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Pet Eating Problems: Why Won't My Dog Eat?

Pet Eating Problems: Why Won't My Dog Eat?

If your dog stops eating and you're unsure why, it can be very stressful. In this post, our Little Rock veterinarians share some reasons why your dog might not be eating and what you can do to help.

Why Is My Dog Not Eating?

If your dog is resisting food, it can usually be explained by appetence or anorexia. Anorexia in dogs is not the same as it is in humans; it can be either partial or complete.

Partial Anorexia is when a dog will only eat certain types of food, but not enough that can keep them healthy.

Complete Anorexia is when your dog won't eat anything at all. Pseudo-anorexia in dogs is another condition in which a dog wants to eat, but is unable to due to another ongoing issue, such as discomfort or stomach pain.

Environmental or behavioral factors could be influencing your pooch not to eat, or more seriously, it is an underlying medical condition that could require urgent care or even surgery. We will discuss some of the more common examples of each stressor that could lead to a lack of appetite, and explain how these issues can be addressed.

Behavioral & Environmental Reasons Why a Dog Is Not Eating

One potential cause for your dog not eating could be separation anxiety. The absence of a family member/owner can result in a loss of appetite, even after they return. Inconsistent feeding schedules could also impact your dog's enthusiasm to eat.

It could also be a change in the environment causing your dog to stop eating. You may notice a loss of appetite if your family introduces a new pet to their environment, drastic changes in weather, or other stressors that take your doggy out of their comfort zone by impacting their routine.

Medical Conditions That Cause Dogs To Stop Eating

Your dog might be reluctant to eat due to a variety of medical conditions. This could range anywhere from a minor concern that could go away on its own to possibly fatal health issues. Even if you assume your dog's lack of appetite is due to an external factor, like a change in environment or routine, do not take the risk of letting your pet go untreated. 

Some medical conditions that would lead to your dog's lack of appetite include:

  • Upset Stomach
  • Allergies
  • Infection
  • Pain
  • Depression
  • Poisoning
  • Oral hygiene issues
  • Parasites
  • Tumors
  • Autoimmune/neurological diseases
  • Organ troubles
  • Recent vaccination

If you notice any of the above behaviors in your dog, contact your vet right away.

What You Can Do To Help Your Dog's Appetite

If your veterinarian informs you that your dog is not resisting food for any medical reason, here are some things you can try at home to encourage their appetite:

  • Keep them on a consistent routine that is easy for you to maintain
  • Cut back on the number of treats you give your dog
  • Mix up the food you give your dog (switch from dry to wet food or vice versa, add dressing or sauce to dry food, etc.)
  • Be sure that your dog is getting the necessary amount of attention and exercise that they deserve
  • Be patient and supportive with your dog and do not force-feed them
  • Try to avoid feeding your pet table scraps

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.

Has your dog recently stopped eating and you're not sure why? Contact our Little Rock vets to schedule an examination for your pup.

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Bowman Road Animal Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Little Rock companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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