cat only likes a specific type of food, or your dog turns up its nose at anything that is not meat. While it can be frustrating to deal with a pet that’s a picky eater – trust us, we’ve been there – there are some things you can do to turn that picky pet around.
If you’re a regular traveler, having a picky pet at mealtime can be stressful for you and your pet. For regular travelers, boarding your pet is often necessary. To reduce your anxiety and make the most of the experience for your pet, creating and communicating a clear game plan will help your pet thrive while boarding.
Let us show you a few things about what makes a pet picky eater and how you can battle the most common pitfalls to provide the support your pet needs while you’re away.
What Makes a Pet Picky?
Even if your pet eats just about anything at home, it is common for pets to behave differently when they’re in the care of someone else. There are countless reasons your pet might become a picky eater when they’re spending a few nights away from home, but one primary reason is that being away has changed their routine from their norm.
For your pet, meals are likely served every morning and night, at nearly precisely the same time, in the same way. This regimen is very regulated and controlled. As a result, your pet trusts you to provide them with food, water, and love. The routine allows them to rely on you for what they want and need. Your predictability brings them closer to you. They know they’re safe, and you have their back. When you’re not there, their anxiety is heightened, and they may not feel relaxed or safe enough to eat.
Another factor that can impact your pet’s responsiveness to food is the ability to recognize the food presented to them as theirs. If you have a very regulated routine at home, and your pet does not eat without a particular command or bowl, they might not feel comfortable doing so without the same conditions in place.
Picky Cats vs. Picky Dogs
Many people might conclude that cats are far less picky than dogs. The instructions for boarding are often less lengthy, and people seem to be less anxious about boarding their feline friends. However, cats can be just as fussy as their canine counterparts.
Cats commonly get nervous while boarding. On some occasions, cats have refused to eat at the beginning of their stay due to anxiety. Cats can also be fussy about their water supply. For example, some cats only drink from human drinking glasses because they associate that source with their human caretaker. Though cats might seem aloof, they are not usually as adaptable to change as dogs are, which can cause heightened anxiety.
How Does Kennel Club LAX Support Picky Eaters?
Kennel Club LAX has some tips and tricks to take care of tricky eaters that have been successful over the years. We combine our expertise with your inside knowledge to ensure your pet is comfortable while boarding and well taken care of during their stay with us.
First, we try the fundamental approaches to handling a picky pet. You bring your pet’s food of choice, and we work through the feeding routine you have in place at home. It’s not uncommon for pets to reject their food initially; the heightened anxiety from a new setting might make their mild distaste for particular food even more robust.
Second, we try to replicate the routine from home as closely as possible. Let us know how the home routine usually works and we’ll try to accommodate it.
Third, if your pet routinely refuses, we communicate with you on your preferred next steps. Often those next steps include:
- Kibble to wet food and vice-versa
- Different eating setups
- Other food options that you suggest
We communicate every step of the way and follow your lead when it comes to caring for your pet. We’re willing to try whatever it takes to ensure your pet is eating right and that they’re comfortable while doing so.
Extra Measures to Handle a Picky Pet
Sometimes, the most straightforward methods fail when trying to help the pickiest of eaters. We keep alternatives on hand at all times to try and encourage their appetite.
For dogs, we keep special treats available to wake up their hunger. We’ll try swapping from one ingredient to another for a dog who simply rejects kibble or wet food.
- Peanut Butter
- Brown rice
For cats, there are similar food alternatives that we provide. We keep tuna, various kinds of wet and dry food, and tube-style treats to try and stimulate their hunger.
For those who simply refuse to eat, we even keep varieties of baby food on hand just to try and encourage them to eat on a regular schedule to make their stay with us as low-impact as possible.
Communication is Key at Kennel Club LAX
Your pet is a member of your family, and it’s our job to ensure their stay with us is welcoming and thoughtful. You must be kept up to speed every step of the way if your pets refuse to eat.
Excellent service sets us apart from other kennels – we’re willing to do what is necessary to provide your pet with the comfort they are used to at home. Need us to feed your pet with a paper plate or a porcelain bowl? No problem; we can help get your pet exactly what they need.
Sometimes, pets aren’t picky by choice; they might have dietary restrictions, allergies, or health concerns that require additional support to make eating comfortable and pain-free. Leaving them while you go out of town can be an overwhelming experience, and we can take the weight off your shoulders and the stress away from their experience.
We have experience with many different care levels. For example, pets have boarded with us having no teeth or severe dental issues, and the solution to destress when they reject food is simple – we’ll switch to wet food or baby food on your lead. Whatever it takes to make sure your pet can get the nutrition they need without any additional discomfort is what we do best.
We know all about pet allergies, as well. Often, we prepare chicken and brown rice to accommodate extra-picky dogs. Let us know what kinds of medical conditions your pet may have, and we will accommodate those needs and ensure your pet gets the treatment they need.
Feel Confident Boarding Your Picky Eater at Kennel Club LAX
If you’re traveling out of LAX, our Kennel Club is designed to provide you and your pet with the peace of mind you need. No matter how picky an eater your pet is, we ensure your family member gets the care and attention they need to be as comfortable as possible while you’re away.
Interested in booking a stay with us? Reserve your pet’s spot today!