Dog Stopped Eating? Ask Yourself Some Questions
There may be a simple answer:
- Have you changed your dog’s food? Did you buy a new brand or switch up an ingredient?
- Is your dog is under stress (e.g. you’re packing up to move, have a new member of the household, etc.)?
- Has something changed in your home? Are you doing renovations? Did you make a big change? Dogs can be sensitive to this.
- Have you traveled with your dog? Many canine friends are sensitive to changes in routine, and it may impact their appetite. They may also experience motion sickness during car trips.
Sometimes, the solution is as simple as switching back to his previous food brand or giving him time to make the transition as your home or household makeup changes.
If you haven’t had any changes at home or in your dog’s diet, it’s time to look into other factors that may be causing the problem:
- Illness. Your dog may be sick, so keep on the lookout for other symptoms. Is he lethargic? Has he stopped engaging in the activities he normally loves? If you notice any of the above, speak to your vet immediately. Loss of appetite, coupled with other symptoms, could signal cancer, infections, liver problems, or kidney failure. Caught early, these conditions can be treated. And remember, the illness may be something minor. Best to get it checked out as soon as you can.
- Dental Issues. If your dog doesn’t want to eat, he may have a broken or loose tooth or a gum condition. Again, have your vet check it out.
- Vaccinations. Vaccinations keep our furry friends safe and protected against a host of diseases. Do not skip these essential treatments! They are remarkably safe, but if your dog has had a vaccine recently, he may be experiencing an adverse side effect. If this is the case, the loss of appetite is typically very brief and your pup will be hankering for treats in a day or two.
- Behavior. Your dog may be staging a protest. If he’s picky or does not like his feeding situation (his “dining room,” if you will!) he may just refuse to eat.
For issues related to illness, teeth/gums, and vaccines, see your vet as soon as possible. If you suspect the loss of appetite is a behavioral issue:
- Create a feeding schedule and stick to it (e.g. breakfast at 7:00 am and dinner at 6:00 pm).
- Give your dog 10 minutes to eat and if they don’t pick the bowl up and don’t give them food again until it’s time for their next meal. Repeat this and at some point, your dog should be hungry enough to want to eat!
- Eliminate treats or any other food except their own.
- If your dog still does not want to eat, contact us because something medically might be going on.
Dogs can survive for days without food. If your dog is not eating, make sure that he is at least drinking water so he is properly hydrated. If this persists more than two days, see your vet. Dogs get upset bellies just like we do: getting to the root of the problem is important, though. They can’t tell us why they’re not eating; we have to figure it out. Your vet is your best ally in this situation.
If your dog doesn’t put down his breakfast with the usual gusto, keep an eye on him. If he keeps missing meals, it’s time to get some help. Let us know: we want your best friend to get the nutrition he needs to live a full, happy, and healthy life!