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Why Is My Dog Not Eating? Main Causes and Treatments

It can be really frustrating when your dog refuses to eat, whether you’ve had pets for years or you’ve just gotten your first puppy. Loss of appetite in dogs can be caused by a variety of factors. To create the optimal treatment strategy, it’s critical to figure out what’s causing the problem.

The first thing to consider is how you assess your dog’s appetite. If you’re concerned that your dog isn’t eating as much as the food’s standards suggest, keep in mind that these are only averages. Many perfectly healthy dogs consume barely 60% to 70% of the quantity specified on the package.

If you detect changes in your dog’s eating habits, you should seek veterinarian attention. Loss of appetite in dogs might signify disease. When a dog refuses to eat, it’s very crucial to act quickly.

Even while most dogs can survive for a few days without food without experiencing any negative consequences, it is best to treat the issue as soon as possible.

Reasons why your dog refuses to eat

There are a lot of reasons why dogs refuse to eat, just as there are in people. These are some of them:

Illness:A dog’s diminished appetite is typically a sign of illness, especially if other symptoms are present. Although a loss of appetite in dogs does not always signal a serious illness, it is vital to seek veterinary help as soon as possible because it could be an indication of serious illness, such as cancer, various systemic infections, pain, liver difficulties, or kidney failure.

Dental disease: Because anything in your dog’s mouth hurts, he or she may refuse to eat. Check them for damaged or loose teeth, severe gingivitis, or even an oral tumor.

Recent vaccination: Vaccines are available for a variety of dangerous and contagious dog diseases. Despite the fact that these injections have saved the lives of millions of pets over the last century, they do occasionally produce side effects. The most of them are mild and temporary, such as a dog’s momentary loss of appetite.

Also read about: How Do You Know If Your Dog Has Fleas or Ticks?

Travel and unfamiliar surroundings: If your dog’s appetite was good until you took them on a trip or moved to a new place, it’s possible that your dog is refusing to eat because of the travel or unusual surroundings. Some animals may experience motion sickness, while others may become nervous or uncomfortable in new surroundings.

Pickiness or behavior issues: Some dogs are simply fussy eaters, or they may refuse to eat because they are fed in conditions where they aren’t at ease, such as around a hostile dog or from a dish at an odd height. Because a decreased appetite in dogs might be caused by sickness, you should never assume your dog is fussy without first looking into other possibilities.

What to do when your dog won’t eat

What you can do to help if your dog won’t eat depends on the root of the problem, which you and your veterinarian will discover.

If your dog’s loss of appetite is due to sickness, your veterinarian may prescribe a prescription diet to meet your pet’s nutritional requirements while the underlying disease is treated. These diets can be unappealing at times, especially if your dog is used to regular treats or human food. Never starve your dog to force it to consume the specified food if he or she is already sick. Instead, discuss alternatives with your veterinarian. In more serious situations, your veterinarian may propose appetite-stimulating drugs, syringe-feeding a liquid diet, or the insertion of a feeding tube.

If your dog’s lack of appetite is due to pickiness or discomfort with meals rather than a medical ailment, there are a few things you may do to encourage them to eat.

These include:

  • Cutting back on treats.
  • Feeding your pet on a regular schedule, usually at least twice a day.
  • Making mealtime a fun time for your pet, such as by playing with a toy that dispenses food or rewarding your dog with food for doing a trick.
  • Taking your dog for a walk before mealtime.
  • Changing your dog’s feeding situation. If you normally feed your pet with other animals, try feeding them alone. Or try using different bowls or plates at different heights to see what your dog prefers. (You might even put a few pieces of food on the floor next to the feeding dish.)
  • Trying a different kind of food, such as canned food if you normally feed your dog dry food.
  • Add a bit of warm water to your dog’s kibble to make it more appealing. 

Also read about: Dogs with Kidney Issues