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.
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.
How Long Can A Dog Go Without Eating
Forget about hours. If he has access to water, a fit and well dog can last days without food. And most healthy, well balanced, dogs will give in and eat what is put in front of them within two or three days.
So if you want to, you can safely refuse to feed a fit and well dog alternatives, until his hunger gets the better of him and he gives in and eats what you provide. Youll find more detailed instructions for curing a fit and well picky eater below. The important part here is the fit and well. That includes mentally well. You shouldnt be entering into a battle of wills with an elderly dog or a young puppy. Or a dog that has a health or emotional reason for not eating.
A dog who has a chronic illness may need a special diet. And those recovering from a health problem could need some coaxing to recover their appetite.
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What To Do When Your Dog Wont Eat
If your dog is lethargic, vomiting, or having diarrhea in addition to not eating, see your veterinarian right away. If you dont see any of these, here are some ways to try to entice your dog to eat:
Add water or no-sodium chicken broth to the dog food and let it soak for several minutes to soften it.
Heat canned food for a few seconds in the microwave . Canned food can become scorching hot quickly, so feel the food first to avoid any burned tongues.
Try mixing some plain, boneless, skinless boiled chicken and rice with their kibble to encourage them to eat.
Add a probiotic such as Purina Fortiflora or Advita on top of the food. Not only can this make the food more palatable, but it can also help any inflamed or irritated intestine heal by rebalancing a healthy gastrointestinal flora.
If you have tried these tricks and your dog continues to refuse his food, he should be seen by his veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical conditions.
Unless explicitly prescribed by your veterinarian, your dog should not be given any over-the-counter gastrointestinal medications like Imodium or Pepto Bismol, as these could cause serious side effects or even interact with medications that your veterinarian may want to give. It is best to consult with your veterinarian before attempting to treat symptoms at home.
Food Issues And Diet Changes
Dogs arent known for being picky eaters but occasionally they will turn their nose up at food that doesnt quite make the grade.
There are some food issues you should consider if your dog refuses to eat. First and foremost, check if the food is spoiled. If its not, consider if you recently introduced new food that tastes or smells differently than the old food. Also, dogs will often refuse to eat when you go from home-cooked meals or wet dog food to kibble.
Another thing you should consider is the food’s ingredients. If your pooch is sensitive to one or more of them, you may find the food untouched. Theres also a chance that you have a picky pet or that youre overfeeding your dog. Also, note the temperature of the food youre serving, whether it is too hot or too cold food, which might be causing your doggo to skip dinner.
Finally, if you havent changed anything in your dogs diet for a long time, this can be an issue too. Dogs can get bored with food if theyre eating the same thing every day for months. After all, who wouldnt get bored?
What to do?
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Is Your Dog A Puppy
A young, healthy puppy shouldnt go more than a few hours without eating.
Small breed puppies, especially, are at a high risk of hypoglycemia and should be watched closely for signs of lethargy or collapse if they are not eating. If this happens, they should be treated on an emergency basis.
Some puppies may not like larger kibble, as it can be hard for their puppy teeth to chew, especially if they are just transitioning to solid food. This can be remedied by mixing in water and letting it soak to create more of a porridge consistency, or the kibble can be mixed with canned food as well.
If your puppy still will not eat, they should be seen right away by a veterinarian. If they are also lethargic, vomiting, or having diarrhea, they should be seen on an emergency basis.
Why Won’t My Dog Eathere’s Why Dogs May Refuse Food
If there are no other symptoms that would lead you to believe that your dog has an underlying health issue, monitor his behavior closely for 48 hours. If you notice any other symptoms you should get him to the vet immediately. If not, you should be able to figure out the issue with a little time and patience.
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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.
When Your Pup Snubs The Food Bowl That’s A Sign Something Is Amiss Here’s How To Figure Out Whatand Fix The Problem
You see that your normally voracious pup seems to be picking at his food bowl and immediately start wondering: Why is my dog not eating? There could be a million causes of a dog not eating, but the most common one is that your pet is sick, says Lori M. Teller, DVM, clinical associate professor at the Texas A& M Universitys College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, in College Station, Texas. Of course, the illness can literally be anything from a mild upset stomach to something grave, like cancer. Plus, there may be behavioral reasons behind your pets hunger strike. That means you have to play detective, so you can help your pup regain an appetiteand start gobbling up these vet-approved dog food brands.
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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.
Older Dogs Who Wont Eat
If you have an older dog, and he suddenly stops eating or only eats small amounts of food, then dont assume its just because theyre old.
Usually, as dogs become older, they become weaker and more prone to various health issues, dental problems being the most common.
This makes it hard for them to eat their food, as even light chewing can hurt.
Ask your vet to check your dogs teeth and also about the food your older dog should be consuming and if some additional vitamins should be included in their diet.
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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.
When Should I Worry About My Dog Not Eating
It can be a really worrying time when your dog is off their food. Unfortunately anorexia or loss of appetite can be caused by a whole host of reasons. In order to determine the treatment to give to your dog, it is important to identify what the underlying cause of the reluctance to eat is.
Loss of appetite in a dog can be a sign of illness so its important to seek veterinary help if you notice changes in your dogs normal eating habits particularly if your pooch is normally a good eater. Its best to get to the bottom of the problem as early as possible, as if left untreated for several days it can lead to dehydration and malnourishment.
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A Puppy Can Become Gravely Ill If It’s Not Eating Enough
The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong
Like humans, it’s not unusual for a dog to lose its appetite once in a while. As long as your dog acts normal otherwise, losing enthusiasm for a meal isn’t a huge cause for concern. But any sudden loss of appetite that is out of character for your dog and lasts longer than a meal or two requires veterinary attentionsooner if your puppy acts sick.
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.
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
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Which Brand Should You Try
People often ask us which brand of dog food they should try, especially when their dog is refusing several brands. We simply cannot advise you on which brand of food you should feed your dog. That is a matter for you, and possibly your vet, to decide in consultation with your wallet.
But be very wary of switching brands on more than one occasion. You can end up in a cycle of constantly switching from one food to another whilst your dog gets more and more picky.
Recommended Serving Amounts For Homemade Dog Food
As a general rule, dogs will eat around 2 to 3 percent of their ideal body weight in fresh food daily. Larger breeds may need as little as 1 1/2 percent, and smaller breeds may need as much as 4 percent.
This works out to be approximately:
- 2 pounds of food per day for a 100-pound dog
- 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of food per day for a 50-pound dog
- 1/2 to 3/4 pound of food per day for a 25-pound dog
- 5 to 6 1/2 ounces of food per day for a 10-pound dog
There is much variation in what the ideal amount should be as it depends on how much your dog weighs and how active she is.
I feel that the best approach is to feed and watch if your dog is losing weight, give more, and if your dog is gaining weight, give less.
For our pugs, we feed a scoop each in the morning and a scoop each in the evening, plus all their supplements.
We have an easy system for this: homemade food is refrigerated in a sealed container with a measuring cup , and all the supplements are lined up together in a cupboard in the kitchen. Keeping your ingredients organized and accessible will make feeding time fast and smooth.
Compared to feeding commercial food, where you might scoop out kibbles or open up a can, feeding homemade food with all the supplements takes maybe 10 seconds more. And even if it took 10 minutes more, fresh wholesome food for our furbabies is worth it.
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Why Does My Puppy Only Eat Half Of His Food When I Feed It To Him
I have a very picky 11-week old puppy. Ive tried multiple types of hard puppy chow from Hills Science Diet and Royal Canin to Orijen Whole Prey puppy chows, which Ive then mixed with another type of soft puppy food- either Hills Science Diet Puppy, Royal Canin Puppy Loaf in Sauce or Hills Science Diet A/D Urgent Care. Ive also tried adding tasty supplements like Nutragel or other natural alternatives like bone broth, chicken stock, sardines or yogurt and microwaving the food for a few seconds. I feed him twice a day: Ill give him one serving of one of the aforementioned combinations, which is 1/4 cup of one of the hard puppy chows and 1/4 cup of one of the soft puppy foods , which hell then proceed to only eat half of that serving- and then stop- but if I give him another 1/4 cup of a different hard puppy chow, hell eat it. Ive tried feeding him smaller portions at three times per day with the same results.
Does anyone else have this experience? What do you do with a picky puppy who seems to get sick of or bored with his food? Thanks!
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.
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