Does your dog, which usually loves the sight of food, seem to have lost interest in eating? Some of the common reasons your dog isn't eating include a change in his environment, dental problems, an upset tummy, or an underlying medical condition. If you have more than one pet, your dog's loss of appetite could be the result of his interaction with another aggressive dog. If your dog continues to stay away from food even after 24 hours, consult a vet.
Of late, does your pooch, which usually scarfs down his food as soon as it lands on his bowl, seem uninterested in eating? As a dog owner, you might be upset and confused about your dog’s sudden disinterest towards his food. To make him want to love his food again, you need to understand what could be the reason for his disinterest. Here are some of the most common reasons your dog isn’t eating his food.
9 Reasons Your Dog Isn’t Eating
1. An Upset Tummy
Often, a dog will eat things that are bad for his health – things that he may have stolen from the counter-top or fished out from the trash bin. This can upset his tummy and cause indigestion. As his body tries to flush out what he ate, he could show signs of nausea, accompanied by vomiting and diarrhea. But this is only temporary. You needn’t be alarmed unless there is blood in his vomit or stool. His body will come back to normal once the offending substance is eliminated from his system.
If your dog continues to vomit and pass loose stool even after 24 hours, you may then need to reach out to his vet for help.
2. An Underlying Illness
Loss of appetite in a dog can sometimes be an indicator of underlying medical conditions or serious illnesses, such as systemic infections, liver issues, kidney failure or even cancer. Although a decreased appetite isn’t always a sign of an illness, it is always better to get anything serious ruled out by your vet.
3. Dental Issues
Sometimes, your pooch might be refusing food because something in his mouth is troubling him and causing pain. His hard chew toy might have hurt his gums, or he could have a broken tooth. It’s a good idea to have him checked for dental illnesses involving the mouth and gums.
While it is necessary to vaccinate your dog, vaccinations can sometimes adversely affect the dog. If your dog has recently been vaccinated, his loss of appetite could be a side-effect. However, you need not worry, as his reduced appetite is only a temporary reaction to the vaccination.
5. Travelling or Moving Houses
If you’ve been traveling with your pet or have recently moved homes, your dog may be refusing to eat simply because of the new and unfamiliar surroundings. New places could make him feel nervous and confused, resulting in a decreased appetite. Motion sickness or a jet lag could also cause your dog to lose interest in eating. Once he adjusts to the new surroundings and the new time, he will regain his appetite.
6. A Change In His Schedule
A change in the household routine can sometimes upset your dog and get him to stop eating. It can be a big change, such as adding a new member in the family or moving homes. The change could also be as small as a shift in his feeding schedule or the number of times he gets walked.
Sometimes even minor renovation work in the house can make your pooch nervous. During this phase, your dog may simply refuse to eat until he feels secure.
7. Behavior Issues
Do you have other pets in the house? Sometimes, your dog’s loss of appetite could be the result of his interaction with other dogs. Maybe the other pets growl at him while he’s eating, or try to steal his food. In this scenario, he might prefer eating alone or give up eating altogether. This issue can be easily addressed by feeding pets in different areas of the house, so that each one is able to eat in peace.
8. Old Age
Sometimes an aging dog will stop eating due to changes in his body. The food might have become too hard for his teeth and might be causing him pain. A trip to the vet and a dental checkup could solve the problem. The vet might recommend giving him soft food. To make his food appeal to his senses, you could heat his food slightly or add an appetizing stew as a topping to to his meal.
Your dog may be refusing food because he’s a picky eater. But, more often than not, it’s us pet-parents who make our dogs picky eaters. The best way to handle a picky eater is to leave the food in his bowl for 15 minutes. If he refuses to eat it during that time, pick up his bowl and put it away. Also, don’t give him any snacks or treats during the rest of the day. Your dog will feel hungry and eat his food right when it’s time for his next meal.
How Can You Get Him To Eat?
If your pet’s loss of appetite is behavior-driven, there are a few things you can try to get him to eat. You may need to reduce the number of treats you give him and feed him on a regular schedule of two meals a day. You can try and bring in some fun into his meal-time with the help of a food-dispensing toy or by treating him for a trick.
Walking your dog right before mealtime may help stimulate his hunger. You can even try switching his food to canned food. If you’ve been feeding all your pets together, try changing the feeding situation by feeding each pet in a different room. You can even try adjusting the height of his feeding bowl to see what he prefers.
If a medical issue is the cause behind your dog’s loss of appetite, he may be put on a prescription diet by your vet. If your dog is used to delicious treats, he might not find his new diet particularly appetizing and stop eating it. In such cases, you will need to speak to your vet about alternatives, as your dog needs to eat healthy when he’s ill. He may be given appetite-stimulating medicines so that he eats the prescribed food.
In most cases, a dog’s loss of appetite in temporary. If his disinterest towards food persists even after a day or two, consult a vet.