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Reasons Why Your Dog Is Not Eating

Reasons Why Your Dog Is Not Eating

Is your dog not eating? It's common for a dog to be an eager eater and devour the food in front of them without hesitation. That's why it can be worrying when a dog starts to lose their appetite. 

Whether you had your dogs for years or you just adopted a new pup, it's important to observe and find the main cause of your dog's loss of appetite as it may indicate an illness.

Find out more about why your dog is eating less than usual or refusing to eat at all.

Check Your Dog’s Food

If your dog's not finishing their food, remember that they normally eat only 60% to 70% of the suggested amount on the packaging. You can also check if there’s something wrong with the food or your dog is just tired of their meal.


Is The Food Still Good?

Check the expiry date, colour, and odour of the dog food. A dog will simply not eat if the food is spoiled. Get rid of it and give your dog something else to see if they’ll start eating again.

Your Dog Might Not be used to the food quality.

Changing your dog food can be a cause of their loss of appetite, especially if the quality is less than what they’re used to. Cheaper foods usually skimp on quality and may contain less protein than what your dog used to have which makes the food unappetising for them. 

Your dog is bored with their meal.

Eating the same food all the time is boring for dogs, too. Heat the food to release its aroma. This will make the food more enticing to your dog. You can also try new dog food and see how your dog reacts to it.

Give them a few healthy and tasty treats every now and then, but don’t too often since it can be a habit for your dog. Cut back on the treats go for dog food again once you notice that your dog returned to their normal eating habit. 

You're giving your dog too many treats.

Your dog shouldn't get more than 10% of calories each day from treats or snacks. Too much dog treat may cause your dog to not eat during mealtime. 

If you can't resist giving your dog when they're making those cute puppy dog eyes, make sure that the treat is within 10% calories. Ask your vet if you're not sure how much that is for your dog.


Health reasons for loss of appetite in dogs

It’s important to rule out any medical concerns for your dog as soon as you can. Your dog might be undergoing some of these that made them lose their appetite.

Your dog is injured.

Your dog might be experiencing physical pain that affects their appetite. It may limit their function which is why they can't eat.

Your dog is feeling ill.

Like humans, dogs will have a hard time eating when they feel sick. Consult the vet within 8-12 hours if your dog isn’t eating and it’s already accompanied by vomiting or diarrhoea.

In between those hours, you can help your pup eat by warming up their food or pour warm water over dry food to make it easier to eat. You can also use broth to make it appetising to make them eat a little.

Your dog has been vaccinated or is on medication.

Temporary loss of appetite for dogs can be an effect of their medication or vaccination. Some medicine may even cause a dog to feel nauseous or give them a stomachache. Check with your vet for an alternative medication that can help your dog’s condition.

Your dog might have a dental issue.

Maybe there's something wrong in their mouth and it's causing pain. Be careful when inspecting! They might accidentally bite you because of the pain.

Get your dog checked by a vet for any rotten tooth, severe gingivitis, or oral tumour (which is a rare case). The vet may recommend a modified diet to help your dog get the nutrition they need while they are healing.

Social or behavioural reasons why your dog is not eating

Try to check your dog's behaviour and pickiness. This might also be a reason why they have a disapproving sniff to their meal.


Your dog is a picky eater.

Are you giving your dog too many treats or table scraps? You have a picky dog if they refuse to eat familiar food but gets excited about new food. It's common for dogs who were offered a range of food before.

Your dog will start to prefer tasty treats and table scraps than their regular meal. Limit the treats, or at least give them a few natural treats to ensure that it's nutritious for dogs.

Your dog has separation anxiety.

For example, if a regular member of the family is not present, your dog might wait for them before eating. Consider turning on the television or play some music so your dog won't feel lonely. This may also help your dog reduce their anxiety and eat their food.

Your dog likes to eat at a specific time.

Observe your dog's eating schedule. Do they finish their bowl in the morning or are there any leftovers at noon? Some dogs only eat during a certain time of the day, it's just a matter of preference. Don’t worry, you can still train them to eat at a specific schedule.

Your dog is in a new environment.

Some dogs may feel stressed and uncomfortable in a new place. This is the usual case for adopted dogs and puppies so make sure they feel safe and settled in their new home. It can also be caused by motion sickness so your dog might skip a meal or two.

Your dog is living with someone new.

Another reason is that they are living with a new person. For example, bringing a baby at home may cause them to feel stressed. This is something that will pass.

Keep your dog hydrated and give them some treats for the meantime. If your dog is overstressed, try to look for ways to calm them down, like favourite blankets or soothing music. 

Your dog’s appetite is impacted by their age.

Dogs become less active and start to eat less than their usual meal to maintain their weight. If you're concerned about the lack of appetite and change in behaviour, you can check in with your vet to have a prescribed supplement or a new diet.


Be attentive and observant to your dog so you'll know what to do and when it may seem more serious than a regular loss of appetite. Knowing the reasons why your dog has lost their appetite will be helpful especially when you need to bring them to the vet. With a professional's help, you help your dog in no time and get them back to their eating habits.

Knowing how to spot the reasons will make it easier to get veterinarian help, switch out foods, and keep your dog healthy for many years to come.


Check out our store for natural dog treats for your pooch. You can also read more dog information on our blogs!

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