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What to Do If Your Dog Isn’t Eating

Blog Home Dec 8, 2021

Din dins – some dogs savour every bite, others wolf it down without chewing but what does it mean if they decide they don’t feel like eating anymore? 

Why is my dog not eating?

If your dog is out-and-out refusing to eat, there’s a strong possibility that this could be due to illness. If they have always been a good eater but they suddenly stop eating, it’s definitely time for a trip to the vet.

Some dogs want to eat but can’t because they find it difficult to pick up, chew or swallow food. Weight loss is also cause for concern, particularly in older dogs. As they exercise less, our canine friends tend to gain weight as they get older. So if your older dog is losing weight, there is almost certainly an underlying cause. 

The possible causes for your dog not eating

Just like people, dogs might lose their appetite for a number of reasons, including:

  • Pain or nausea
  • Dental issues – like tooth and gum disease, abscesses or a loose tooth
  • Hormonal problems – such as hypothyroidism
  • Gut problems – like colitis, gastritis, IBS for example
  • Internal obstructions – they could’ve swallowed something they shouldn’t have
  • Stress – caused by changes in their environment, travel or unfamiliar people or animals 
  • An adverse reaction to medication or vaccinations
  • Serious illness – like heart, liver or kidney disease, cancer, diabetes

When should you seek advice from a vet?

Even if your dog or pup is acting normally and still drinking water, you should get in touch with your vet straight away if they’re refusing to eat.

How can you increase your dog’s appetite?

How to help your dog go back to eating normally will depend on your vet’s diagnosis. 

If your dog has stopped eating because they’re ill, your vet may prescribe a special diet while they treat the underlying disease or condition. In severe cases, your buddy may have to go on a liquid diet, have a feeding tube inserted or take appetite-stimulating medication.

If your vet asks you to tempt your dog to eat, here are some tips:

  • Warm their food up or add some warm water or dog-friendly broth to it
  • Offer them their favourite meals 
  • Try giving them strong-smelling foods 
  • Experiment with different pet food brands
  • Try feeding your dog by hand 

If your furry mate isn’t eating because of a behavioural problem, there are a few things you can do to encourage them to eat:

  • Feed them at regular set times (usually at least twice a day)
  • Cut back on treats and table scraps
  • Take them for walkies before they eat
  • Make mealtimes fun! Reward them with food for doing a trick or give them a food-dispensing toy to play with
  • Change their mealtime situation – use different bowls at different heights to see what they prefer, feed them in a different room or feed them alone if they’re usually fed at the same time as other pets in the home

Make sure your dog has a nutritious, balanced diet

At Itch, we pride ourselves on being pet wellness experts. We know a nutritious, balanced diet for our furry friends means happy and healthy pets – that’s why we’ve worked with pet-loving experts to create a range of tasty food for dogs and cats!

Our vet-approved meals – made from responsibly sourced ingredients you’d find in your kitchen – contain all the high quality protein, vitamins and minerals your best mate needs to stay bright eyed and bushy tailed. 

Tell us about your pet and we’ll tailor our food recommendation to guarantee Clean Bowls all round!