How To Get Your Dog To Eat
Dogs are usually known for their good appetites. When our canine companions either pick at their food or do not eat, it can be quite distressing. Before you jump in and try to figure out how to get your dog to eat, lets look at the reasons behind their loss of appetite.
This article, How to Get Your Dog to Eat is not a substitute for professional veterinary care. If you suspect your dog is seriously ill, please call your local veterinarian today. If your dog is experiencing diarrhea or vomiting, contact your veterinarian within the first eight hours.
How to Get Your Dog to Eat will cover common reasons dog refuse their meal and tips on how to get your dog eating and increase their appetite.
Dogs, like humans, can have a variety of reasons for losing their appetite. It could be due to emotional issues, behavior issues, or an underlying health concern. The reasons may be very minor for your dog or they could signify something more serious.
Is Your Dog Pregnant Or In Heat
Early in pregnancy, your dog may have a reduced or absent appetite. If your dog is in the middle or late part of her gestation, she may eat less because her stomach has less room to expand due to the presence of puppies, but she should make up for this by eating a smaller amount more frequently.
Regardless of what point of gestation your dog is in, if she has not eaten in over 24 hours, your veterinarian should be called right away to ensure that everything is okay.
Dogs in heat may also have a decreased appetite, which is considered normal. However, if she goes longer than 48 hours without eating anything, she should be checked by her veterinarian. If she is lethargic, vomiting, having diarrhea, or drinking and urinating more than usual, she should be seen by her veterinarian right away, as this could indicate an infection in the uterus known as pyometra.
Increase Their Feeding Times
Instead of feeding your puppy just two times a day, try expanding it to four feedings a day. Sometimes having the food more available can help encourage your puppy to eat their food. In order to keep portions under control, only give your puppy a half portion during all four feeding times. Once your puppy has gotten in the habit of eating their dry dog food, you can switch it back to two feedings a day.
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What To Pay Attention To If Your Dog Is Not Eating
So you notice that your dog is not eating. Now what? If your dog’s eating habits have changed, there are several questions you should attempt to answer to pinpoint both the cause and seriousness of the situation your pet is dealing with.
These questions include:
How long has it been since your dog stopped eating?
How long has your dog been eating this type of food?
Are there other symptoms you’ve noticed, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or lethargy?
If you have other dogs, are they also refusing to eat?
Has your dog stopped drinking water?
Ideally, you will have these questions answered before you go to the vet. Having a robust understanding of the entire situation can help you â and your veterinarian â figure out what exactly has occurred and is leading to food refusal.
Change The Timing Of Their Meals
Some puppies just do not feel hungry at certain times of the day. Try to change things up and pay attention to what is working and what isnt. Is your puppy hungrier in the morning or the afternoon? Do they eat better when fed before or after you have dinner? The more you know about your puppys eating habits, the easier it will be to get them to eat a well-balanced diet every day.
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Feed At Consistent Times
Divide the food into two or three meals and serve them at consistent times each day.
Dont leave food out for your dog to graze on take it back within 10 minutes if it hasnt been eaten to help cement the idea of mealtimes.
Use your dogs kibble as treats, and only offer meals for short periods of time. This leaves your dog no choice but to eat their food and hopefully get used to it.
How To Give Medicine To A Dog That Wont Eat
Giving medicine to a dog is a tricky business. While some dogs are more compliant than others, this is one element of pet ownership that can test the craftiness of most humans, made worse when the dog in question is refusing to eat, largely stripping you of all the sneaky hide-it-ham tricks you had up your sleeve.
Check out our helpful article on giving your dog a pill.
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Dog Not Eating And Drinking
Your dog not eating and drinking water is a serious issue. There can be a medical problem and you should take your pooch to a vet. Check for signs of dehydration, as well as vomiting and diarrhea. If all three are present, consider it an emergency.
If the lack of appetite is accompanied by other digestive issues like vomiting and diarrhea it may be a sign of an infection or disorder that requires a vets attention. A dog not eating but drinking water and vomiting may have a more serious infection.
Most digestive issues will clear up in a few days but if they dont seem to be improving, make sure to get to the vet as soon as possible.
Your Dogs Diet Is Incomplete
Your dog needs a diet that has all their needed nutrients. When they arent getting the nutrients they need, they may turn to your plate to fill the deficit.
Talk to your dogs veterinarian or research dog food brands that offer full and complete nutrition. If changing your dogs food doesnt solve the problem, be sure to talk to your dogs veterinarian.
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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.
How To Get Dog To Eat Dry Food
This is often a common complaint pet owners seem to make. If your dog appears disgusted with his dog food, you might want to change the brand or mix some wet food with it. Many good quality wet food brands are available in the market. These gravy pouches can be easily mixed with dry dog food or plain rice and most dogs will welcome the change. Sometimes, you can also simply change the brand of food and feed him another flavor like lamb, duck, salmon etc. Always buy a small trial pack of the food first to see if your pet likes it. This way you can save money. Ask your vet for recommendations for tasty dog food for picky eaters.
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How To Handle Dogs That Are Picky Eaters
You feed tasty and nutritious dog food, and yet your dog only sniffs and licks at it. Its time for the next meal, but the previous meal still isnt finished. You might have a finicky dog!
You may think your dog wants or needs variety. The truth is your dog will happily eat the same food every day its entire life, so it’s up to you to make sure you provide a tasty, nutritious meal. Your dog is descended from opportunistic hunters that were accustomed to eating what they could get when they could get it.
The cause. Frequently, the cause of a dog’s finicky eating isnt a result of its behavior. Its usually the result of humans feeding table scraps or too many treats. Not only does this increase the risk of obesity, but it also can encourage finicky behavior. Your dog avoids eating in hope of getting more exciting food than w,hats in the bowl. The best approach is to stop feeding your dog from the table and limit the number of treats. Remember that dogs and cats have different nutritional needs than we do, so what we eat isn’t necessarily balanced for them.
When your dog was younger, if you tried offering several different foods to determine the right fit, you may have encouraged your dog to hold out for something better. If youre opening multiple cans of food and trying to coax your dog into eating something every meal, then your dog has you trained.
Effective ways to correct this behavior:
If changing your dogs food formula, do it gradually:
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Try Enhancing His Meal
Some dogs just dont like the taste or texture of dry food. If your dog is not eating his dry food, you may want to mix a small amount of wet food with his dry food to make it more palatable. If you do decide to add wet food to his regular meal, remember to scale back the amount of dry food to avoid over-feeding him. Other options include adding meal enhancements, which coat the dry kibble with a flavorful puree, or try creating your own personalized dry dog food blend.
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The Food Is Old Or Spoiled
Most dogs aren’t picky about their food, they are fine about eating the same meal over and over again, and if they enjoy it, they will be excited every single time.
However, if the food is old, they may be more hesitant to eat and go on a hunger strike for a fresher diet. âIt is always important to check the expiration date on your dog’s food and to store them properly,â says Sakura Davis, Veterinary Technician and Veterinary Consultant at Catpet.club.
The easiest way to ensure you donât run into this problem is to prevent the food from getting old or spoiling. Before you purchase food in a store, you should check the expiration date and ensure that it is not old.
If it’s dry food, keep it in a tight seal container. For wet food, store it in the refrigerator after opening for up to three days and use fresh ingredients for home-cooked meals.
Tip #1 The Food Shall Be Prepared And Presented In Your Finest Linen
Kidding! But not really. I learned this trick from a co-worker of mine when I was having trouble getting my dog to eat their dry food. Shout out Caitlynn!
Your dog doesnt find it appealing when you simply dump out a scoop of kibbles into their bowl and expect them to eat it.
What I found out works best for my dog is that I put the food in her bowl and then I act as if Im doing something special to it to enhance the flavor. Keyword being ACT!
You have to sell it, or your dog wont believe you.
Selling it can include:
- Stirring it with a spoon
- Sticking it in the microwave
- Sticking it in the oven
- Pretend to season it to perfection
- Blow their food
The goal is to do anything you can think of to make a presentation for your dog.
After I add the food to her bowl, I take a spoon and stir her dry food around for about a minute. Then, I grab some food seasoning from my cabinet and pretend that I am seasoning the food just for her.
Make sure that your dog is watching you chef it all up while their food bowl is in your hand.
After that, I put the bowl in the oven or microwave and just act like shes got something special coming her way. When I pull the food out, I simply blow it for a few seconds and eyeball the food to make it seem like it has to be just right.
When I am doing all of that she simply stares at me with her tail wagging back and forth, her mouth drooling, and her eyes just eager with excitement because she cant wait to taste what I have prepared.
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Will Your Dog Drink Water
If your dog will drink water but wont eat, it may be due to nausea, stress, or mouth pain. If they are able to keep the water down, that is a good sign. However, if they are vomiting after drinking water, they should be seen by a veterinarian right away, as this could indicate severe nausea or an intestinal obstruction. If they go longer than 24 hours without eating, even if they are still drinking, they should be examined by their vet to determine the underlying cause of their inappetence.
If your dog has not eaten or drank in 24 hours or more, they should be seen by a veterinarian right away in order to be assessed and treated for likely dehydration, and to investigate the underlying cause of their unwillingness to eat or drink.
Anything that can cause a dog to feel ill, such as kidney disease, pancreatitis, intestinal parasites, liver disease, cancer, infection, intestinal obstruction, etc., can lead a dog to refuse food and water. Like humans, dogs cannot go for more than a few days without water, so this should be treated seriously.
Change Things Up A Bit
In case youre wondering, What can I do or add to my dogs food to make him eat it?, Here are a few tried and true ideas.
Add a touch of omega-3 to moisten the kibbles and give them a fishy flavor that dogs love. Aside from being delicious, these fatty acids are also beneficial for your dogs long-lasting wellness.
Alternately, pour a bit of homemade bone broth to wet the kibbles, and make them irresistible! Just make sure its onion-free.
If you dont have any of these around, you can use slightly warm water, or put the food in the microwave for a few seconds to bring out its meaty scents. Just make sure to use a glass bowl and nothing else.
Put canned food on top of the dry food to give your dog more variety, texture, and flavor. Alternately, you can top the kibbles with natural peanut butter or freeze-dried dog food, which is often more attractive in terms of smell and flavor.
If you really want to take it up a notch, use kibble seasoning. Its super easy and convenient to use and has low-calorie and low-sodium content per serving.
Quick Tip: You can also use this prodcut to make a delicious broth for your pup.
Veggies and Fruits
You can throw in anything from carrots and green beans, to bell peppers and apples into your dogs food bowl to provide a nutritional punch thats also yummy. A small amount of canned pumpkin can also go a long way.
In my experience, this works like a charm!
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I Worry That My Dog Isnt Getting Enough Calories Can I Supplement His Dog Food With Table Scraps
One important consideration in dealing with a canine picky eater is to resist the temptation to begin feeding human food willy-nilly from the table. These are dogs that are even more difficult to transition back to balanced dog foods. It is actually quite difficult to balance a dog’s long-term food ration when feeding them home-prepared food. Over time, taste preferences may emerge that lead to deficiencies of particular nutrients. Also, there are no commercially prepared supplements for dogs that are proven to provide the balance necessary for home-cooked meals.
“Resist the temptation to begin feeding human food willy-nilly from the table.”
While relying only on human food for your dogs nutrition is not a good idea, there are some human food options that can increase the appeal of a dog’s meal and encourage your dog to eat the food with the preferred nutrient profile. Be sure to check with your veterinarian to determine if any of these suggestions are suitable for your dog, and to verify how much you can add in a day without risking weight gain.
- No-salt-added chicken or vegetable broth.
- Fresh or frozen water-based vegetables .
- The occasional dry-scrambled egg.
- Air popped popcorn .
Add Hot Water To The Dry Food
Sometimes the dog may refuse to eat the food because it is too dry and hard to consume. You can make the food friendlier by adding some hot water to the diet. The hot water softens the dry kibbles making them more comfortable for the dog to chew and digest.
Hot water also brings out the flavors of the dry meal, making smell better. Continue adding small amounts of hot water to the dry kibbles and continue reducing the amount you add until the dog starts to eat the dry food without any water in the diet.
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My Dog Isnt Eating But Acting Normal
If your Lab is full of energy and charging around like a puppy there is probably no immediate need to rush your dog off to the hospital. Or even if he seems just a little bit reserved. You dog might just not be hungry. Or bored with his food. Maybe he moved around less and doesnt need his usual amount of food. Someone could have slipped him too many treats.
- Have you changed food brands? Some dogs are very suspicious of unknown tastes and smells. A new bag of kibble you just opened might be off check and smell the food.
- Has something in your dogs environment changed? When dogs have emotional upsets it often puts them off their food just like our children.
- Have you moved house? Even a simple thing like a new food bowl or changing the place where you feed him can have him turning up his nose at food.
Most dogs also stop eating for a day or two when their owners go off on holiday. Or even just when their favourite companion isnt home a person or another pet. Are there visitors who might be upsetting him? Or a new pet? But, if he normally has a healthy appetite, keep an eye on him, watch and wait. One of the things you need to watch for is that your dog drinks water.