Dog Not Eating? 20 Possible Reasons and Appetite Solutions: Why Your Dog Won’t Eat

 Dog is Not Eating ?, Dog Won’t Eat ? , dog won't eat dog food ? Possible ideas and Appetite Solutions. Missing a meal for now and then is a regular phenomenon and for this, you have nothing to be concerned. A novice pet owner may be concern, but the experienced dog owner knows it can happen occasionally. But leaving the food for several times is really a concern for all the pet dog owners.

You can find several reasons for why your dog is not eating his regular meal. Some of them are medical, and some of them are emotional. You can overlook some reasons whereas some of them require emergency treatment.

Here, though I am not a veterinarian, I have years of experience of having a pet dog. Froom my experience, I have gone through some real-life reasons of the lack of appetite of your dog. I offer not only the causes but also the solutions which will help you in sudden need.

Let’s have a look at the warning signs of the lack of appetite.

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Symptoms of your dog not eating

The puppy is the best companion in your morning walk. They are the best animal to secure you and your beloved ones. However, like other family members, the dogs also suffer illness or unfavorable something which leads them not eating the meal. Here are some warning signs to make you know why your puppies are not eating.

Weird Eating Habit

Skipping a meal or two is quite simple for the pets such as dogs. Mainly, extreme hot or cold affects the skipping meals. But your pet dog may skip meals for two days. Is it normal? Obviously not. You should be concerned if your baby companion loss the appetite. 

Seeming Tired

Lethargy may trouble your dog for sometimes. High temperature or adverse surroundings may result in normal fatigue or sore muscles. A lethargic dog may not be interested in playing, eating, walking and most importantly participating in any activities. Usually, the fatigue demolishes in a day. However, if it persists for more than two days, you must take the dog to a vet.

Weight Loss

Sudden weight loss is a prime indicator of your pet’s illness. Losing weight quickly may prompt your dog to severe disease. So, if your dog loses its weight even 1 pound unexpectedly, bring it to your vet’s attention as soon as possible.

Unnatural Coat

As the dog’s skin is naturally thick, soft and shiny, any abnormal, dry and rough coat indicate something is wrong. It may seem because of food or illness. As a pet lover, you must concern for eating of the dog. If nothing is changed after changing the food, taking consultation from the vet is obvious.

Excessive thirst

Drinking water is a must needed element to keep body sound. But excessive water can ruin life by damaging the kidney. Here, you must need to know how much water your pet dog drinks every day. If it crosses the limit of daily water, something odd is happening. Don’t delay to have a trip to your vet.


Vomiting is normal when the dog can’t digest something. It vomits to get rid of unusual eating. When occasional vomiting is allowed to get rid of irritation, you should concern for several times of vomiting or vomiting blood.

Unusual stool

A stool is the best indicator to symbolize overall health. Healthy dog’s stool should be moist, firm and small. On the contrary, dry and hard stool indicates the problem in health. However, if the dog is suffering from diarrhea for more than 24 hours or the stool contains strain or blood, it’s an emergency to contact a vet.

Reasons for your dog is not eating food

In above, you have already known to the symptoms of the lack of appetite. However, I have discussed all possible reasons [with solutions] of why your dog is not eating from my years of experience in the caring pet. 

1.    Illness

When your puppy is not feeling well, it seems sleepy. It also shows lack of appetite. You should be too serious for a day if your dog doesn’t eat his food. It’s a common phenomenon that he is feeling stomachache sometimes. The reasons can be hurt in the paw or dental disease, or liver issues.

Solution: If your puppy skips a meal, don’t be anxious. But when he skips twice meals, you must find out the reason. Though you will take him to the veterinarian, you should know the primary treatment as the dog owner.

2.    Infectious Disease

Some infectious diseases cause lethargic behaviors and a loss of appetite. Bacteria, virus, fungi and other parasites produce the contagious diseases. However, most of the illnesses aren’t life-threatening and easy recovering. On the other hand, infectious diseases like parvovirus are life-threatening and may require emergency medical attention.

Solution: Keep the surroundings of the pet dog neat and clean. Also, test the food as they are safe and sound. You also have to clean the living place by using a healthy cleaning kit. 

3.    Finicky Eater

As human beings, pets are also finicky in choosing their meals. It may be a learned behavior of living surroundings the human being. However, the dogs are adapted to a brand or one type of healthy food. When you change the meal, they aren’t interested in taking the new meal. On the other hand, they may not like to eat food in a dirty container or spoiled food.

Solution: When you change the meal or menu, mix a portion of the new one to the part of the old one. The mixture will help them to be adapted. Moreover, consider your pet as a family member and treat them as you handle with your family member.

4.    Stress

Stress can be created from any unknown surroundings or any change in known surroundings. It may create by adding a new human or canine family member to the household. Though dogs can fit with any friendly surroundings, the unknown adjacent create stress which in return feel them the low appetite.

Moreover, in the new environment and new people, dogs are not interested in searching for food. Hunting for food may also decrease the normal healthy appetite.

Solution: Keep your puppy in a known and likable environment. Also, never do anything which in turn can create stress. 

5.    Too hot or too cold food

Dogs have two type of foods, i.e., canned food and dry food. The food can be heated by the heat of the summer which in turn rancid and tastes a bad smell. Also, the cold can result in the food into the jam like a stone.

As most of the dogs are fond of eating wet food as they’re palatable, they don’t like to take canned or homemade dry food. Also, the pooches have limits to smell food’s scent, they hardly differentiate the excellent food and bad food, if they’re not finicky.

Solution: Always feed your pet companion with good, palatable and wet food. Also, keep the food in a sealed container. You should never preserve the opened can in the refrigerator for all day long. However, if you have to keep the remaining food, try to use a glass container.

6.    Diabetes

Diabetes can affect any animal either social or wild. It has some critical causes such as overweight, aging or not-spayed females. However, the first symptoms of the diabetes are the loss of appetite and depression.

Solution: If you think that your walking companion is overweight, control the food and help him to lose weight. However, always keep in mind that depression and loss of appetite never mean your puppy has diabetes. Consult with the veterinarian and take proper care of your dog. Unfortunately, diabetes has no cure. So, provide him the best treatment to control diabetes.

7.    Tummy Ache

Like humans, dogs have frequent stomach pain. Refusal of a meal for a day may benefit him. Also, suffering from diarrhea or vomiting results in the apathy of food. Think like diarrhea suffered human being. In this situation, your puppy needs an empty stomach. Furthermore, if you have a young puppy for 6 months old, rest him for 12 hours. For adult ones, the time limit is 24 hours.

Solution: Don’t force your dog to eat. 24 hours later, offer him some boiled boneless chicken with rice. Also, add rice in the regular meal for several days until the pet animal is completely recovered.  

8.    Unfamiliar surroundings

Moving a new place requires time to be accustomed. When you visit a new place or shift to a new home, you may not get enough sleep for the first day. Likewise human beings, a pet dog also needs time be adapted to a new horizon. The unfamiliar surroundings may hamper his natural walking, playing, accompanying and eating. So, he may not show any interest in food. Moreover, the dog may refuse to eat alone in the new surroundings. Don’t be confused here.

Solution: Don’t be anxious if you shift to a new place. Your puppy needs time to get accustomed to the new environment. However, if you have enough time, share your time with the most trusted companion. On the other hand, if you have a tight schedule, you may have a dog to be adopted by the own choice. 

9.   ChangedRoutine

Dogs are the most habitual animal to their routine. They like to be trained and work as the given instructions. So, as a dog owner, you have a well-planned routine to fill all the needs in of your dogs. For example, you have a specific place for dog’s eating. Likewise place, your pet has fixed time schedule for getting the meal. If you miss the time anyway, the dog may show lack of interest in food after the scheduled time.

Solution: If you change the routine, train the dog to the new habit. Moreover, it may be difficult to maintain the schedule when you are on vacation or visiting a new place. To avoid forgetting the schedule, maintain an alarm to set the time up for dog’s meal.

10.    Vaccination

Vaccination is the most essential pre-medical treatment to keep your lovely pets safe and sound. It prevents lots of diseases and illness. Moreover, it saves your money for getting treatment when the pet is affected. However, it is usual to show lack of appetite for two or three days after having vaccinations. You shouldn’t be concerned here for your dog’s health if he doesn’t eat food for several meals.

Solution: Though there go some controversies for vaccination, there is no reliable scientific evidence to back the controversies up. Instead, it is proved that all animals which are pet should take several vaccines to keep themselves free from several fatal diseases.

11.    Addison’s disease

Your beloved puppy may show lack of appetite, and it seems reasonable to skip several meals. Sometimes, it doesn’t show any symptoms for the reasons your dog is not eating. Also, sometimes it is hard to find out the actual reasons of getting the pet too skinny and unhealthy. It is essential to find out the cause of dog’s behavior changes as soon as possible.

Reasons For Your Dog Is Not Eating Food

However, Addison’s disease is the failure of adrenal glands which produces the hormones to keep the body healthy and fully functional. Metastatic tumor, hemorrhages, drugs to inhibit internal enzymes may result in the disease.  Moreover, the condition may affect at any age at any breed. Here are some breeds which are mostly liable for the disease such as Portuguese Water Dogs, Bearded Collies, Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers, Great Danes, Standard poodles, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers and West Highland Terriers.   

Solution: Addison’s disease is not cured at home. Your ignorance may bring a catastrophic result for your trusted friend. So, if you don’t find any reason behind the lack of appetite, have a trip to the veterinarian with your pet dog. 

12.    Too many treats

Picture the real experience you face occasionally. Will you allow yourself eating something after a belly full of French fries or burgers? Your trained dog behaves as you train him. He never crosses the limit of your training. So, offering too many treats also create lack of interest in food. However, it is a temporary case which never brings disastrous result.

Solution: Never offer too many treats to the dogs even in training. Always maintain a healthy routine when you train your pet. Always remember that excess of anything is dangerous.

13.    Intimacy with another pet

You may also shock if you ever see the intimacy of the animals. They have strong emotion for one another. If you have an old pet and bring a new one, they can intimate with each other. The intimacy will lead them to the new routine for the meal. On the contrary, the old one can be jealous of the new arrival to his reign. He can think the newcomer as the competitor who will share his foods and accommodation. Both results make him worried to take the food at a specific time.

Solution: If the intimacy is developed between them, it is good sign. You need not do anything else to set the new menu and time. But if the quarrel continues, you have to show extra affection to the old one. It helps him to understand that his place isn’t changed. 

14.    Free-feeding

Free-feeding is leaving the food for accessible to the dogs for all day long at the dog’s place or kitchen. It is mainly the place where dog takes his food. The place is fixed and the dog can take the food at any time he wishes. However, free-feeding has both advantages and disadvantages. At first the positive side. You don’t need to maintain special schedule to feed your dog. Also the dog can’t eat “until the vocal protests”. The dog looks pathetic with potluck food.

On the contrary: free-feeding has severe impacts on food habit. It leads to eating unnecessary and unhealthy fat. Moreover, there’ll be no digestive system and time which creates a medical problem. And finally, your pooch shows lack of appetite with free-feeding.

Solution: Stop free-feeding as soon as possible. However, if it is needed, train your puppy to get the right amount of food at the right time. When the training is completed, allow getting free-feeding.

15.    Aging

As the dog is getting older, it brings change in eating habits. You can also see vital changes in the physical look of the dog. It can also be affected by diseases which have an immense impact on appetite. Also, an aged dog can’t exercise further and burn energy much. So, he can’t feel hungry which affects his taste and need for food.

Solution: Change the food menu and set the meal fits the aged body. Follow the food recipe for the senior dog and make a meal appropriate for their age. It grows the appetite issue again.

16.    Change of food

Change of anything needs time to be accustomed. Likewise, any other incident, change of your dog food will not bring a good result by day and night. It requires quite long time for the dog to accept the new menu. For the interim period, your dog may show lack of appetite for the fresh food. So, try to feed life-sustaining and nutrias food as much as possible.

Solution: Don’t change the food at once. Mix 25% of the new food with the rest portion of the old one. Gradually increase the new food portion and decrease the same rate to the old one. The dog will adapt to the mixture and hence once he will eat the fresh food.

17.    Internal organ problems

Dogs can’t show any symptoms of the problem with internal organs. They may be affected with lungs or heart problem. Excessive water drinking may fail the kidney. Also, too oily food can hamper the liver. However, they can’t tell about the internal problem. They only don’t eat when they are affected by such issues. And here as a pet owner, I must say that you don’t find any ostensible sign to know about the fact.

Solution: As a typical pet owner, you can’t cure the above problems. Sometimes it requires surgery to get rid of the internal physical problem. So, when you don’t find any extensible reason for your pet’s lack of appetite, go to the veterinarian and get help.

18.    Dental Problem

Dental problem is one of the main reason for the dog not eating food. It is usual to skip daily meals if the dog is facing toothache. You should occasionally check inside the mouth if there is any spot for rotten or sore teeth. You may also detect lumps and masses in the jawline. It creates severe pain in the teeth as well as mouth.

Solution: Teeth are the sense organs. Its need much care in treatment. So, when you find something odd in the teeth, don’t get you play as a dental detective. It’s wise to visit the local veterinarian to examine him.

19.    Mental Wellbeing

Here is an exciting reason I have found through my experience. Dogs have an intense emotional obsession when they listen to the bitches. The emotional upheaval leads feeding behavior to give up eating. 

Solution: The best way to retrieve the feeding behavior is to let the dog contact the bitch. If they can make any intimacy, both of them will eat regularly.

20.    Medical Attention

If you find nothing in the mouth for dental distress, check the temperature from the local veterinarian. He may also suggest some blood tests to find out the actual reason for the lack of appetite. You can also check the array of disorders to lead your dog off to the foods. The disorders are well-known to us in human societies such as gastrointestinal ailments, blocked nose to disrupt the sense of smell, constipation and many more. Some physiological causes also should be checked after dental distress.

Solution: You should pay the visit to the veterinarian regularly. Besides regular visit, contact your doctor for an emergency. Sometimes chemotherapy works well for any internal problem which leaves your dog feels weak. 

Final Thought

Dogs are the best companion in all aspects. If they feel weak or sick, they won’t serve you well. As most of the diseases come from foods, you should have a sharp look on it. Your care can reduce most of the conditions which in turn saves your time and money. Most importantly, your little puppy will be safe and sound. Play with your pet and enjoy!

Michael A Sullivan

He is a dedicated dog lover, a veterinarian, and pet advisor. He’s also a passionate blogger and expertise in writing about all types of pets. He’s working for more than 10 years with the intentions of helping pet owners to overcome some of their most pressing issues with their pets

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