Has your dog stopped eating? Experts explain possible causes and what to do about it

Has your dog stopped eating? Or perhaps they are eating less than usual?

By Leanne Clarke
Thursday, 5th May 2022, 10:47 am
Updated Thursday, 5th May 2022, 10:49 am

It can be really worrying when your four-legged friend is off their food. But unfortunately, loss of appetite is common in pets and can be caused by a whole host of reasons.

The causes can range from changes to their surroundings to mental or emotional issues, but a dog refusing food for a long period of time usually requires immediate action.

With this in mind, tails.com, have shared their insights into why your dog has lost its appetite and a few things you can do.

Sign up to our daily Wakefield Express Today newsletter

Has your dog stopped eating? Or perhaps they are eating less than usual?

Six reasons your dog has no appetite

A temporary loss of appetite in your pet is not typically something to worry about. Similar to us humans, dogs are sometimes just not hungry.

But, when your dog won’t eat for a prolonged period of time, it may be an indication that something is wrong.

Being overfed

Sometimes, without being aware, we overfeed our pups.

Giving dogs too many treats or meals per day is surprisingly easy to do, especially when there are multiple people living in the home.

Try keeping a diet calendar to monitor when and how many times a day your dog is being fed and receiving treats.

Environmental change

Just as a change in environment, like moving to a new house, returning to the office, or children moving out of the family home can affect your appetite, a shift in your dog’s day-to-day life can have the same impact.

Dogs can become nervous or stressed when facing new changes in their surroundings, and this often results in them not eating. Your dog may feel anxious during a thunderstorm, due to fireworks or even when there is loud construction noise nearby.

Separation anxiety

Separation anxiety is a common cause of appetite loss in dogs.

This often occurs when dogs is left home alone for long periods of time or separated from their guardians.

You might discover a change in your dog’s appetite while you're away, whether that's for an hour or a week, due to anxiety and stress.

Physical illness

A dog will sometimes stop eating when they are experiencing physical issues, such as an upset stomach, worms, dental or digestive problems.

If you have reason to believe your canine has a physical illness, contact your vet to help identify the condition.

Dental health is an impact factor to monitor. If your pet’s teeth or gums are in pain, then eating will feel uncomfortable for them.

Change in food preferences

Sometimes it comes down to whether or not your dog likes the food you're serving.

Just like us, our puppies can form food preferences based on texture, moisture, and temperature. Your dog might even get bored of what you're feeding them.

Try incorporating new elements into your dog’s meals, on a trial basis, to see what they do and don’t like. You can try heating it up, adding gravy, mixing in vegetables or salmon oil.

Top tip: Check your pup’s food hasn’t gone stale. Dogs have a strong noise that can smell when their food has gone bad. Store it in an air-tight container, and check the expiry date.

Medication

There are many medications that can cause appetite loss.

If your pet has just had surgery, it can affect their interest in food is a normal reaction to anaesthesia. However, if your dog hasn’t returned to its normal eating habits after a couple of days, contact your vet.

What to do when your dog stops eating

If your dog has a loss of appetite, it's always best practice to consult your veterinarian. They will determine whether or not your dog has a concerning health condition.

Here are a few things you can do to increase your dog's appetite:

Cut back on the treats and feed them at their regular meal times

Exercise regularly and monitor energy levels

Use a chicken broth or gravy to enhance the flavour and texture

Buy higher quality food instead of diet foods Ensure food and water bowls are clean

Don’t get annoyed at your dog, stay calm and supportive

Give your canine plenty of attention and affection