Dog's need to eat regularly to stay happy and healthy, which makes it concerning when they aren't eating enough or anything at all. Today, our Santa Clarita vets discuss the possible reasons why your dog isn't eating, what to do when your dog won't eat, and when to worry.
Why is My Dog Not Eating?
It can be very worrying when your dog isn't eating. If your dog has just skipped one meal, or they didn't eat everything on their plate tonight, there shouldn't be any cause for concern. But, if you notice your dog has skipped more than two meals, they haven't eaten in over 12 hours without a clear reason, or are displaying additional symptoms such as diarrhea, lethargy, or vomiting, this may be an emergency situation and you should seek immediate veterinary care.
Reasons Your Your Dog Might Not Be Eating
Here, we discuss some possible reasons why dogs won't eat and how you can help:
They Have an Illness
A lack of appetite can be a sign of many illnesses and diseases in dogs such as cancer, pain, liver problems, and more. If your pooch is showing any other symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea and is persistently refusing food, call your vet immediately. Your veterinarian will be able to diagnose the underlying cause and provide your pup with a customized treatment plan.
Dental Health Issues
Another reason why your dog may not be eating is that they could be experiencing pain in their mouth making it difficult for them to chew. If you notice that one of your dog's teeth is broken or loose, they have bad breath, or there is swelling and bleeding in the mouth, as well as a refusal to eat call your vet as quickly as possible to schedule a dental examination and cleaning for your pooch.
While it's very important for your dog's health to stay up to date on all of their vaccinations, they can still make your pup feel a little under the weather temporarily. It's normal for your pooch to have a slightly lower appetite for the first couple of days after they have a vaccination. If their lack of appetite continues for more than two days it may be best to call your vet.
A change in routine or location
Dogs enjoy routine. If you have moved recently, are currently traveling, or have just adopted a new pet, it's normal for your dog's appetite to have changed a little as they get accustomed to their new settings. Be patient with your pup and try a few of the tips we have shared below to help them eat!
Their food has changed
Are the words "new and improved" displayed on your pup's usual food, or have you switched to a new brand? Your dog might be refusing to eat because they don't like the new food. Usually, your pooch will only skip one or two meals until their hunger eventually takes over and they will try the new food (and will usually adjust to it just fine). Keep an eye on the situation to make sure it resolves and call your vet if the problem continues.
What To Do If Your Dog Isn't Eating
If your dog isn't eating for an obvious reason (such as the first night in a new home) and you don't see any other symptoms, there are several things you can try to help make your pup's food more appealing to them.
- Pour warm water over dry food to make it softer.
- Warm-up your dog’s food in the microwave
- Feeding your dog dry food if they usually only eat wet food or vice versa
- Try hand-feeding, as social eaters sometimes just want attention
- Pour chicken broth, beef broth, or tuna water over the food to make it more appealing
When Should I Worry About My Dog Not Eating?
If you see a persistent change in your dog's appetite or any other worrying symptoms, such as swelling in the mouth or vomiting, your dog requires emergency veterinary care.
You should also seek medical attention if your dog skips two meals or more, regardless of whether there are any other symptoms or not. When it comes to the health of your beloved pooch, it is always best to err on the side of caution and talk to a veterinarian.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.