Why Is My Dog Not Eating
There are many reasons why a dog might not want to eat. Firstly, its worth saying that loss of appetite is one of the most common signs of illness, so if your dog hasnt eaten for 24 hours, then its best to call your vet, especially if there are any other troubling signs, like diarrhea or lethargy. Remember, you can contact Small Door vets 24/7 via the app.
Does Your Dog Eat Treats But Not Food
If your dog is refusing dinner but saying yes to treats or table scraps, they may be filling up on junk food rather than their own dog food. However, if your dog has other symptoms of not feeling well, a medical condition could be to blame for their altered appetite.
For example, if your dog is happy, energetic, drinking water, playing, and not having any vomiting or diarrhea, it may be that they are simply getting too many calories per day in treats and arent hungry for their meal. They may also have outsmarted you, knowing that if they refuse to eat their food, theyll get tasty chicken and dog treats instead.
However, if your dog is lethargic, having any vomiting or diarrhea, starting to eat a bit then stopping, or drooling or licking their lips, they may not be feeling 100% well. Treats are higher rewards, so many dogs will be more likely to eat those rather than their food, even if they arent feeling the best. Think of a time when youve had an upset stomach but powered through to have your favorite treat while passing up the salad bar.
It is always best to be on the safe side and have any possible medical conditions ruled out if getting your dog to eat is becoming a frequent challenge.
Keep The Dog Hydrated
A dog can go days without food. Yes, his energy will be low, but it won’t cause any serious issues. If your dog stops drinking water, it can cause major problems very quickly. Dehydration can even be life threatening if not treated fast enough.
When you’re learning how to get a dog with no appetite to eat, you need to keep an eye out for the signs of dehydration. Look for:
- Sunken eyes
- Tacky, dry gums
- Loss of skin elasticity you can test this by pinching the skin on the top of your dog’s head if it springs back quickly he is well hydrated, if it moves back in place slowly you need to bring him to the vet for IV fluids right away.
Hopefully, you’ll realize quickly if your dog is not drinking enough fluids. Make sure there is plenty of fresh, clean water available for him. If he won’t drink, try adding 1 tablespoon of low sodium beef or chicken broth to his water dish. Dogs are enticed by a strong scent, and adding a small amount of broth to Fido’s water dish may just be the motivation he needs to take a drink.
Tips For Making Your Dogs Food At Home:
- If youre not ready to make the leap to cooking all of your dogs food, try just adding some real, whole foods to their kibble. You can start with simply stirring in a scrambled egg, mixing in some chopped apples or carrots, or adding a small amount of the homemade dog food in with their normal kibble.
- You should be able to serve this homemade dog food to your dog either hot or cold. Ive found that dogs love this dog food so much, that they are not picky about how its served.
- Its not usually a good idea to abruptly change your dogs food. Start transitioning them to homemade food by mixing some of this in with their regular food or kibble for a few days until they are used to the new food. Your dogs belly will thank you. And again, remember to always discuss with your vet before feeding your pet something new.
- To give your dog a variety of different nutrients, use different meats, fruits, and vegetables to make your dogs food. However, if your dog has a sensitive stomach, it might be best to stick to one combination that you know works.
When A Dog Has Gone Off His Food
When a dog hasnt eaten at all for around three days vets will refer to it as anorexia. Partial anorexia is when a dog eats, but not enough to keep him healthy and fit. This is a medical term and doesnt mean that your dog has a mental problem. There are many reasons why a dog or puppy might go off their food.
If a dog eats nothing for a few days or loses his appetite over a period of time this can be a sign of a serious illness. A mild illness, like a tummy upset, could cause him not to eat for a day or two. Problems with his teeth or pain can also cause him to eat less just like you would.
But there are other reasons for a dog to stop eating. Lack of appetite can be caused by changes in the environment or emotional upsets. Not eating can also be a learned response. Thats right. Some dogs learn to get the food they prefer, by refusing to eat whats on offer.
Well look at all this and more. But first things first. Lets exclude serious emergencies.
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Is Your Dog Not Eating Dry Food
Does your dog turn up their nose at dry food, only to wolf down canned food the minute you set it down? This is a common complaint from pet parents, and it can mean a few different things.
It may be that your dog has dental or oral pain. Many pet parents believe that if their pet is eating, they must not have oral pain, but thats not the case. They have to eat, so many dog struggle silently with oral pain for months or years until a dental procedure is done to extract any rotten or infected teeth.
While some dogs will still eat dry food even with severe oral pain, many prefer canned food, as its easier to chew. If your dog is no longer wanting to eat dry food but will eat canned, they should be seen by their veterinarian for an oral examination.
It may also be that your dog prefers canned food to dry food, as it often smells stronger and may be seen as more of a treat. Try mixing canned food with the dry kibble to encourage your dog to eat, and gradually transitioning to a higher ratio of dry food, until your dog is back to eating dry kibble.
Some dogs simply refuse to eat kibble in favor of canned food. While this can have some negative consequences, such as worse dental disease or a higher food bill, it may not be a problem to have your dog on canned food long-term. Talk to your veterinarian to see if feeding your dog an all-canned diet may be the best option for them.
How To Get Your Dog To Start Eating
To get your dog to start eating, you can try the following:
- Begin by feeding them a fresh batch of their favorite dog food. If it is canned food, try heating it up, which can release the foodâs aroma. If it is dry food, try adding a small amount of water or chicken broth to make it more appealing.
- If that doesnât work, you can try feeding them treats. If your dog enjoys treats, crumble them into their dog food to inspire ingestion.
- Try feeding a bland diet, such as boiled hamburger or chicken, mixed with rice as a 50/50 mix. You can buy this food commercially or make it at home. See the bland diet recipe here.
- Try to mix it up by feeding different varieties of canned food to see what is appealing to your dog.
Here are some great tips for home care for dogs suffering from inappetence. This article has suggestions that may help you get your dog to start eating. For puppies, read the following article: Hereâs How to Help a Puppy Who Will Not Eat.
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Psychological Causes For Anorexia In Dogs
Psychological causes of refusing to eat include things in a dogâs environment that caused them to not want to eat. There is no underlying medical issue or disease. Common examples of psychological anorexia include anything that changes a dogâs schedule or causes stress, including:
- New pets in the home
- New baby in the home
- Guests from out of town
- Moving to a new home
- A loud thunderstorm
- Remodeling or home construction
- Switching dog foods
- A change in schedules, such as a family member starting a job or becoming unemployed and staying home more frequently
- A family member leaving the homestead, such as a child going off to college
Ideas To Stimulate Your Old Dogs Appetite And Get Your Older Dog To Eat
The following ideas may help. However, if your dog is suffering from a serious disease such as liver disease, cancer, etc., these recommendations may not work and specific nutritional guidance is often needed in the form of private consulting.
If you feel that you fall into this category, please scroll to the bottom of the page for additional information on how to move forward with a private consultation.
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Reasons Your Dog Wont Eat
Just like in people, there are a variety of reasons dogs might refuse to eat. These include:
- Cutting back on treats.
- Feeding your pet on a regular schedule, usually at least twice a day.
- Making mealtime a fun time for your pet, such as by playing with a toy that dispenses food or rewarding your dog with food for doing a trick.
- Taking your dog for a walk before mealtime.
- Changing your dogs feeding situation. If you normally feed your pet with other animals, try feeding them alone. Or try using different bowls or plates at different heights to see what your dog prefers.
- Trying a different kind of food, such as canned food if you normally feed your dog dry food.
- Add a bit of warm water to your dog’s kibble to make it more appealing.
My Sick Or Recovering Dog Wont Eat Much
Dogs that have a chronic illness such as heart problems or cancer generally lose their appetite. So do dogs who are recovering from a serious illness or have pain from recent surgery or conditions like hip dysplasia. This is only partly because they are less active and need less food. Various metabolic changes also take place when the body is under stress.
In these circumstances it will be necessary stimulate your dogs appetite and feed them differently so that they get the nutrients they need. You want to help them to maintain the best possible condition and/or heal and recover.
Your vet will probably advise you on what to feed your sick, injured or recovering dog. He is likely to suggest that you tempt your dog with foods that he enjoys. Meals should be nourishing, easy to eat and to digest. You should offer smaller meals more frequently. Dogs find moist, warm food with a strong flavour more appetising. Canned dog foods, meat, fish, and eggs fit the bill.
The above also applies to elderly dogs who wont eat much.
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Should I Change My Dogs Food Regularly
The quality of life can be improved by changing your dogs food. However, some dogs do not like the taste of new food and probably will not eat it. If you want to change your dogs food regularly, you need to consider the possible consequences on its health and general well-being.
Some dogs are easily bored. They have a tendency to keep on chewing on the same piece of meat for hours on end. For this reason, some dog owners have started giving them different types of food.
Spay Or Neuter Your Puppy
Unless you were planning to breed your puppy later on, you should have them spayed or neutered as soon as you can. Dogs and puppies that are not spayed or neutered have an increased risk of behavioral problems including aggression and finicky eating habits.
So even if your puppy doesnt have eating problems, it might be best to have them spayed and neutered to prevent future issues and allow them a better chance to live a healthy and happy life.
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When People Find Out We Make Our Own Dog Food At Home They Always Ask Us What About A Raw Diet So Let’s Get That Out Of The Way First
There are LOTS of thoughts and theories on feeding your dog a raw diet especially a dog that is living with kidney disease. Our vet however, was personally opposed to feeding a raw diet due to the fact that dogs, just like us, are very susceptible to food poisoning. Besides that, a raw diet can be tricky to get just right! You run the risk of giving your dog a horrible belly ache by mixing a raw diet with cooked treats, so if you decided to go raw it is important to have both raw meals and raw treats planned for your pup at all times. NO MIXING the two! Since raw and cooked foods digest at different rates any combination of the two can wreak serious havoc on your pup’s gut which can lead to some pretty unpleasant situations for you – if you get my drift.
How Can I Make My Dog Eat Better
The way we feed our pets is often a source of tension between us and them. But it can also be a crucial part of their health and happiness. Can we make the dog eat better? How do we make them eat healthier? Can we make them like us?
This section will discuss the issues related to animal nutrition and how it affects human health. We will discuss what can be done to improve canine diets, how these issues affect human health, and what options exist to mitigate such problems .
When you are caretaker, you need to make sure that your pet is healthy. You can use common sense to do this by ensuring that the food provided is nutritious and balanced. The best way to ensure your dog eats its meals is by providing it with food that is high in protein. For example, if your dog eats a lot of chicken, then it would be recommended to make sure that you buy a chicken-based diet for it.
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Heat Up Your Dogs Food
Heating up your dogs food increases its smell and palatability. Sick dogs will have a hindered sense of smell and taste. Food that has been warmed up may smell more fragrant and can help entice your dog to eat it. This will also help with taste which will encourage your dog to continue eating after that first bite.
Dehydration Is A Big Problem
Dogs that are extremely sick to the point of not eating on their own are likely dehydrated. Your starting point should be to hydrate your old friend.
Regardless whether your dog is drinking water or not or if he seems to pass the dehydration skin test many of these animals are still dehydrated and lacking nutritional vitamins and minerals.
We can help in this area which requires more than just water. Many of the dogs we work with show improvement quickly. Please reach out to us at the link further down the page where we discuss personal consultations.
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At The End Of 2019 During Our Yearly Vet Check We Received The Devastating News That Our 11 Year Old Dog’s Blood Work Showed That He Was In Stage 4 Kidney Failure
Honestly, I was a basket case, how on earth did we miss this? He seemed like he was just dealing with some symptoms of getting older – frequent urination, sometimes excessive water drinking. It definitely didn’t feel like life threatening symptoms. As much as the diagnosis was a shock, the price tag of the prescription diet he would need to eat for the remainder of his life was pretty horrifying too!
Make Sure Hes Healthy
If your dog normally eats his food with gusto and has suddenly stopped eating, the most important thing to do is rule out any serious health problems. Many dogs wont eat if theyre not feeling well, especially if theyre suffering from intestinal or dental issues, so you should visit your veterinarian to make sure nothings wrong. But if your dog eats other kinds of food and refuses to touch his dry food, it may mean hes a picky eater.
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Change Dry Food Brands
If you have a hard time getting your dog to eat dry food, another brand may be a better fit. Try a sample pack from the pet store to see if your dog likes a different brand better than the one youve been buying. Alternatively, you could try to mix in some wet food, which may stimulate your dogs appetite more than the dry food.
The Labrador Site Founder
Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.
She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and the Dogsnet Online Training Program
Pippa’s online training courses were launched in 2019 and you can find the latest course dates on the Dogsnet website
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