What To Do When Your Puppy Won’t Eat
Generally speaking, behavioral causes of reduced food intake in puppies are very temporary, lasting only a day or two. If you’re wondering how to get a puppy to eat when he’s new to your home, try the following tips:
- Stick to the same food he was eating in her previous home for at least the first week or so.
- Feed your puppy in a safe place, away from distractions and other dogshe’ll probably feel more secure. Sometimes, though, seeing another dog eat can also stimulate a puppy into chowing down.
- Pay attention to the number of treats you’re offering, and make sure your puppy isn’t getting more than 10 percent of her daily calories as treats.
- If your pup is struggling with dry food, switch to canned or fresh food with more moisture, especially if he’s very young or teething.
- Check out the strategies above for adult dogs, many of which should also work in puppies.
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.
Is Your Puppy Teething
Many puppies eat less when theyre teething, which usually takes place when a puppy is between three and six months old. Tender gums and loose teeth can make dry food unappetizing, so if your teething puppy wont eat dry food, you may try moistening it with warm water or mixing it with wet food to make it easier to chew. If you do decide to add wet food to his regular meal, remember to scale back the amount of dry food you give him to make sure youre not overfeeding him.
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No Routine Might Get Them Eating Kibble
Whilst the routine method can work, there is another way. Your puppy will find it difficult to stand still and eat an entire meal. Thats because puppies have a terrible case of shiny object syndrome.
Anything can distract them at a moments notice, and even spending time for an entire meal can be difficult for them. If this seems to be the case for your puppy then try the no routine method.
Instead of having a routine, give your puppy their daily kibble feed in a bowl and leaving it out for them.
Be sure to place it in a thoroughfare, somewhere your puppy travels often. Along with not giving your puppy any other options, and having them walk past their kibble, therell be a good chance theyll go to it whenever they feel peckish.
After the age of 6-months their ability to hold their attention will increase, and so you can start regular meal times.
Are you looking for a quality online training program, because we recommend Brain Training For Dogs, as it’s based on proven, positive techniques that will actually make your dog smarter – the best way to cure unwanted behaviors!
If you would like to get your dog to eat kibble as treats, then be sure to read our post Can Kibble be Used as Treats?
Encouraging Your Dog To Eat Dry Dog Food
If his teeth and health are fine but your dog wont eat dry food, you can take some steps to encourage him to eat the healthy dry dog food youve purchased in an appropriate size for him. The first step is to ensure your dog is actually hungry. Cut out the treats, except for those you give him when you are training him. Training treats should be small and low calorie, as our Train Me treats are. Reduce the amount of food you are feeding. The best schedule is to divide the food into two meals, morning and evening.
You can entice him to eat his dry dog food by adding something he loves to it. Try some table scraps such as boneless cooked meat without any sauce or seasoning. Dogs also love eggs and cheese, so you can mix that into his dry food as well. Some dogs really love to have a little bit of wet food mixed in with their kibble.
If you have multiple dogs, that can be part of the issue. Dogs have a strict sense of pack order, and a younger, timid dog might be reluctant to eat near an older, more assertive dog. Your dog could even be reluctant to eat near you, particularly if he is a rescue who might have experienced abuse. Try giving your dog his own space to eat undisturbed, preferably in a room alone.
Exercise is a great appetite stimulant. Dogs can get down in the dumps and lose their appetite. A daily walk burns up some calories and stimulates his mind too. Dont we all feel a little hungrier after a bit of fresh air? Dogs do too.
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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
Why Puppy Fractures Happen
Pups have weak points in their bones called growth plates that can easily be fractured or crushed. Such injuries can be caused by accidents as simple as:
- falling down stairs
You can see two examples on our page of the common causes of limping in puppies.
But that only partly explains Oshis fractures. Five fractures at once dont happen falling down the stairs, and they arent all involving growth plates. The clue is the folding fracture of the radius.
Oshis bones collapsed due to insufficient strength. Its very likely that, just like most pups, if her bones had been strong she would have got up at the bottom of the stairs, shaken herself, and kept going.
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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.
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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Best Herding Ball For Small Dogs
We stumbled across the Jolly Soccer Ball while reviewing the best soccer balls for dogs. Turns out, its actually the perfect herding ball for small dogs, roughly up to the size of a Corgi.
The number one benefit the Jolly Pets Soccer Ball has over a traditional herding ball, such as our top pick, is its comparatively soft rubber surface. It doesnt matter how much your tiny pup tries to bite or carry the ball it wont harm his teeth.
The Jolly Soccer Ball is available in two sizes:
At 8 inches, the Jolly Soccer Ball will be too large for most small dogs to wrap their jaws around. To play with it, your tiny pup needs to push, roll and chase the ball around just like a herding ball.
Being made of rubber, the Jolly Soccer Ball has an additional advantage you can kick it and have your small pup chase after it. The plastic herding ball I recommended earlier is too hard to kick.
This is also one of the few herding balls we tested that is appropriate for indoor play. The rubber ball wont make loud thuds as your dog herds it around your home.
Best of all, this heavy-duty herding ball can take a beating. Even if your small dog prefers to herd using his teeth and sharp paws, you can be confident that the Jolly Soccer Ball will hold strong.
Check out this Jolly Soccer Ball at the end of our testing:
For small dogs, there really isnt a better herding ball available than the Jolly Soccer Ball. Highly recommended.
Consider If You Have A Picky Eater
One of the most common reasons that a dog won’t eat kibble is because they just want something better. If you regularly give your dog other tastier foods, such as wet food or lots of dog treats, he may be refusing to eat dry food hoping that you’ll offer up something else. Dogs who are getting human food may also be less than satisfied with their dry food diet. If you think this may be the case, only offer your dog kibble for a few days and see if his appetite eventually picks up.
It’s also important to not reward your dog, even indirectly, for picky eating behaviour, such as giving them extra attention or attempting to hand feed them kibble. Dogs are smart, and it doesn’t take them long to learn that not eating results in more petting. If you have a dog who has learned to be a picky eater, it may take some time to extinguish that behaviour.
Some dogs are also pickier than others about taste and texture and just don’t care for what dry kibble has to offer. In this case, you may be able to entice your dog to eat more if you add a little wet food on top. Remember to decrease the amount of dry food if you go with this option to ensure you’re not overfeeding. It may also help to try a few different foods making sure to transition your dog slowly to see if there is one formula he prefers over the others.
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How To Cure A Fussy Eater
The cure for a fussy eater is straightforward. But before you begin:
Trying to cure a fifteen-year-old Labrador of a lifetimes fussy eating is probably a bit mean.
Here are the steps:
- Set a timer for five minutes.
- When the timer goes off, take the bowl away.
- Do not feed him any treats whatsoever until his next mealtime.
- At the next time, offer the dog a small quantity of exactly the same food again. For exactly five minutes.
- Do not feed him anything else.
- Make sure he has clean drinking water available at all times.
- Rinse and repeat
Build up quantities as soon as he starts eating again. Thats it. All you have to do is ignore the pleading eyes, thwart any attempts to raid the fridge, and prevent the dog from eating the cats dinner or mugging your visitors. Some dogs will hold out for a couple of days. But you will win this battle.
Remember that no healthy dog will normally starve itself to death, but very occasionally youll meet a dog that will keep itself chronically underweight rather than eat what you are offering.
So what are the main points covered in this article?
Why Do Puppies Refuse To Eat
Anorexiaor loss of appetitemay be abrupt, with your pup suddenly refusing to eat, or gradual, so that it’s eating less over time. A number of factors can contribute to your puppy’s anorexia.
Young puppies have smaller fat reserves than adult dogs and cant go without food longer than about 12 hours before needing medical help. Toy breed puppies are particularly prone to potentially deadly drops in blood sugar if they skip a meal.
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Help My Puppy Wont Eat Dry Food
Im deeply concerned by a fast-growing trend in puppy diets. In fact, Id go so far as to say that puppy owners are being badly let down. It makes me angry and it should make them angry too.
New puppies at our Adelaide clinic are being set up to fail in numbers that I havent seen since the 1990s. The consequences can be the permanent leg deformities you see in the picture.
Not for a second do I think anyone is taking these risks deliberately. Weve just forgotten how bad it was.
Bonus Tip: Monitor Water Intake When Your Dog Wont Eat
When your dog wont eat, its important to monitor the water intake. Dogs shouldnt even go a day without drinking water. Your pooch should drink at least an ounce of water per pound of weight every day to prevent dehydration. If you notice your dog isnt drinking, its wise to get to a vet sooner rather than later as dehydration can set in.
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Dog Wont Eat Dry Food
For many owners, it can seem like their dogs are bottomless pits always hungry and always ready for more but some dogs just don’t have much of an appetite, particularly when it comes to dry food. If your dog won’t eat kibble, it could be because they’re a picky eater or just aren’t hungry, but it could also be a sign of an underlying health issue. If your dog refuses to eat dry food or seems to have less appetite than you would expect, here are some things you can do.
Why Wont My Dog Eat Dry Dog Food
Is your dog not eating dry food? There are a lot of different reasons why a dog may turn up his nose at his food. Refusing to eat dry dog food could just mean that your dog is a picky eater, but it also could be a sign of a more serious health problem. If your dog wont eat dry food, here are some steps you can take to help get him eating again.
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Our Method To Get Your Puppy Eating Kibble
Were going to give you a solid plan of action to get your puppy eating kibble. One that will be sure to work! If you have access to a printer, print this blog post out so you can use it as a reference.
But first, make sure your puppy is ready to eat kibble. If youre not sure theyre ready, you can check by reading this post first: When Can Puppies Eat Kibble? Answered!
Stop giving your puppy all traces of human food. Let everyone know in the house that this is paramount to their kibble-eating success.
Reduce the number of treats your puppy is getting in a day.
Get your puppy some PetAg Esbilac Puppy Milk Replacer Powder. Its a palatable recipe that contains prebiotics and probiotics, plus vitamins and minerals. Its easily digestible and puppies love it!
When you feed your puppy using the Puppy Milk Replacer, use 1-part powder to 2 parts warm milk, then stir into your puppys kibble. Start by using 4-teaspoons of powder and 8-teaspoons of warm water and mix into their kibble.
If they enjoy eating it, then gradually reduce the amount of milk powder in their kibble over a week period, until youre no longer putting in the milk power.
Another option is to go straight for some warm water to mix in with their kibble. For everything to know about soaking your puppys kibble, we have a post, Soaking Puppy Kibble: How, Why, and When to Stop
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