As a loving and responsible dog owner, it can be especially nerve-wracking when your pooch refuses to eat. Dogs, just like people, are prone to stomach problems and loss of appetite. Also, much like people, these are often short-lived concerns. The following guide can help you decide whether your dog needs further treatment:
Common reasons for lack of appetite
There are many reasons your dog won't eat. The most common include:
Filled up on table scraps, snacks, or treats
Expended less energy and has a naturally reduced appetite
Doesn't like the food
Is upset, such as because of a routine change
You can likely figure out if treats are the cause of appetite loss. As for the second reason, you are likely to see this if your pup missed a walk or was kept indoors more due to inclement weather. If you have recently changed food, your dog may not eat if they don't like the new option.
Dogs, much like people, can also refuse to eat because they are emotionally upset. A change in routine is often the culprit. Both emotional and physical upset requires more work to figure out and address.
Stop and think for a moment about your dog's routine, preferably from their point of view. Has the daily schedule changed or has there been another major change, such as a big move or a new dog walker? If the answer is yes, this is likely the reason for the reduced appetite.
If possible, backtrack to the old routine, then gradually introduce the new routine. For example, if you recently got a new puppy, feed the older dog first and in a separate location from the puppy, then gradually move the dogs closer together.
You may not be able to backtrack. In this case, spend extra time with your dog and try enticing their hunger with a few favorite treats. Save the treats for meal time only, and provide them side-by-side with their food bowl to help spike the appetite.
Fortunately, most illnesses that reduce appetite are short lived. The following signs indicate illness:
Attempting to eat grass
Listless, low energy behavior
Check for blood in the vomit or stool, as this can indicate a more severe issue that requires prompt vet attention. Otherwise, monitor your pup over 24 hours. As long as they are still drinking, there is no need for concern. If your dog refuses to drink, contact a vet since your dog may need to be put on IV fluids to avoid dehydration if this continues.
Most stomach upset passes within a day, although your dog may continue to be nervous about eating. Try enticing them with a small dog biscuit, but avoid giving them table scraps, raw meat, or soft treats that could irritate the stomach. If your dog still refuses to eat, contact a veterinarian right away.
Contact a vet office like Apple Valley Animal Hospital for more information and assistance.