It would be fair to say, that most dogs like food. While there are some exceptions, dogs are typically motivated pretty heavily by food. The promise of a treat can make a dog sit down, roll over, and for animated dogs will even solve mysteries for a treat. Sometimes though, your dog can suddenly stop eating. In these situations, most pet owners will start to worry.

Dog Stopped Eating

Photo by @eminens

It can be pretty strange when your dog starts to reject the food, and it can raise the question of the rest of their health and just how well your pet is doing. If your dog has stopped eating, there are quite a few different things that could be the cause. However, there is also a lot that you can do to try and help them get their appetite back.

Sometimes a dog stopping eating is down to something as simple as an upset stomach. They may be off their food for a day at most until their nausea passes. However, in other situations, it can actually indicate illness and be quite a serious symptom. It is important to respond properly to your dog’s loss of appetite. While it’s easy to assume the worst, home remedies to help your dog regain their appetite are going to be helpful before you assume it is a major illness!

Since dogs are quite motivated by food, most won’t stop eating unless there is a problem with them. However, it is worth bearing in mind that this doesn’t apply to every dog. Some dogs just aren’t all that bothered by food and won’t respond to it in the same way as others. Just like we do, dogs have very distinct personalities that can impact how they treat food.

Is Your Dog Under-Eating?

If your dog has stopped eating or isn’t eating enough, you need to consider just how much food they should be eating. Different breeds have different requirements, and the practice of keeping a bowl always topped up with dry food isn’t a good way to do things. If this is how you typically feed your dog, it is worth bearing in mind that it isn’t a great way to judge how much your dog is eating.

There are some online calculators like this one that can help you find the right portion size for your pet. It is also worth checking the website for your food manufacturer, they typically provide guidelines for your dog’s diet based on their weight and size. This can tell you how much food is the right amount daily for your dog. With this information, you can feed them exactly the right portion. This can help to transition them into a normal relationship with food. If your dog is frequently picky about their food, moving onto a better diet is going to be helpful.

If you feed your dog table scraps often then this is also quite bad for their relationship with dog food. They may be holding out eating until they get something better from you.

If you’ve considered all of this, and your dog normally has a good relationship with food, they may still stop eating. In these cases, you need to try to get their appetite back and find out why they’ve stopped.

Provoking a Dog’s Appetite

When a dog stops eating it can be for many different reasons. A lot of the time though, it is for something relatively minor like an upset stomach. In these cases, it is best to try some home solutions for a dog with a bad stomach before you assume the worst.

Make the Food More Appealing

A good way to provoke a dog into eating is to make the food irresistible to them! You can do this quickly by making sure it is served hot. You can use some warm water in your dog’s food to help it go down a little easier. This will warm it up, and the water mixing with the food should produce a nice smell and texture for them.

Try Different Food

It is possible that your dog has an allergy to an ingredient in your food. If they’re showing other signs of an allergy then the solution can be as simple as switching their food around or getting them treatment for their allergy.

Make Sure Anxiety isn’t a Barrier

Dogs can develop some hang-ups. Despite their easy-going nature, they’re prone to stressing about specific situations. This can even apply to food. If you think your dog isn’t eating for a psychological reason, you can try reassuring them. Giving them praise and reassurance for eating works. You can also make sure that you’re not pressuring them too much when eating. While it can be worrying that a pet isn’t eating, your enthusiasm for them eating might be putting them off. An anxious dog should be praised for eating but not made to feel stressed and pressured by the appearance of the food bowl.

Dog Stopped Eating

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Give Them Something Plain

To settle a dog’s stomach who is having some pain, giving your pet something plain to eat can make things go down smoother. This can be plain boiled chicken or white rice. These two foods should be served without any oils, butters, or seasoning. This helps them be as gentle and plain on your dog’s stomach as possible. If your pet manages to keep this down, they might have stopped eating because of an upset tummy.

Head to the Vet

If your dog has been off of their food for two days and not taken any treats or other food at this time, then it is time to head to your vets. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your dog is very sick! Your vet might just prescribe something for an upset stomach rather than it being a sign of something more serious. However, if your pet has been off food for this long and your attempts to provoke their appetite hasn’t worked, then this needs to be addressed. A trip to your vet will help you clear things up. It could be an illness or a sign that they’ve ingested something bad for them.

Your vet should be able to judge if your dog not eating is a sign of something serious or just something minor. In any case, they should be able to prescribe you something if necessary and give advice. If your pet won’t eat for two whole days, it is best to follow your vet’s advice to get them back to their normal selves.

Why Has My Dog Stopped Eating?

When your pet stops eating, there is typically a reason for it. Whether it is psychological or a health problem, knowing why they’ve stopped eating is really important. It helps you know what to do about their sudden lack of an appetite, and how to avoid these problems in the future. With better knowledge, there are some more specific things you can do to help them. These reasons should help you narrow down what is causing your to stop eating.

Upset Stomach

A simple stomach bug or upset stomach can happen for a range of reasons. As much as their owners might not like them doing it, dogs pick up all sorts of rubbish. Dogs are prone to eating just about anything weird-smelling they find, like a slug or even faeces. If they’ve eaten this, then it is kind of understandable why they would have an upset stomach! Eating unsavoury things can be a sign of boredom in a dog. However, a lot of pets will just indulge in this habit occasionally at the risk of upsetting their stomachs.

In these cases, you should give your dog a bland diet until their stomach seems to have returned to normal. To a dog, plain rice or chicken can be quite a nice meal! If it takes them more than a day or two to rebound from an upset stomach, you should consult a vet. However, if they return to normal pretty quickly then you don’t have much to worry about.

A More Serious Health Condition

Going off of food can be a bad sign for a dog in some situations. It can be the symptom of a serious medical condition. When you see your vet, they should be able to figure out if your pet’s food aversion is a sign of something bigger or a simple stomach bug. Most of the time a dog stopping eating isn’t something big. However, it can be a sign of something serious so it is worth checking things out but try not to jump to the worst conclusions.

Being Fussy

If your pet has stopped eating purely because they are being fussy then you should be able to entice them back easily enough. If you’ve changed their food and they don’t like it, you should transition them more smoothly. Mix a bit of the new food into the old for a few days, gradually adjusting the balance until it is mainly the new food.  It doesn’t hurt to use the right bowl either.

If your dog sees right through this clever scheme and just eats the pieces of their old food, then you might have to get a bit creative. Wetting the food, a little bit will make it more appetising. It can also be helpful for moving onto new food. Doing this should make the new food more appealing to your dog, and get them out of their stubbornness.

Dog Stopped Eating

Photo by @PourquoiPas

What to Do if Your Dog Has Stopped Eating

When your dog has stopped eating, you have quite a lot of options. There are some basic things that you can try to get your dog eating again. These include changing how you serve the food, what they’re eating, and your behaviour around feeding them. If these simple solutions don’t work, then you should just head to the vet.

Your vet can help you figure out if your dog’s eating is down to something serious, or just a minor thing. This will help you put your mind at ease. A dog stopping eating can be really worrying, but the majority of the time it isn’t a major problem! With some perseverance and encouragement, you can get your dog getting through their meals again.