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How To Encourage Your Dog or Cat To Eat Natural Homemade Pet Food

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Sometimes when you begin feeding wholesome homemade pet food, your dog or cat will not accept it right away. There can be a few reasons for this. The dog or cat may be addicted to the ingredients used in commercial pet foods and sometimes the pet appears to be stubborn.

The good news is that my experience has shown that about 90% of dogs and cats immediately eat wholesome homemade pet food with no questions asked. About 8% require some encouragement and about 2% are difficult cases.

How to encourage your pet to eat wholesome homemade pet foodSomething of interest that I am also noticing now is that more and more pets simply refuse to eat commercial pet food. This refusal to eat is not just happening in North America or western countries.

I remember when I was contacted by a person in Malaysia whose cats were not keen on eating commercially prepared pet food. Many dogs and cats, just like the cats in Malaysia, are thankful when you begin feeding good, wholesome homemade pet food.

Don't be surprised if the look given by your carnivore friend is an expression of, Well, it's about time you fed me some good, wholesome homemade raw meat!.

I always tell people to find out where the limits are and start from there. But, the last thing we want to do is put your cat or dog under any stress. I repeat, the last thing we want to do is put your dog or cat under any stress. If you create stress, then you will create tension between you and your pets.

The best way to reduce stress or a conflict between us and our dogs is to be the dominant leader in the house. Not through yelling or threats, but through silence — silence is, after all, more powerful than words. Ultimately, it's your energy that makes you the dominant leader of the house. Although cats don't follow a leader the same way dogs do, the reality is that your energy will still affect how cats respond to the food just as dogs do.

When we feed, we want to feed with a calm and positive sense of being. This calmness then reduces conflict with our pets. Instead of forcing the food on our pets, we essentially calmly introduce the new foods to our pets. If we create or assume there will be problems, in our mind, even before we begin to feed the wholesome raw meat diet, then of course your pets will respond in that way — calm, positive energy is what we want to create.

So when it comes to feeding, the limit where we should all start from is simply feeding a 100% fresh, wholesome raw meat diet. As stated, most pets do accept homemade food immediately, but if they don't, then do not force the new food on them because this accomplishes nothing — and then not only is your pet stressed but so are you!

Forcing food on a pet is no different than the human who literally pulls their dog on the leash — this accomplishes nothing.

Why make things difficult? Why make things stressful?

Relax! Breathe!

If your dog or cat will not eat the wholesome homemade pet food immediately, then we need to encourage them. We now work backwards, so to speak, to see where the individual limit of your dog or cat is.

For some dogs, we may simply need to put some honey, maple syrup, or a little cheese on the food. For our feline friends, it may be that we just need to sprinkle the food with some catnip (catnip, by the way, is used as a herbal remedy in many situations including upset stomachs and as an antispasmodic).

Other choices for encouraging your dog or cat to accept homemade food include adding in some of their old food. Maybe you need to start off with a 50/50 mixture, maybe a 99/1 mixture, maybe only a 1/99 mixture, or any other combination of old food to new food. Honestly, I can't tell you what you will need to do as every dog and cat is an individual to say the least.

In other instances, it may be important to notice if:

  • Your pet prefers to eat while you're eating or not while you're eating.
  • Your pet may want to eat by itself or it may prefer to eat near your other pets.
  • Your pet may need to be stroked to get them to eat while with others you may have to get them excited in other ways such as pretending to eat their food. I've pretended to the food before and it works with some pets because carnivores are naturally protective of their food. What better way to protect their food than to eat it! Just remember to say yum, yum, yum while pretending to eat their food.

What's important is to remember that if your pet does not accept the new food with no strings attached, then you will need to encourage them. Work with your dog or cat, not against him or her.

Be a negotiator, listen to the needs of your pets. However, always remember that every day you want to get just a little bit closer to 100% fresh food.

It does not matter how long it takes to get to the point where you are feeding only 100% wholesome homemade pet food, as long as you get there. It could take as little as one day or as long as one year to get your pet to only eat wholesome homemade pet food.

I sometimes find that a cat or dog may want to eat homemade pet food, but the human (that would be you) is slow to provide 100% wholesome food and continues to feed some commercial pet foods.

Oh, I hear all of the silly excuses people give for not simply feeding a 100% fresh raw meat diet!

Always remember, if your pet wants the food, then why not give it to them! In this case it is not the pet that needs encouragement, it's the human (that would be you again!)

The purer the foods, the more pure your pet. With all the talk now of the preservatives, additives, fillers, tainted pet foods, toxic pet foods, low and poor quality ingredient used in many commercially prepared pet foods, it only seems appropriate we do the best for our animal friends. Therefore, don't be nervous.

There are a million and one reasons why not to feed wholesome homemade pet food or to introduce the food slowly, but if your pet wants wholesome food, you only need one reason to feed a 100% raw meat diet — love for your pet.

To get to the point where you are feeding only homemade food, you may need to be creative.

Perhaps you will find that you may need to reduce the vegetables permanently or for a while until your dog or cat accepts them — you might also find that you need to eliminate the vegetables permanently or for a while until your dog or cat accepts them. Your dog or cat may also only eat certain meats or vegetables. Conversely, maybe your pet will not care what meat or vegetables are fed. The only one that knows for sure is your pet.

Cats can sometimes have weird preferencesYou just never know what one dog or cat will prefer to the next. For example, I've heard of cats that will only eat their food if it contains broccoli. Strange, don't you think?

Well, if that's strange, consider this. I've heard of another cat that likes to eat chia sprouts. I can only assume that because chia sprouts are high in enzymes and nutrients, the the cat enjoyed the sprouts as they probably aided digestion. Basically my point is, don't fall prey to stereotypes. Each cat and dog is unique.

Stubborn Pets = Stubborn Humans:

In all my years of feeding fresh, wholesome homemade pet foods, I have yet to meet a stubborn pet, only stubborn humans.

If your pet is being stubborn and not wanting to eat 100% fresh, wholesome foods, then step back and take a look at yourself. Chances are that you are the one being stubborn. Chances are you are forcing your pet to eat a wholesome natural homemade diet when your pet may not be totally ready.

Homemade food should be fed always with love. Without love, then the homemade diet is missing the most important ingredient of all.

If you are feeding your pet and creating stress then you are doing the opposite of what should be done — feed with love always.

So if you are one of those stubborn humans who pets are trying to send you the message of relax by refusing to eat their food, then listen to your pet and relax.

Over the years people have contacted me and told me that their pet simply refuses to eat their new, wholesome food. Immediately when this happens, I know that I am dealing with a stubborn human and so I tell them to relax. Next I let them know that I have taken pets who refused to eat a natural diet and within 1 week, I've had them eating a 100% homemade diet quite easily.

So if you are a stubborn human whose pet is refusing to eat their new homemade food, then here's what you need to do:

Day 1: Feed 99% old food, 1% raw meat.

Day 2: Feed 95% old food, 5% raw meat.

Day 3: Feed 90% old food, 10% raw meat.

Day 4: Feed 75% old food, 25% raw meat.

Day 5: Feed 65% old food, 35% raw meat.

Day 6: Feed 50% old food, 50% raw meat.

Day 7: Feed 40% old food, 60% raw meat.

Day 8: Feed 30% old food, 70% raw meat.

Day 9: Feed 20% old food, 80% raw meat.

Day 10: Feed 10% old food, 90% raw meat.

Day 11: Feed 100% raw meat.

Once your pet is eating 100% raw meat, now you slowly introduce some vegetables in the same way or you may decide not to introduce vegetables at all at this point if you are feeding a cat.

You may find that your pet will welcome more raw meat faster than the chart above and if that happens, give the amount of raw meat that your pet will accept.

This whole method is designed to simply let your pet get used to the smell, texture and taste of the raw meat without putting your pet under any stress. By starting with 1% raw meat, it's a nice and gentle introduction that doesn't stress your pet.

Of course, if your pet is willing to accept 100% wholesome foods at day 1, then no need to use this chart. This chart is only meant for stubborn humans whose pets are refusing to eat the new food in order to send you (the human) a message — that message being to relax!

If you are a stubborn human and if your pet were a doctor, then your pet would definitely suggest you take a chill pill!!

Have fun, relax — and be your pet's loving friend.

Some Reminders

Try not to use items like canned tuna or salmon. These items are high in salt and your dog or cat can become addicted to these foods, and never never feed chocolate to your dog or cat. Chocolate is poisonous to them and the smallest amount can kill them. Don't take the chance.

It's true that some pets can eat a whole chocolate bar and be supposedly fine, but why take the chance when the smallest amount can kill them.

If you're feeding your pet chocolate then you will need the professional help of a qualified veterinarian to help your pet come off the chocolate to prevent withdrawal symptoms.

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