Your Dogs Got A Mild Stomachache
Your dog may stop eating because he feels queasy or ate something bad. If youre wondering why is my dog not eating, one way to tell its not something more serious is if your pup bounces back to his normal self pretty quickly, says Megan E. McClosky, DVM, lecturer in internal medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Even if you suspect a mere bellyache as the reason for your dog not eating, call the vet anyway. Dogs have pretty good appetites, so if they are picky eaters, especially when thats accompanied by chronic signs, like occasional vomiting or occasional diarrhea and soft stools, theres usually an underlying GI problem that requires more attention, McClosky explains, adding, That is more common than people realize. Your vet can rule out the source of the upset, from food allergies to inflammatory bowel disease. Get to the bottom of another concerning canine habit: Why do dogs eat dirt?
Tips And Tricks For Getting A Picky Dog To Eat Their Food
Do you have a dog at home who has suddenly stopped eating their food? Luckily, youve come to the right place as this is a fairly common occurrence, and we have some useful advice to get your pet eating again.
Before we dive into the tricks, however, lets discuss the importance of making sure your dog is actually being picky and isnt suffering from a more serious health-related issue.
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She Has Tooth Pain Or Other Dental Issues
Dental problems make eating a real pain, particularly if your dog has a kibble-based diet thats crunchy.
Sadly, dental disease is common in dogs, especially in seniors and small breeds. Cracked, decayed, or loose teeth are uncomfortable and aside from causing her to refuse food they put her at risk of serious infections.
Checking your dogs mouth regularly and performing routine teeth brushing can help detect and prevent dental issues. So, if your dog isnt eating, check her mouth for signs of injury or infection and make a vet appointment if necessary.
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What To Do If Your Dog Does Not Like Their Food
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Dogs can be picky like humans and may reject the food that you give them. This can become a big problem. If your dog is refusing to eat they may become malnourished which can lead to a myriad of serious health issues.
So you need to make sure that you always feed your dog the best dog food available so they will not only get the nutrition they need but will also enjoy the flavor.
Medical Causes For Anorexia In Dogs
Medical causes of anorexia include any condition or illness that causes a dog to not want to eat. They can include hundreds, maybe even thousands, of potential issues. The medical disorders that can cause anorexia include diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, liver, pancreas, kidneys, airway, lung or blood, and anything that can cause pain. Information about some of the most common causes include:
- Gastrointestinal Diseases â The gastrointestinal tract includes the system that takes food in, processes it, and eliminates it. This includes everything from the mouth, esophagus , the stomach, the small intestine, and finally the large intestine. A disease of any of these areas can cause a dog to not want to eat and are commonly associated with vomiting and diarrhea.
- Diseases of the gastrointestinal tract include infections of the bacterial, viral, or parasitic variety. Examples of infections are hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, and viruses, such as coronavirus or parvovirus. Additional diseases of the GI tract include tumors, such as cancer, ulcerations, inflammatory diseases, food allergies, ingestion of indigestible objects that cause a âforeign bodyâ, ingestion of spoiled food or trash, or even changes in food. Diseases of the mouth, such as bad teeth or ulcerations, can also cause pain and lack of appetite.
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Did You Switch Dog Foods
Transitioning from one dog food to another too quickly can cause stomach upset, which may mean that your dog doesnt feel like eating. Its important to transition foods gradually over 7-10 days in order to avoid stomach upset. This also allows your dog to get used to the new food over time, rather than making a sudden switch.
Shes Stressed Or Anxious
Canine anxiety robs more than joy it can also steal your dogs appetite.
There are obvious triggers of stress and anxiety in dogs like fireworks and storms, but there are also everyday causes like separation anxiety or changes in routine. Some dogs are so sensitive that strange noises,like the furnace kicking on, can frighten them enough to cause food refusal.
Signs of canine anxiety include pacing, excessive grooming, and whining. This affliction isnt just a source of mental anguish either untreated anxiety can lead to additional health issues. You can combat canine anxiety with a few changes in your routine, but for stubborn cases, a vet visit may be necessary.
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Why Isn’t My Dog Eating
The question nearly all dog owners have asked ourselves at one point or another.
“Dogs obviously can’t communicate the reason they stopped eating to us,” says Dr. Justin Shmalberg, “and then there’s the fact that dogs are designed for extended fasting. Although they’re very food-motivated, dogs can go some time without issues on no food as long as they’re otherwise healthy.”
The Different Types Of Refusal
A dogs refusal to eat is called anorexia, just like in humans, although its a different condition. Canine anorexia can be partial or complete.
Partial anorexia is when your dog will eat some things but refuse to eat others. For example, they may turn up their noses at their kibble but wolf down any treats you offer them.
Complete anorexia is when your dog refuses to eat anything. This is typically much more concerning than partial anorexia.
Theres a third kind of anorexia called pseudo-anorexia. Its when your dog wants to eat but cant because of a different medical problem .
Once you figure out what kind of anorexia your dogs suffering from, you can begin the process of diagnosing and treating the problem.
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Turn Feeding Time Into A Game
Picky eaters often play with their food instead of eating it. With the help of a good feeding toy, you can get your dog to do both.
Feeding toys combine play with eating. And for toy-obsessed pups, they are a great way to convince a dog to eat his food
Jessica, the owner of a dainty poodle, says her dog refuses to eat dry food. However, the moment she places it inside a treat dispensing dog toy, her poodle cant get enough.
Another owner, Jack, uses a snuffle mat to get his fussy English Springer Spaniel to eat. When this super-sniffing dog finds kibble using his nose, he will promptly eat it without a second thought even though he refuses to eat the same kibble when offered it in a bowl
Unfortunately, feeding toys only hold a limited amount of food. While this may not be a problem for a small dog like a Boston terrier, it presents an issue for bigger dogs
You see, large breeds like Rottweilers or Mastiffs may need as much as 10 cups of kibble per day. Constantly refilling a feeding toy with this amount of food would be a full-time job it just isnt practical.
But for small/medium breeds, a feeding toy could be the very thing you need to get your dog to eat his meal.
How To Stop Anorexia
Youll need a diagnosis from your veterinarian to figure out why your puppy has stopped eating. If your vet rules out illness, its often OK to tempt your puppy with bland, vet-approved healthy people food and employ other techniques to encourage it to eat.
Illustration: The Spruce / Joshua Seong
Idowu, Olutunbi, and Kathryn Heading. Hypoglycemia in dogs: Causes, management, and diagnosis. The Canadian veterinary journal = La revue veterinaire canadienne vol. 59,6 : 642-649
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General Tips For Instilling Proper Eating Habits
Picky eating in dogs is a headache to handle, but its possible to avoid the problem in many cases. Preventing feeding issues with your dog starts with a healthy routine, including:
Has your dog gone through a picky period with her food? Any tips for owners looking to entice their pups to chow down? Let us know in the comments!
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Feeling Under The Weather
If this strange refusal of food has cropped up out of nowhere, its a possibility that your dog could be feeling under the weather. When were feeling poorly, especially when were feeling nauseous, we often lose our appetite, and this could be exactly whats happening to your pooch if they normally had no issues with eating their dinners. A few treats might be all that they can stomach to sustain them throughout the day.
Hopefully, their dicky tum should settle down in a few days and theyll be right back to scoffing everything in sight, however, if it lasts more than a few days and youre seeing other strange symptoms then its best to consult your vet to try and get to the root of the problem.
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Your Dog Swallowed Something
Eating something they shouldnt have could be another reason your dog wont eat. Dogs are voracious eaters, so they often scarf things down they shouldntlike toys, tennis balls, and even tampons. This is especially true if your dog is young and playful . One clue: If your pooch vomits or poops out pieces of, say, plastic, says McClosky. If he passes everything out, hell probably be OK. But if youve got a dog not eating and throwing up, he may have an obstruction in his intestines. Then the vet will have to do an ultrasound to see what got stuckand probably operate to get it out.
Recent Vaccinations And New Medications
A visit to the vet can be stressful for your dog, which may cause a temporary loss of appetite. Same goes for the brief inflammatory response they often cause. Neither are anything to worry about, as dogs typically get right back on schedule.
If changes in eating coincide with a new medication, or if your dog stops eating for more than two days following a vaccination, either of those could be the culprit. Give your vet a call to discuss.
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Talk To Your Veterinarian First
If your dog has started to reject their food, it may be a sign of a larger illness. Dogs can reject their food as a result of a range of illnesses. Everything from minor issues like dental disease to larger problems like kidney failure and cancer can cause a dog to lose their appetite. So before you try anything else you need to take your dog to the veterinarian to get a full check up and make sure they arent rejecting their food because they are ill.
Poor Dog Food Choices
In some cases, dogs arent hungry because they are fed too much. If your dog is a normal weight , has good coat quality and has high energy levels but doesnt eat very much, then check how much you are feeding him. It could be too much! Your veterinarian or an online calorie calculator are both good resources for knowing how much to feed your dog.
Also, check the dog food you are offering to make sure its not spoiled or out of date. This may be a reason why your dog suddenly doesnt want to eat his food.
Make sure the food you are offering is safe, nutritious and consistent. Dont keep changing the food constantly because this can upset your dogs digestive system and cause nausea which can lead to food aversions. If you do want to try a different flavor or dog food brand, make the switch gradually, and mix some of the old food with the new food over 3-4 days until he is only eating all new food. A new flavor might just be enough to stimulate appetite.
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The Importance Of Water
You may be so focused on food intake you forget about water entirely. But, water intake is arguably more important than food intake. If your dog refuses to eat, in the meantime, youll want to encourage water consumption to help keep them hydrated.
Dogs are naturally able to go longer without food but their tolerance for not drinking water is much less. At most a dog can go three days without water intake but can survive for five to seven days or more without food. Realistically, you dont want to test your dogs limits but do not force your dog to drink as this can cause aspiration pneumonia.
Its important to get your dog medical attention as soon as possible if they are not eating or drinking for 48 hours or more.
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Why Wont My Dog Eat His Food
Most dogs will eat anything and everything without a moments hesitation. On the other hand, there are a few dogs who just dont show that much enthusiasm for dog food when its put in front of them. It can be concerning when your dog wont eat food, turns his nose up and walks away.
Here are a few reasons why this might happen and what to do to help your dog get the nutrition he needs to maintain good health.
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How To Stop This From Happening Again
Many pet owners ask, âHow can I avoid having a dog that wonât eat or will only eat their treats?â The answer is to avoid underlying causes and monitor your petâs diet. For example, if your dog is not eating because they got into the trash, ate some spoiled food, or have an upset stomach, the recommendation would be to ensure that your dog doesnât have access to the trash can. Another example is, if your dog is not eating due to pain from arthritis, work with your veterinarian to treat and prevent pain.
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What Are The Healthiest Foods For My Dog
Dog foods are designed to get your dog the nutrients it needs, but there are some human foods that can be very healthy for dogs as well. Here are a few of these healthy options::
- Cooked eggs are a good source of calcium, antioxidants, protein, and several vitamins.
- Omega-3s are also good for dog joint health.
- Mushrooms are filled with vitamins and nutrients that are good for your dog as well.
You should consult with your veterinarian before introducing any new foods into their diet.
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Why Won’t My Dog Eat Food But Will Eat Treats
Chances are, your furbaby is spoiled or picky. Some dogs are skipping meals and waiting for treats because they just prefer the taste of treats.
Treats are delicious and can be a handy way to reward and praise your precious pooch. When given too liberally, however, treats can become far more appealing than actual food, causing some dogs to turn their nose up at their regular food and demand only treats.
It might also be that your pup is bored with their food or doesnt much like it. In these cases, it might be time to look at a new brand of food. Aim for the best quality you can afford, and maybe drizzle some warm water over it to release those tempting odors.
When Your Pup Wont Chow Down
If a dog refuses to eat, it’s usually a behavioral issue or a health-related problem. In the former case, there’s some good news: Dogs whose appetite loss is related to behavior are still usually willing to eat some foods, especially new diets or treats.
“Complete prolonged food refusal is rare without an underlying medical reason,” says Dr. Shmalberg. Below are common behavioral reasons that might be behind the loss of appetite in dogs
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Your Dogs Food Has Gone Bad
Dogs arent that discriminating, but occasionally, when something has spoiled, your dog wont eat it, Teller says. It could be a bad bag of kibble or maybe that chicken you boiled for your pup didnt get cooked thoroughly. How do you know thats the reason for your dog not eating? Your dog will eat a treat, but wont eat the food, says Teller. So toss it out and serve something else. More of a cat person?
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