Tips for a Dog that Isn’t Eating
11 December, 2012

Most of our dogs LOVE to eat anything and everything.  Yet, not all dogs need to eat as much as is listed on the dog food cans or packages and can remain happy and healthy.  However, if your dog suddenly stops eating, he or she could have a behavioral or medical condition that is causing your pup not to eat.

If this new behavior lasts more than a day, you should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.


Some dogs are just picky and/or their refusal to eat may be caused by feeding them in situations where they aren’t comfortable, such as from a bowl at an uncomfortable height.   Try switching out the dog bowl and/or the food to see if this helps.  Think of any changes that might have occurred in your home to cause this behavior.


A decreased appetite in dogs is often a sign of sickness, especially if your dog has other symptoms at the same time. Although a loss of appetite in dogs doesn’t necessarily indicate serious disease, it is important to see your vet because it could be a sign of serious illness, including cancer, various systemic infections, liver problems, and kidney failure.

If your dog’s loss of appetite is caused by illness, your vet may recommend a prescription diet to meet your pet’s nutritional needs.  If your dog won’t eat the prescribed food, talk about alternatives. In more severe cases, your vet may prescribe appetite-stimulating medications or recommend a syringe-feeding a liquid diet.

Vaccinations or shots

If your dog was recently vaccinated or had been administered a medical shot, it can sometimes cause a decrease in appetite.  However, if this lack of appetite last more than 24 – 48 hours, you should call your vet and schedule and appointment.

Travel and unfamiliar surroundings

If your dog’s appetite was fine until you went on a trip with him or moved to a new location, it may be that your dog won’t eat because of traveling or the unfamiliar surroundings. Some animals may get motion sickness, while others become nervous or uncomfortable in new places.   The loss of appetite should be very short- lived in these cases.

Behavioral Issues

If your dog’s lack of appetite is not associated with a medical condition, then it is likely behavioral.  Below are some tips to help get your dog’s appetite back.

Try to feed your dog on a regular schedule, usually at least twice a day with smaller amounts.  When you feed your dog, try to make it fun or an event.  You can use a toy that that dispenses food or reward your dog with a meal when performing a trick.

Make sure that your dog is physically active.  Take your dog on a walk or jog to stimulate his or her appetite right before meal time.

As I mentioned above, try switching out your dog’s food to a brand or flavor that you know your dog will like.  If he is a chicken lover, go for a chicken blend.  Or if he isn’t eating the wet food, give him some more dry food.

Most dogs will start eating if you follow the above as our pups tend to have big healthy appetites.  Good luck!

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