For most dogs, mealtime is their favorite part of the day. Therefore, it can be concerning for pet owners when their dog’s not eating, or his appetite seems to have decreased. Luckily, the most common reasons are easily fixable—especially if your dog is not eating but seems fine otherwise. Here’s why your pup may have lost his appetite and how to get your dog to start eating again.
Reason #1: Dog Not Eating Due to Stress
There are a variety of reasons that your dog may be experiencing stress. And just like stress in humans, this can affect a dog’s appetite. Your dog can become uneasy or even stressed from life changes, like your working different hours, a big move, or a new member joining the family (e.g., bringing a baby home). This should, however, pass fairly soon. In the meantime, ensure that your canine is drinking enough water and at least eating treats. If your pet seems overly stressed, consider reading our ultimate guide to de-stressing dogs.
Reason #2: Dog Not Eating Due to Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety can prevent your dog from eating. It doesn’t get much cuter than this: if a regular member of the family is not present during meal time, your dog may choose to wait until they are home and everyone is accounted for. After all, they are our best friends for a reason! If the separation anxiety occurs when the dog is home alone, consider addressing the dog’s loneliness by leaving the television on or playing some calming music. This will help your dog relax and reduce their anxiety, increasing the likelihood they will eat their food.
Reason #3: Dog Not Eating Due to Overfeeding
It’s easy to feed your dog something “bad” for them without much thought. A piece of cheese here, a few too many treats there … If you consistently give out treats and snacks, and your dog is not hungry at mealtime, you may be overindulging your dog, resulting in a loss of appetite. Alternatively, you may accidentally be training your dog to hold out for treats instead of eating their regular meals. If you notice your dog is gaining weight, then this is usually an indicator that they are being overfed. Consider reading our guide on how much you should really be feeding your dog or our guide on how often do you feed a puppy?
Reason #4: Dog Not Eating Due to Bad Food
Remember, our little friends have a strong sense of smell, much stronger than ours. If your dog is not eating, it may be a sign that the food is expired or has gone bad. If you think this may be the case, consider providing a fresh bowl or pouch of food to see if it makes a difference. Make sure you check expiration dates and throw away any food that’s expired; this will potentially save you from having to clean up doggy diarrhea or vomit, too! If giving your dog fresh food doesn’t help, wait a day or so, then take a visit to the local vet to get your pet checked.
Reason #5: Dog Not Eating Due to Illness
The worst-case scenario: Your dog may not be eating due to an illness. Be on the lookout for diarrhea, throwing up, or lethargy. If your dog is showing signs of distress aside from not eating, give your vet a call. There may be an underlying issue that needs to be addressed. Your dog could be avoiding his food due to liver disease, infections, or kidney failure. If your dog isn’t eating but seems otherwise fine, that’s likely not the issue. However, if he doesn’t start chowing down within 24 hours, it’s time to seek medical help.
The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.