It does not matter if you have a new puppy, or an adult dog that have owned one for years, there is a good chance that they will stop eating for some reason. You love your dog, and it can be a very stressful time if she stops eating. There could be a number of reasons for this, and you will need to discover the root cause of the problem so that you can get your dog eating again.
Bear in mind that the amount of food that a dog is supposed to eat that is suggested on food packaging is only a guide. These are normally averages, and you do not want to become alarmed if she isn’t eating as much as they suggest. Your dog can still be perfectly healthy while only eating up to 70% of the amounts that are recommended.
A Dog Not Eating Can Be A Sign Of Sickness
When a dog won’t eat it could be a sign of illness. In human terms this would be called anorexia nervosa, which is a well known eating disorder. This can happen to dogs as well if they completely lose their appetite.
If your dog suddenly refuses to eat, then a trip to the vets is in order. You do not want to waste any time here. If your dog usually eats all of her food and then just won’t touch it, you need to obtain veterinary advice as soon as possible. Most dogs can go for two days without suffering any adverse effects, but you do not want to leave it for any longer than this before you seek expert help.
The Most Common Reasons That A Dog Will Not Eat
Having some kind of illness has already been mentioned, and it is one of the most common reasons why your dog will stop eating. Is your dog exhibiting any other symptoms along with the refusal to eat?
A loss of appetite does not have to mean that your dog is sick, but it is wise to be cautious and take her to the vet. It is not nice to think about, but if your dog stops eating this could be an indication of a systemic illness, liver problems, kidney problems, a pain somewhere in their body, problems with their teeth and even the onset of cancer.
Being in a new place that is unfamiliar to your dog can also stop her from eating. This is pretty easy to work out. If your dog was eating normally before you travelled to this new place, it maybe that the travelling did not agree with her. Some dogs will suffer from motion sickness, and this will definitely affect their appetite.
New surroundings can be difficult for a dog. They can become very uncomfortable, and it can cause a neurological problem that prevents them from eating normally. When your dog becomes more familiar with this new place, she should resume her regular eating patterns once again.
Has your dog had a recent vaccination? It is really important that you vaccinate your dog in accordance with your vet’s advice, as it can stop her contracting some very serious dog diseases. Her life is literally at stake here.
Although these vaccinations are wonderful and should always be given, it is possible for your dog to suffer from some side effects. Usually these side effects cause minor problems that do not last very long. One of these side effects could be a total loss of appetite, so it is important that you take recent vaccinations into account.
Some dogs will have behavioral issues that will stop them eating. There may be certain situations where your dog just doesn’t feel comfortable enough to eat. It could be that their feeding bowl is not at the right height for them, or they might not want to eat if other dogs are around.
Then there are really fussy dogs. They will eat what you give them one day, and then refuse to eat the same thing the next day. Like us, dogs can get fed up with doing the same things all of the time. If your dog suddenly starts exhibiting this kind of behavior, then don’t dismiss some kind of sickness as the cause, and take her to see the vet just to be sure.
What You Can Do To Get Your Dog Eating Again
This will all depend on the root cause of the problem that you and the vet have determined. If your dog is sick, then your vet will probably recommend a prescription diet, which will provide all of the nutrition that she needs while the illness is being treated.
If your dog is used to eating high quality food and getting treats from you, she might not take too well to this prescription diet. The vet can provide some medications to stimulate your dog’s appetite if she still refuses to eat. If it is a really severe case, then a feeding tube can be inserted or a liquid diet that is administered by syringe can be prescribed.
If you already know that your dog is sick, don’t be tempted to starve her so that she will eat the prescription diet. It is best to talk this through with your vet, and see what alternatives are on offer.
When a decrease in your dog’s appetite is not due to illness, you probably have a behavioral issue on your hands. Fortunately there are quite a few things that you can do to overcome these kinds of problems.
The first thing to do is reduce the number of treats that you give her. You may have to stop them altogether if this is really causing a problem. If you do not have a regular feeding schedule in place, then it is recommended that you do this. Feed your dog twice a day rather than once.
Changing the type of food that you give your dog can do the trick. If you have always given her wet food from a can, try feeding her dry food instead. Try and make her mealtimes fun. You can get dog toys that are actually food dispensers that she can learn to play with, and eat at the same time.
To increase your dog’s appetite, take her out for a long walk before her mealtimes. You can also try changing your dog’s feeding environment. Try using different plates or food bowls. You could put her bowl on top of something to raise the feeding height. Try putting some food on the floor next to her bowl and see if she will eat it.
A Lot Of Dogs Like Their Own Place To Eat
Dog crates can be a secluded haven for your dog where she can enjoy her meal in peace. Please read our review of the best dog crates.