Think of your favorite meal. Now think of what it might be like if you had to eat that meal and only that meal every day for the rest of your life. Still sound good? People have the luxury of enjoying meals that match their ever-changing tastes, but what about cats and dogs? Can they get bored with the same kibble day in and day out? It's a question about which we'll never truly know the answer, but sometimes you can't help but wonder: Do dogs and cats get tired of eating the same thing every day?
What do pets need?
When it comes down to it from a nutritional standpoint, dogs and cats need only six things to survive: water, vitamins, minerals, protein, carbs, and fats, says VCA Hospitals. Commercial dog and cat foods are formulated to meet these nutritional requirements, which makes large bags of dry kibble a convenient option for feeding pets.
While we may know what pets need, what about what pets want? According to the American Kennel Club, dogs are able to classify flavors by sweet, salty, sour, and bitter, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're picky about their food. In fact, compared to the 9,000 taste buds people have to help them choose their favorite foods, dogs only have around 1,700, and among them is a certain taste for water, unlike us. That said, most pets have a certain flavored snack or texture of food that they prefer, which makes it safe to assume that they do want certain items more than others.
Do pets get tired of eating the same food?
The answer to this question will depend on your pet. While many pets are happy to scarf down whatever is put in front of them, Chewy notes that, unlike dogs, cats tend to be pickier eaters and may dismiss their meals because they get bored with the same tastes and textures every day. If possible, it's recommended that you feed your cat a variety of food from an early age, which will hopefully prevent a finicky eater later in life. You can do this by trying different types of wet cat food or mixing cat food brands to get an idea of which flavors and textures she prefers.
Sometimes, it may not necessarily be food that is causing your pet's boredom. She may just be bored in general or have another underlying issue that's causing her to turn her nose up at her food bowl. An understimulated cat will sometimes refuse her food if she's bored or stressed, and oftentimes, dogs will refuse meals if they're allergic to a certain ingredient found within it. If you notice these behaviors, consider the circumstance and make the needed changes when possible. As always, consult your veterinarian if the issue is ongoing.
How to change food
It's often said that changing up a dog's food will only result in a sick dog, and in many cases, that can be true. As PetPlace states, sudden changes to a dog's diet can disrupt his gastrointestinal flora, which can lead to side effects like diarrhea or vomiting. That's not to say that your pet's diet can't be changed, but if you are going to make a switch, it's advised that you do so gradually over time. To safely adjust your dog or cat's diet, start by adding a small amount of new food to his old food, and slowly adjust the ratio of the two until the new food outweighs the old. It is generally recommended to do this over the course of a week, but be sure to keep an eye on your pet to see if he needs to move slower or faster.
If you're not looking to make a permanent change to your pet's diet but just want to offer him a little variety, petMD recommends implementing a rotation feeding technique. By offering a different type of food every so often, your dog or cat will get to enjoy different textures and flavors while having his dietary needs met and possibly receive a more balanced intake of nutrition. Because every brand of food contains a different percentage of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, rotating his food every so often may offer a more complete diet.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.