What to Do When Your Dog Won’t Eat

It’s common for a responsible dog parent like yourself to become concerned when a dog won’t eat. You can better solve the problem if you are aware of the causes of a dog’s lack of appetite beforehand. Considering that your dog’s life may be in danger if you don’t act quickly. It’s not serious if dogs have a brief reduction of appetite. Dogs can experience occasional appetite loss similar to humans owing to inactivity or a change in weather. However, it’s recommended to call your veterinarian right away if your dog refuses to eat for more than two days.

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Inappetence or anorexia are terms used to describe a dog’s loss of appetite. Dog anorexia differs from human anorexia in several ways. Anorexia in dogs can be partial or total. Partial anorexia is when your dog only consumes a portion of the recommended amount of food to maintain health. You’re dealing with full canine anorexia if your dog won’t eat anything. When a dog craves food but is unable to do so due to another issue, it is said that the dog has pseudo-anorexia.

Why My Dog Won’t Eat

When your dog isn’t eating, it may be a very frightening moment. Sadly, a wide range of factors can lead to “anorexia” or loss of appetite. It’s critical to determine the underlying cause of your dog’s unwillingness to eat to decide what treatment to administer.

Types of Anorexia

Dogs with true anorexia just refuse to eat, which is frequently a sign of serious illnesses. Another type is pseudo-anorexia, which occurs when your dog approaches the food bowl and approaches it with a strong desire to eat but is unable to do so because of trouble chewing or swallowing.

Reasons of Anorexia

Here’s how to find out the reasons behind your dog’s refusal to eat in the first place.

DentalillnessYour dog may refuse to eat if they are experiencing oral pain from tooth decay, gingivitis (gum inflammation), a fractured tooth, an abscess, or an oral tumor. Your dog’s mouth will be examined by your veterinarian to look for any issues during their clinical examination.

1- Environment

Dogs can occasionally be very sensitive to changes in their habit or surroundings, especially if they are in a strange setting. Moving homes, traveling with your dog, or keeping your dog in kennels are all potential sources of stress. They might not feel like eating if they are uncomfortable with the scenario they are in. There can be many other things that can affect your dog’s eating habits as using a separate food bowl, being around another dog, the hot weather, or eating at an uncomfortable height. 

2- Medicine

Some medications may produce nausea or a decrease in appetite. You should inform your veterinarian if this happens when your dog is taking a new course of medicine.

3- Vaccinations

Several dangerous, frequently fatal infectious disorders in dogs are prevented through vaccinations. Your dog may occasionally act strangely after receiving a shot and stop eating for 12 to 24 hours.

4- Food

Verify that the food doesn’t smell off or have any signs of spoilage. Food that has been left out or that is not kept in an airtight container can eventually get rancid.

5- Stress

Your dog may be under stress. The normal appetite of your dog may be hampered by anxiety and stress. It’s typical for stressed dogs to reject the food, even their more expensive dog treats. A dog’s appetite is decreased when they are frightened because its sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) is stimulated, which prevents them from relaxing and eating. An environmental stressor, such as a thunderstorm, fireworks, or event neighboring loud, ongoing construction noise, may be the cause of this. If there are guests—human or canine—in the house and your dog isn’t used to the commotion, he or she can become stressed.

6- Illness

A major illness such as renal disease, liver disease, diabetes, infection (bacterial or viral), fever, cancer, plyometric (infection of the womb), pain everywhere in the body including the mouth, gastroenteritis, etc. could be indicated by a loss in appetite. As you can expect, there are several treatments for each of these ailments, so we must determine the cause to administer the proper care. Diagnostic testing must be performed if your veterinarian believes one of these illnesses may be the root of the problem. frequently beginning with blood and urine test.

7- Overfeeding

Due to receiving too many treats or chews at other times, your dog may not be eating their usual meals. Simply put, dogs don’t have the appetite for the same old dog food they eat every day. Treats should not be the main menu for your dog. 

8- Picky Eater

Too many goodies might make dogs disinterested in their normal meals and increase their risk of obesity.

9- Many other small reasons

There can be many other small reasons which do affect the diet of your dog such as new pets in the home, a new baby in the home, guests from out of town, moving to a new home, a loud thunderstorm, remodeling or home construction, switching dog foods, a change in schedules, such as a family member starting a job or becoming unemployed and staying home more frequently, a family member leaving the homestead, such as a child going off to college, etc. 

What to Do in Case of Anorexia

There are probably several thoughts going through your head if you realize that your dog’s food bowl hasn’t been touched. Of course, that makes sense. You genuinely care about your dog’s health and well-being as a pet parent. But before you start to worry, there are a few things you can do to make sure your dog is secure and healthy.

1- Be Watchful

Keep a watchful eye on your dog at first if they stop eating for a day or two but are otherwise alert and active. You might give them some bland home-cooked food, such as rice and chicken that has been boiled, which is a delectable yet easily digested diet. To entice them to eat, try giving it a slight warm-up in the microwave. Smaller meals could be served more regularly. Take any leftovers to go.

2- Change Your Dogfood

 Consider switching your dog’s food, but be sure to do so gradually to make the transition easier on their stomach. Using the same brand’s recipe but a different texture or flavor can also be beneficial (such as the addition of sweet potatoes). When switching totally between products, search for comparable substances that your dog’s digestive system is accustomed to.

3- Take Your Dog for a Walk Before a Meal

Exercising your dog thoroughly before feeding them can help them develop an appetite. When it comes to their appetite, taking your pet for a stroll before you give them their dish can be useful. There is a link between exercise, eating, and bloat, so do not combine these two methods too closely.

4- Go to Veterinary Assistance

It’s necessary to seek veterinary assistance if you notice changes in your dog’s usual eating habits, especially if your dog is typically a healthy eater. Loss of appetite in dogs can be a sign of illness. It’s best to identify the issue as soon as you can since if you wait many days to address it, dehydration and malnutrition may result.


It is your responsibility as a responsible pet owner to see to it that your dog is taken care of. This occasion calls for a proactive strategy, but frequently, as in this case, it calls for a more reactive approach. It’s best to be cautious and consult your veterinarian, particularly since loss of appetite may be a sign of a serious health issue that could develop worse.

 No of the reason, persistent food refusal might have negative health effects. However, if your dog isn’t eating because of a disease, they still require proper nutrition for its body’s immune system and healing processes.

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