Just like us, every pet has individual preferences for flavours, aromas and textures. This can sometimes present challenges when striving to introduce variety into your pet's diet. Don't assume that simply because your pet likes something that it's nutritious -- often the opposite is true -- allowing your pet to dictate their diet based on preference is akin to allowing a 3 year old to choose their favourite diet of french fries and ice cream.
Here are a couple quick tips for encouraging your pet to eat:
DO NOT Free-Feed (and Don't Over-Feed)
A good appetite is the best motivator. Allowing your pet to graze at an ever-available buffet won't stimulate appetite. Chances are, if your pet is healthy and not underweight, they're simply not hungry. It's okay to let a healthy dog skip a meal or two in order to build an appetite. Cats however, should not be withheld food for more than 24 hours.
Reduce the size of their meals
Often, simply reducing the amount of food you offer at mealtimes will stimulate a healthy appetite, and with that less resistance to trying new foods. You can start with a 25%-30% reduction in the meal portions.
Offer a variety of foods and textures
Rotating between numerous different foods will prevent boredom (wouldn't you get tired of the same meal, over and over again)?
Pets have preferences for tastes, smells and textures, just like we do. Try a variety of foods and formats.
Many pets are apprehensive of change, meaning they can be reluctant to try something outside the realm of their usual fare. We say that some pets (cats especially) are 'cautious', not 'picky' -- they simply need some time to recognize the meals as food if they're not used to variety. It's worth noting that some pets will need to be introduced to a new food often 10 times or more before they will feel comfortable trying it. Start with mixing a very small amount of the new food in with their favourite regular meals, just to gradually get them accustomed to the new smell, taste and texture.
Change their feeding routine
Try feeding at a different time and in a different location can sometimes make a difference, especially with cats. Some cats prefer their meal 'slightly warmed' (to the temperature of a fresh kill), so adding a little warm broth or water can help entice them.
Add Some Toppers/Mixers
Try mixing in some of their regular or favourite foods to entice them. You can also add some delicious, nutritious mixers like canned foods, dehydrated foods, green tripe, bone broth or goat milk.