Dogs are often thought of as having voracious appetites and being willing to eat anything and everything. However, many dog owners encounter the opposite problem – their dog will refuse to eat. There are a variety of reasons for a dog not wanting to eat, but no matter the reason, a responsible dog owner needs to take action.
Loss of appetite in dogs is called inappetence or dog anorexia. Don’t worry, dog anorexia is not the same as anorexia in humans. If your dog stops eating and starts experiencing troubling symptoms such as diarrhoea or vomiting, then it’s best to contact your veterinarian at their emergency line.
If your dog suddenly stops eating but is still drinking water and seems otherwise healthy, it’s okay to wait a day to see whether their appetite will come back.
Why Won’t My Dog Eat
The dog doesn’t like their food
Dogs sometimes simply get tired of their food or dislike it for any number of reasons. Some dogs can be picky eaters. You can usually tell if your dog is simply not interested in their regular food if they will still eat treats or human foods.
Younger dogs, such as Maltese puppies, can be especially prone to being finicky eaters. If your new puppy is refusing to eat, they may not be sick. Your new puppy has to adjust to a lot of new experiences, they may need time to do so. Being brought to a new house and being fed a new type of food can be overwhelming for the puppy.
If your dog simply does not like their food, you can put some low-sodium broth on top of it to entice them to eat. There are also commercially-available toppers, though these can add a lot of fat and carbohydrates that can cause increased weight gain.
The food may have gone bad
This is more of an issue when the dog is being fed kibble – like all foods, dog kibble has an expiration date. When buying kibble in bulk, there is a chance that it may not be used up before the expiration date. Dogs are sensitive to the quality of the food they eat, and can tell when their food doesn’t smell right.
Before buying kibble for your pooch, check the expiration date on the bag. Sometimes stores do not dispose of old or expired bags. Only buy the kibble if you know your dog will be able to finish before the expiration date.
If feeding your dog fresh or raw food, it may go bad if their food is left out for a long time. Try to limit how long your dog has the food in their bowl before it is put away or thrown out. In most cases, you should put the food down and only let your dog eat for 20 minutes before the food is taken away or thrown out.
They may still be full from a previous meal
Dogs that aren’t food-oriented won’t necessarily eat until they’re stuffed. Most dogs have a good sense of how much they need to eat – a dog that doesn’t want to eat may simply be too full to have another meal.
This can be an issue if the owner is giving the dog too many treats or meals that are too large. Food-oriented dogs such as the French Bulldog may simply eat everything that they are given and gain too much weight.
To avoid this problem, it’s best to keep track of how many treats your dog gets and weigh out your dog’s meals.
Your dog may be unwell
Dogs can be reluctant to eat when they’re not feeling well. There are a number of medical conditions that can cause dogs to lose their appetite. Autoimmune diseases and neurological diseases are some conditions that can cause a loss of appetite. Dental problems can also make a dog reluctant to eat. Some dogs can also suffer from food allergies and will avoid the foods that make them uncomfortable.
It’s important to contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect that your dog is sick and unable to eat. Once your vet has diagnosed the issue, they will be able to give you more guidance regarding your dog’s dietary needs.
When future dog owners look at dogs for sale, they are always hoping that the dog they get is healthy and happy. Your dog not wanting to eat can be a sign of being a finicky eater or it could be a symptom of a deeper issue. Knowing the common causes of dog anorexia can help dog owners determine whether medical attention is necessary.