We all know how much dogs love food, right? So, having a dog that’s acting completely normal otherwise, but not eating can be worrisome. Especially because the loss of appetite has been linked to having a disease. Did you know that loss of appetite in dogs is known as anorexia? I bet you didn’t!
Don’t confuse it with the Psychological disorder called ‘Anorexia nervosa’ in humans—that’s a completely different thing altogether. In this blog post, I’ll help you figure out exactly why your furry friend won’t eat his food and things that you can do about it.
Taking The Vet’s Advice
More often than not, when a dog isn’t eating but otherwise acting normal, it is due to a disease. It could be something very common like fever, or something worrisome like flea flu. So, I would always recommend that you visit your vet if you see signs of anorexia in your doggy friend. After all, it is always best to catch a disease in its initial stages, right?
Make sure you seek the care of your vet in case your dog used to eat well in the past but stopped altogether. There are many reasons why your dog may not be eating. In fact, some aren’t even related to a medical problem. But, it is always advisable to be cautious and take your dog to the vet anyway—or even call a vet home!
Why Won’t My Dog Eat Food?: Common Reasons Dogs Don’t Eat Food.
In this section of the blog post, I’d like to go through a few reasons why your dog won’t eat his food. These are some of the most common reasons why dogs tend to not eat food. However, I still recommend that you pay your vet a visit anyway, just to be sure. After all, your pet’s health should be your number one priority. Let’s begin!
A Few Reasons Why Your Dog Isn’t Digging the Food
Following are a few reasons why your dog probably isn’t eating the food but acting normal:
Anorexia in dogs is often related to sickness in dogs and probably one of the most common causes of loss of appetite. The illness may not necessarily be a serious one. However, loss of appetite is one of the symptoms of diseases such as systemic infections, cancers, kidney failure, liver infections, pain, etc. So, I advise you to visit your vet even if your dog seems to be a-okay.
2. Dental Issues
Did you know that dogs really don’t let their owners know they have dental issues and don’t show signs of any pain until it is too late? You must go to a vet and get your dog’s teeth checked. His recent loss of appetite may be due to a cracked, broken, or loose tooth. You can also try to soften your dog’s kibble using water or feeding him soft food to determine if your dog has dental issues.
3. Travel to New Places
This is one of the most common things that pet owners do not realize. If your dog was eating just fine until you took a trip or moved to a new location then, the travel is probably the reason why your furry companion won’t finish his food. Dogs are known to get motion sickness and some dogs also feel uncomfortable and nervous when they’re introduced to a new environment.
Also Read: Best Dog Food for Allergies – Top Option in the Market
Getting your dog vaccinated for life-threatening diseases is one the most responsible things that you can do as a dog owner. This measure prevents your dog from getting serious diseases. However, vaccines sometimes have adverse effects that may cause your doggy friend to get a little sick and lose his appetite for a few days. This is nothing very serious but still, I would advise you to talk to your vet in any case.
Have you recently changed dog food brands? Well, in that case, your dog probably doesn’t like the new brand as much as he liked the previous one. You can change the dog food to be sure if that’s the case—which it usually is. You can also add things that your dog likes (such as chicken, eggs, etc.) to his food to see if that truly is that case.
6. The Dog Simply Not Being Hungry
Dogs can go a few days without eating and perhaps, your furry buddy isn’t eating his kibble simple because he isn’t hungry at the moment! Yes, it could be something as simple as that as well.
7. The Dog Wants to Be Fed
This is an issue for high-maintenance dog owners face when they dog simply refuses to eat unless he is fed by the owner. This is a behavioral issue and a sort of a ‘rebellion’ act on the part of your spoilt furry pooch.
8. Change in Routine
If you know dogs, you probably know that they love to stick to a routine. Any changes in their routine results in a domino effect. What does it mean? It means that your dog will need to get used to his new routine and adjust his eating habits accordingly. You can help your dog out with that as well by simply switching the routine to a previous one.
9. Addition of a New Dog in the Family
The sheer excitement (as well as the stress) of having another furry buddy in the family may also be a cause of your dog’s loss of appetite. You just need to allow your dog to adjust to the presence of the new dog and you’ll be good to go.
10. Senior Dog
An aging dog may simply stop eating and acting normal because he’ll just forget it. If that’s not the case, then, dental pain and problem may also cause the dog to not eat at all. You should contact your vet and figure out a plan of action and a diet chart for your aging furry companion.
11. Other Issues
These issues are some of the uncommon but relevant ones. These include problems such as being around a dominant or even aggressive dog, the food bowl being at an uncomfortable height for the dog to eat out of it, an unwashed or bad-smelling food bowl, there not being adequate space between the dog’s bowl and that of another dog’s, etc.
Before making any assumptions, I urge you to at least phone the vet to be able to be sure as to why your dog is eating. Never take your pet’s health for granted.
Some Psychological Issues That Cause Anorexia
It is not just physical ailments and behavioral issues that cause your dog to be less interested in his food. Following are some psychological issues that cause your furry friend to not eat his food. Let’s take a look, shall we?
There are some issues related to anxiety that may cause your furry companion to stop eating. The most common of all of these anxiety-related issues is separation anxiety which leads to a lack of appetite in dogs. Dogs that have separation anxiety don’t eat on their own in the absence of their owners—regardless of whether they’re hungry or not. Other forms of anxiety maybe be caused due to fireworks, thunderstorms, and other loud things that tend to affect a dog’s appetite.
Doggy depression is real and it is also one of the most common reasons why dogs refuse to have their food. The symptoms of depression in dogs are the same as those in human beings. These include the feeling of loneliness, loss of appetite, lethargy, insomnia, hypersomnia, etc.
Events that can cause your furry companion to go into depression include the loss of a loved one, changing houses or families, a serious change in lifestyle, and sometimes a hormonal imbalance. Take your furry friend to the vet for more information and help if you see any of the above signs and symptoms.
This is rather common in male dogs when they are in the presence of a female dog who is in heat. The scent of the female in heat can cause your dog to be in a sort of a ‘haze’ in which he would forget to do normal activities like sleeping, playing, and eating!
The situation seems to resolve itself when the female dog passes out of the cycle of heat. However, if your dog seems to have lost a lot of pounds during this time, you may need to take other measures. In fact, you may even need to lure your dog with foods that he isn’t allowed to eat normally.
Also Read: Best Dog Food for Sensitive Stomach – to Keep Them Healthy and Strong
Dog and Food: A Few Things to Consider (and Not Panic About!)
In this section, I’ll be going through a few common questions and explaining to you why your dog is behaving a certain way. Let’s take a look, shall we?
My Dog Isn’t Eating Dry Food!
Wouldn’t you get bored if you eat the same old thing every day for months!? Well, then you’d probably be able to understand why kibble can sometimes be just boring to your doggy friend! The food and the pellets all taste the same and that just isn’t fun anymore.
If your dog isn’t eating dry food then chances are that you just need to spice things up a bit. Gravy and wet food come to rescue in situations like these! You just need to add a few wet ingredients—dinner scarps also work well—and that might just be the solution that you’re looking for.
My Dog Isn’t Eating Food—But, Is Going to Town on the Treats!
Ah! Even I faced this problem just recently! This just means that your dog, my friend, is a fussy eater and knows just how he can play you into giving him what he wants. This is, in a way, a behavioral issue that you will need to overcome and communicate to your dog that he can’t play you. So, don’t give your dog all the treats in the house. Instead, reduce the treats you give him. He will eventually budge and eat his food.
My Old Dog Isn’t Eating
As with humans, dogs also need a lesser amount of food during old age. So, a reduced appetite isn’t something you need to lose your sleep over as it is the natural progression of things. As a dog ages, the sense of smell and taste starts to diminish and your dog sometimes simply loses interest in food. Whatever the case may be, I would still recommend that you take your aging dog to the vet. Because older dogs are known to develop medical conditions frequently.
My Dog Isn’t Eating but Is Drinking Water
Your dog not eating his food and not drinking water is a red flag right there. You need to take your dog to the vet immediately if that is the case. However, if your dog isn’t simply eating but drinking water and acting normal, then you can wait for a while and observe your furry friend.
Your dog’s lack of appetite could simply be due to a temporary tummy upset, or a stomach bug. But… In case your dog hasn’t had a bowel movement in a while, you need to rush him to the vet immediately. This could be an indicator of bowel obstruction.
The Problem of the Fussy Eater
Dogs love food but, as they grow older they develop a certain taste and some even refuse to eat anything but their treats—even if it costs a small fortune! If your dog is eating his treats and having a bit of human food but not touching his kibble then, you are dealing with the dog a fussy eater! These dogs are high maintenance and have their humans wrapped around their paws! In this section of the blog, I wanted to help you out with a fussy eater. So, let’s take a look!
Also Read: Best Dog Food for Shedding – Reviews to Buy
Curing a Fussy Eater
First of all, this cure is only for younger dogs who have just recently been fussy eaters. So, if you have a 15-year-old dog who has been a fussy eater all of his life, this technique will be a little mean and harsh for him. There are two things you need to keep in mind before using this technique:
- Never use this on older dogs, young pups, underweight and malnourished dogs, dogs undergoing medical treatment, or dogs that are generally unwell
- Always look into the dog food that you buy for your dog and check whether or not it fulfills your furry friend’s nutritional needs
That being said and out of the way, let us go through how you can cure your dog who’s a fussy eater. Ready?
Below Are the Steps You Need to Follow:
- Figure out what exactly you want your furry friend to be eating and serve him a very small quantity of the same in his bowl
- Take your cell phone out and set up a timer for 5 minutes
- As soon as the timer goes off, you need to take your dog’s bowl away—mean, right?
- Make sure that you do not give your treat any human food or treats at all until your furry friend’s next mealtime
- Now, do the same thing that you did before—offer your dog a small quantity of the dog food for an exact time period of five minutes
- Ensure that you aren’t feeding your dog anything else in between the meals—even if your dog isn’t eating but acting normal
- Don’t forget to make sure that your dog has clean drinking water available to him at all times
- Keep repeating this for as long as it is necessary
As soon as your dog begins to eat the food, you can increase the quantity of the food. All you need to do is to have a cold heart for a few days and absolutely ignore the pleading glances that your dog throws your way and you’ll be good to go! Make sure to inform all the members of your family to not feed the dog anything during this training process.
Especially, you need to control children that tend to feed the dog and give him what he wants. This technique has helped a lot of dog owners overcome this problem. However, you need to make sure that your dog is actually healthy and not going through a medical problem.
What to Do if My Dog Isn’t Eating but Acting Normal?
The first thing that you should do is determine why your furry companion isn’t eating his food. From the list that I have provided you with, it will be easier for you to pinpoint why your dog isn’t showing interest in his food. Once you have determined the cause you’ll have to:
- Determine whether your dog needs immediate medical attention
- Try out a few home remedies before calling the vet
I know that I have stressed this point an awful lot in this blog post. But it is extremely important that you consult a vet—or even call one home—before things get out of hand. The responsibility of your pet’s health lies in your hands. Therefore, you must do everything in your power to keep your furry companion happy and healthy.
I hope this blog post helped you determine what your plan of action should be if your dog isn’t eating food but acting normal. I have gone through a lot of reasons why your dog isn’t showing interest in food and there are two things you can do:
- Wait for the problem to resolve itself if it isn’t serious (such as being in the vicinity of a female dog in heat)
- Visit a vet and seek medical attention as soon as possible (in the case of a broken tooth, bowel obstruction, etc.)
Still, have any unanswered questions or concerns? Leave them in the comments section and we will help you right out!
Bhanu Yerramilli says
I have a 1 yr old yorkiepoo, she experienced her first heat 2 months ago. She is a picky eater, but has always eaten for the most part. I am too nice and leave her food out because she isn’t always quick to finish everything at once. The past 2 weeks she has barely been eating her food. She is on a farmers dog meal plan, and she loves it. She is drinking water, not excessively though. She has pooped, so I don’t think it’s a bowel obstruction. When she has eaten the past 2 weeks it tended to be bland food, like white rice or plain pasta pieces. I honestly don’t know what’s causing her loss of appetite.
Other than the loss of appetite, she is happy, playful, aggressively chewing on toys, running around and jumping…she is her normal crazy self. I ordered these vitamin supplements to give her, but not sure if I should take her to the vet first…I feel like they won’t know either, cuz she’s fine….$500 later….lol…how long of the picky eating can I go, before this becomes serious? Also, are those supplements good? The gel kind?
Linda Barnes says
Hi Bhanu, thanks for sharing your concern.
The most common cause of loss of appetite in your dog is probably infection or disease. Although a loss of appetite in dogs doesn’t necessarily indicate serious disease, yet veterinary attention is important because it could be a sign of significant illness.
Yes, the gel kind supplement is good for her as it is a high-calorie nutritional supplement, but in this scenario, you should consult with a Vet first before providing random solutions. You need to find the actual problem, then go for the right cure.