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Why Isn't My Dog Eating? What To do if Your Dog Won't Eat

Is your dog refusing to eat? If so you are bound to be concerned. In today's post, our Liberty Lake vets share a few of the possible reasons why your dog is not eating, and what you should do.

Help! My Dog Won't Eat

You want the very best for your canine companion, so if your dog isn't eating regularly you are bound to be concerned.

There are a number of common reasons why your dog doesn't want to eat. Here are just a few:

Your Dog Feels Unwell

When dogs aren't feeling well, they often stop eating, just like humans. If your dog isn't eating, you should always seek advice from your veterinarian. In the meantime, here are a few tricks you can try to get your dog to eat:

  • If you feed your pup wet food you could try warming it slightly in the microwave.
  • If your dog eats dry food (kibble) you could try pouring some warm water or broth over it to soften it a bit and make it more appetizing.
  • Try feeding your pup some kibble by hand to see if they will eat it.

If your dog is also showing other symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea, as well as not eating, it's time for a trip to the vet.

Your Pup is Feeling Blue

Much the way major changes play on our emotions and affect our eating habits so too can change affect your dog's eating habits.

Moving to a new home, being re-homed with new people, or losing another pet in the house can all cause your dog to lose its appetite. Be patient and kind to your dog as they adjust to their new surroundings, and consult your veterinarian if your dog refuses to eat for more than 24 hours.

Your Pooch is Missing You (or Another Key Family Member)

Some dogs will only eat if they know their primary caregiver (or a specific favorite family member) is at home with them. Remember that dogs are pack animals that are hardwired to hunt and eat in groups. If a key member of their pack is absent, they may delay eating until their pack is all together again.

It's Not Your Dog's Preferred Time to Eat

It's not unusual for our canine companions to have a preference for when they eat. Perhaps your dog chows down first thing in the morning and fasts for the rest of the day, or maybe they wait until the sun goes down in the evening before devouring their dinner. Many dogs choose to eat just one big meal a day.

Whatever your dog's favorite mealtime is, as long as they are getting all of the nutrition they require, it is unlikely to be a problem. Your veterinarian will be able to calculate your dog's caloric needs based on their size, breed, age, and lifestyle to provide you with precise guidelines on what and when to feed your pet.

Your Animal Companion Isn't Keen On The Food in Their Bowl

You may be surprised to learn that even if you always buy the same dog food for your pup, the formulation could change. While many brands will indicate a change (New & Improved etc) often these changes in the formulation are only reflected in the list of ingredients and the nutritional information.

It is a good idea to start feeding your dog a variety of foods right away. That way, if the formulation of one food changes in a way that your dog does not like, you have an alternative food on hand that you know they will enjoy. You can then begin the process of introducing a new food.

To avoid any gastrointestinal upsets just as bloating, gas or diarrhea, it's best to ask your vet for advice on how to introduce your four-legged friend to a new food.

When Should I Worry About My Dog Not Eating?

That is an excellent question. Because our beloved animal companions are unable to tell us how they are feeling, it is always best to consult your vet whenever your dog is exhibiting behaviors that cause you concern.

When it comes to not eating, if you have tried the tricks above but your dog is still not eating after 24-48 hours a trip to the vet is a good idea, just to rule out anything serious.

If your dog is not eating and is exhibiting other symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, or an unusual lack of energy, contact your veterinarian immediately to schedule an examination.

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 dog's condition, please make an appointment with your veterinarian.

If you're concerned about your dog's lack of appetite or any other symptoms, please do not hesitate to contact our Liberty Lake vets to book an appointment for your canine companion.

New Patients Welcome

At Legacy Animal Medical Center, we are always accepting new patients! Our veterinary team's experience and passion make all the difference to the patients at our animal medical center in Liberty Lake. Contact us today to book your first appointment.

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