Problem

Why isn't my dog eating?

There are many possible causes that can lead to your dog losing his appetite.  For example, pyometra and kidney or liver problems can cause an animal to eat less or stop eating altogether. Dental problems, pain and internal obstructions will also cause your dog to lose their appetite.  In some cases, there is a behavioural reason your dog has lost his appetite such as stress.

Anorexia

Anorexia simply means a loss of appetite but this can be an indicator of serious underlying disease.  Your dog will be diagnosed with anorexia if he changes his eating habits and consistently refuses to eat.  If your dog is showing signs of anorexia or his appetite has increased or decreased from normal you should consult your vet.

Symptoms

Diagnosis

Your vet will ask you about your dog’s recent medical history and whether you have noticed any other signs, such as weight loss or vomiting.  It is important to try and work out if your dog is hungry but not managing to eat for some reason (in these cases they will show interest in food and sometimes attempt to eat, but then give up or sometimes run backward) or if they have no interest in food.   It is likely your vet will need to run some tests, for example, blood tests to check for disease.

Treatment

Treatment

This will depend on the underlying reason your dog has lost his appetite.  If he has dental disease and sore teeth, he made need some teeth extracted under general anaesthetic.  If your pet is anorexic due to disease, treatment will depend on the diagnosis.

It is important to get your dog eating again as soon as possible. If your vet has advised you to tempt your dog to eat, here are some tips:

  • warm the food up
  • offer strong smelling foods
  • try different brands of pet food
  • try hand feeding and check that his nose is clean (the smell of the food helps to stimulate their appetite)

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How can I prevent it from happening?

Avoid giving your dog bones; substitute a nylon chew toy instead. Neutering your dog at an early age will also prevent the growth of the prostate, which can lead to constipation.