Cut Back On The Number Of Treats You Offer Your Dog
Just like how candy can spoil a childs appetite, overfeeding your dog treats and table scraps can impact their hunger levels.
WATCH OUT! If you feed your dog treats too often, they can even begin to resent the taste of their kibble and become far too accustomed to the more appealing flavors they get when they eat their treats.
Not only can excessively offering treats and table scraps ruin your dogs appetite and willingness to eat their regular food, but it can also lead to unhealthy weight gain, as most dog treats are incredibly high in calories and low in nutrients.
Changes In Your Dogs Environment
Has anything changed in the environment that your dog is used to?
A recent relocation, a new family member, a new pet, change in the feeding bowl location or the absence of a common family member can trigger a change in your dogs feeding behavior.
- Even a new feeding bowl or an adjustment to the feeding schedule can cause your dog to stop eating for a few days.
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What You Can Do
It is imperative that you get your dog back to eating his regular food before health problems arise. The more you let him get away with eating only treats, the more he wont want to go back to his regularly scheduled kibble.
Luckily, there exist quite a few solutions to your problem that you can and should try!
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Prevention Of Not Eating Dry Food
Tongue cancer probably can not be prevented. However, most other causes of your dogs avoidance of dry food can be prevented. To avoid dehydration becoming an issue, make sure that clean water is available to your dog at all times. Keep any toxins and breakable items that your dog might chew away from him to avoid nausea and other kinds of oral injuries. To avoid the infectious diseases that may cause nausea, be very careful in allowing your dog to socialize with other dogs, and keep his vaccinations current. Brush teeth regularly to minimise the risk of periodontal disease.
Deflect Your Dogs Attention From Food
Most dogs overeat, because of the same reasons most humans do because they enjoy eating, and food is delicious. One way to stop your dog from begging for food is by diverting their attention to something more exciting.This can also help you feel less guilty for not giving into their adorable demands. Instead of re-feeding your dog, try taking them outside for a long walk, play with them on the ground, or spend some time brushing their fur out. It only takes about 15 minutes of spending quality time with your puppy to make them completely forget they wanted more food in the first place.
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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.
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?
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Make Sure Youre Giving Your Dog A Healthy Diet
Occasionally the problem with a picky eater may be that they donât like the brand of food youâre giving them. Or it may be that they prefer canned food over dry or vice versa. Both vets tell WebMD that a high-quality commercial brand is important for a healthy diet.
Check the ingredients, and make sure corn doesnât top the list. Murray says, âCorn isnât an ideal diet for a carnivore.â
If youâve tried three brands and both canned and dry food, itâs time to look for another reason your dog refuses to eat. Most likely, they are holding out for table scraps.
Reserve treats for times when praise is necessary, such as in training. But remember, not all rewards have to be edible. âIf your dog loves attention, a scratch behind the ears is a treat,â Murray says.
If you find that food treats get the best results, create some boundaries.
For instance, only give a treat after a trick, and always do it in the backyard.
Also, limit treats to three a week, and put them in a separate container so that the entire family knows how many have been given.
âItâs one thing if your dog knows he only gets certain things while heâs training,â Murray says. âBut itâs another if youâre sitting in the kitchen reading a magazine and give your dog a treat because he looks cute.â
Louise Murray, DVM, Diplomate ACVIM and director of medicine for ASPCAâs Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital, New York.
When Does Picky Eating Become A Problem
âIf youâre having trouble getting your pet to eat on a regular basis, and he wonât consume his food at least once a day, your dog is a picky eater,” says Margaret Hoppe, DVM, of the Abingdon Square Veterinary Clinic in New York’s Greenwich Village.
If your dog has always been a picky eater, there is likely no need for concern.
A picky dog that maintains a healthy weight, is alert and perky, and has a shiny coat, is much less worrisome than one who has dropped a few pounds and has a less lustrous coat. Also, as Hoppe points out: âIf you have a dog who is a regular eater that suddenly stops, that can be a sign something is wrong. Picky eating is one symptom.â
âWhat concerns me most is change,â Murray says.
Many illnesses could be why your dog refuses to eat. Even problems associated with old age, such as joint pain while walking to and from the bowl, could be the cause.
The only way to get to the root of the problem is to visit the vet.
âIf your dog has always been a voracious eater, and is becoming more selective, go to the vet after about 48 hours,â Murray says.
For puppies, who have less reserves, donât wait more than 24 hours.
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What Can I Feed My Sick Dog That Wont Eat
If your dog is sick and wont eat, its tempting to want to force them to eat. But how do you get your sick dog to eat?
First off, if your dog isnt eating, give it some time. Your dog will be ok if it misses a meal or two, as long as its still drinking water. It could be something simple like indigestion that will pass quickly.
If it doesnt pass, you can try encouraging your pooch to eat by making the food irresistible. Add a treat to their normal food or heat up the food to release those delicious aromas these also help when you need to sneak in some medication.
For feeding a sick dog that wont eat, most vets recommend bland chicken with white rice or white meat from a rotisserie chicken. Other options are sweet potatoes, unseasoned pumpkin , bone broth, and meat-based baby food.
Lastly, you can try hand-feeding your sick dog. This can be very comforting to them and will help get them to at least take in a little food until they feel better.
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Get Food Amounts Right And Exercise Regularly
If your pet is otherwise healthy, seems in high spirits, and has energy, try adjusting the amount of food that your dog eats in a day. Fully grown dogs, and older dogs need fewer calories than puppies at their peak of growing. Your dog might simply not need the food at the moment.
If your dog isnt being exposed to regular exercise, getting them active for at least an hour a day via walks or trips to the dog park can stimulate their appetites.
If youve recently moved into a smaller location that also doesnt provide the yard space that a dog used to have, he or she might also need less food because of their increase in naps and laying around waiting for their next walk.
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She Doesnt Like Her Food
Dogs can be a lot like toddlers, especially when it comes to food. You may think your pups kibble is tasty, but she may disagree and start a hunger strike aside from treats and other goodies.
This is a likely explanation if youve recently changed her food or stopped adding flavor boosters, like wet dog food or bone broths. Fortunately, this is one of the easier causes of food refusal to fix. You may just need to try a more enticing food for picky eaters thats meat-focused or start using a delicious meal topper.
Stimulate Your Dogs Appetite
If your dog has refused food for a long period of time, or if they have a health condition that suppresses appetite, your vet can prescribe or recommend a medicinal appetite stimulant. There are stimulants that reduce nausea and others that mimic the hormone that makes your dog hungry. This method will require you and your vet to first know why your dog isnt eating so you can get the correct stimulant.
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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.
Examine Your Dogs Environment
A change in your dogs environment could also trigger this change in their eating routine.
These changes could be a change in the location of the food bowl, a change in the house arrangement, a new baby, the presence of other pets in the house, etc.
Your dog may react to the new changes by refusing to eat food.
You should also check the house for missing objects, like toys, torn carpet, house plants, etc. that your dog may have eaten.
- In these instances, your dog may start vomiting while trying to remove the foreign objects.
- If your dog is struggling to vomit, you should rush them to the vet immediately.
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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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Check Your Foods Expiration Date
Dry dog food does go bad. When it does it can smell off and be unappetizing. If your dogs kibble is still in its packaging, check for an expiration date. If you transferred it to another container, give it a sniff. If it smells slightly sour, it may be bad. Expired dog food will also feel tacky.
If this is the case, its time to buy new food. Buying your dogs food in smaller batches can reduce the likelihood it will go bad.
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Try Feeding Your Dog Vegetables
Have you already fed your dog all of their meals for the day? Try treating your dog with raw cucumbers, carrots, broccoli, or celery. You can also try boiling them first to break down some of the insoluble fiber. However, before feeding your pet vegetables from the bottom of your fridge, make sure you wash off any pesticides and chemicals first to avoid giving them an upset stomach.
Before completely changing your peckish pups diet completely, its a good idea to consult your vet. We can help you make informed decisions on the best meal plans for your dogs breed, activity level, size, and other health factors.
Providing the very best in veterinary care, and the ability to establish innovated programs.
Is Your Dog A Senior
While senior dogs may have lower caloric requirements than young dogs, and therefore may eat less than they used to, marked weight loss or a refusal to eat is not normal and can indicate serious underlying health conditions.
These can include, but are not limited to:
Cognitive decline, mobility issues, or vision loss can also cause a dog to not eat if they are unable to find or get to their food bowl. It is important for senior dogs to have a feeding routine, that the food bowl remain in the same area of the house so that they know where to find it, and that they have a rug or yoga mat to stand on while eating to avoid slipping or having trouble standing on hard floors.
If your senior dog has gone longer than 24 hours without eating, they should see their veterinarian for a thorough physical examination and possible diagnostics to investigate the cause of their loss of appetite.
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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.
Your Dog Has A Toothache
Dental problems can cause trouble eating, McClosky notes. Dogs with dental problems may drop kibble, chew on one side, or drool excessively. Older dogs are more affected, especially the smaller breeds, she adds, but any dog can develop a toothache . Another big sign that your dogs teeth are in need of care, says Teller: Your dog may be interested in food and sniffing it, but it hurts too much to actually take a bite and chew. Its one of the 50 things your vet wont tell you, but youll want to know.
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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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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.
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Environmental Explanations For A Loss Of Appetite
Dogs are creatures of habit and routine, so significant environmental changes can profoundly impact their behavior.
While it may sound trivial to us, even small changes in the environment could alter how a dog behaves, including how much theyre willing to eat.
If youve recently moved or even just completed a major renovation, your dog might be less willing to eat their food.
Less drastic environmental changes, such as traveling, the absence of a family member, an altered feeding schedule, the introduction of another pet, or even just significant changes in the weather can also impact your dogs appetite.
While it can be difficult to narrow down the exact cause, you should still think critically about any environmental changes your dog could be reacting to.
KEEP IN MIND that your dog will not always understand whats happening. What might seem insignificant to us could be incredibly confusing and scary for our dogs.
With any luck, your dog will get over the environmental change thats causing them to behave differently within a day or two.