If your dog has started to refuse food, you're bound to be worried. In today's post, our Los Angeles vets share a few possible reasons why your dog isn't eating, and what you should do.
Why Won't My Dog Eat?
As a loving canine caretaker, you want the very best for your dog. If they stop eating regularly, you're bound to feel some concern. Today, our Los Angeles veterinarians share some common reasons that your dog might not want to eat. Here are just a few:
Your Dog Doesn't Feel Well
Much like humans, when dogs are feeling unwell they will often lose interest in eating. If your dog is not eating you should always try to contact your vet for guidance. In the meantime, there are a few tricks you can try to entice your pet to start eating:
- If you feed your dog wet food, try warming it slightly (e.g. in a microwave)
- If your dog eats dry food you could try adding some warm water or low-sodium broth over it to soften it a bit and make it more appetizing.
- Try feeding your dog some kibble by hand to see if they will eat it.
If your dog also has other symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea in addition to refusing food, it's time for a trip to the vet.
Your Dog Is Feeling Down
Just as major changes in our lifestyle, social life or environment can affect our emotions and our eating habits, so too can change affect your dog's eating habits.
A move to a new house, being re-homed with new people, or the loss of a beloved human or another pet in the house can all lead your dog to lose their appetite. Be patient and kind as your dog adjusts to their new life circumstances, and speak to your vet if your pet refuses to eat for more than 24 hours.
Your Dog Misses You (Or Another Key Family Member)
Some dogs only feel comfortable eating if they know that their primary caregiver (or a particular favorite family member) is safe and sound at home with them. Keep in mind that dogs are pack animals with the desire to hunt and eat together. If a key member of their pack is absent it may lead them to hold off on eating until their pack is all together again.
It's Not Your Dog's Preferred Time to Eat
Dogs are individuals, and some of our canine companions might have a preference for when they eat. Perhaps your dog eats a hearty breakfast first thing in the morning and fasts for the rest of the day, or maybe they wait until the sun goes down in the evening before tucking into their dinner. Many dogs choose to eat just one big meal a day.
Whatever your dog's favorite mealtime is, it's unlikely to be a problem as long as they are getting all the nutrition they need at that meal. Your vet will be able to calculate your pet's caloric requirements based on their size, breed, age and lifestyle to provide you with accurate guidelines regarding what and when to feed your dog.
Your Dog Simply Doesn't Like Their Food
It might be surprising to learn that even your dog's most faithful favorite food could undergo a formulation change that affects the taste. While many brands will indicate a change ('New & Improved' etc) often these changes in the formulation are only reflected in the list of ingredients and the nutritional information.
It can be a good idea to feed your dog a couple of different foods right from the get-go. That way, if one food's formulation changes in a way that your dog dislikes, you have an alternative food readily available that you know they will enjoy. At that point, you can begin the process of introducing a new food.
To avoid any gastrointestinal upsets just as bloating, gas or diarrhea, it's best to ask your vet for advice on how to introduce your four-legged friend to a new food.
When Should I Be Worried About My Dog Not Eating?
Since our beloved animal companions can't tell us how they are feeling, it is always best to consult your vet whenever your dog is exhibiting behaviors that cause you concern.
When it comes to not eating, if you have tried the tricks above but your dog is still not eating after 24 – 48 hours a trip to the vet is a good idea, just to rule out anything serious.
If your dog is not eating and is experiencing other symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, or an uncharacteristic lack of energy, contact your vet right away to schedule an examination for your dog.
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 dog's condition, please make an appointment with your veterinarian.