Dog Won’t Eat, We May Have the Reason Why and Solution

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The loss of appetite in dogs is called inappetence or anorexia. Anorexia in dogs is not the same condition as anorexia in humans. Doggy anorexia can be partial or complete. If your dog is only eating some types of food, but not enough to stay healthy, it’s partial anorexia. If your dog won’t eat anything at all, you’re dealing with complete dog anorexia. Pseudo-anorexia in dogs is a condition when a dog wants to eat but can’t because of another problem. First, you need to determine the causes of why your dog won’t eat, and here is how to do it.

5 steps to find out why your dog is not eating

If it’s been two days or more since your pooch ate, take it seriously and determine the reasons why your dog won’t eat.

1) Observe your dog’s behavior
2) Check the teeth and body of your pooch
3) See if there are any issues with the food
4) Check the environment
5) Re-examine your actions

Step 1 – Observing the dog’s behavior

When observing the dog’s behavior, check if your dog won’t eat anything or won’t eat some type(s) of food. See if your dog is behaving as usual or there are other changes in the daily routine. Also, pay attention to the dog’s stool and urine. If all is normal, you can let your pet skip a meal or two. If your dog is vomiting, has diarrhea, is lethargic and dehydrated, talk to a vet.

If apart from reduced appetite, your pooch is hiding, sleeping all day, or losing interest in play and other usual activities, it can be a sign of dog depression.

Step 2 – Checking your dog’s teeth and body

If you notice broken, loose or bad teeth, or inflamed gums, this can be a cause behind why your dog is not eating. When checking your pet’s body, look for parasites, changes in their fur and skin, and any lumps or injuries. If you find something suspicious, don’t hesitate to call a vet.

Step 3 – Checking for issues with the food

If your dog won’t eat the food, make sure there isn’t anything wrong with it. Check the label for the expiry date, check the color and smell. If you suspect the food is spoiled, get rid of it and offer your dog something else.

Step 4 – Checking the environment

If your dog stopped eating, it might be because of eating something dogs shouldn’t have. Check your houseplants, carpets, pet’s toys, and any items your four-legged friend has access to. Be extra careful if there are medications or chemicals within your dog’s reach. If anything is missing, and your dog is vomiting or has diarrhea, consult a vet right away.

If your puppy or a new dog won’t eat, maybe it’s due to a new environment. The same goes if you have moved recently. If your pet has been spending time with other people during the day, find out if someone has already fed your dog.

Step 5 – Examining your actions

Have you been giving your dog a lot of treats or table scraps? If you have, it can explain the loss of appetite. Or maybe your dog is just waiting for something tastier, like chunks of your dinner or doggy treats.

Common Reasons for Loss Of Appetite In Dogs

The list of reasons for loss of appetite in dogs is long. It includes medical issues, behavioral problems, environmental problems, separation anxiety, and problems with the food itself.

Medical conditions that can cause a loss of appetite in dogs include:

  • Upset stomach
  • Poisoning
  • Allergies
  • Depression
  • Infection
  • Pain
  • Problems with teeth, gums, or tongue
  • Tumors
  • Parasites
  • Autoimmune diseases and neurological diseases
  • Problems with internal organs (heart, liver, kidneys, lungs)
  • Recent vaccination

What to do? – Consult a vet immediately!

Behavioral and environmental reasons

Behavioral reasons are separation anxiety, your dog is used to getting lots of treats and table scraps, your dog likes to eat alone or only when there’s someone else in the room, or your pooch is used to being hand-fed. Changes in the environment include a recent move or traveling, absence of a family member or another pet, weather changes, recent stress, or a change in the feeding schedule.

Dog Separation Anxiety

Is your dog not eating when left home alone? One reason could be separation anxiety. If your furry friend goes crazy when left alone, you should learn about ways to treat separation anxiety. Another reason can be that the dog feels the need to guard the house until you get back. So, there’s no time to eat. Of course, it’s possible that your dog is just not used to eating when left alone at home or feels a little bit sad when you’re gone.

Food issues

There are some food issues you should consider if your dog refuses to eat. First and foremost, check if the food is spoiled. If it’s 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. There’s also a chance that you have a picky pet or that you’re overfeeding your dog. Also, note the temperature of the food you’re serving, whether it is too hot or too cold food, which might be causing your doggo to skip dinner.

Diet Changes

Were there any changes to your dog’s diet recently? If you switched foods, your dog might not like what you’re offering now. Finally, if you haven’t changed anything in your dog’s diet for a long time, this can be an issue too. Dogs can get bored with food if they’re eating the same thing every day for months. After all, who wouldn’t get bored?

Solutions For Loss of Appetite in Dogs

For medical issues, consult a vet. Otherwise, things can go very wrong very fast. When it comes to food-related reasons for a loss of appetite in dogs, some solutions can be quite simple to implement.

Food ReasonsSolutions
New foodSwitch gradually to new food/go back to old food
Lower quality foodTry to get better food
Different food taste/smellFind out which taste and smell your dog likes
Less/more fatty foodWhen switching food, choose an option with similar nutritional value
Spoiled foodAlways check the expiration date before giving it to your pet
Sensitive to a food ingredientChoose food without the ingredient your dog is sensitive to
Same food for a long time/dog is boredMix things up every once in a while
Hot/cold foodMake sure the food is the right temperature for your dog

Treating Environmental And Behavioral Loss Of Appetite In Dogs

When it comes to behavioral and environmental reasons your dog won’t 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
  • Don’t punish your dog for not eating, be patient and supportive
  • Only give treats as a reward
  • Avoid giving table scraps
  • New Puppy Won’t Eat

Puppies are usually crazy about food and will eat anything and everything. If your new puppy won’t eat, be patient, and try different types of food. Just like the puppies are new to you, they are with new people, in a new environment, and introduced to new types of food.

Here’s what you can do when your new puppy won’t eat:

  • Make sure there’s no medical issue
  • Try different types of food
  • Don’t give too many treats
  • Take the puppy out for regular walks
  • Establish a feeding schedule
  • Fill a toy with food
  • Change where you’re putting the food bowl
  • Figure out if the puppy prefers you being present or away during feeding

Your Dog Won’t Eat But Drinks Water

If your dog won’t eat but drinks water, give it a day or two. It’s possible that your pet merely has an upset stomach. If you notice other issues in behavior, you should call a vet. When your dog won’t eat, it’s important to monitor the water intake. Dogs shouldn’t 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.

Dog Not Eating and Drinking

Your dog not eating and drinking water is a serious issue. There can be a medical problem and you should take your pooch to a vet. Check for signs of dehydration, as well as vomiting and diarrhea. If all three are present, consider it an emergency.

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