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Expert Advice on Pet Health and Nutrition

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WebMD Expert Discussion: Is Your Dog or Cat a Picky Eater?

Do you have a cat or dog that's a picky eater? Many dogs and cats are fussy about their food, but most of the time, it’s not just a personality trait. Instead, it may be a sign of something amiss, says WebMD guest veterinarian Will Draper, DVM, in the WebMD Pet Health Community.

If your pet has become fussy about food, the most likely culprit is -- you. Dogs and cats who often get table scraps and other “people food” often learn to prefer it over their own food. If you’re sneaking Fido or Fluffy a bite of burger under the table, don’t be surprised when they turn up their nose at the food you’re putting in their dish.

Although pet owners may feel that human food is a treat for their dog or cat, in fact, it can put an animal’s health at risk, Draper says. They should eat a consistent diet of premium cat or dog food. And although variety may be the spice of life for humans, it can be counterproductive for cats and dogs, so feed them the same food on a consistent schedule. Give “treats” made for cats or dogs only as a reward for good behavior.

If you’re doing all this and your pet still refuses their food, it could be a medical problem, Draper says. Pets who insist on moist or wet food instead of dry may have dental issues. They may also be telling you that their food is spoiled.

Have you ever had a cat or dog that's a fussy eater? What did you do? Tell others in the WebMD Pet Health Community about your picky eater pets.

Discussion led by William Draper, DVM Guest Expert
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Dr. Will opened Georgia’s first accredited small animal emergency room in 2000. He’s been named Best Vet by Atlanta Magazine since 2004... More

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Pet Health and Nutrition Advice

Veterinarian Will Draper gives tips on the best nutrition and health care for your dog or cat.
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