How to Help When Your Dog Has Stopped Eating

How to Help When Your Dog Has Stopped Eating

Dogs are a wonderful addition to the family; they keep us company when we are by ourselves, they play with our kids and keep adults active, and they make us feel safe and loved. But what if your dog doesn't seem to be her usual self? What if she stops eating?

Is it simply the case of your dog getting older or is there a deeper problem lying underneath? As there are a variety of reasons your dog may have reduced appetite it's best to know the exact cause so that she can get the best treatment. Let's examine all the possible reasons why your dog has stopped eating.

Make Sure You Aren't Being Overcautious

According to PetMD you first need to be completely sure that your dog is unequivocally not eating and not just going by the guidelines on the package. As there are a variety of different breeds and each dog is unique, what is shown on the package is the only an average and not a strict target.

Once you have verified that she has not touched her food you will want to watch the rest of her behavior. Is she simply an old dog who won't eat or is she a new puppy who is transitioning into a new home? Is she lethargic and sleeping more or does she have other visual signs that something is bothering her?

Reason Why Your Dog Won't Eat


This is the foremost reason you should consider for your dog. Unfortunately, a loss of appetite stimulant and visual signs that your dog is demonstrating to you are frequently associated with a hidden illness.

There are some different ways you can get your dog interested in dog food again, which can include switching to canned food to even buying food flavor enhancers. You can go to your local pet store or try looking online at for different types of flavor enhancers like this one .

Watch the eHow video below for some more tips and reasons why your sick or older dog may not be eating.

In some cases, after you have spoken with your veterinarian, you may have to resort to using a syringe to feed your dog. Watch the eHowPets video below to see how to mix up the food into a syringe and then feed it to your dog.


Has your dog recently received a shot or vaccination? If so, this may be a reason that your dog has stopped eating. Instead of visiting your vet right away, as each visit costs money, make a call to the office and see what the symptoms are for the vaccination she has received and decreased appetite is one of them.

You can also visit Dog's Naturally Magazine which will give you a detailed list of all the possible reactions your dog may experience from a vaccination.

Different Location

Sometimes a change of scenery can be a cause for a dog not wanting to eat. Have you moved recently, or does your dog change houses sometimes because you go away frequently? If the first is the case, give your dog some time to adjust to the newer surroundings, talk to your vet about what you can do to make her feel better.

If the latter is the problem, you may have to find a solid solution for your dog. If you know you often have to travel for work it is likely that she just misses you while you are gone. If you send her to a kennel or somewhere else outside of her regular home, try having a qualified pet caretaker come to your home instead.

You can also try talking with your dog using a video chat to stay in touch. This may seem silly, but it could be a great way to let her know that you are thinking of her. You can also try leaving behind an article of clothing that smells like you where she likes to sleep.

Different Family Member

Have you recently introduced a new member to the family? This can be a new baby or even a different animal. Animals, especially dogs, can become possessive of their owners and don't want someone else taking away your attention from them.

If you have brought in a new pet, take the time to introduce them to one another; don't push and don't rush it. If you have welcomed a new baby into your family, let your dog first get used to the new scent by leaving blankets or stuffed animals around that smell like your new child.

Make your dog feel special by taking her for extra walks, or even longer ones, give her a treat or even a special new toy. A little extra attention can go a long way into helping her feel like herself again, that your relationship with one another hasn't changed.

Dental Issue

Sometimes a dog not wanting to eat can simply because of a dental issue within her mouth. According to Daily Dog Stuff , this is one of the first things on their list of why your dog has stopped eating.

One of the first things you will have to do is change the type of food she eats to something that she can get down. This may take a while as the vet works on any dental procedures and your pup gets back to feeling and eating better.

Particular Behavior or an Aging Dog

Dogs can be like people, where dog's appetite can be affected by the presence of another animal, by the type of food they are given or even because they don't like how their food is being served to them. Pay particular attention to any changes that you may have made with how you feed them.

Perhaps you changed the time of day or maybe you had to change the brand that they normally eat. If you can't go back to her normal routine you will need to find another way to get her to eat again.

PetMD has some great tips to try and get your dog interested once again to eat. We've included them below, plus a few extras.

  • Limit treats and avoid people junk food
  • If there are no dietary restrictions, try boiled chicken and rice
  • Go for a walk before meals
  • Try a new food bowl, fun meal dispenser, or get your dog to do a trick before eating
  • Change dry dog food to wet, dogs typically prefer wet
  • Avoid feeding her with other animals or distractions

You can also watch the video below, from to give you some extra ideas of how to get your dog to eat.

In some cases, an older dog and fussy dog just won't eat, even though there may not be anything concretely wrong with her. It can be hard to watch an older dog not eating, but some of the tricks mentioned above may help to bring some energy back to your older friend.

Knowing When to Take Action

Knowing the difference between when your dog is actually sick, and the lack of appetite is a result of the illness, or if it is simply a behavioral issue is important to verify with your veterinarian.

Remember to do the following if you notice your dog has stopped eating:

  • Verify that no food is actually being eaten
  • Look for other signs, lethargy, whimpering, or licking a spot
  • Is your dog adjusting to new surroundings?
  • Have you introduced a new member to your family?
  • Have you changed the brand of food recently?
  • Any recent vaccinations?
  • Check her mouth for dental issues

Once you and your vet have discovered the reason your dog treats has stopped eating you can now work on a treatment for her. In the meantime, try to get her to eat again using pet food flavor enhancers or by making her some boiled chicken and rice.

We invite you to share your story with us, any tips or tricks that you may have tried in a similar situation. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out, we would love to be of help.

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