Is your canine eating lesser than usual or not eating at all? It is quite distressing to see your dog refusing his food. It raises concerns and is quite worrisome for every dog owner to see their dog feeling weak and lethargic because of not munching well. But what causes them to avoid or ignore their food?
Sadly, our pets can’t answer this for us. A dog parent needs to figure out when their dogs stop consuming food and show changes in behavior.
We help you understand the dilemma your dog might go through when facing a loss of appetite and has no will to have food.
In spite of you attempting to provide your dog with a healthy balanced meal, your canine may act picky or may stop eating. This is called anorexia, meaning complete loss of appetite. We state a few causes of why is your dog refusing to it.
- Feeling Sick
- Travel and Surroundings
- Change of Routine
- Absence of Owner
- Dental Disease
- Tummy Troubles!
- What’s in my Plate?
- Growing Old?
- How Can I Make My Dog Eat?
- Final Note
This is one of the most common factors that your dog may refuse to eat. In the case of humans, we prefer not consuming food when we are ill. Just as people lose interest from food, similar is the case with dogs. They would prefer sleeping most of the time. They simply don’t eat for a couple of days, gather enough rest and get better as days pass.
However, if your dog faces worse issues like vomiting or diarrhea in spite of minimal or no food consumption, consult your veterinarian immediately. The illness could be mild to severe and hence it is always better to consult a vet and start with a course of medications for early recovery.
If your dog is under a course of medications or undergoing treatment, the effect of the drug can cause a loss of appetite in your pet. Certain medicines like antibiotics can cause stomach aches and some medicines can make your dog feel nauseatic.
Metoclopramide, Cerenia, Pepcid, NSAID’s, etc. are a few medicines that can make your dog feel uncomfortable. With a range of medicines being introduced in the market, it is suggested to consult a doctor before experimenting with any medications on your pet.
Travel and Surroundings
If you consider taking your pet on a picnic or a long drive or shifting to a new place altogether, then your dog can suffer from eating issues and a loss of appetite. Constant traveling and shifting of places can cause the same. Dogs become nervous and uncomfortable in new places and surroundings and can take longer to adjust. This causes them to behave unusually.
A shift in houses or localities can also cause them to behave strangely and stop eating. It’s just as us humans, that we tend to get attached and habituated to living in an environment and adapting to new surroundings can take your pet some time.
Change of Routine
Dogs are quite disciplined in certain ways and follow a routine. They have a fixed timetable, and once their schedule is set, a slight difference may make them feel restless and uncomfortable.
Your dog may behave unusual or weird because of a change in their feeding schedule, play or exercise regimen, or if they see someone new in the house. If you plan to introduce anything new in your dog’s routine, make sure to keep it slow until your dog gets accustomed to the routine.
Absence of Owner
Dogs are emotional creatures and are very attached to their owners. Some dogs do not enjoy eating if they don’t find their owner around. Once their owner’s around, they gobble their food merrily. Dogs can get emotionally starved!
If your dog recently got vaccinated, then there are chances that he can lose his hunger. After receiving a dose, your dog may feel nauseatic or ill and not feeling like consuming food or water for a few hours. Once the effect starts diminishing, dogs are back to their usual selves. Loss of appetite due to vaccination is very rare.
Tooth aches and dental issues are quite prevalent amongst dogs and often goes unnoticed if not examined. If you notice swollen or bleeding gums, then it is a serious dental issue and you should rush to the dentist immediately. However, daily cleaning and flossing is recommended.
If your dog feeds on dry kibble or hard dog food like bones, then having a toothache or problems like gingivitis or periodontal diseases is common. You can switch to wet, soft food for some time and keep their hard, chewy toys at bay.
If your dog has consumed something that they are not supposed to, the dog food can cause gastrointestinal issues. No matter how well trained your canine is, they may end up eating some or the other form of trash or unwanted food items which can cause their stomach to feel all topsy-turvy. This can make them feel nauseated and behave unusually.
In worse cases, they can also suffer from diarrhea. There is not much to worry about if your dog feels unwell because of an upset stomach as he will recover soon.
What’s in my Plate?
We all love variety, so do our pets. Consuming the same food daily can get monotonous for your pet. Also, every food does not contain the essential nutrients. An improved food quality promises new and better ingredients but that may not go down quite well with your pooch.
Feeding them fresh and home-cooked food is a good way of maintaining a balanced and healthy diet. Also, introducing new flavors, and giving your pooch occasional treats keeps your dog keen and excited for his food and will not make him skip a meal.
A blend of wet and dry food also does the job to imbibe taste and an easy to digest texture in your doggy’s food. Keep switching foods and maintain good food quality, which is fresh and nutritive.
They say old age automatically causes a loss in appetite, be it in case of humans or dogs. They may reduce their food consumption or skip an entire meal. This can also be due to developing sensitive teeth or loss of interest in eating.
Gobbling on food and munching may not be an appealing activity anymore. There is nothing to worry. Just make their food a bit softer to chew. Try to induce more flavor to maintain their interest in eating.
This can be an issue, which can get annoying but needs a lot of patience to deal with. Your dog may try and relate feeding to a previous experience. This causes them anxiety and tension and gradually they lose interest in food.
If your dog has had a traumatic past, they can take time to develop a good appetite. Sometimes, dogs just need their own space or a silent corner as they are uncomfortable around a crowd. All they need is lots of love and good emotional support before their food habits and nourishment can get back to normal again.
How Can I Make My Dog Eat?
We listed the most common factors for your canine not touching his dog food. How about getting your dog back to chomping merrily and enjoying his meal to fulfillment? Here is how we guide you.
Keep a note on how your dog behaves towards their food. Maintain a record of their daily food intake and whether they choose to eat immediately or after a while of food being served. Also, notice if the problem is persistent or only happens for a few days.
Try to keep an eye out for their daily activities apart from their food habits. If your dog follows a daily pattern and regular routine, a sync with their usual routine or slight difference is bearable but if it increases eventually, it is not to be ignored. Also, monitor their stool and water intake, and if anything serious or unusual, it is time to consult the doctor.
Check your home and surroundings to see if you suspect something that must have caused your dog to not eat. It can be because of your dog consuming something strange or from the trash around your house.
Ask others in the house to keep a tab on your dog’s behavior and see if they notice anything unusual in your pet.
A routine check-up and physical examination can help determine whether your dog is suffering from a serious condition and needs professional help. Regular combing can help check for any parasites or bugs.
A gentle press on their belly to check for reactions and sensations helps you understand if they are experiencing any pain. It should be soft on touching and not feel hard and lumpy.
Keep changing their diet
Your dog can get bored with the same old’ food daily. Keep switching and changing their diet. Although, changing suddenly can cause digestive issues. You can blend their dry food with a little bit of wet food to add more taste. Also, mix the new food formula with their old food to slowly imbibe the change in their diet.
Maintain Good Habits
Maintain a timetable and fix a daily pattern for your pet. Try feeding your dog a particular food at a particular time. Also, avoid giving them human food and treats more often. It is not only bad for their health but it does not contain the nutrients that a dog food formula has. Make a separate spot for them in the house to eat quietly and enjoy their meal without disturbance.
It’s bothering to see your dog not eat well. We help you with a set of questions that are quite commonly asked by dog owners on their pet’s food habits and when they won’t eat.
How can I find out why my dog won’t eat?
If your dog is seen behaving unusual, take it seriously and take him to the veterinarian. Certain reasons could be that they are depressed, they are not liking their food, or they can’t adjust to the surrounding, they are under medications or are feeling sick and maybe suffering from dental issues.
If you observe the above-mentioned conditions, these are the possible reasons your dog is not eating.
How long can a dog stay without eating?
The maximum a dog can stay without eating is 7 days. Although, if a dog is not eating for 2-3 days, it is best to consult a veterinarian. To top it all, if your dog is not drinking water for 2-3 days, he may suffer from dehydration and it is best to rush to the vet ASAP.
How can I force-feed a dog?
You cannot force a dog to eat but be gentle with them while trying to feed them. There are various other ways of feeding them like using a syringe without a needle and inject small portions of food into their mouths. Allow your dog to swallow it instead of injecting it directly into their throat. You can also smear some food on their lips so they can lick it slowly.
Why is my dog so picky about his food?
It may so happen that your dog is bored with his food or is not enjoying the taste anymore. Make sure that the food is fresh and smells right for your dog to consume it. You can offer him a variety of occasional treats once in a while to keep him excited about eating. Some play and exercise is important so that your dog feels hungry and eats to his heart’s content.
If your dog was, a voracious eater and now refuses to gulp down on his food, it calls for a serious issue. In such cases, it is better to observe and look out for signs in your pet. If you see the slightest change in behavior or food patterns and water consumption, it is advisable to consult the vet within 1-2 days of persisting behavior.
Your dog can face various social and mental issues, or maybe suffering from an illness and is undergoing medications that cause them to lose hunger. But eventually, they get back to normal within a few days.