For their owners, dogs with hypo- or anorexia may be stressful, and these conditions typically indicate a medical problem. Long-term anorexia should not be ignored because it frequently indicates that something else is wrong.
Reasons Why Dogs Won’t Eat
There are a variety of reasons why a dog refuses to eat, but they always fall into one of three categories:
- There are problems with the meal itself.
Anorexia or hyporexia in dogs may be caused by a variety of medical conditions, including anything that causes discomfort, nausea, lethargy, or stress:
- Infection of the teeth
- Oral discomfort
- Intestinal parasites are parasites that live in the intestines.
- Stomach upset (eating table scraps or anything they shouldn’t, or a drastic change in diet or rewards)
- Hepatitis is a disease of the liver.
- Kidney disease is a condition that affects the kidneys
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a kind of bowel illness that
- Heart failure due to congestive heart failure
- Lung ailment
These are just a few of the medical conditions that might cause a decrease of appetite in dogs; there are many more.
In certain dogs, anxiety, worry, or fear may induce a loss of appetite, just as it does in humans. Keep in mind that what you consider unpleasant may not be the same as what your dog considers stressful, and even little events might induce anxiety and make them refuse to eat.
Changes in a dog’s habit or surroundings might cause anxiety, such as new people or dogs in the home, travel, or loud sounds like construction, storms, or fireworks. Even something as basic as altering the timing or location of a meal may generate stress in more sensitive dogs, causing them to eat less.
A dog may shun his or her food dish due to intimidation from another pet in the home. Many dogs dislike dining close to their roommates because there might be intimidation that we, as humans, miss. To avoid resource guarding or intimidation, it is advised that dogs be separated during feedings.
If the problem is stress or worry, dogs will usually resume eating within a day or two, after they have acclimated to the new situation. If stress and anxiety are regular, some dogs may need behavioral adjustment or medicinal therapy.
Issues With the Food
It’s possible that the problem is with the meal itself, which is old, expired, stale, or ruined. While some dogs, such as happy-go-lucky Labrador Retrievers, will eat everything that comes their way, others, such as Yorkshire Terriers, are more selective.
If your dog has been eating the same food for a long time and has always eaten it well, check the expiry date on the bag or can and make sure it is kept in an airtight container.
All dog food containers and bags should be sealed, and any food that has beyond its expiry date should be discarded. Open canned food may be stored in the refrigerator for two to three days if wrapped with plastic wrap or a lid designed for dog food cans.
Many pet owners believe that if their dog stops eating, it is simply because they are bored of it. While some dogs are finicky, a healthy, hungry dog should not abandon a meal merely because it has been consumed for some time.
It may take a few attempts to find out which dog food your dog prefers, but if your dog seems to be growing bored of eating food after food, it might be due to too many treats or human food, or they could have a medical ailment.
Dogs are clever, and they soon figure out that if they don’t eat their kibble straight away, they’ll be rewarded with delectable goodies instead. Rather of leaping to table scraps or a new diet, try combining kibble with canned food or gently heating the canned food.
Switching meals abruptly might cause stomach trouble (lack of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea), which is unhelpful. It would be quite rare for a dog to be hungry for many days just because they are finicky, so see your veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical conditions.nbsp;
Why Won’t My Dog Eat? Questionnaire
Use this quiz to figure out what’s causing your dog’s lack of appetite.
Will Your Dog Drink Water?
It’s possible that your dog won’t eat but will drink water because of sickness, stress, or oral discomfort. It’s a positive indication if they can keep the water level down. If they vomit after drinking water, however, they should consult a veterinarian immediately since this might suggest severe nausea or an intestinal blockage. They should be evaluated by their veterinarian if they spend more than 24 hours without eating, even if they are still drinking, to establish the underlying reason of their inappetence.
If your dog hasn’t eaten or drunk in more than 24 hours, you should take them to the vet immediately away to be checked and treated for dehydration, as well as to find out what’s causing their refusal to eat or drink.
Kidney disease, pancreatitis, intestinal parasites, liver disease, cancer, infection, intestinal blockage, and other illnesses might cause a dog to reject food and drink. Dogs, like people, cannot live without water for more than a few days, therefore this should be taken seriously.
Does Your Dog Eat Treats But Not Food?
If your dog refuses to eat supper but accepts snacks or table scraps, it’s possible that they’re eating “junk food” instead of their regular dog food. If your dog is showing other signs of illness, a medical problem might be to blame for their change in appetite.
If your dog is cheerful, lively, drinking water, playing, and not vomiting or diarrhea, it’s possible that they’re just receiving too many calories from treats each day and aren’t hungry for their dinner. They may also have outsmarted you by understanding that if they refuse to eat their meal, they’ll be rewarded with delectable chicken and dog treats.
Your dog may not be feeling well if they are drooling or licking their lips, or if they are sluggish, experiencing vomiting or diarrhea, beginning to eat then stopping, or drooling or licking their lips. Treats are more rewarding than food, so even if your dog isn’t feeling well, they’ll eat them instead of their meal. Consider a moment when you had an upset stomach but persisted in eating your favorite dessert while skipping the salad bar.
If getting your dog to eat is becoming a regular issue, it’s always preferable to be cautious and get any suspected medical concerns cleared out.
Is Your Dog Not Eating Dry Food?
Does your dog refuse to eat dry food yet gobble up canned food as soon as you put it down? This is a typical pet parent complaint, and it might signify a variety of things.
It’s possible that your dog is suffering from dental or oral discomfort. Many pet owners assume that if their pet is eating, they aren’t in discomfort, but this isn’t the true. Because dogs must eat, many suffer quietly with oral discomfort for months or years until a dental surgery is performed to remove any rotting or diseased teeth.
While some dogs may consume dry food even if they are in excruciating discomfort in their mouths, many prefer canned food since it is simpler to chew. If your dog refuses to eat dry food but will take canned, he or she should see their veterinarian for an oral exam.
It’s also possible that your dog prefers canned food over dry food because it smells better and is seen as more of a “prize.” Try combining canned food with dry kibble to get your dog to eat, then gradually increasing the dry food ratio until your dog is eating dry kibble again.
Some dogs will only eat canned food instead of kibble. While having your dog on canned food for a long time may have certain drawbacks, such as worsening dental problems or increasing your food expense, it may not be an issue. Consult your veterinarian to determine whether an all-canned diet is the best choice for your dog.
Is Your Dog a Senior?
While older dogs’ caloric needs are lower than those of younger dogs, and they may eat less than they used to, significant weight loss or reluctance to eat is not normal and might suggest severe underlying health issues.
These include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Infection of the teeth
- Hepatitis is a disease of the liver.
- Kidney disease is a condition that affects the kidneys
- Stomach upset (eating something they shouldn’t or making a drastic diet change)
If a dog can’t locate or get to their food dish, it might be due to cognitive decline, movement limitations, or visual loss. Senior dogs should have a feeding pattern, the food dish should stay in the same part of the home so they know where to locate it, and they should eat on a rug or yoga mat to prevent sliding or having difficulty standing on hard flooring.
If your senior dog hasn’t eaten in more than 24 hours, they should see their veterinarian for a full physical checkup and possibly diagnostics to determine the reason of their lack of appetite.
Is Your Dog a Puppy?
A puppy that is young and healthy should not spend more than a few hours without feeding.
Small breed pups, in particular, are at danger of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and should be regularly monitored for indications of lethargy or collapse if not feeding. If this occurs, they should be addressed as soon as possible.
Larger kibble may be unappealing to some pups since it is difficult for their puppy teeth to chew, particularly if they are just starting solid food. This may be fixed by adding water and allowing it soak to make a porridge-like consistency, or by combining the kibble with canned food.
If your puppy is still refusing to eat, you should take them to a veterinarian immediately soon. They should be examined as soon as possible if they are also sluggish, vomiting, or have diarrhea.
Did You Just Adopt Your Dog Recently?
It might take days or weeks for a newly acquired dog to adjust to their new surroundings. Anxiety is a typical cause of temporary inappetence, therefore it’s not uncommon for a newcomer to reject meals for the first few days.
It’s critical that they have a peaceful spot to dine, away from other pets or youngsters who could disturb them. It’s OK to let them a day or two to get adjusted to their new home as long as they’re otherwise lively and not vomiting or diarrhea.
If they become sluggish, vomit, or have diarrhea, or if they spend more than 48 hours without eating, they should see a veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical concerns.
Did Anything Change in Your Household?
Some dogs are sensitive enough to experience inappetence as a result of a change un their environment. A new addition to the household (whether a new pet or a new baby), construction, having visitors over, or simply relocating the food and water bowls are all examples.
While noise phobias aren’t necessarily unique to your home, things like thunderstorms and fireworks might generate enough worry for your dog to stop eating.
Could Your Dog Have Separation Anxiety?
When their pet parent isn’t home, many dogs with separation anxiety refuse to eat. Some dogs with separation anxiety even want their human companion to be there in the room when they eat, and will stop eating if they are not.
While this isn’t strictly an indication of illness, it is a clue that your dog may be suffering from acute anxiety, which should be treated. Calming chews like Composure or Solliquin, as well as calming pheromone collars or diffusers like Adaptil, may help you relax.
If you’re worried that your dog is suffering from severe separation anxiety, get treatment from a board-certified veterinary behaviorist.
Did You Switch Dog Foods?
Switching from one dog food to another too rapidly might cause gastrointestinal irritation, resulting in your dog refusing to eat. To minimize stomach distress, it’s recommended to change meals gradually over 7-10 days. This also helps your dog to gradually get used to the new diet rather than making a drastic change.
Is Your Dog Pregnant or in Heat?
Your dog’s appetite may be diminished or nonexistent early in pregnancy. Because her stomach has less area to grow owing to the presence of pups, your dog may eat less in the middle or late stages of her pregnancy, but she should compensate by eating a smaller quantity more often.
If your dog hasn’t eaten in over 24 hours, regardless of how far along she is in her pregnancy, you should contact your veterinarian immediately once to make sure everything is alright.
In addition, dogs in heat may have a reduced appetite, which is typical. She should be evaluated by her veterinarian if she stays more than 48 hours without eating anything. If she seems sluggish, vomits, has diarrhea, or drinks and urinates more than normal, she should visit her veterinarian straight once, since this might suggest pyometra, a uterine infection.
Is Your Dog Diabetic?
If your dog is diabetic and refuses to eat, it’s possible that something is terribly wrong. Inquire with your veterinarian about what to do if your dog refuses to eat at the time of diagnosis.
Dogs should not be administered insulin if they are not eating, since this might result in dangerously low hypoglycemia. If your veterinarian recommended you to administer a half-dose of insulin if your dog misses one meal, do so, but notify your veterinarian right away if your dog misses another.
If your diabetic dog is sluggish, nonresponsive, vomiting, or has diarrhea, they should visit a veterinarian right once, since this might indicate hypoglycemia or diabetic ketoacidosis, both of which are life-threatening if not treated promptly.
Did Your Dog Just Have Surgery?
After surgery, it’s not uncommon for your dog to miss a meal or two. Sedatives and anesthetics often produce nausea and a loss of appetite, and drugs that people may take at home, such as pain relievers and antibiotics, may also suppress appetite.
You might try putting a scoop of canned food or boneless, skinless, boiling chicken on top of your dog’s kibble to get them to eat. Better still, request a couple cans of a prescription gastrointestinal diet from your veterinarian to feed during the first several days following surgery. These meals are delicious, easy to digest, and may help alleviate some of the gastrointestinal discomfort that might accompany surgery and anesthesia.
If your dog has undergone oral or face surgery, your veterinarian may advise you to give only canned food for two weeks or longer. This also implies that your dog should not consume hard treats or chew on hard toys until their recheck visit, when they will be deemed recovered. If your dog refuses to eat the recommended canned food, see your veterinarian to rule out any possible post-operative issues.
What to Do When Your Dog Won’t Eat
Consult your veterinarian straight away if your dog is sluggish, vomiting, or has diarrhea in addition to not eating. If none of them work, try the following methods to get your dog to eat:
- To soften the dog food, soak it in water or low-sodium chicken broth for several minutes.
- Microwave canned food for a few seconds to warm it up (make sure to take it out of the metal can and put it into a microwave-safe bowl). Canned food may rapidly become quite hot, so feel the food first to prevent getting your tongue burnt.
- To encourage them to eat more, add some basic, boneless, skinless boiling chicken and rice with their kibble.
- On top of the meal, sprinkle a probiotic like Purina Fortiflora or Advita. Not only will this improve the taste of the meal, but it will also aid in the healing of any injured or irritated bowel by restoring a healthy gastrointestinal flora.
If you’ve tried these tactics and your dog still won’t eat, you should take him to the doctor to rule out any underlying medical concerns.
Unless expressly prescribed by your veterinarian, over-the-counter digestive aids like Imodium or Pepto Bismol shouldn’t be given to your dog. They could have harmful side effects or interact with any meds your vet may have prescribed. It is crucial to see your veterinarian before attempting to treat symptoms at home.
- Find out more: Tips for Feeding Wet Dog Food