What To Do If Your Dog Is Not Eating


Is your dog refusing to eat? If you’ve ever had a dog who refuses to eat the food you offer them, you get how frustrating it can be. It’s normal for pet owners to be confused and concerned since they won’t know what their pets are thinking.

If your dog isn’t eating, you may have a lot of thoughts racing through your mind. You could assume your dog isn’t eating because they’re unwell, that it’s one of the indicators that their health is worsening, or that they’re simply a picky eater!

The good news is that this post will go through some of the most prevalent reasons why dogs refuse to eat and what you can do if this happens to your dog. After reading this, maybe you’ll be able to answer the question, ‘What should I do if my dog isn’t eating?’

Loss of Appetite in Dogs

Usually, dogs love to eat. In fact, they’ll devour whatever they can lay their paws on. That said, a dog’s loss of appetite might be concerning to its owners.

There are a variety of reasons why your dog isn’t eating. One of the probable causes is stress, abdominal discomfort, or other environmental conditions. However, if your dog refuses to take in food for more than a day, it could be one of the signs that your canine companion is unwell.

In any case, you should be aware of the changes in your dog’s nutrition. If they aren’t eating as much as they used to, you may consult an online vet to navigate possible health issues.  By doing so, you could save your dog’s health.

Possible Reasons Why Your Dog Is Not Eating

There are several reasons why dogs refuse to eat. Depending on how bad their change in diet is, they range from not serious to alarming. See the most common reasons for a dog’s loss of appetite below. 

Sudden Change In Surroundings

If you recently moved houses, it’s understandable if your dog skips one or two meals. That means they aren’t used to their new surroundings yet and may be upset by the relocation.

This is even more true if you take your dog to the new house by car. Some dogs develop travel sickness, which causes them to lose their appetite for a few hours. This diet concern may also impact newly adopted pets. After all, they’ve left their former refuge or home to begin a new life with you.

Recent Immunization

If you’ve recently taken your dog to the veterinarian to get immunized, they might lose their appetite. Although vaccines and immunizations may be good for the health of hundreds of dogs, they can be detrimental to certain dogs. One of the less serious effects is refusing to eat. It normally goes away a few hours after the vaccine, but the dog may still skip a meal or two.

Dental Health Problems

Did you know that one of the most prevalent causes of loss of appetite in dogs is dental disease? Eating could be painful and uncomfortable if your dog has dental problems, such as a decaying tooth, a scrape, or inflamed gums. It would be best if you got them examined by a veterinarian. Otherwise, your furry friend may refuse to eat anything, even canned food.


Another possibility is that you’re feeding your puppy at inconvenient times.  If you place their bowl near an aggressive dog’s domain, your pooch may be too nervous to eat. To avoid this, keep the dog food in particular areas. Each dog deserves to have their own area to eat a satisfying meal.

Illnesses Or Blockages

A dog not eating might also be an indication of other underlying issues. A dog may have accidentally consumed a foreign item, such as a sock, which blocked its digestive path. If this occurs, the dog will frequently avoid eating.

Other conditions that might induce appetite loss in dogs include renal failure, cancer, liver problems, and infections. When your dog is unwell, one of the apparent indicators is a loss in appetite. This is especially true for senior dogs. If they don’t eat for an extended time, it might be quite harmful to them. A visit to a veterinarian is advised.

Stomach Ache

Dogs, like cats, are inquisitive and will try to consume everything that’s placed next to them. This can include eating socks, undergarments, wood particles, and even insects! This could cause extreme pain in their stomach and intestines. They won’t want to eat anything till whatever they ate has passed through their system. Thus, if you see your puppy vomiting or having diarrhea, it might be an indication that they’re suffering from a gastrointestinal disease. 

Things To Do When Your Dog Is Not Eating

If your dog is lethargic, has been vomiting, or has digestive problems in addition to not eating, it’s good to know that there are several different methods you can try to get your dog to eat. Here are as follows: 

1. Add More Broth To Their Food

Adding heated broth to your dog’s meal not only improves the smell and digestibility of the dish but also enhances the taste. If your dog isn’t accustomed to having broth and is displeased with the taste of their regular meal, broth might be just what they need to get him to eat again. That said, try softening your dog’s food by soaking it in water or low-sodium chicken broth for a few minutes. 

2. Warm Up Your Dog’s Food

Using a microwave, warm up their food for a few seconds to improve its smell and palatability. Like humans, dogs also have a weak sense of smell and taste when feeling sick. Heated food, on the other hand, will smell better and could entice your dog to eat.

If you’re heating canned food, be sure to remove it from the metal container and place it in a bowl that’s safe for microwaving. Canned food may quickly boil, so feel the heated food first to prevent your dog’s tongue from getting burned. 

3. Feed Your Dog By Hand

Try hand-feeding your dog small bits of their food. This way, you can calm a sick dog and motivate them to eat. This approach may take some time, but your dog should start eating out of their plate after you’ve fed them by hand at least a couple of times.

4. Boost Your Dog’s Appetite

If your dog has refused to eat for many hours and you want to help them, you should know how to boost appetite in dogs safely. One way is to visit their vet as they may administer or recommend a pharmaceutical appetite stimulant. Such medications may alleviate nausea or imitate the hormone that causes your dog to feel hunger. To begin, talk to your veterinarian about the possible reason your dog isn’t eating so they can recommend the ideal appetite stimulant.

5. Top Their Food With A Probiotic

Probiotics are beneficial microbes. Adding probiotics won’t just make the meal more appealing, but it’ll also aid in the healing of any damaged or irritated bowel by restoring a balanced gut tract. Fortunately, probiotics have been included in certain dog meals. This may be a more convenient approach to administering probiotics to your dog. It’s vital to seek prebiotics in meals, as they provide nourishment for beneficial bacteria.

6. Try To Feed Your Dog A Different Meal

Will it be alright with you to eat the same thing every single day? Your dog is likely to dislike it as well. Perhaps they became weary of eating the same flavor every day, or they didn’t like the new dog food you bought.

 When to Consult The Vet 

If your dog isn’t eating but otherwise appears fine, keep providing food and keep an eye out for any other improvements after a day or two. If their loss of appetite persists, or if they begin to lose weight, are not responding normally, are puking or have digestive problems, or if you observe any other abnormalities in your dog, it’s best to consult your veterinarian. X-rays, blood screening, and other tests, in addition to a physical examination, may be required to pinpoint the reason for your dog’s loss of appetite.

The Bottom Line

Dogs are often extremely motivated to eat, so it’s normal to be alarmed if your dog refuses to eat. Knowing the reason and when you should be worried is essential for any dog owner. Therefore, keep the information shared above in mind and be guided on how to safely assist your dog who has lost its appetite.

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Having retired after teaching Field Biology for many years, I have a wide range of topics to write on. My interests are photographing animals and plants, vacationing with my family, enjoying my grandchildren, dancing, hiking, canoeing and kayaking, gardening, winter activities, leading nature walks, writing notes on nature, and home improvements (we are renovating our retirement home). With all that I am doing now, you may wonder how I ever found the time to work - of course, most of the other things were put on hold all those years.


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