Only a dog owner knows how it feels when a dog won’t eat his food, it can be frustrating when you make a meal for your furry friend and the dog is not eating the food you provided.
There are different reasons why your dog is avoiding his meal, loss of appetite should be treated with precision, so it is important that you determine the root cause before giving your dog any kind of treatment.
Sometimes it can be due to the type of food you present to the dog, this is because some dogs have difficulty recognizing their meal if you change their usual diet to something new,
so the dog will stick around the new food for a while, staring and sniffing at the food before they finally decide to eat it.
So, in this case, a little bit of patience can do the trick, it may not really be anorexia (loss of appetite).
Loss of appetite in dogs can also be a sign of illness, in this case, you need to alert your vet immediately, because if ever it gets to a point where your dog is not eating due to illness, then the illness shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Keep in mind and always remember, dogs love to eat.
What Does It Mean When Your Dog Loses Appetite
It is not normal when a dog loses appetite, if your dog won’t eat then it means there is something wrong or something happening to the dog that you are not aware of, and the dog needs to be checked.
Canines can be picky in what food they eat, as much as they like the food, they are also careful and sensitive about what they consume, but still, this does not calm the frustration of a dog owner when his dog expresses a loss of appetite.
I remember one time I was so frustrated that my pooch is not eating that I tried to use a spoon to feed him, that’s how it feels sometimes.
There is always a reason for anorexia in dogs, this can sometimes be emotional, or your dog is simply saying I need a change of diet. so perhaps try a different meal and see how he reacts.
Hormonal changes can be a reason your canine has refused to eat, but if this is the case, then don’t worry because the hormone change effect doesn’t last for long. The dog may just eat a very small quantity of the food, but with time she will be back to normal and want to eat again.
Anorexia or loss of appetite can be a sign of underlying disease, so if you notice your dog is not eating a couple of times, then it’s time to bring in the cavalry, call your veterinary doctor.
WHY YOUR DOG IS NOT EATING
If the loss of appetite in your dog is due to sickness, the sickness can sometimes be accompanied by diarrhea alongside his lack of hunger, just like in humans.
Do you know that sometimes your dog could eat something elsewhere which will make him come home feeling unwilling to eat what you provided for him?
This could be because whatever he ate outside made him full or he actually ate something toxic or poisonous causing him to not want to eat anything again until that last toxic meal leaves his system.
But if you eventually find out that your dog ingested something toxic and you are sure of it, please take him to see your vet and let them operate on the dog to remove the toxic or poisonous substance before it kills the dog.
It takes less than 24 hours for a canine to die of food poisoning, but if it is not the case of food poisoning and toxicity then it’s okay to wait for about 24 hours and see the dog repeatedly refuse to eat before you decide to see a vet.
There are a lot of sicknesses that can cause loss of appetite in a dog, but to mention a few, some of the sicknesses and diseases include, kidney disease, in which you need to know *the right diet for dogs with Kidney disease*.
Other diseases and infections that can cause anorexia or lack of hunger include cancer, yeast infection, dental disease, pancreatitis, or even just environmental allergy.
If you notice your dog won’t eat the meal you gave to him but you try giving him treats and he eats it, then it might just be because he needs a change of diet, or he doesn’t recognize the food you gave him that day.
Dogs are smarter than people actually know. Do you know that if your dog has a sensitive stomach, then over time he can tell what meal causes his stomach to react abnormally and he will try to avoid that particular diet?
Some canines can also abstain from eating processed meals because they are allergic to “the food ingredients” or they just don’t like that particular ingredient used in the kibble you are feeding them. In this case, feeding him something else can do a lot better for him.
Dry food can sometimes be a problem for older dogs, they have problems consuming dry food, so they just eat a bit and go off. This lack of eating in older dogs can be due to dental issues but softer meals like *homemade raw diets* can be very good for older pooches.
Another huge cause of a dog not eating his food can be due to change of environment, meeting a new family, or traveling to a new place, as a dog owner you must have noticed how dogs react to strangers, and even if you have a very friendly dog, you will notice he is skeptic to new things.
This can also cause loss of appetite in canines at least until they get used to the new lifestyle and understand that it is actually safe.
Reasons Your Dog Is Not Eating
Dogs and humans are alike when it comes to loss of appetite, some of the things that can stop humans from eating can also hinder dogs in the same way. Some of these reasons include:
- Dog Has Dental Problem: When a dog has a problem in it’s mouth it usually makes it difficult for the dog to want to eat something. It could be broken teeth or a tumor in the mouth or even a case of gingivitis and other mouth infections that makes eating difficult.
- The Dog Is Sick: Lack of appetite in dogs can also be a sign of sickness. If you notice other feverish symptoms accompanying his inability to eat, then there is a tendency that the dog is sick and the loss of appetite is just another symptom of the already existing sickness or infection. Some of the diseases that can influence a dog’s ability to eat include, kidney disease, yeast, cancer, liver issues, etc.
- Side Effects From Vaccination or Medication: Recent medications can also because of lack of appetite in dogs. There are some medication that naturally comes with side effect and that side effect can include the inability to eat food. So if your dog has been recently vaccinated, then you should check and be sure that they are not just reacting off of the medication they just received.
- Dog Moves To New Surrounding: Dogs are very sensitive, and this can lead to a change in character. When a dog moves from where they are familiar with to a new place then it is only natural for them to want to act strangely towards the things they usually do. Dogs detect threats in new things and new environments, so they need time to make sure that the environment is safe before they resume their normal activity including eating food.
- The Dog is Choosy About The Food You Give Him: Dogs sensitivity comes into play especially if it is a meal they are not yet used to. They can be choosy or just flat out want something else. So keep that in mind if you find that your dog is not eating.
- The Dog Is Recovering From Surgery: When a dog is recovering from surgery, it is normal for him to lose appetite for food. This is not a cause for alarm so if your dog is just recovering from surgery talk to your vet to tell you the exact medication you can implement to increase appetite in the dog.
- Aging: Age is another important factor that affects a dog’s appetite for food. Older dogs naturally don’t eat much in comparison to when they were younger and sometimes they don’t have any appetite to eat more than twice a day. But before you conclude that the dog is not eating because of age, please take the oldie to a vet for a proper check-up to make sure it is not a reaction due to an underlying disease.
How To Treat A Dog Loss Of Appetite
Considering the reasons listed above you can basically know what to do to improve the appetite of a dog that won’t eat.
You can try some of these tips on your dog and see if you get results from it. This will let you know exactly what it is you can do to help a dog gain appetite.
Give The Dog Some Time
If your dog is not eating the first thing you should do is give them time, maybe he just finished eating elsewhere, maybe he is still digesting what he ate. You should try feeding them again after a while and see how they react.
Help The Dog Get Use To Dry Food
If your dog is new to dry food or kibble you will notice a bit of withdrawal. You need to make it so that he gets used to it and you can do this by mixing some wet food you know he already loves to the dry food, after a while, you can now feed him dry food only.
Capitalize On Human Food
Dogs like human food. When you notice that your dog is having a hard time eating the dog food you provided, you can try giving him some food made for humans, you can try feeding him cooked chicken, this is just to see how he reacts to it.
If he eats the chicken then you can gradually add the normal dog food alongside. This can help reestablish the dog’s confidence in eating food again.
Heat Your Dog Food Before Feeding Him
In a situation when you have a sick dog that could not eat due to a low sense of smell or taste, experts advise that the way to improve the sense of smell in sick dogs is to heat up their food before presenting it to your dog. In this way, the dog can better perceive the food aroma and even get a better sense of the taste of the food.
Adding Broth To Add Flavor To Your Dog’s Food
Add flavor to your dog food by capitalizing on broth, sometimes when dogs lose appetite for food, adding broth to their meal can give more flavor to the meal and entice them into wanting to eat again. Use warm broth in their food to motivate the dog’s sense of taste.
Check for Medication Overdose
Some dog medications come with the side effect of appetite loss. If your dog is sick and on medication then this might be the case, I advise you to check and see if you are giving the dog the right dosage.
If you find out that it is not a case of overdose then talk to your vet about an added medication that can stimulate hunger.
Allow Your Dog Eat Grass
If you notice that your dog is not eating food but eat grass, then that is okay for a short while. The fact is that eating grasses can make a dog vomit and in turn cause hunger in the dog.
But you must provide water for the dog while you let him eat grass, keeping the dog hydrated is a “must-do” in times like this.
If your dog continues to eat grass and won’t eat food after a day or two, then it’s time to go to the vet and let him run some check-up and advice you properly.
Visit Your Vet To Prescribe Hunger Medications
If you have tried everything listed above, then it’s time to visit your vet for checkups and medication. If your dog is just recovering from surgery or trauma, or if your dog is on any kind of medication, there are tendencies that they will not feel like eating.
So after a good checkup by your vet, you will be given a hunger stimulation drug to add to what you already give your dog so that he will start feeling the need to eat. Please be sure to follow the vet’s instructions for medication and you will be just fine
There are so many reasons why a dog will refuse to eat, but either way, you should not rule out anything until you are sure. Try the tips above, but if you don’t see any improvement at all after two days then take the extra step of seeing a vet.
*Note* These tips are just for informational purposes only, we advise you to keep your vet close in all issues concerning your dogs health.