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Why won't my dog eat?

Why won't my dog eat?

It can be concerning when your dog normally has a healthy appetite and suddenly seems to be hardly eating at all. What could be the cause of this change in eating habits? Our Mandeville vets share some reasons why your dog won't eat and what you can do about it.

Why isn't your dog eating like they used to? 

If your dog is suddenly not eating as much as normal it can be referred to as inappetence or anorexia. Anorexia in dogs is not the same level of a medical condition as it is in humans. Canine anorexia 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.

If your dog refuses to eat entirely then it is known as complete anorexia. Pseudo-anorexia in dogs occurs when a dog has an appetite and would like to eat but another concern is preventing them from doing so.

Dogs who are not eating usually do so because of environmental or behavioral reasons which are typically caused by stressors, or more seriously, an underlying medical condition that could require urgent care and even surgery. Here, our vets share some of the causes behind a dog not eating and what you can do to help them regain their appetite.

Possible Environmental Causes

The possible reasons behind your dog not eating are nearly endless. Some minor causes can be environmental or behavioral issues such as separation anxiety when left alone for extended periods. Even the absence of a family member/owner can result in a loss of appetite. an inconsistency in the daily routine can also lead to eating issues.

If you notice that your dog is refusing to eat then the first thing you should look at is whether or not there have been any changes in the environment and routine. You may notice a loss of appetite if your family introduces a new pet to their environment, drastic changes in weather, and other stressors that take your doggy out of its comfort zone.  

Undiagnosed Medical Conditions

The range of medical conditions affecting appetite can be from a minor issue that will go away fairly quickly on its own to serious conditions that may be fatal if left untreated. Even if you assume your dog's lack of appetite is due to a behavioral/environmental reason or a minor medical condition, do not take the risk of letting your pet go untreated. 

Here are some of the medical conditions affecting dogs that could cause a decrease in appetite:

  • Upset Stomach
  • Allergies
  • Infection
  • Pain
  • Depression
  • Poisoning

Contact your vet if you notice any of the symptoms above.

How can you help improve your dog's appetite?

If your dog is showing any concerning symptoms, including a loss of appetite, you should contact your vet right away and have your dog examined and diagnosed. The sooner your dog received treatment the more likely that they will make a quick and full recovery.

Here are some general tips that could help get your dog's eating habits back on track if their appetite is not a medical condition:

  • 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
  • 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.)

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please make an appointment with your vet for an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition.

Are you concerned about a decrease in your dog's appetite? Contact our Mandeville vets to schedule an examination.

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At Riverside Veterinary Hospital, we are always accepting new patients. Our veterinary team is passionate about the health and well-being of companion animals in Mandeville. Book your first appointment today.

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