What You Need To Know When Your Dog Won’t Eat Or Drink

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The health of our family members is always a top priority, and this includes our canine friends. It can be worrisome when a dog’s appetite shrinks, or worse when they stop eating altogether. What can cause your dog to stop eating?

By Guest Blogger, Olivia Harper

Possible Reasons For Your Dog’s Lack Of Appetite

Sometimes, the reasons have nothing to do with a serious health issue. Anxiety can develop after a move to a new location or after an extended trip. Perhaps the introduction of a new family member or another pet that shows aggression is influencing is influencing your dog’s appetite. Even something as simple as placing their food bowl in an awkward location may cause the dog to eat less.

Developing bad habits can also be an issue. Spoiling your pet by mixing food from the table can cause them to refuse their own food if it lacks table scraps. Even worse, if they are offered table scraps constantly it may cause them to reject their own food completely. Feeding your canine companion too many treats may also affect their appetite.

If bad habits or the environment are not the issues then a health issue could be the source of the problem. Have they recently vomited after eating their dry or wet food? The dog may have associated the kibble with the vomiting. Dental issues are another concern that can prevent them from eating without pain.

Although it is a less-common reason, adverse effects from medications or a recent series of vaccinations could also cause your pet to stop eating. If your dog has eaten something like clothing or plastic, it could be causing problems with their digestive tract as well. A virus or other less serious disease may also be limiting your pet’s desire to eat.

Finally, there is the possibility that your four-legged family member has developed a serious health issue. No matter what the cause may be, if your dog loses his or her appetite, you will want to address the issue as soon as possible.

What To Do When Your Dog Won’t Eat

If your pet is not displaying any other symptoms it could be a simple issue that you can address without a trip to the veterinarian. Your pet may simply be skipping a meal or two and you can without food for 12 to 24-hours so that their appetite will return. Also, make sure that your dog has plenty of water as a thirsty dog may avoid eating.

Sometimes altering their food can entice them to eat. Your pet may simply be tired of eating the same food prepared in the same way. Try warming the food, or change their food altogether. A new flavor may entice a finicky eater to eat. You will also want to keep an eye on your canine to see if they eating something that they shouldn’t be.

If your pet displays symptoms along with a lack of appetite, you will need to take them to the vet. Things to look for include constipation, diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. A trip to the doctor should be considered when they stop drinking water or shows discomfort or pain.

Sudden symptoms are not the only thing that you should be concerned about. A gradual decline in food intake can indicate problems and should be investigated sooner than later. A dog that eats well who develops a lack of appetite needs to have their blood, feces, and urine tested. A visit to the vet not only identifies the problem, it also allows you to develop a treatment that can get your pet’s appetite back to where it should be.

As uncomfortable as the topic may be, it should also be pointed out that a loss of appetite is one of the signs of a dying dog. Other signs that can indicate your dog is approaching the end of their life include issues with balance, a lack of mobility, as well as a lack of interest in things around them.

During your dog’s final days, it is important to remember to stay calm. Limiting stress and providing a comfortable space is important. Finally, your veterinarian can educate you about your available options, including euthanasia.


About the Author

Olivia Harper is the co-founder of the blog Daily Dog Stuff. She is a reserved and passionate pet parent who loves to spend time with her Sibe, who keeps her active and social. Read more of her guides and tips by visiting the blog or following their page @dailydogstuff.

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Welcome to Spike’s Dog Blog by Acme Canine. Throughout the site, you will find a variety of helpful dog training articles, insightful dog behavior tips, and truthful product reviews from nationally-recognized canine trainers and professionals.