Why doesn't my dog want to eat? When should I worry about my dog not eating? In today's post, our South Charlotte team discusses possible causes and what to do if your dog won't eat.
Why isn't my dog eating?
The loss of appetite in dogs can be referred to as either inappetence or anorexia. Anorexia in dogs is not the same level of a medical condition as it is in humans. Doggy anorexia can be either partial or complete. Partial Anorexia is when a dog will only eat certain types of food, but not enough to keep them healthy. If your dog won’t eat anything at all, you may be looking at complete dog anorexia. Pseudo-anorexia in dogs is another condition in which a dog wants to eat but is unable to due to another ongoing issue.
If your dog's not eating there are several possible causes you may want to consider. Refusal to eat typically comes down to either environmental or behavioral reasons caused by stressors, or more seriously, an underlying medical condition that could require urgent veterinary care. Let's take a look at some of the more common examples of each, and how these issues can best be resolved.
Behavioral & Environmental
There are many reasons why your dog won't eat anymore. Some minor causes can be environmental or behavioral issues such as separation anxiety when left alone for extended amounts of time (this would likely cause the dog to refrain from eating only when left alone). Even the absence of a family member/owner can result in a loss of appetite. Inconsistently feeding your dog, or inconsistent sleeping hours could also be a quick and easy solution.
If your pup has stopped eating, changes in their typical environment could be the issue. You may notice a loss of appetite if your family introduces a new pet to their environment, drastic changes in weather, and other stressors that take your doggy out of their comfort zone.
Medical conditions that could lead to a loss of appetite can range from minor concerns that could go away on their own, to possibly fatal conditions that need to be taken seriously immediately. Even if you assume your dog's lack of appetite is due to a behavioral/environmental reason or a minor medical condition, do not take the risk of letting your pet go untreated.
Some medical conditions that would lead to your dog's lack of appetite include:
- Dental Health Problems
- Stomach Upset
- Autoimmune/neurological diseases
- Organ troubles
- Recent Vaccination
If you notice any of these symptoms present in your dog, please contact a veterinarian.
What You Can Do
If your dog refuses to eat for more than 24 hours, or if you suspect that your pup has a medical condition, contacting a veterinarian is crucial as it will give your pet their best chance at a strong and speedy recovery.
Here are some general tips that could help get your dog's eating habits back on track if their appetite is not a medical condition:
- Be sure that your dog is getting the necessary amount of attention and exercise that they deserve
- Be patient and supportive with your dog and do not force-feed them
- Try to avoid feeding your pet table scraps
- Keep them on a consistent routine that is easy for you to maintain
- Cut back on the number of treats you give your dog
- Mix up the food you give your dog (switch from dry to wet food or vice versa, add dressing or sauce to dry food, etc.)
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.