Is Your Dog Not Eating? Discover Effective Solutions to Boost Their Appetite!

dog not eating

Should your dog begin to show a decrease in appetite or starts eating less than usual, it’s completely understandable for a pet owner to become concerned – and rightly so. Such a shift in behavior could frequently be an indication of an underlying and potentially serious health issue.

If your dog has been staring at his food bowl without eating for more than 24 hours, seek veterinary care immediately.

However, there are many reasons why you have a dog-not-eating situation, from behavioral changes to a medical condition.

Without further ado, let’s dive into the common causes of loss of appetite in dog.

Dog Not Eating? Potential Causes


Dog not eating can signal an underlying illness such as liver disease, kidney disease, bloody stools, or gastroenteritis – to mention a few. If you suspect your dog’s loss of appetite is due to a health condition, visit a vet immediately. Diagnosing your dog to determine the root cause for proper treatment is essential.

Dental disease

Your dog is more likely to stop eating if he’s dealing with oral pain or a dental problem. Some of the common oral pain in dogs includes tooth decay, gingivitis, broken tooth, or oral tumor. So, check your dog’s mouth, and if anything seems off, visit your veterinarian immediately for a clinical examination to determine the root cause of the dental issues.

Unfamiliar surroundings

Your dog’s eating habits will likely change if he’s new to a place or environment. Being in a new place or among unfamiliar dogs can be a stressful experience for your canine companion, causing decreased appetite in your dog recently. Dogs refuse to eat when they are uncomfortable.

Other reasons may include new food, strange food bowl, and hot weather. Most especially when another dog is intimidating your pet, he’s more likely to ignore the food bowl.


After administering certain drugs, you may notice your dog stops eating because of the side effects. Some pet meds can lead to an upset tummy, loss of appetite, repeated vomiting, etc.

If stomach upset is the reason your dog won’t eat, try offering him boiled chicken and plain white rice in his favorite food bowl.

Owner absence

Dogs are pack animals, meaning they enjoy eating as a family, including pet parents. Pay attention to your dog’s eating habits; he’s likely not to eat when you are away and in someone else’s care.

Also, a dog won’t eat when going through emotional loss. Losing their beloved animal friend can significantly affect your dog’s appetite.

Too many snacks

After eating too many treats and tidbits, your dog may refuse to eat during meal times. Most pet parents overfeed their dogs with snacks, healthy or not, and should not replace dog’s food. Usually, it’s responsible for a poor dog’s appetite.

Hate the food

Kids are picky eaters so are dogs. Pet parents assume their dog would eat anything offered, but that’s wrong. Also, the dog food formula might have changed, which is why your dog isn’t eating.

Hence, it’s advised to feed your pet different types of dog food to avoid dog-not-eating situations because of slight changes in the food formula.

Another reason your canine friend won’t eat his food is because the dog’s food smells weird or spoilt. So, if your dog isn’t eating his usual dry kibble, check the expiration date of the dog dry food.

Furthermore, if you’ve recently switched your dog’s food, these picky eaters may love something other than the new food. Switching your dog food suddenly usually leads to an upset tummy, decreased appetite, and vomiting.

Additionally, feeding your furry friends human food or lots of table scraps contributes to your dog not eating his own dog food.

More importantly, allergy is one of the common causes of dog not eating. This medical condition explains why your dog stops eating his new food.

Will my dog drink water?

If your dog drinks water but ignores his food bowl, oral pain, stress, or nausea may be the underlying reason. But he can’t keep the water down; this can be due to a medical condition, so visit your vet immediately. So, your dog not eating for more than 24 hours demands the vet’s attention immediately to determine the cause of his loss of appetite.

Commonly, kidney disease, dental disease, liver disease, infection, and cancer can cause these pack animals to stop eating and drinking water.

What to do if your young dogs refuse to eat dry food

If the dog recently stopped eating dry food but jumps at canned food immediately, it may indicate dental issues. Not many dogs will continue eating their dry kibble or food despite the pain.

Your dog’s sudden preference for canned food over dry food may also be counterproductive. Eating a lot of canned food can worsen the dog’s dental problems. So, schedule a visit to your vet as soon as possible for an oral examination.

But if your dog is one of those picky eaters who prefer canned food to dry kibble, mix both. However, it’s essential to start with a higher amount of canned food to encourage your dog to start eating dry kibble.

Why is my senior dog not eating?

Senior dogs not eating as much as young dogs may not be due to a medical condition. They are less active, which means low caloric requirements. So, typically, senior dogs will eat less than younger dogs. However, what’s not normal is when your older dog isn’t eating or refuses to eat dry food. This may be due to a medical condition such as dental problems, stomach upset, kidney disease, cancer, etc.

Also, motion sickness, vision loss, and cognitive decline can contribute to your older dogs’ loss of appetite. Keeping the food bowl in the same spot is crucial so your older dogs know where to find their food. Plus, place the dog food on a mat or rug to prevent your older dogs from having trouble standing or slipping.

If your dog has not eaten for more than 24 hours, seek vet care immediately. After a physical examination, your vet should be able to explain why your dog won’t eat and how to boost his appetite.

Your dog not eating could be due to separation anxiety

Many dogs love to eat as a family, including you, and that’s because they are pack animals. When left in someone else’s care, dogs with severe separation anxiety won’t eat in the owner absence.

Your dog isn’t eating because you are away is not a medical condition but an indication that your furry friend suffers from severe separation anxiety that needs to be addressed.

Is your pet diabetic?

Diabetic dog not eating is a serious indication that something is wrong with your canine companion. Keep in mind that you can’t administer insulin to your diabetic dog not eating. It’s one of the primary reasons for dog not eating or skipping a meal.

Your vet may suggest half the insulin dose if your dog has only skipped one meal. But if your dog has missed more than one meal, alert your vet immediately.

Your dog not eating after surgery?

Dog not eating dry food after surgery is expected because of the sedatives. Painkillers and antibiotics have several side effects, including suppressing your dog’s appetite.

Try feeding your dog canned food or add boiled chicken to your dog dry food to encourage your dog to eat dry kibble.

After facial or oral surgery, you shouldn’t feed your dog dry kibble but canned food or a liquid diet. It’s painful to eat and easily digestible.

If your dog won’t eat dry food or the prescribed canned food after surgery, visit the vet immediately to rule out post-surgery complications.

Dog Not Eating: FAQs

My dog isn’t eating anything and is showing other concerning signs. What should I do?

If your dog isn’t eating and is showing other symptoms such as vomiting, bloody stools, or motion sickness, seek immediate vet attention. Your dog not eating can be a symptom of various health issues, and prompt evaluation by a vet is crucial for proper diagnosis and treatment. A feeding tube might be necessary in severe cases to ensure your dog receives essential nutrients and hydration.

Is it safe to give my dog cat food or human food if it won’t eat its own food?

Generally speaking, it’s not ideal for your dog, cat food, or human food as a primary diet. Both cat food and certain human foods may lack essential nutrients for dogs and can lead to nutritional imbalances over time.

However, you can feed your dog plain chicken or chicken broth in the short term. If your dog isn’t eating still, it’s best to consult with your vet for guidance on appropriate alternatives and to address the underlying cause of why your dog won’t eat.

My dog won’t eat its food; should I be concerned?

If your dog won’t eat its food, it can be concerning, especially if it lasts for an extended period. Some dogs may also experience stomach upset or have reached their dog food’s expiration date, making it less tasty. So, it’s crucial always to check your dog’s food expiration date, it could be the underlying cause of your dog not eating.

If your dog’s lack of appetite persists, try offering different dog’s food options like wet food or boiled chicken, but consult your vet if the issue continues.

My dog won’t eat dry dog food; should I try canned or wet food?

If your dog won’t eat dry dog food because of dental disease or other symptoms of an underlying health condition, you can offer them canned food or wet food as an alternative. The moisture content and more robust aroma of these options may be more appealing to your dog. Also, you can mix some warm water into the dry dog food; this makes it more palatable to many dogs.

Dog Not Eating: Conclusion

Many dogs stop eating for many reasons, from stomach upset to stale dog food. So, if your dog isn’t eating and experiencing other symptoms, see a vet right away.

But if your dog won’t eat, add warm water to dry kibble to make a more appealing wet food. This should encourage a dog not eating. Also, you can mix chicken broth or broiled chicken. Another trick is adding warm water to your dog’s food to make it pain-free if your dog isn’t eating because of oral pain.

When your dog won’t eat people food, table scraps, or wet food, even when mixed with boiled chicken, consult a vet right away.

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