Reasons Dogs Wont Eat
Several causes for a dog to be off food or have partial anorexia can include psychological and medical reasons. Looking at some of the expert feedback, the reasons for dogs to refuse to eat are psychological, medical or mental health reasons.
Or it might just be a day off food sometimes there are issues between dry dog food and wet dog food, when your dog refuses to eat dry food one day and wet food the next. Dogs love routine and a dogs diet is no exception, so it can help to keep to a regular food schedule, especially if there is a walk or similar afterwards.
Dog Wont Eat 6 Common Causes And Recommendations For A Dog Not Eating
It can be scary when your dog won’t eat, or when your good boy or good girl’s just not acting like themselves. Discover the common reasons for a dog not eating below plus tips to get them eating again.
When a dog wont eat, its normal for a caring dog parent like yourself to get worried. Knowing the reasons for a dog not eating in advance can help you to address the issue. Because not acting promptly can be life-threatening for your dog, here are the 6 most common reasons why a dog wont eat, plus what you can do about it. Once your dog is eating normally again, check out our guide for feeding vegetables to dogs.
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
Easy Homemade Dog Food Recipe
Jump to RecipeMy easy homemade dog food recipe combines lean ground sirloin, wholesome brown rice, fresh vegetables, hard boiled eggs, and tender herbs
***Please note, I am not a veterinarian, just a very passionate dog owner! The information in this blog post documents our own personal experiences, research, and the recipes that we feed our dogs under our veterinarian’s careful supervision. Please, consult with your vet and use your own personal judgment when considering transitioning to a 100% human grade food diet for your pup. This post was updated with video August 16, 2020, updated with additional recipe links 9/14/2020, updated 1/7/2021 with metric measurements.***
Go For A Walk Before Meals
Richardson says it could be helpful to make sure your dog is well-exercised before you feed them to help them build up an appetite. Taking your pet on a walk before you give them their bowl can be helpful when it comes to their appetite. However, do not put these two practices too closely together as there is a correlation between exercise, food, and bloat.
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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.
What To Feed A Dog That Wont Eat Any More
Some dogs eat a wide range of food to begin with and then get more and more selective. Perhaps youre driving forty miles a week to get the only kibble your Labrador will eat? Or paying a small mortgage for fancy food in a pretty pouch?
The good news is, you dont have to. This isnt about what to feed him. Its about how.
The bad news is, your dog will make you feel like a bit of a heel whilst you go about teaching him not to be a fussy eater. He may also lose a bit of weight . Well look at that in a moment, but first a quick word about changing brands.
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Illnesses Parasites And Teething
Anorexia is one of the most common signs of illness in dogs and can occur in conjunction with a fever if infection is present. Life-threatening viral infections, such as parvovirus, will cause anorexia. Distemper and other less severe infections such as an upper respiratory infection or intestinal parasites will also cause anorexia. Even a sore mouth from teething can make a pup reluctant to eat. Other times, an ingested foreign body can cause abdominal pain and result in a puppy not wanting to eat.
If your dog’s anorexia lasts for more than a few meals, be sure to have your veterinarian rule out any illnesses before trying any techniques to coax your puppy to eat.
Tricks I Tried To Get My Old Dog To Eat
Besides trying different foods, I tried a few tricks what might be considered environmental changes to entice Red to eat.
I elevated her water bowl
I held her food bowl up to her mouth, which helped when her dementia got worse. When that didnt work I hand fed her.
Since the flavor and smell is enhanced when a food is warmed, which can make a food seem more appealing to a dog, I tried microwaving it first.
She ate a wet kidney prescription food, which I cut it into pieces and baked. She loved it so much I used them for treats and as part of her meal.
The last couple of weeks of her life my tricks no longer worked.
A blood test revealed extremely high urea levels which meant her kidneys had failed. That was when I knew it was time to say goodbye.
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What To Do When Your Puppy Isnt Eating
Remember, puppies dont have the same fat reserves as adult dogs. Therefore missing a meal or two can be problematic and be a cause for concern. Always err on the side of caution and call your veterinarian for advice in these situations.
Below are some things you can do to try and tempt your puppys appetite at home.
Blockage Or Other Illnesses
A dog not eating could be a sign of other underlying causes too. Sometimes, a dog may ingest a foreign object such as a sock that is blocking their digestive tract. A dog will often stop eating if this is the case.
Other causes of loss of appetite in dogs include illnesses such as kidney failure, cancer, liver disease, or even infections. If theyre sick, refusing to eat is one of the telltale signs of their discomfort. This is especially true of older dogs. If they continue to not eat for long periods of time, it could be very dangerous for your pet. Going to a veterinarian is recommended.
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Treating Environmental And Behavioral Loss Of Appetite In Dogs
When it comes to behavioral and environmental reasons your dog wont eat, the process can be a little more stressful and time-consuming. Sometimes, you may need to consult a pet behavior expert or a trainer.
Here are some general tips for getting your dog to eat regularly:
- Get your pet enough exercise and attention
- Invest some time and/or money in training
- Dont punish your dog for not eating, be patient and supportive
- Only give treats as a reward
- Avoid giving table scraps
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.
Additional Articles of Interest Relating to Food for Dogs that Wonât Eat:
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On Average Picky Canine Eaters May Choose Not To Eat For 1
Dont baby talk him and provide love and affection because you feel bad.If you do so, youre just reinforcing his uncertainty about the new food and letting him know its okay to refuse his meals. On the other hand, its important to state: youre not punishing him either. Youre just staying calm, neutral, and indifferent.All you can do is be strong and trust that your dog will not starve himself.
The only exceptions to the tough love rule:
Dogs with other serious preexisting health conditions.
Specific dogs or breeds that can develop or already have low blood sugar
Patience And A Little Bit Of Tough Love
What youre doing here is reinstating your position in the pack. Youre the alpha and you tell your dog when and what to eat. Your dog shouldnt get to decide what he eat if he does, then he wins, and you lose. He also shouldnt get to decide when its time to eat by barking, whining, or pestering you.This tough love will teach your dog to follow the rules of your household. If you can win this battle and be respected as the leader of the house during feeding times, your dog will continue to show you respect in other areas as well.Another crucial tip to remember is not to make a fuss if your dog doesnt eat. Dont coax him into eating.
Just the opposite. Youre providing food to your dog, its he who is choosing NOT to eat it.
Now, whatever you do, dont give in and dont provide other food in the meantime. No training treats, table scraps, rawhide, or other dogs chews or treats. If you provide something else, it will take longer for your dog to cave in.Its a game of who will cave first.More often than not, its the dog owner. When this happens, your dog is the boss and is training you.It seems as if many a new raw feeder tries to feed raw for a day or two, then gives up because they feel bad depriving their dogs. Youre not depriving you dog.
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Did Anything Change In Your Household
Some dogs may be sensitive enough that a change in their environment may cause inappetence. Examples include a new addition to the family , construction, having people over, or even a change in the location of the food and water bowls.
While noise phobias arent specific to your household necessarily, things like thunderstorms and fireworks can also cause enough anxiety to discourage your dog from eating.
What Is The Treatment For Anorexia
Treatment will very much depend on what the underlying cause of the anorexia is. Often once this has been addressed, their appetite will return to normal. Sometimes this may take a few days and additional measures may be required. Depending on your dogs condition your vet may give an injection or tablet to stimulate their appetite. These need to be given with some care, as they dont fix the problem they simply make the dog want to eat. In some cases, if its going to be longer than a couple of days while your pet heals, or the treatment takes effect they may suggest placing a feeding tube. This is passed into the oesophagus so your dog can receive a liquid diet via the tube. This isnt permanent its just to keep them fed until they start eating by themselves.
If you are worried about your dogs appetite, then dont hesitate to get in touch with your vet. Finding and treating the underlying cause is the best way to approach this situation. To get your dog back up and about again.
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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.
Talk To A Vet About Your Dog Not Eating
The first thing that you should know about your dogâs lack of appetite is that there is the potential it is connected to something more serious than a simple belly upset.
If you’re concerned about your dog not eating or if it’s accompanied by more serious symptoms, you should speak with a vet immediately. Alternatively, even if there are no other symptoms present, you might find that simply speaking with a vet can help ease any nerves you have surrounding the situation.
In reality, there are many reasons your dog could be refusing to eat, but you do want to rule out some of the more serious causes. Once you do that, you can begin to figure out what exactly is causing your dogâs appetite to decrease without having to worry that itâs something that will require serious medical attention.
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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.
How Long Can A Dog Go Without Food
Dogs can usually go three to five days without food, however, this is not ideal. If your dog has gone two days without food, it is highly recommended you call a veterinarian if you havent already.
More important than your dog eating is their water intake. If you cant encourage your dog to eat, try to convince them to drink water .
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My Dog Is Old And No Longer Wants To Eat What Should I Do
An old dog that wont eat is a worrying thing. Remember that as your dog ages, his dietary needs will change. Make sure that you review your pooches chow to match its phase of life and changing digestion. Your dog might eat less now in its later years than it did when it was younger and more energetic.
Oftentimes, the reason for older dogs not eating is due to dental issues. Get a good dental check-up on your senior dog to make sure theyre not suffering or in any pain that its causing them to avoid eating. Add more moisture to dry food too, so its softer and needs less aggressive chewing.
Of course, be on the lookout for any symptoms that may indicate a more serious problem, and dont delay in getting it checked out by a vet.
What Causes A Dog To Stop Eating
A loss of appetite is referred to as anorexia, whereas Hyporexia or inappetence means a pet is eating less than normal .
Refusal of food may happen suddenly or develop slowly over time. And it may be due to a variety of reasons, ranging from picky eating habits to a serious illness.
Here are some of the most common reasons why a dog might stop eating:
- An upset stomach for any reason .
- Finicky eating habits.
- A food change.
- Stress or emotional causes .
- Dental problems that make it difficult to chew food.
- Pain anywhere in the body.
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Ate Something They Shouldn’t Have
Puppies love to get into things and often end up with objects in their intestines/stomachs that they cannot pass this is called a foreign body. âSymptoms of a foreign body include loss of appetite or not being able to keep anything down , and lethargy,â says Davis.
If you suspect that your dog ate a foreign body or toxic object, your first instinct should be to bring them to a vet. The faster you get your dog medical attention, the better odds they have of making a full, complete recovery.
âA foreign body can be fatal and may require surgery or treatment to pass the object, so it is imperative you go to the vet clinic once you notice a pair of socks is missing, and your dog looks quite guilty and miserable!â says Davis.
Check out some common foods that are toxic to dogs so you can avoid them.