If your dog normally gobbles down their food it can be concerning for them to suddenly stop. Our Gallup vets talk about the various reasons why a dog may not want their food and what to do if your dog won't eat.
Has your dog stopped eating suddenly?
The loss of appetite in dogs can be referred to as either inappetence or anorexia. While they have the same name, anorexia in humans is quite different than the anorexia experienced by dogs. Doggy anorexia can be either partial or complete. Partial Anorexia is when a dog will only eat certain types of food, but not enough that can keep them healthy.
If a dog experiences complete anorexia then they are not eating any food at all. Pseudo-anorexia in dogs is another condition in which a dog wants to eat but is unable to due to another ongoing issue.
Dogs who are not eating usually do so because of environmental or behavioral reasons which are typically caused by stressors, or more seriously, an underlying medical condition that could require urgent care and even surgery. We will discuss some of the more common examples of each, and provide information on how your doggy's issues can best be resolved.
Changes in the Environment or Behavior Affecting Appetite
Your dog can be affected by a number of factors that might lead to them not eating. Some minor causes can be environmental or behavioral issues such as separation anxiety when left alone for extended periods (this would likely cause the dog to refrain from eating only when left alone). Even the absence of a family member/owner can result in a loss of appetite. Inconsistently feeding your dog, or inconsistent sleeping hours could also be a factor.
You may want to take a moment and assess the environmental situation if you have noticed that your dog is no longer eating. You may notice a loss of appetite if your family introduces a new pet to their environment, drastic changes in weather, and other stressors that take your doggy out of its comfort zone.
A Decrease in Food Intake Caused by a Medical Condition
Medical conditions that could lead to a loss of appetite can range from minor concerns that could go away on their own, to possibly fatal conditions that need to be taken seriously immediately. Do not ever dismiss a lack of eating even if you think it is just due to recent changes in their environment. You should always bring them in for an examination as soon as you notice.
Some of the medical conditions that can lead to a lack of eating include:
- Upset Stomach
If you have noted any of the above signs or symptoms in your dog then you should contact your vet as soon as possible to schedule an examination.
Is there anything you can do to help your dog regain their appetite?
It is important to contact your vet sooner rather than later when there is an issue in order to ensure that they receive treatment as quickly as possible.
Here are some of the ways that you can help if your dog's appetite is a little off track.
- Be sure that your dog is getting the necessary amount of attention and exercise that they deserve
- Be patient and supportive with your dog and do not force-feed them
- Try to avoid feeding your pet table scraps
- Keep them on a consistent routine that is easy for you to maintain
- Cut back on the number of treats you give your dog
- Mix up the food you give your dog (switch from dry to wet food or vice versa, add dressing or sauce to dry food, etc.)
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please make an appointment with your vet for an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition.