My dog won't eat! How to stimulate the appetite again
If your dog suddenly stops eating, it can be for a variety of reasons: From medical factors, to stress, to treat overindulgence. It's important to find out whether there is a medical cause or whether your dog has only lost interest in food for a short time. We tell you how you can stimulate your dog's appetite again.
My dog isn't eating - should I be worried?
There are several reasons why your four-legged friend may be spurning his food. One possible cause can be inbreeding: Too much variety in the bowl can make Bello picky. If your furry friend occasionally refuses a meal, but otherwise eats normally, you don't have to worry about it. After all, it's the same with us humans: we don't always have the same appetite and sometimes we just liked our dinner better a few days ago.
But there are also times when Bello doesn't like his food.
But there are also reasons that should be clarified by the vet. If your four-legged friend hasn't been eating for two or three days, a visit to the vet is in order. This applies all the more if there are other accompanying symptoms, such as diarrhoea, vomiting, exhaustion and sleepiness.
Possible reasons why your dog is not eating
Stress hits the stomach
Just like with us humans, stress can lead to a loss of appetite. Have you recently moved house? Have new people or animals moved into your home? Have you been out and about a lot? Or were you alone or on holiday with your four-legged friend? If you can answer "yes" to any of these questions, stress could be the cause of your lack of appetite.
Tooth problems and pain when chewing
Problems in a dog's teeth can lead to pain - and it's really nasty when chewing. Inflammation in the teeth or gums very often leads to reluctance to eat. Puppies that are going through a change of teeth are particularly susceptible and really spurn their food during this time. This is where help from the vet is needed, because puppies in particular need more rather than less food.
Sickness, fatigue, excessive sleep?
Diseases can also trigger a loss of appetite. Have you noticed any other changes in your dog? For example, does he sleep a lot or seem listless? If you notice such changes, you should have your dog examined by a vet as soon as possible.
Digestion can also be a trigger for loss of appetite.
Digestive problems - diarrhoea, vomiting, gastrointestinal problems?
Digestive problems can also cause your pet to refuse food. Problems with peeing or defecating indicate a digestive disorder. Typical grass-eating is also a sign of problems in the gastrointestinal tract. So, off to the vet!
Appetite loss due to frequent food changes
Frequent food changes can lead to your dog not liking or no longer liking one of the foods and refusing it. Try to avoid frequent changes and always take your dog's own food with you when you visit or go on holiday.
Better alternatives: treats, leftovers, chews
Do you often give your dog treats, chew bones or the particularly fine food scraps from the table? Then perhaps your four-legged friend is simply waiting for a better food offer. Why eat the dull food when your mistress or master is about to come round the corner with another pig's ear anyway? Exactly! If you have such a clever dog at home, one rule helps: First the food, then the goodies! Always give treats after feeding or only as a special reward.
The age of your pelt-nose - puppy, puberty, senior
Is your dog going through puberty and trying to test you out? Do you have a puppy that is currently going through a change of teeth and is therefore eating less? Or is your paw friend already a senior and no longer needs so much food? Yes, age also determines your four-legged friend's current feeding habits. You can find special food for every age in the shops.
Recently received vaccination
Unfortunately, vaccinations are available for many serious and contagious dog diseases. Although these injections have saved the lives of millions of pets over the past 100 years, they sometimes have adverse effects. Most of these are minor and brief, including a temporary loss of appetite in dogs.
Psychological causes - separation anxiety
Doesn't your dog chew when he's home alone? One reason could be separation anxiety. Keep an eye on your dog's behaviour. If your furry friend goes berserk when left alone, you should look into ways to treat separation anxiety. One option would be to give our natural and gentle calming tablets.
Of course, it could also be that your dog just isn't used to eating when he's home alone - or he's a bit sad when you're away.
5 steps to find out why your dog isn't eating
Step 1 - Observe your dog's behaviour
First, observe your dog's behaviour to check if your dog isn't eating or doesn't want to eat certain foods.
Look to see if your dog is behaving as usual or if there are any changes in the daily routine. Also pay attention to your dog's bowel movements and urine. If your dog is vomiting, has diarrhoea, is lethargic and dehydrated, talk to a vet. If any changes in your dog's behaviour seem suspicious, don't hesitate to see a vet. This way, you'll know if there's a problem and get help in no time.
If, in addition to a reduced appetite, your dog is hiding, sleeping all day or losing interest in playing and other usual activities, this may be a sign of canine depression.
Step 2 - Check your dog's teeth and body
Broken, loose or bad teeth or inflamed gums can be a reason why your dog is not eating. Examine your dog's body, looking for parasites, changes in coat and skin, and lumps or injuries. If you find anything suspicious, don't hesitate to call a vet.
Step 3 - Check for problems with the food
Check your dog's food. You may have accidentally given him the wrong food. Make sure there are no problems with the food. Check the label for the expiry date, the colour and the smell. If you suspect the food is spoiled, dispose of it immediately and offer your dog something else.
Step 4 - Check the environment
If your dog has stopped eating, it could be because he has ingested something harmful. Check your houseplants, carpets, your dog's toys and any objects your four-legged friend has access to. Be especially careful if medicines or chemicals are within your dog's reach. If anything is missing and your dog is vomiting or has diarrhoea, you should see a vet immediately.
If your puppy is vomiting or has diarrhoea, you should see a vet immediately.
If your puppy or a recently moved-in dog won't eat, it may be because of the new environment. The same is true if you have recently moved house.
Step 5 - Check your actions
Have you been giving your dog lots of treats or leftovers? If so, that may explain the loss of appetite. Or maybe your dog is just waiting for something tasty - like pieces of your dinner or dog treats.
Tips to whet your dog's appetite: how to get him eating again
No medical problems present? Then these tips can help revive the bowl love:
- Remove the bowl: If you have previously fed in the kitchen, move the bowl to the hallway or bathroom. Sometimes dogs don't feel comfortable in a familiar place.
- Try out a new bowl: Depending on the texture and material, food in certain bowls may sound different or the bottom may reflect. This can be unsettling or even frightening. Try a new bowl to restore your dog's sense of security.
- Limit food availability: Allow your dog enough time to eat, but put the bowl away after ten minutes. This way, your dog learns that you decide when dinner takes place - and suddenly the food becomes more attractive again.
- No treats: If your dog refuses his food, there should be no treats, let alone nibbles from the table. Who wants cauliflower when they can have a pig's ear?
- Try a new food: If you have been using the same type of dog food for a long time, a change can increase your dog's appetite. As already mentioned, however, you should not change too often!
- Walking makes you hungry: Plan a long walk with a play or training session before feeding. Exercise is a good appetite stimulant because it boosts the metabolism. You can also integrate feeding into training as a reward.
- Warm up the food: Warm up the contents of the bowl by adding a dash of warm water or putting it in the microwave for a short time. This will make the food smell more intense and therefore more attractive to your dog. Attention: The food must only be warm, not hot!
- Brewer's yeast tabs: Brewer's yeast stimulates the digestion of your four-legged friend and is a great appetite stimulant.
Lack of appetite - when to go to the vet?
There are many possible reasons why your dog won't eat his food. It is important to check if there could be a medical reason. If your dog is still not eating after three days, you should go straight to the vet. If your dog doesn't drink either, please go directly to the doctor. Depending on the time of year and the temperature, dehydration can be very dangerous.