Why Won’t My Dog Eat?

Why Won’t My Dog Eat?

  • Kirsten Thornhill - 21.07.2020

Your puppers could not be eating for many reasons. A simple stomach ache? Something more severe? 

We all know just how important proper nutrition and exercise is for us humans, and not to mention, is so important for our fur babies too. A well-balanced diet is key to keeping your puppers energized as well as a great tool for disease prevention and healing. Due to the fact that dogs aren’t usually timid eaters, it’s often a quick concern when fido starts avoiding his or her food. 



In today’s article, we hope to bring forth some potential reasons for why your dog may not be eating, in addition to possible solutions to get them back into licking their chompers and diving into their delicious meal!

Loss of Appetite: The Causes

There may be numerous reasons as to why your four-legged friend isn’t quite wanting to eat. In order to put the pieces of the puzzle together, it’s important to first get to the bottom of the underlying reason(s) behind the issue. Since each potential reason could be different, there may also be different treating methods to follow. 

1. An Upset Stomach

A common reason for a dog’s loss of appetite is an upset stomach. In general, if your pup is disinterested in food it may be associated with diarrhea and vomiting, unfortunately. But don’t fret! A bland diet, including boiled chicken and or white rice, can help ease up their stomach ache in no time. If you don’t see improvements in 48 hours, we do recommend a visit to the veterinarian, so they don’t lose excessive amounts of fluid. 

2. Just Not Hungry

One of the reasons for why some doggos aren’t eating is simply because they just aren’t hungry. Paw parents should take into consideration whether or not their dog may be getting overfed when it comes to their daily food intake (or if your pup is having too many treats). If this is the case, you can simply just cut back on their food intake. A lack of appetite for this reason is the “calmest” or “easiest” scenarios to worry about when it comes to your dog not wanting to eat. 

3. Pain

Generalized pain can also cause your furry baby to pass up on breakfast, and maybe dinner too. Unfortunately, when our pets are healing, they need all the nutrients they can get to heal and recover properly. 


4. Dental Problems

If you’ve ever had a toothache, you can attest to just how awful it feels. Sadly, dogs can experience toothaches too and they can’t quite just tell us how they feel. If your pup seems to have a loss of appetite, dental problems may be the culprit to blame. Maybe they have bad breath? Drooling excessively? Favoring one side of their mouth when they eat? 

5. Environmental Change

Did you move recently? Or change your routine lately? Your pup’s lack of appetite may be due to the associated stress that comes with new changes. If you’ve recently lost other pet in the house, the loss of appetite may be your dog grieving for that animal. 

6. Vaccinations

If your puppers recently had their vaccinations or started a new medication, these may affect their desire to eat. Their hunger should come back within a day or two, but if that’s not the case, talk with your veterinarian. Your four-legged friend may be having a reaction to the vaccine or medication. 



7. Picky Eater for One

You may just have a picky pup on your hands. Maybe try mixing their food with something new and exciting! Maybe canned food? Some dogs are similar to humans - they need some variety in their diet from time to time. 

8. Aging

Similar to us humans, as dogs age, so does their appetite. Senior dogs tend to have a harder time chewing their food. Once they begin to lose their sense of smell, they also start losing their desire to eat. 

It’s best to talk to your vet in order to make sure that your senior pup is keeping a healthy and sustainable diet for the rest of their years. Maybe a raw diet or canned food is what’s best!

9. Other Dogs

Did you recently get a new pet? This may be why your pooch isn’t eating. A dominant dog can cause a submissive dog to stay clear from their food bowl. If this may be your case, separate their food bowls during meal times. 


10. Other Options to Consider

The scary part of your dog not eating may be more serious than you think; there may be an underlying condition trying to come to the surface. 

The following conditions/illnesses all have a ‘lack of appetite’ as a potential symptom. You’ll quickly see that it’s crucial you receive an accurate diagnosis if the loss of appetite continues for longer than 24 - 48 hours. 

  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Pancreatitis
  • Kidney failure
  • Kidney disease
  • Infection (parasitic, viral, bacterial)
  • Addison’s disease
  • Respiratory illness
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Endocrine disorder
  • Neurological disease

Side note: if you think your dog’s lack of appetite is due to some type of poisoning, it is imperative that you contact an emergency veterinarian right away!

How You Can Help Your Dog 

First and foremost, figuring out the root of the ‘not wanting to eat’ problem is key. The last thing you’d want to do is figure out an “easy fix” for a problem that may be much worse than you think it is. 

Once you determine the root cause, you can work to help your pup regain their hunger. 



5 Easy Remedies for an Upset Stomach

Most dogs seem to love eating anything and everything, even those slippers they know are off limits! If your pup is suffering from an upset stomach due to stress or eating something off limits, there are a handful of things you can do to help ease their stomach discomfort and help them feel hungry again. 

1. Canned Pumpkin 

This is a great option for relieving stomach aches. Pumpkin is a low glycemic index food, allowing for slow absorption in the body, making it a great helper for diarrhea and constipation. 

2. Fasting

I know it sounds like an oxymoron, but it may help boost your pup’s hunger in the long haul.

Fasting is sometimes the easiest and most effective answer for a lack of appetite. Stomach sensitivity can be caused by discomfort in the gastrointestinal system. The inflammation that occurs here makes it difficult for your pup to digest their food. If you give their GI tract a break, it’s likely that they’ll feel comfortable eating sooner than later. 



Fasting for a period of 12 hours to 24 hours should be enough time. Do make sure that your four-legged friend is hydrated throughout the fasting though. 

3. Bone Broth

It’s often that a lack of appetite is also associated with an unwillingness to drink water. Dehydration will only make the issue worse, try and avoid this at all costs! 



Bone broth can help ease their stomach while also contributing to their hydration levels. 

4. Ginger

Looking for a major powerhouse supporter for digestive health? Ginger is your answer! Ginger has awesome anti-inflammatory properties that can help bloating, arthritis, and nausea. If you can decrease their pain and inflammation, it’s possible that your pup will feel more comfortable when it comes to meal time. 



Again, it’s important to consult with your vet prior to self-administering any new supplements or herbs. Ginger can be a blood thinner, so it should not be given to dogs who have surgery in the near future. 

5. Herbal Options

Herbs such as aloe vera, chamomile, and nettle leaf provide relief and promote gut health. 

In addition, dandelion, cornsilk, and goldenseal act as powerful anti-inflammatories, reducing painful inflammation whilst promoting a healthy immune system. 

However, just because something is natural, doesn’t mean it’s always safe for your pup’s long-term use. In some instances, specific herbs are safe for daily use. But, other herbs should only be given for short amounts of time. 



Dogs Not Eating: Final Thoughts

When all is said and done, we understand just how scary it can be when it seems like your dog has completely lost interest in their daily foods. The main thing we want to highlight is the importance of getting to the bottom of the underlying issue of what is causing their food disinterest. 

At times their lack of appetite may be from boredom or overfeeding with their daily food. However, there are much more serious conditions, such as an autoimmune disease or cancer, that is behind your pooch’s lack of eating. 

The first step is recognizing the problem. Second? Seeking immediate help from your veterinarian. A proper diagnosis is crucial to ensure that your pup can recover fully. 

We sincerely hope your pup feels better soon! A stealthy appetite is on the way fido!

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