Has your pet been acting weird when it comes to food lately? Is your dog not eating?

Thanks to their innate sense of time, our four-legged friends usually get pretty excited for meals. The sight of treats causes immense happiness, followed by jumping around and tail wagging.

Then, why is your pet turning a nose away from favorite treats? How can you fix its appetite? Let’s find out what vets know, but you might not:

Loss of Appetite in Dogs

When your puppy feels a little under the weather, its meal habits will be affected first. If your dog stopped eating wet or dry food and its favorite treats no longer bring joy, you should check what’s going on. 

Loss of appetite includes the following symptoms:

  • Inability to finish a meal
  • Refusal to eat
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting 

Reasons for Your Dog Not Eating 

If you’re worried that your pet refuses to eat, that’s understandable. But should you panic? Is it normal when a dog has no appetite or is it a sign of an illness? 

Illness 

A decrease in dogs’ appetite can often be a sign of a minor or even severe illness. That’s why you shouldn’t ignore your dog when it refuses to eat. But this doesn’t mean you should worry too much. Perhaps your furry pal suffered an injury while running in the park.

Recent Medication 

Is your dog drinking lots of water and not eating? One of the most common vaccine side effects is a loss of appetite. You might also notice your dog not eating and sleeping a lot or having diarrhea. If that’s the case, you shouldn’t worry as it’s only a temporary indisposition. 

Travel & Unfamiliar Surroundings

Dogs are creatures of habit. They like familiar faces and places. So, when you’re traveling with your pooch, it’s normal if your dog is not eating or drinking on the first night. 

So, don’t get all worked up. Your furry pal might feel uneasy in a new setting. Whether you’re moving or traveling, make sure you carry the same food and water bowls with you. That’s how your dog can easily recognize that everything’s under control, and they can eat normally.

Pickiness

Some dogs are just picky eaters. And that’s often a result of bad habits acquired by their owners. You may be wondering, why is my dog not eating his food but will eat treats? 

Dog treats are an excellent way for your pooch to feel appreciated. However, giving your pet too many of them during the day makes them more attractive than everyday dry food. So, this can result in your dog not eating its meals. 

Choose the type of treats for your four-legged friend carefully. There are great dog treats with high-quality ingredients and beneficial nutrients. Don’t overfeed your pup with treats, as it can lead to a common life-threatening condition known as obesity.

Upset Stomach

We all know how much dogs like sniffing around. Our pets sometimes eat whatever they find on the ground, but that can cause some stomach issues, resulting in temporary gastrointestinal discomfort

If there are symptoms such as diarrhea, or your dog not eating and throwing up, it’s likely that its stomach is not quite well. If the condition persists more than 24 hours, consider taking your dog to a vet checkup. Meanwhile, you can try to alleviate its pain with some home remedies for an upset stomach.

Routine Change

Our four-legged friends like their routines. That’s why simple changes, such as switching to a different feeding time, can result in your dog not eating. 

Another reason might be walking your dog at a different time than usual. It’s also a change that will make a pet uncomfortable, so make subtle adjustments only when absolutely necessary.

Leaving Your Dog Alone

Dogs are incredibly sociable animals that enjoy spending time with us. When you leave your pet alone for the first time, and they reject food when you return, it may be a symptom of sadness. So, how to get a dog to eat in this case? 

Begin by teaching your pet how to spend time alone. Look for ways to keep them entertained and happy, even when you’re not there.

Dental Disease 

Some dogs may refuse to eat simply because there’s something in their mouth causing them pain and discomfort. The canine immune system weakens as they age, making them more susceptible to different health conditions, including dental problems. 

So, if there’s something wrong in their mouth, even the lightest chewing can cause pain and result in your dog not eating as much.

Feeling Intimidated

If you’ve just adopted a new pet, your dog might feel uneasy, and that’s what causes a dog not to eat. Animals may get jealous, too, so show your dog that nothing has changed, and you love them all the same.

Constipation

If your dog is lethargic and not eating, isn’t playful, and avoids treats, try to see if it’s a stool issue. When dogs have constipation, they often feel stomach pain, which contributes to appetite loss. If that’s the case, call your vet and try to ease your pet’s pain with some natural, homemade remedies for stomach aches. You could also consider adding fiber to its diet.

Stale Food

It might be obvious, but it’s always a good idea to check the food’s expiration date. Sometimes even smelling it goes a long way. So, if the food is expired, throw it away and get more. 

Dog and a dog plate with dry food

How to Get a Dog to Eat?

Since dogs love to eat, it’s normal for an owner to feel concerned when they’re not excited for the next meal. So, how to increase a dog’s appetite?

Making small changes to your furry pal’s food will help. 

Here’s what to do when your dog won’t eat:

  • Turn up the heat: Is your dog not eating dry food? Try adding a few spoons of warm water that will soften it. You can also microwave the food to intensify the flavor. Make sure that the food isn’t too hot, or your dog might get burned. 
  • Add a sauce: A few spoonfuls of low sodium beef or chicken broth will give the dog food a meaty flavor that’s irresistible! 
  • Crack a few eggs: There are many canine beneficial nutrients in eggs. Cooking them will add flavor and protein to your dog’s food. For a delicious surprise, crumble some egg yolk on top of your pet’s kibble.
  • Give your dog some chicken: Cooked, shredded turkey or chicken, just like eggs, can be a tasty protein-packed treat. To prevent choking, use all-white meat and cut the bones.
  • Try hand-feeding: If your dog refuses to eat and nothing you try seems to work, try to hand feed them as much food as possible. A little TLC goes a long way. 
  • Don’t be pushy: Whether your dog refuses to feed or not, don’t push it. If you leave the food out overnight, your pet may feel better and eat it later. But if your pup doesn’t eat within 48 hours, be sure to contact your vet. 
  • Try to make mealtime fun: This is a great idea on how to increase a dog’s appetite. You can make it fun by doing some tricks or getting a puzzle toy that will dispense food when your dog plays with it. 
  • Go for a walk: Take your furry pal for a scheduled walk before feeding time. That will help to create an association between the walk and the upcoming mealtime. 
  • Choose quality dog food: A well-balanced quality diet provides more nutrition which results in better digestibility. Keep in mind that bigger dogs are more susceptible to orthopedic disorders, obesity, and bloating. So, it’s better to learn more about dog food for large breeds instead of going for the first pick on the store shelf. 

What to Do When a Dog Is Not Eating Due to an Illness? 

A dog not eating due to an underlying illness will get a prescription diet to fulfill its nutritional needs while the health issue is addressed. So, if your furry pal refuses to eat at first, that’s normal. The diet food may not be as palatable as the normal one. 

Never starve your pet to force it to eat the prescribed food. It’s better to discuss alternatives with your vet, such as appetite-stimulating medication, a liquid diet fed with a syringe, or tube feeding. 

Home Remedies for a Sick Dog Not Eating

It’s challenging to stay calm when your pet isn’t well. Naturally, you’ll look for professional help. But there are also home remedies that can cure your pooch’s stomach? But before we get to that, let’s consider a few more symptoms indicating that your pet struggles with a disease.

Additional dog illness symptoms if it’s not eating:

  • Lethargy
  • Moans
  • An abnormal posture protecting the stomach
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Respiratory distress
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

If you want to know what to do when your dog won’t eat, try these home remedies:

  • Fasting: Your puppy understands how to look after itself and can use its whole body for healing. So, fasting is the most recommended natural way to treat your dog’s gastrointestinal pain. However, keep in mind that it needs a fresh bowl of water available at any time. 
  • Depurative food: Carrots, turnips, honey, and pumpkin are best friends with your dog’s digestive tract and help it eliminate bacteria. It’s strongly recommended to cook these foods a bit to aid digestion.
  • Foods with good bacteria:  Yogurt and cottage cheese are great solutions when you don’t know what to feed a dog that won’t eat and has stomach problems. Yogurt can improve the balance of your dog’s digestive system by increasing the healthy bacteria in it. Cottage cheese might help, too, since it’s low in fat and has lots of protein and friendly bacteria. 
  • Grass rich in chlorophyll: The nutritional value of grass can heal your dog’s stomach problems. The best thing about it is that it’s easily accessible. So, take your dog to the park and let the grass do its magic!
  • Rice: This easily digestible food can also aid your dog’s stomach pain. Combine two cups of white rice with shredded and cooked chicken for a great meal.
  • Ginger: It helps relieve nausea and dizziness.
Dog eating food

How Long Can a Dog Go Without Eating? 

A healthy dog could go three to five days without food, but we don’t recommend it. If your furry companion hasn’t eaten for two days, it’s best to talk to the vet.

Is your dog not eating but drinking water? 

Water is more important than food. When your dog refuses to eat, try persuading it to drink some instead. If your pet has no access to food or water, it’s more likely to die of dehydration than starvation.

Conclusion

Is your dog not eating much?

Keep calm, observe its behavior and look for symptoms. Think of any changes you might have made to its feeding schedule or exercise, as they might be a possible reason why your pet doesn’t want to touch its meal. 

Remember to praise your dog for eating its food, and give it attention only after the meal is gone. We hope your furry friend gets better soon. 

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Nothing can stop Monika from petting a fluffy cat, even if it's in the middle of the street. She has experience with all kinds of pets — dogs, chickens, parrots, fish, bunnies, and even wolf cubs! Apart from her unconditional love for animals, she’s a creative individual that can easily lose track of time while painting. After getting a degree in English Language and Literature, Monika looked for a way to share her inspiration with others and found one in content writing.