Your pet will first choose a food based on smell and taste but don’t underestimate the importance of how the food “feels” to your pet. And no, they are not running their paws over it…they will move it around in their mouth to get a sense of its texture.
As with smell and taste, pets must be exposed to different food textures when they are young in order to prevent them from becoming finicky or particular to only one type of food.
For dry food, factors such as the size and shape of the kibble and the force required to break a kibble are important. For canned food, the overall consistency—whether it is smooth or chunky—are the key players. Some pets are also picky about the temperature of food.
So if you have a picky eater, don’t necessarily give up on the high quality natural pet food you have chosen. First try heating it up a bit (especially for cats) or if it is a chunky canned food try mashing it a bit more or even putting it in the blender to puree it. If it is very dry crunchy kibble you might add a little water to soften it up a bit.
There you have it….the senses of smell, taste, sight, and touch are all involved in your pets preference for food. If they have very astute hearing, they may even hear you coming to the food bowl with something tasty from a mile away! And if your pet just stands and looks at their food without eating it….perhaps they have the sixth sense of ESP that there are better choices out there and they want something different!