Dog Won't Eat: Should You Worry?    

It is very distressing for the owners when their pet does not eat a complete meal, there are innumerable reasons for loss of appetite. It is crucial to recognize the problem early to avail the best treatment and make puppy healthy and fit.   However, it is essential to know how a dog’s appetite is judged. If one is deciding by the guidelines given on the food packet, one should know these are average and not the actual amount. Many healthy dogs eat only 60% - 70% of the food amount mentioned on the packet. To get the exact amount one can visit the veterinarian and get the real amount according to the age and weight of the canine.

Appetite loss in dogs is called as anorexia it is entirely different from anorexia nervosa, a disorder found in human beings. Appetite loss indicates a variety of problems, and it requires a quick veterinary check to develop further more significant health issues. Many dogs can stay healthy without proper diet, but still, it requires early checks.


Like human beings canines also have various reasons to refuse food.

Oral health

Problems like tooth pain, loss of teeth, tumor or mouth infection can also make eating challenging for the best eaters. Hence, the owners can check for bad teeth, sores or another object which are causing pain.


Nowadays vaccination is available for all severe and contagious diseases, and these vaccines have saved lives of many pets in last few years, but they have some adverse effects. The collective result is a loss of appetite, though it is temporary but can have an adverse impact on health.


With other symptoms, if a pet experiences decreased appetite, it can be a sign of disease. However, reduced hunger does not necessarily indicate a severe illness, but a veterinary check is crucial to know the exact reason. It can suffer from pain, kidney problems, liver pain, infections and even cancer.

Unfamiliar Surroundings

If it had an excellent appetite, but after a trip or after moving to a new location it decreased its diet, it is a symptom of modern or unfamiliar surroundings. Some pets tend to get nervous or motion sickness in new or different places.

Behavioral Problems

Some pets are picky and like to eat treats more than their healthy food. Their refusal to the diet can also mean strange situations where they are uncomfortable like besides an aggressive pet or place a bowl kept in an awkward place, in a busy kitchen, etc. However, low appetite is also a symptom of sickness hence, do not assume every time that the pet is picky and not sick without proper investigation.

Quality of Food

Food quality has a broad effect on how pet reacts. If the pet used to eat a better diet, they would reject the low-quality food. If it tastes a dry food that tends to have a long shelf life, does not mean it can’t spoil. Old and spoiled food not only becomes unsavory but also loses all the nutritional quality and becomes smelly. Pets quickly understand the quality of the food and avoid it. This is common in wet foods that are left out, but rare in dry foods.

New Schedule

Pet tries to stick with their routines once it is established and to change schedules will make them uneasy. If there is a change in their daily exercise, feeding time or add a new pet in the family will make them feel fearful. Therefore, it is crucial to make slow changes so that they can adapt to the new switch. Sudden changes in their daily life can cause low food intake unless they get familiar with the new routine.


Dietary needs change with age, as a growing puppy requires a high protein diet while at the same time an older pet requires a different amount. Owners will need measuring the food with pet’s age and weight change. With increasing age pets tends to avoid meals or reduce diet.  Other reason can be the tooth problem which is due to age. With the increase in age they tend to lose senses and can find the food tasteless, hence low intake of food. It is advisable to provide softer foods and additional flavors to tempt the older dogs.

Tips to make the pet eat

Due to various reasons dogs might not eat, it can be hard to recognize the problem and solve it. There are multiple steps to owners can take to increase their appetite and make them healthy.


Checking their behavior is crucial after they skip their meal. Keeping an eye towards how they react towards their food, check their regular activity. It is sometimes common for the dog to wait for few hours to finish their meal if the problem persists for a more extended period, one needs to get worried.

If they behave abnormally and refuse to eat, it is a sign of health issue which will increase with time. Unfamiliar things are a cause for concern. With their behavior, their water intake and stool need monitoring.

Oral Health

Check if they have any tooth problem or have any sign of dental pain which include losing teeth, bleeding, swollen gums, etc. check if the gums have any discoloration or have mucous or influx.

Vet Check

If one finds the severe problem, it is ideal to opt for a veterinarian check. Trained professional can go through various examinations and also provide some necessary test which will discover the underlying issues. They will provide with the required care and will save dog’s life.

Dog Food

It is always advisable to check for food issues no matter the dog is suffering from any health issues or not. Whether it is dry food, wet food or homemade, requires a check for problems. Add some flavors of the dog food do not smell good even it is made freshly. Check for the ingredients added to the menu to check whether the pet is undergoing some allergic reactions or not.

Diet Change

Owners might find the need to change or switch food, it will restore appetite. But diet should be adjusted gradually to evade unexpected problems. Mix the newly chosen food with the old with which it is familiar. In few days increase the quantity of the new and less of the former until it is entirely changed. If one decides to switch foods, one needs to choose food with same nutritional content.  Owners can also opt for wet varieties or dog food gravy. By adding little extra flavor, the pet will find it savoring and a new start to finish its meal.

Good Habits

If loss of appetite is due to behavioral changes, the ideal way to overcome the problem is to develop and maintain healthy habits. Alienate pets from human foods and delicious treats gradually, so that they do not refuse their healthy diet. Provide pets  a safe and clean space where they can eat all alone.  Follow a schedule which it likes and follow it every day to maintain good health.

It is frustrating for the owners to see the low appetite for pets, but it is crucial to stay supportive and vigilant. By checking its regular activities and getting veterinarian guidance one can avoid severe problems in future.


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