My Dog Wont Eat: Here’s What You Need to Know

It is quite distressing to see your dog doesn’t want to eat. There are various reasons why your dog’s appetite could be decreasing and as his owner, you ought to find out which of the reasons applies to your dog. With that, it will be easy to seek the best remedy and get his appetite up and rolling once again.

The decline in your dog’s appetite could be that you are overestimating the amount of food your dog is supposed to take per meal. Mostly the dog food we buy has set guidelines on the quantity a single dog should be taking in a single meal which is based on the usual consumption of average dogs.

Maybe it is the time you stopped overestimating your dog as an average dog and treat him as he is. This is because many healthy dogs are said only to consume about 60% to 70% of the amount stipulated in the guidelines.

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Anorexia in Dogs

Loss of appetite in dogs is known as anorexia but should not be confused with anorexia nervosa which affects humans. Anorexia describes a situation when your dog’s appetite is completely low.

Loss of appetite in dogs could be attributed to several reasons. It is important that you figure out which one is affecting your dog and seek vet care for more details on how to restore your dog’s appetite.

Reasons Why your Dog Won’t Eat

Illness: Mostly when you note that the appetite of your dog has reduced we automatically blame it on an illness, which could be true in most cases but not all. Loss of appetite due to illness can be well supported if there are visible symptoms. It is advisable to take your pooch to a vet for clarification on what is the cause and the ways to restore his appetite.

Recent vaccination: Vaccines are geared to boosting the immunity of our dogs, reducing their susceptibility to various diseases and preventing your dog from contracting contagious diseases. However, these vaccines have several side effects such as loss of appetite which only occurs for some time then the dog’s appetite comes back.

Unfamiliar surroundings or travel: Sometimes when we travel with our dogs they tend to change their healthy appetite trends due to the different surrounding but with the time they get used to being in the place and regain their appetite.

Behavior issues or pickiness: Some dogs are known to be picky, and when given a meal fancied by most dogs they will still refuse to eat. Dogs may also be picky because they are being fed in a situation or place where they are not feeling comfortable.

Dental problems:  Most dog owners confuse bad breath to be a usual state that the dog has to contend living with for the rest of his life. But frankly speaking, it is you that is not taking good care of your dog’s teeth. This will result in various dental problems ranging from gingivitis to cavities.

This will lead to a decline in your dog’s appetite. Don’t expect your dog to munch his meals when he has an aching tooth. So take care of your dog’s teeth and maintain a proper dental health.

Disliking the type of food offered:  Dogs may refuse to eat the meal provided because they don’t like the food offered and would rather go for a fox pooh, road kill or any other food that you could easily pass for “unfit”.

Change in routine: Change in the usual routine could upset your dog and make him stop eating. When you change feeding times, the time you go out for walks with your dog, or even when a new member joins the family your dog may refuse to eat.

However, when normalcy is restored or gets used to the change your dog will accept to eat his meals. It is important to make the changes gradual so that your pooch can get accustomed.

Senior dogs: As your dog ages his appetite may dwindle significantly due to age-related problems. However, not every time that a senior dog refuses to eat is due to age-related problems. It could be a problem that can be corrected by a vet. But if the problem is age-related you can make the food more appealing to your dog such that he can’t decline to munch his meal.

Anxiety: Anxiety is one of the many causes of reduced appetite in dogs and even in humans especially when it is related to separation. Dogs tend to refuse to eat when separated from their owners even if it is just for some hours.

The same may apply when their nerves are triggered especially by loud events such as fireworks or even thunderstorms. Anxiety issues can be dealt with by trying to calm the dog and make him feel at home even when his owner is not around.

Breeding activity: It is normal to note a loss of appetite when your male dog spots a female dog on the heat. Male dogs tend to become so obsessed and connected with the female’s scent that he will fall off his normal activities.

It may get worse, and your dog loses weight drastically but when the heat cycle ends the obsession ends. During this time your dog will not eat the food offered, but you can try tempting him with food he rarely gets.

Worms: Intestinal worms are a major cause of the decline in appetite in many dogs.  Intestinal worms can trigger a reduction in appetite to a point where your dog refuses to eat completely. Worm infestation is accompanied by a bloated abdomen, lethargy or weakness. If such symptoms are spotted it is best if you seek the services of a vet and get the best treatment for your dog.

What To Do When your Dog Won’t Eat

If your dog won’t eat and you have tried everything to get them to eat, the next best thing is to take them to a vet. If your dog has been ill, the vet is likely to prescribe appetite stimulating food especially if the dog is under medication.

If your dog is not sick, the loss of appetite could be as a result of pickiness or discomfort. Here are some things you can do to encourage your dog to eat when your dog won’t eat dog food.

  • Reduce the number of treats
  • Make sure you feed your pet on a regular schedule; this could be at least twice a day
  • Take the dog for a walk just before meal time. He’ll come back excited and ready for a meal
  • Make your dog’s meal time to be a fun affair. You can play with him with food dispensing toy. You can also reward him with food for every accomplishment in his day to day life.
  • You can change his feeding situation. For example, if he feeds with other pets, you can try feeding him alone. You can also use different bowls for every meal while putting the bowl on different heights to see what excites your dog. Next to his feeding bowl on the floor, you can place a few pieces of food to see if he’ll feed from there.
  • Keep on changing the type of foods switching from dry foods, canned foods to raw food so long as the foods are fit for your dog.

Conclusion

Loss of appetite is common in dogs. It is up to you to find out why your dog doesn’t want to eat and seek the help of a vet for advice on the remedies to apply.

Like this article? You might also like this one on best dog food for dogs who have allergies or this one on dog nail clippers.

William Sagide
 

Growing up with dogs on our farm is one of the best experiences I ever had. I now dream of one day returning to that life and running in the fields with my dog Chester.

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