My dog doesn’t eat: reasons and suggestions

When a dog won't eat, it's normal for a dog parent to get worried. Knowing the reasons in advance can help you to address the issue. Because not acting promptly can be life-threatening for your dog, here are the 6 most common reasons why a dog won't eat.

4 September 2017



When a dog won’t eat, it’s normal for a dog parent to get worried. Knowing the reasons in advance can help you to address the issue. Because not acting promptly can be life-threatening for your dog, here are the 6 most common reasons why a dog won’t eat.

The most common reasons why a dog won’t eat:

  1. Stress
  2. Injury and pain
  3. Medical treatment 
  4. Illness
  5. Aging
  6. High treat consumption

Temporary appetite loss in dogs is not serious. Just like us, a dog occasionally may lose his appetite due to lack of exercise or a change in the weather. When your dog won’t drink water, there is a serious problem. Sadly, there are also more dangerous reasons for loss of appetite in dogs:

1. Stress

Just like humans dogs can react to stressful changes in their surroundings. Being in new surroundings, adding a new human or four-legged family member to the household, or any kind of unusual stress in the home environment can make your dog nervous and stressed. That, in turn, can lower their appetite until they feel secure or comfortable again.

2. Injury and pain

Your dog refusing food can mean your dog is in pain. Injuries and pain can affect a dog’s appetite. Especially dental pain. Dogs may not want to eat because something in their mouth is hurting. Check your dog for mouth sores, broken or chipped teeth, oral tumor or any other bodily injuries.

3. Medical treatment

If your dog has just had surgery and has been under anesthesia, this can often cause a loss of appetite. This, however, is a normal reaction; but if your dog isn’t eating after a couple days, you’ll need to take your dog to the vet. Vaccination can also cause a temporary loss of appetite in dogs.

4. Illness

dog won't eat

A decreased appetite in dogs is often a sign of sickness. Bacterial or viral infections, urinary tract infections, kidney failure, cancer and other illnesses or diseases can make your dog pick at their food or lose their appetite altogether. Although the loss of appetite in dogs doesn’t necessarily indicate a serious disease, prompt veterinary attention is important.

5. Aging

If your dog is getting older, you may see a change in their eating habits. An older dog may get less exercise and burn off less energy. Your dog may get more finicky about their food. Choosing dog food appropriate for their age and the changes they are going through can help with appetite issues.

6. Too many treats

Do you feel like eating a big meal after a bag of chips? Didn’t think so! Just like people that snack, giving your dog treats (which are often full of calories) in between meals might ruin his appetite.

What can I do when my dog won’t eat?

The treatments for loss of appetite will depend on what your veterinarian determines to be the cause of the problem. If your dog’s loss of appetite is caused by illness, the vet may prescribe a special diet to meet your pet’s nutritional needs. Understanding why your dog is not eating will help to determine the most suitable treatment plan. No matter if your dog’s decreased appetite is a behavior problem or caused by illness or pain, it is always best to contact a professional.

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1 Comment
  1. Dog Groom Arena

    This is an eye opener and I will put it into practice