From illness and overfeeding, to behavioural problems or a new routine, there are lots of reasons your dog might stop eating. Most of the time, they’re back to wolfing down their food within a couple of days – but at tails.com, we know it can be a bit worrying if your pup suddenly stops eating, so we’ve put together some of the reasons they might be refusing their dinner, so you know how to get them back to their usual self.
Why might they not be eating?
Just like us humans, dogs will often eat less in the summer – we simply don’t want big meals when we’re all hot and bothered.
A new routine
Dogs love routine! If you’ve disrupted your dog’s normal routine, this might have left them feeling a bit upside down and off their food. A new baby, a new pet or a sudden change in climate (like working from home or extended school holidays) can throw your usual routine out the window.
A change in surroundings
Travelling to a new place or moving house can cause some dogs to feel anxious or uncomfortable, so they might lose their appetite whilst they adjust to their new environment.
Feeding portions that are too big or lots of treats and snacks throughout the day might mean your dog just isn’t hungry! Try to make sure your dog has a set amount of food each day so when you get to the next mealtime, they’re excited to eat.
Some dogs simply prefer the taste of certain foods – but they’re also very clever and they know how to get what they want! If you’ve switched foods recently, it’s worth sticking it out for a few days to rule out fussy behaviour.
Not feeling hungry can be a side effect of lots of different medications. If your dog has just started on some new medicine, or has just had their annual vaccinations, they might be feeling a dip in appetite.
Mental or emotional issues
Believe it or not, dogs can suffer from changes in emotions just as much as humans can. Stress, anxiety and depression can all affect your dog’s appetite. Stress and anxiety might be caused by humans, animals, environment or objects, whilst depression is often linked to boredom, separation anxiety or the loss of a fellow dog or their owner. If you think your dog might be suffering from stress, anxiety or depression, we’d recommend having a chat with your vet to get them back on track.
Lots of illnesses can put your dog off their dinner, but it’s usually something very common like an upset tummy or something they ate (probably during those 5 minutes they disappeared when out for walkies!). It might also be a sign of something a bit more serious like dental disease, pain or kidney problems, but it’s definitely best to check with your vet if you suspect something else is going on.
So… What to do if your dog stops eating?
The best way to get their appetite back is to try and figure out the cause of the problem first! Give your dog a bit of a check up – examine their behaviour, teeth and body for any obvious signs that they might not be feeling okay.
If there’s nothing obvious, but the behaviour is quite sudden and lasts for more than a couple of days, it’s a good time to give your vet a call. They can help you to work out if it’s something you can treat at home, or if you need to take your dog in for a check up.
Can’t find anything wrong or your pup is in perfect health? Here’s a few tips to get them eating again:
- Cut back on treats and snacks.
- Try smaller portions at mealtimes.
- Make dinnertime fun with snuffle mats, puzzle toys and trick training!
- Stick to a routine with set mealtimes (if you can) – usually twice a day for healthy adult dogs?
- Work up a bit of an appetite by taking your dog out for a walk about an hour before dinner (try not to feed immediately after the walk to avoid bloating!).
- Add some wet food or low-salt gravy to jazz up their kibble.
- Tough love! If the food isn’t eaten within 20-30 minutes, take it away and try again at their next mealtime. It’s worth bearing in mind for young puppies you might need to feed the next meal a little sooner, but don’t worry – your dog won’t starve themselves!
- Change up your dog’s feeding area so they can focus on their dinner in peace! Keep other animals and children away so there are no distractions.
Sometimes, it can be as simple as the food itself and the portions you’re feeding, but at tails.com we’ll take those worries away with a tailor-made recipe for your dog, filled with the delicious flavours they love! You can even change the recipe whenever you like if you’ve got a bit of a fusspot on your hands. We’ll also include our snazzy adjustable scoop, so you know you’re feeding the right amount, every time.