Why Won’t My Dog Eat? Things to Look Out For

Why Won’t My Dog Eat?

Guest Writer: Neil Kilgore

Few things can be more distressing for a dog owner then when your pup refuses to eat. Typically, a loss of appetite signifies that something is wrong, which can cause an overprotective puppy parent to panic. In much the same way as humans, there are a number of reasons why your dog might eat very little or nothing at all. Noticing changes in your dog’s eating patterns, while not always a serious issues, is typically a good sign it’s time for a trip to the vet. Here are a few of the most common reasons your dog might not be eating.

Why won't my dog eat? Things to look out for.
Snowdrop, Morag Bates, Flickr
  • Illness:  More often than not, if you get sick one of the first things to go is your appetite. It’s hard to want to eat when your tummy hurts, and it’s the same for dogs. From time to time it might just be an upset stomach. A good clue is when your dog starts grazing on grass in the back yard. While it’s not always a cause to worry, if you notice other symptoms as well, then it’s important to get your pooch checked by the vet, as it could be symptoms of a more serious illness such as dental disease, liver, or kidney problems.
  • Recent Vaccination:  While typically your vet will mention this to you, it’s a little detail that can fall to the wayside. Sometimes, after your dog has had shots, it can throw off eating habits. This, however, should not discourage you from getting your dog vaccinated, as it goes a long way to protecting your pup from a number of diseases.

    Why won't my dog eat? Things to look out for

    Image Courtesy of: DFID – UK Department for International Development

  • Travel and New Surroundings:  This can be a big factor when your dog decides not to eat. Some dogs get a bit skittish when they are in new or unfamiliar territory, which can cause a decline in appetite. If your dog was eating well before you went traveling or if you’ve moved to a new home and isn’t eating now, then travel might have been the trigger. Also, like many humans, dogs can suffer from motion sickness, making kibble rather unappealing at the time.
  • Some Dogs are Just Picky:  Let’s face it, everyone has that one thing they don’t like to eat, or perhaps they only like it a certain way. Well, dogs can be picky too. There are certain conditions in which your dog might not want to eat, ranging from uncomfortable eating conditions (bowl is too high, another dog or small children are around), or perhaps your dog doesn’t like the particular brand of food. While it doesn’t happen often, it’s not something that should be ruled out, especially if you’ve changed dog food brands recently.
  • Limit the Treats:  There are a number of puppy parents who are guilty of spoiling their dog. While treats are great for training and rewarding your dog for good behavior, too many treats can spoil their appetite. Learn to give treats sparingly, especially if your dog isn’t eating as much as he should.

All in all, it’s important to remember not to panic. It’s easy to assume that there is something very wrong with your dog when they stop eating. If that should occur, just remember to stay positive and patient and keep an eye on the situation. If the problem continues to occur, take a trip out to the vet, if nothing else, to put your mind at ease.

About the Author:

Neil Kilgore is the Jack (Russell) of all trades at Greenfield Puppies in Lancaster Pa. He regularly blogs about dogs, breeders and puppies on the Greenfield Puppies website.

Other Articles by Neil Kilgore:


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