What to do when your pet refuses to eat food or take medicine? It’s a problem 7 out of 10 pet owners face, yet hardly anyone ever tries to come up with a solution.
We have stated this several times on this site that pets are like small children. And they should be treated so. Think of how you deal with unruly children. Or some toddler refusing to drink milk. Deal with your pet the exact same way.
Or maybe not the exact same way as pets cannot verbally communicate.
Here are some great tips to help you out in your effort to deal with them.
Gone are the days when learning involved both reward and punishment. Now, it only involves rewards. It’s been observed that children react negatively to punishment, and so, it’s been done with.
Pets are more susceptible to negative emotions such as fear and intimidation than human children. So, never ever punish them for disobeying you or your command as that could trigger a permanent mental block for learning in them.
Some pet owners are so dumb and unfeeling that they beat their pets with a stick or lock them up when they refuse to knuckle under their order. This doesn’t solve the problem, rather exacerbates it. Remember, your pet is not the genie in the bottle and it’s not “your wish is my command” type of thing. Punishing animals is not a way of keeping them safe.
Making sure your pet behaves in the right manner is a challenge. And if you coerce it to toe in line, the challenge would never be met.
Give it rewards
Instead, give it all the incentives it needs. This would encourage it to eat the food on time and take the medicine, prescribed by a vet. Here’s a great article explaining the importance of positive reinforcement in training a dog.
Rewards beget positive reinforcement. Rewards are offered through training modules because these modules connect a certain behavior to a particular reward, in a way pets could understand. Rewards normally come in the form of food, but other forms of rewards, such as taking the pet outside or playing with it also work.
Owners give their pets all the attention they need, for free. If instead, they play or snuggle their pets only after they obediently swallow their medicine or eat their mill, a positive reinforcement loop would be created, benefiting both pets and their owners.
Sweetening the medicine
One reason pets, especially dogs and cats are so averse to taking medicine is that it tastes bitter. When the pills – whether tablets or liquid – are mixed with food or drink, the bitter taste is masked under the flavour of the food.
It may not be easy to get the pet taking medicine this way as dogs and cats have the sense of small, far sharper than us humans. They’d glower at the food after detecting the presence of the medicinal substance in it. So, blend the pill in pungent and strong-smelling food.
A mistake that some pet owners make has they let their pets see how they prepare the medication. At the core of this recklessness is the underlying assumption that pets are dumb. Guess what? An adult pig is more intelligent than a 3-year old. Pets are not dumb and if you want them to eat the medicine-laden food, don’t let them see how you prepare it.
Animals digest food very quickly compared to humans. But even then, they suffer from acidity and indigestion. They display weird behavior to reveal their physical comfort. One of those behavior is showing an unwillingness to eat. Owners often report pets aren’t interested in food when in reality, they are suffering from acid coming up in the esophagus.
Outdoor activities are a great antidote to acid reflux. The more your dog/cat jumps, plays, squat or run, the faster it digests food. Owners are strongly recommended to take their pets for a walk every day and never skip exercise.
Most dog owners do that, but not cat owners as felines prefer to stay inside. In that case, they could bring another cat at home. Two cats playing each other would mean physical activity. An active pet is one that gets hungry quite often and eats the meal given to it.
Serve its favorite food
How do you make a child lick the whole plate for the last remaining traces of food? Simple. By serving him his favorite food. Do the same for the pet. It’s no secret that cats love fish and dogs love meat. Pigs love marshmallows and sheeple love forbs.
These foods are healthy for them as well. So understand their dietary habits and preferences and serve them foods accordingly. This is how you can almost guarantee that they won’t pull a face at the food offered to them.
Having your pet eat its foods every day or take its medicine without making trouble is a bit of stretch. However, follow the tips given here in this article and it’ll be easy.