What Should I Do If My Dog Is Not Eating

Is your dog turning his food away and showing signs of losing his appetite lately? Even his most favorite foods and treats fail to make him excited.

This is certainly an “alarm” that your dog is trying to tell you “I’m not feeling well” and he needs your attention and help.

There are mainly various reasons as to why your dog starts lacking his appetite and I would touch on the top 9 most common ones.

Getting to know what’s causing your dog to stop eating will be an important step to address this disorder.

If your dog stops eating and starts losing his appetite, it could be due to medical ailments, dental issues, temporary side effects of vaccination, change in his environment, change of his diet or simply his picky behavior. Finding out what’s causing his eating disorder will help you to tackle the problem.

Address His Medical Ailments

In most cases, sickness is the most prevalent reason as to why your dog stops eating. Just like when you are not feeling well, you would lose your appetite and cut down your food till your body had recovered.

If your dog is losing his appetite for more than 48 hours, I would suggest that you bring him to see a veterinarian for a health check.

Persistent loss of appetite could be a sign of more serious health issues such as cancer, liver and kidney failure as well as chronic pain. Early diagnosis of these issues often make them curable if the treatments are administered on time.

At times, your dog could also be suffering from some mild gastric upset that could affect his appetite. He might have eaten something (maybe some rotten leaves or eating poop) that could have irritated his esophagus.

He will be feeling nauseous and just don’t feel like eating. This disorder will usually go off by itself within a day or so.

Address His Dental Issue

Have you ever encountered the situation when your tooth’s pain is making you lose your appetite for days till the condition is addressed by a dentist?

This can happen to your dog as the unbearable pain in his mouth is making him stop chewing on any food. 

What you can do as the first level of checking is to perform a visual check on your dog’s tooth to see if there are any broken or loose teeth that are present in his mouth. 

Of course, bringing him to see a veterinarian will certainly be the best approach as the vet will be able to further diagnose if there are any serious gum diseases or oral tumors.

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Temporary Side Effect Of Vaccination

This can easily be deduced. Do you recall if you have brought your dog for any vaccination recently?

Some common TEMPORARY side effects of vaccination is the loss of appetite, lethargy and getting a fever.

For this case, the symptoms will likely go away by itself in 1 -2 days and you should not be too worried about it.

Having said that, if you find the condition to be persistent for more than 2 days, bring him to see a vet for treatment immediately.

Change In His Environment

You see, dogs often stop eating whenever they are in a new or unfamiliar environment which makes them uncomfortable and stressful.

Think about the time when you are in a stressful environment (maybe your boss is chasing you for an urgent report), would you still be having any appetite for your meal?

If your dog’s poor appetite only happens when you are bringing him to another unfamiliar environment such as your parent or sibling home, his loss of appetite is likely triggered by unfamiliar surroundings as he is feeling stressful in these new places.

This is however, something not to be worried about. Your dog just needs some time to adapt himself to the new surroundings.

What you can do is to bring along his personal crate and feed him inside the crate that he is familiar with.

Picky Behavior

If your dog is having a picky attitude, any slight changes in his eating routine such as change of his eating location, change of his food bowl, change of his food as well as his meal time could make him stop eating.

What you can do is:

1. Cutting back on giving him treats.This will ensure that he will be hungry during his meal time.

2. Plan for a regular and strict feeding schedule, This will make him know when he will be getting his food. Dogs don’t like “surprises” and if your dog knows his routine, he will be more willing to follow through.

3. Make his meal time more fun and exciting by introducing games to him during his meal.

4. Getting him out for a walk before his meal time can certainly help to simulate his hunger and raise his appetite.

5. Add some warm water to the dry kibbles to make it softer and more appealing to him. You can also scramble some egg yolks on top of the kibbles to make the dry foods more enticing.

Change Of His Diet

Have you made any changes to his diet recently? Is he losing his appetite only when you start him on a new diet?

Your dog is already used to the foods that you have given him and any drastic changes of his food will likely make him resist it.

What you can do is to revert to the old foods that your dog used to eat and see if this helps in getting him to resume his eating.

Of course, if your goal is to have a more complete and balanced diet for your dog and to improve his intake of nutrition, you can try adding some vitamins supplements in his meal.

If supplement is not what you have in mind, why not go for some home cooked meal for him instead. Freshly made meals are always the BEST for your dog.

Cook some things such as boiled chicken, boiled pasta, and boiled potatoes. Keep it kind of bland as it would be good for his stomach and your dog will also likely like them as it would certainly be much better than those dry and hard kibbles.

Remember, keep the transition slow and observe your dog’s reaction to his new food.

Control Your Emotional During Feeding

Do not get too emotional when your dog is refusing to eat his meal.

If you are getting upset or frustrated when he is not eating, he is able to sense that and it could potentially make it even harder to convince him to take his meal.

At times, a little TLC (tender, loving care) goes a long way. Rather than placing his food in a food bowl and leaving it on the floor for him to eat, how about feeding him with your hand.

Your dog will sense your love for him and be more willing to eat what you are feeding him through your hand.

Avoid OverFeeding

If your dog is NOT taking his current meal, did he behave in the same manner (not eating) for his previous meal?

You see, if you had overfed your dog on his last meal, and he did not get sufficient workout to release his energy, he would not be feeling hungry on his next meal.

This could be the reason why he is not eating. Monitor his subsequent meal status and if he starts eating, it could be just the case of insufficient exercise and overfeeding.

Make sure that you had planned for some routine physical workout for your dog or at least bring him out for a stroll before his meal time to make him use up his energy and get ready for his next meal.

Avoid giving him snacks or treats 2 hours before his meal time. This will ensure that he has an empty stomach ready for his upcoming meal.

Also do a review of the amount of food that you should be feeding your dog based on his breed and age so as not to overfeed him.

Suffering From Separation Anxiety

If your dog ONLY stops eating when he is left alone, he could be suffering what is known as separation anxiety. 

In this situation, he would consume his meal whenever you are around with him but stops eating the moment he finds that you are out of his sight. He gets a sense of fear and anxiety as soon as he finds himself alone. 

To address this issue, you would need to build up his confidence to be alone and crate training will be a good start as once he is crate trained, he will see crate as his den (a personal secure place that he safety stay in whenever he feels nervous) and you can get him have his meal in the crate.

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Conclusion

If your dog is not eating BUT still willing to drink water, monitor for another 1 – 2 days as it could likely be the case of an upset stomach. 

Dogs are usually able to go without food for around 3 -5 days so if his condition doesn’t improve after 2 days, bring him to see a vet.

However, if your dog is not willing to eat AND drink, this is a very serious issue and needs instant treatment from a vet especially if he is on medication and need to take pill.

Dogs are only able to go without water for around 2 days and to prevent him from dehydration, you should bring him to see a vet immediately.

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