Dog Won't Eat [2018 Updated] – 25 Possible Reasons Why Your Dog Not Eating

Many owners are used to seeing their dogs gulping meals in a matter of seconds. So when a dog refuses to eat most dog parents get concerned.

There are many reasons why a dog won’t eat so it is important to find out what is causing your dog’s anorexia. Don’t be afraid, when it comes to dogs, anorexia simply means lack of appetite and doesn’t have anything to do with an eating disorder that is seen in people.

All dogs love to eat and aren’t usually picky when it comes to the content of their food bowls. In some cases, a loss of appetite isn’t worth the worry and will clear in a day, but in some cases, it is a sign of a much bigger problem.

In order to determine if this is just a passing thing or a more serious problem, we will list 25 reasons why your dog won’t eat. Monitor your pup’s behavior and if he experiences additional symptoms you will have to visit a vet.

Read More: Top 10 Best Dog Food Brands

 

25 Reasons Why Your Dog Not Eating

25 Reasons Why Your Dog Not Eating
#1 He Isn’t Hungry

#1 He Isn’t Hungry

We know that it sounds impossible, but on an occasion, a dog won’t eat because his tummy is already full. It can be surprising to see a breed like Labrador to refuse his favorite meal, but maybe your dog simply reached his limit for the day.

If this is a case a dog will be his usual self and won’t present with any other symptoms besides lack of appetite. Generally, a pup won’t eat dog food until his next meal and will be more than happy to clean the bowl.

This is a normal behavior for most dogs and you shouldn’t be overly concerned. If you want to avoid this from happening try feeding more smaller meals and don’t overfeed your dog.

#2 He Doesn’t Like His Food

Most dogs aren’t picky eaters, but on an occasion, a dog will refuse to eat if he doesn’t like his food. This can happen in two cases, once you transition your dog to a new food, and if a dog is eating the same food for a long time.

You should see our dog food 2018 list to make the best choices for your dog

If your dog turns up his nose to his current food you can easily make it more appealing by serving it with a topping or mixed with wet dog food. On the other hand, a dog shouldn’t eat the same type of food for more than a year, so a change will stimulate his appetite.

#3 He Has An Upset Stomach

#3 He Has An Upset Stomach

Causes of an upset stomach are numerous, and besides lack of appetite, a dog has diarrhea and vomits. This happens when a dog eats something that is hard to digest and disagrees with his tummy.

On the other hand, an upset stomach can be a sign of a more serious underlying condition. The best thing you can do is to offer a simple meal that includes white chicken meat and boiled rice that will firm up the stool.

Most dogs will find this meal appealing and it will help sooth the tummy. Still, if the symptoms persevere more than two days you should take your dog to be examined by a vet.

You should see our dog food 2018 list to make the best choices for your dog

If your dog turns up his nose to his current food you can easily make it more appealing by serving it with a topping or mixed with wet dog food. On the other hand, a dog shouldn’t eat the same type of food for more than a year, so a change will stimulate his appetite.

#4 He Has Difficulties Chewing

#4 He Has Difficulties Chewing

Do you find eating hard when your tooth hurts? Well, it is the same case with your dog and may answer the question why my dog won’t eat.

Dogs don’t express that they are in pain since they consider it as a sign of weakness, so a problem can be undetected for a long time. If you have an old dog you should examine his teeth if he is experiencing lack of appetite.

Periodontal disease is often seen in older dogs and can make eating hard and your dog won’t eat dry food because chewing causes pain. If you detected any rotten or lose teeth you should take your dog to the vet to have the problem removed.

#5 Vaccination & Medication

#5 Vaccination & Medication

Regular vaccinations are necessary if you want to keep your dog protected against many canine diseases. However, they aren’t without side effects and some of them can cause lack of appetite.

For most dogs, this lasts only one day, but you should still call your vet and inform him so he can come up with better protective care program in the future. Furthermore, your dog’s new therapy can be the reason why he won’t eat.

In these situations the question is how to get a dog to take a pill when he won’t eat? The simplest solution is to pack the pill in something very tasty like a meatball or a hot dog.

Still, if your dog continues to refuses to eat because of the medications, talk with your vet about the change of treatment.

#6 Food Quality

#6 Food Quality

The quality of food you are feeding to your dog can affect his appetite. Low-quality foods contain fillers, additives, and cheap ingredients.

The taste of these can be unappealing to your dog and cause lack of appetite. Furthermore, low-quality food can be hard to digest and cause a dog’s stomach making loud noises and he won’t eat.

Change to the better quality food should increase your dog’s appetite and put a stop to gurgling stomach noises.

#7. He Eats Too Many Treats

#7. He Eats Too Many Treats

 It happens every once in a while that a dog won’t eat food but will eat treats. This is not surprising since treats are calorie-rich.

Your dog is so used to getting treats every day that he has no real need for food. To get him to eat normally again you should gradually cut the amount of treats.

#8 Expired Food

#8 Expired Food

Commercial foods generally have a long shelf life, but that doesn’t mean that they can get spoiled. If a dog from a sudden stops eating the food he loves, this might be the reason.

With such a great sense of smell, it is no surprise that your dog noticed that something is wrong before you do. Typically, wet foods are easier to spoil if not properly stored and the rancid smell can discourage a dog from eating.

Check the expiration dates on any type of food you buy for your pup, and make sure that the meat is always fresh if you are feeding raw.

#9 He Is In Pain

#9 He Is In Pain

It is hard to notice when a dog is in pain since they hide it so well. If you are wondering why my dog is lethargic, and he also shows signs of lameness, pacing, and excessive panting he is definitely in pain.

You should take your dog to the vet who will give him pain meds, and check his overall health. If a dog is old and suffering from painful conditions, like arthritis he might need his pain meds adjusted in order to regain his appetite.

#10 Change Of Scenery

Some dogs react to unfamiliar places by refusing to eat. This is mostly caused by anxiety that can be brought by new people, places, other animals or unfamiliar situation.

You should try to calm your dog down and reassure him that everything is fine. If the anxiety is the cause of loss of appetite you should create a safe place where your pup can eat.

In most cases, a dog that is having anxiety will start to eat when he gets really hungry. But you should also talk to your vet and see if your dog may benefit from some type of medications.

#11 He Is Anxious When Left Alone

#11 He Is Anxious When Left Alone

Dogs that are generally anxious when encountered with new people and places can also experience separation anxiety. If this is the case your dog won’t eat any time you leave him home alone.

Anxiety, is in fact, the state of hyperawareness that causes your dog to forget about eating. This condition causes many behavioral and physical problems and requires the attention of a dog trainer and behaviorist.

#12 Your Dog May Be Feeling “Off”

#12 Your Dog May Be Feeling “Off”

Just like you, your dog might just be having a bad day and he isn’t up for eating. He may be reacting to weather changes, he can feel alone, or catching a cold.

If this turns out to be just one of these days, you can lighten his mood with boiled chicken and rice. But a sick dog won’t eat more than one day, and you should check his temperature and take him to the vet.

#13 Change Of Schedule

#13 Change Of Schedule

Dogs are creatures of routine, and every small change can result in a loss of appetite. Once you set certain daily schedule you should stick with it, since any minor disruptions can make a dog uncomfortable.

Some dogs won’t eat if you change their meal, or walk time, or bring a new pet into the home. You should do your best to make your dog feel comfortable. Furthermore, if you need to make some changes in his schedule do it gradually to avoid anxiety.

#14 Your dog is bored

#14 Your dog is bored

If you are feeding your dog with the same type of food for a long time, loss of appetite can be the result of boredom. Would you eat the same type of food day after day for years, of course not.

If you suspect that this is the case why your dog won’t eat try spicing things up to encourage him to eat. You can try adding a tasty topping over the kibble or mixing kibble with wet food.

Or change the brand of food altogether and find a new high-quality food that your dog is going to love.

#15 Your Dog Might Be Threatened By Another Pet

#15 Your Dog Might Be Threatened By Another Pet

Your dog can refuse to eat if you recently added a new dog to your family. Furthermore, the aggressive and dominant dog can be the cause of disturbed eating habits of your other dog.

For the long time dogs lived in packs with the strict hierarchy, a submissive dog can easily be threatened by a dominant dog. If you believe that your dog is being intimidated it is best to separate your dogs during meals.

Make sure that the submissive dog has enough time to finish his meals without the interruptions of a dominant one. Ideally, feeding them in two separate rooms will make your dog feel comfortable and result in him eating again.

#16 Your Dog Is A Picky Eater

#16 Your Dog Is A Picky Eater

It can be really hard to determine if you are dealing with a really stubborn dog who likes to be picky or a sick dog. Dealing with a picky dog can be a nightmare since an array of foods were already rejected by your stubborn pooch.

If you are certain that your dog isn’t sick but only spoiled you should do your best to find a food that will be approved by his delicate palate. Once you find the right food, your dog will eat it normally, and won’t experience loss of appetite.

#17 Too Much Table Scraps

#17 Too Much Table Scraps

While spicing your dog’s kibble every once in a while can be a good thing, doing it to often can lead to loss of appetite. All dogs love eating table scraps and we all feel bad not giving our pooch just a tiny bit

This is a very bad habit, and in time your dog will stop eating his food if it doesn’t contain a few human bites. Feeding your dog with table scraps is unhealthy and can lead to serious diseases, like pancreatitis.

You should slowly wean your dog of human food and feed him only with dog appropriate diet. Gradually decrease the amount of table scraps until your dog is eating only dog food.

#18 Your Dog Is Sick

#18 Your Dog Is Sick

The first thing that comes to mind when a dog stops eating is that he is sick, and this often follows with what to feed a sick dog that won’t eat?

You should be aware that this isn’t the main reason why a dog refuses his food. On the other hand, if he seems sad, has temperature, vomiting, or diarrhea you should take him to the vet immediately.

The main thing to do every time when a dog won’t eat is to check for other symptoms. If the day passes and a dog won’t eat or drink you should call the vet right away.

#19 Your Dog Is Getting Old

#19 Your Dog Is Getting Old

As a dog becomes senior his senses aren’t what they used to be, and in some cases, older dogs take certain medications. Either of these things can cause the dog to stop eating.

You can try making your dog’s food more appealing by adding flavorful toppings or mixing it with wet food. Wet foods smell great and usually do the trick to entice the dog to start eating again.

Once a dog loses his appetite it can be hard tricking him into taking his regular therapy. So placing a pill into the piece of meat or encouraging your pup to swallow it whole by massaging his throat is how to get a dog to take a pill.

#20 You Got A New Dog

#20 You Got A New Dog

It is not uncommon for puppies or adult dogs to stop eating once they are brought into a new home. This can be caused by the change of food or the anxiety.

Every time you bring a new dog home you should learn what type of food he was fed before. If your puppy isn’t eating you should call the breeder and ask what kind of puppy food he was giving him.

Rescue dogs have even harder time adjusting to changes and if you alter the food abruptly he can stop eating altogether. You should call the shelter and find out what brand of food your dog was eating there and offer the same at home.

Even if you don’t like the type of food your dog was eating before you should continue feeding it for at least two weeks until he adjusts completely. After that, you can slowly transition your dog to the food you like.

#21 Overfeeding

#21 Overfeeding

Every once in a while all of us can exaggerate with the amount of food we give to our dog. Combine this with a few extra treats during the day it’s no wonder that your dog won’t eat.

If you suspect that you are overfeeding your dog try cutting his portions a bit and see if his appetite is back to normal. Generally, if this is a problem, a dog will start eating once he is hungry.

However, you should be aware that overfeeding your dog will lead to obesity and other health problems. So stick to the advised food amounts for your dog’s age and activity level.

#22 Your Dog Ingested Toxins

#22 Your Dog Ingested Toxins

If a dog was exposed to toxins he can experience loss of appetite. Additionally, you will notice other signs like drooling, pawing at the mouth, vomiting, diarrhea, trouble breathing, pacing, and panting.

Loss of appetite may be the first symptom that your dog experiences but you shouldn’t wait for others if you suspect that he ingested a toxin. If you know what he ingested bring the package with you to help your vet administer the best treatment.

If you don’t know what the dog ingested ask someone of the family members to check the home and see if anything is out of place. When it comes to toxins it is crucial that you react in time and provide your dog with the best care.

#23 Life Changes

#23 Life Changes

Dogs can sense when something is going to change. You probably noticed that your dog is sad few days before you leave for your vacation.

Your pup can sense that he is going to the kennel, or to stay with your friends until you come home. And although all dogs can stop eating during these times, dogs that are already anxious react to these changes more.

To encourage your pup to eat try enticing him with delicious toppings and canned dog food. On the other hand, if a dog refuses to eat more meals during several days, contact your vet.

#24 Intestinal Blockage

Intestinal blockage occurs when a dog ingests things that he shouldn’t have and they get lodged in the intestines. This is a very uncomfortable condition and one of the common reasons why a dog won’t eat.

A dog with blocked intestines has no appetite and if he eats he vomits everything right away. Other symptoms can include lathery and the overall feel of illness.

This is a very serious condition that requires the expertise of your vet. If you know what your dog has eaten let your vet know in order to help your dog.

The time is of the essence when it comes to this condition since if it’s left untreated it can lead to intestine necrosis and death.

#25 Your Dog Is Recovering From An Illness

#25 Your Dog Is Recovering From An Illness

Just like we need some time to completely recover and go back to normal, so do dogs. It is not uncommon for a dog in recovery to lose his appetite.

Still, this can be dangerous since a dog’s body is already weakened and if he won’t eat more than one day you need to call your vet. This is especially important if a newly diagnosed diabetic dog won’t eat.

The best way to get your diabetic dog eating is to offer very small meals that are coated in wet food. If a dog starts eating you can give him his insulin injection, if not call your vet right away.

Conclusion

In general, dogs love eating everything in sight, so seeing a dog that doesn’t have an appetite is very stressful for the most owners. Also, many think that unwillingness to eat is a clear sign of disease and start picturing the worst from the start.

However, a loss of appetite isn’t the only sign of illness, it might be that your dog is tired of the same brand of food. So it is important to stay clear-headed and learn what are the most common 25 reasons why your dog won’t eat.

We advise you to carefully monitor your dog every time he refuses to eat in order to find the culprit. Furthermore, if your dog is experiencing more symptoms besides loss of appetite, call your vet right away.

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