Dog Won’t Eat?

dog wont eat

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Whenever a canine experiences appetite loss, it makes pet parents wonder at the same time, “Why won’t my dog eat?” Firstly, the onset of anorexia, or appetite loss, is notably the most common sign of illness in a dog. With this in mind, if there's a change in your pet’s eating, quickly contact your Veterinarian.

Meanwhile, the onset of anorexia or appetite loss can be sudden or gradual. Generally speaking, anorexia is the most common sign of illness in canines. Comparatively, both adults and puppies can experience reactions to internal and external stressors. Including adverse reactions such as the discomforting side effect of appetite loss.  

Overall, assess the dog for any underlying conditions. In light of this, read their medicine’s specific side effects. Furthermore, if there’s dietary supplemental use, this could also be causing side effects, or even posing interactions with medications. In the long run, answer the following medical related questions to better understand your pet’s loss of appetite. ​​​​​​​

Why Won’t My Dog Eat - Medical Questions 

  • Has the diet of your pet changed recently?  
  • Has your pet recently experienced any health issues?  
  • How long has your pet not been eating?  
  • Has your pet been drinking water and acting normal?  
  • Was there a change in their immediate environment?  
  • Has your pet been under stress? Any major changes?  
  • What has your pet been doing for the past 2-3 days? 

Take into consideration all of the unique details of your dog's unique situation. On the negative side, if the underlying problem isn’t medical, your dog may have another issue.  

My Dog Won’t Eat: FAQ’s and Solutions

1.) Why won’t my dog eat? 

Above all, according to The Purina Encyclopedia of Dog Care, “Anorexia refers to a dog losing its appetite.” As a result of a medical, environmental, behavioral, or food-related issue, canines can at the same time experience anorexia as a side effect. Typically, appetite loss arises from an illness, food, stressors, pain, injuries, and medical conditions. 

2.) What can I do if my pet won’t eat his food 

  • While a dog might skip a meal here and there, be that as it may, if he has gone a day without eating, immediately contact your Veterinarian. 
  • Provide several dietary options and for this reason, rotate them.  
  • Consider creating homemade meals, for instance, chicken, fish, or beef broth along with the dog food.  
  • Try cooking bland chicken with white rice or pull white meat from a rotisserie chicken and add it to his dog food 
  • Consider adding sweet potatoes, unseasoned pumpkin, bone broth, and meat-based baby food, which are especially suitable for digestive irregularities.  
  • Some dogs prefer a palatability enhancer including applesauce and yogurt. 
  • All things considered, add stock to the dog food or a tablespoon of warm water.
  • Mix dry and wet food and specifically warm it up in the microwave.  

3.) What if my pet is not eating, but drinking a lot? 

In brief, consult your Veterinarian if your dog is drinking a lot. For the most part, a canine excessively drinking may be in fact, be a result of an illness. To point out, over-drinking is possibly indicative of kidney failure, liver disease, diabetes, cushing’s disease, addison’s disease, and hypercalcemia.   

4.) What should I do to increase the likelihood of my pet eating? 

  • Stop “free-feeding” and specifically divide the food intake into two to three meals at consistent times. 
  • For one thing, take consistent walks before feedings.  
  • By all means, avoid sharing snacks and over-treating. 
  • Specifically remember to praise your dog for eating his food. 

5.) Is force-feeding a dog ever an option? 

If a canine is refusing to eat, for the most part, certainly there’s a cause. Ultimately, a pet parent should never force feed an animal who is particularly refusing food. In this case, contact a Veterinarian as soon as possible.  

6.) When should I worry that my dog won’t eat? 

Obviously, when a pet refuses to eat, or their appetite reduces for several days, without delay, consult a Veterinarian. The Purina Encyclopedia of Dog Care points out that, “In most cases, if a dog refuses to eat or her appetite is reduced for longer than three to four days, consult a Veterinarian. The underlying cause of the anorexia must be identified, and the condition treated to resolve the problem.” 

My Dog Won’t Eat: Problems and Solutions 

Problems  Solutions 
Hot/Cold Food
  • Chiefly mix the cold dry food and warm wet food.
Low-Quality Food
  • Try a canned product with high meat and high-fat content, since after all, this is appealing to a dog.
Switching Foods
  • Mix the new food equally together with the old food.
Dry food without Toppings
  • In the first place, add toppings over dry feed and straightaway warm the meal in the microwave.
Same Dog Food
  • Cook and add comfort food, for example, chicken and rice, sweet potatoes, bone broth, or unseasoned pumpkin.
Food Sensitivity
  • In the hope to steer clear from the purported allergen, select food which specifically does not contain that food ingredient.
Less/Fatty Dog Feed
  • Due to a dog not favoring fatty low-cost food, on the other hand, offer him a higher nutritional value food.

15 Reasons Why My Dog Won’t Eat

Causes of appetite loss in a dog are the result of medical, behavioral, and environmental problems. Moreover, an anorexic dog may be experiencing dissatisfaction with their food. With this in mind, the management of a dog experiencing a loss of appetite includes not only identifying the cause, but also, in deciding upon a strategy moving forward.   

1.) Anxiety: When a canine senses change, by all means, they also can certainly experience anxiety. Specifically focus on feeding them in a stress-free environment after a walk. For one thing, add toppers to the dog's food with attention to perking its interest.   

2.) Behavior Issues: Canine behaviors vary from otherwise bad habits like begging to conversely instinctive behaviors like digging and even separation anxiety. Generally speaking, when a behavior interferes with a dog eating, consider professional training. 

3.) Depression: First thing to remember is that a lack of activity, brought on by the weather, can result in a loss of appetite in a dog. To define depression, talk to a Veterinarian about solutions with attention to more stimulating activities together. 

4.) Dental and Gum Problems: A point often overlooked is that teeth and gum issues can notably cause a canine to lose interest in eating. Try dental treats and by all means, schedule an appointment with a Veterinarian to best treat your pet's dental situation. 

5.) Environmental Issues: Moving, traveling, the absence of a pet or family member, may in fact disrupt a pet's eating. That is to say if there’s a change in weather, stress, or in the schedule, by all means, this new environmental change may take time for the canine to adjust. 

6.) Internal Problems: To point out, internal discomfort in the gastrointestinal system, heart, liver, kidneys, bladder, and lungs can incite anorexia in pets. For the purpose of understanding your pet's situation better, schedule a visit to the Veterinarian immediately.  

7.) Intimidation: If your dog is feeling threatened by a more dominant animal, they truly may not eat from bullying. Separate the pets at mealtimes and to be sure, feed them at different times. 

8.) Medications: If your dog recently started a prescription, one of the potential side effects, in the meantime, can potentially be appetite loss. Presently, try adding chicken and rice into the dog food. Check with your Veterinarian, at this instant, if there's concern. 

9.) Overfeeding: Eliminate unnecessary treat times, especially right before your dog’s next mealtime. Feeding the appropriate type and amount of food for your pet’s size, age, health status, and activity level is vital in the hope that they achieve a balanced diet. 

10.) Poisoning:  Granted, exposure to toxins are especially dangerous. Therefore, be on the lookout for signs of toxin exposure. For example, drooling, panting, pawing at the face, vomiting, diarrhea, gagging, collapsing, trouble breathing, inability to get comfortable, and pacing. First and foremost, poisoning requires immediate assistance from a Veterinarian. 

11.) Quality of Dog Food: A dog refusing to eat because they dislike what is on the menu makes a pet parent try to think outside the bowl to enliven their dog’s dish. For instance, integrating a topper/mixer into premium dog food, which in this case piques their interest. 

12.) Seasonal Effects: From an ensuing storm front to excessive heat, seasonal effects can disrupt a dog’s regular feeding schedules. To counteract seasonal anxiety, offer the dog a relaxed and calm setting with attention to feeding inside a distraction-free crate.  

13.) Senior DogsSenior dog food can vary as a result of their different needs. Due to dental problems, an older dog may have a stricter diet regarding what they can and cannot chew. With this in mind, consider wet dog food designed for a senior dog’s diet. 

14.) Underlying Illness/Disease: Unusual behavior may be in effect be the result of an infection. On the negative side, it could also be a tumor, parasite, or an autoimmune or neurological disease. With this in mind, it’s best to pay a visit to the Veterinarian straightaway.  

15.) Vaccinations: Frequently cause unease in dogs. If a dog is experiencing signs of anorexia, depression, lethargy, or malaise, talk to a Veterinarian as soon as possible.   

Dog Won’t Eat Trivia 

QUESTION: In reality, can a canine miss a meal every now and then? 

ANSWER: Provided a dog has access to water; they can survive for days without food. However, if your dog is not eating, don’t wait to seek veterinary care. On the positive side, the faster the treatment begins, the better the chances are for a successful outcome. 


QUESTION: Is a loss of appetite in a dog more important than him or her drinking water? 

ANSWER: According to veterinarians, keeping a dog hydrated is indeed more important than a loss of appetite. In general, dogs are designed for extended fasting. All in all, dogs are food motivated. A point often overlooked is how dogs can go some time without food when they’re overall, particularly healthy.  


QUESTION: Does dog require an ounce of water per pound of weight per day? 

ANSWER: The first thing to remember if a dog won’t drink water is to add one tablespoon of low sodium beef or chicken broth to the water. Depending on weather, temperature, activity level, and the health of a dog, he’ll need more water on some days than others.  

Tips for an Anorexic Dog

1. Warm up the Dry FoodAdd water to the food and immediately warm in the microwave. 

2. Walk your dog before meals: Create a feeding schedule after walks to emphasize a healthy pattern.  

3. Consistent Feeding Schedule: Feed x2 a day chiefly within a safe space like a crate. 

4. Reduce Treats: Provide treats for rewards as this surely allows the dog to grow hungry.

5. Blend Food Type:  To explain, mix wet and dry food with water.  

6. Warm-Up Baby Food: It's important to realize, meat flavors like turkey or beef, or flavors like peach or apple, are in fact, truly appealing as a topper for dog food too.  

7. My Dog Won’t Eat Still: If your dog won’t eat for more than a day, or if there are any other symptoms occurring, be sure to contact your Veterinarian as soon as possible. 

Dog Won’t Eat + Other Symptoms = Visit the Veterinarian
- Lethargy, acting sluggish or lazy.
- Nausea, with attention to, an upset stomach.
- Diarrhea, loose stools.
- In contrast, excessive drinking.
- Especially, disproportionate drooling.
- Uniquely, sunken eyes.
- Dry, Sticky Gums.
- Loss of skin elasticity.
- Vomit, with or without, diarrhea.
- Excessive panting.
- Loss of weight.
- Eating less than 75% of their typical food.

Tips for My Puppy Won’t Eat

  1. Stop Over-Treating: In any event, provide treats as a reward. For this reason, a puppy will not only appreciate their meal time, but also they'll eat more frequently. 
  2. Dependable Feedings: All things considered, try feeding your puppy consistently twice a day, and with this in mind, after taking your morning and evening walk.
  3. Diversify Food Types: In brief, mix portions of dry and wet food altogether. In essence, mix and serve -or- cook homemade chicken and mix into the dog food.
  4. Pre-fill Chew Toys: For instance, stuff a Kong toy with food, such as, peanut butter or almond butter, and ultimately, provide a dog with tasty entertainment. 
  5. Switch Food Bowl Location and Size: Switching the size of the bowl and its location, lets you discover what's best. Also, review what puppy food is the best. 
  6. Squirt Omega 3 Spray onto Feed:  On the positive side, and certainly for the most part, Omega 3 Spray has flavors in Cheese, peanut butter, and chicken. 
  7. My Puppy Won’t Eat Still! To point out, when an appetite loss occurs in a puppy along with any other symptoms as mentioned above, visit your Veterinarian accordingly.