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Appetite Changes


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The Pack Leader’s job

As a Pack Leader, your job is to provide protection and direction. If your dog suddenly starts overeating, then you need to determine the cause, then take the behavioral or medical steps necessary to solve the problem. If your dog is just naturally inclined to overeat, then you need to take charge and control what she eats, how much, and when.

We naturally love our dogs and it can be hard to resist those big eyes and cute faces, especially when they act like they’re starving. But if there’s no medical cause, we’re doing our dogs more of a favor by not indulging their appetites. An overweight dog is not a happy dog no matter how excited he may get about food. He may have no idea when he’s had enough, but we do — and, unlike dogs, we know how to work a can opener.


Loss of Appetite in Dogs - A Reason for Concern?

A temporary loss of appetite in your dog is not something to become immediately concerned about. Just like us, dogs are sometimes not hungry or else some stress in their day has caused them to lose interest in food. However, a more prolonged loss of appetite in your dog is a serious sign that something is wrong. It’s unusual for a dog to refuse more than one or two meals and this can indicate anything from depression to disease. Sometimes a stressful situation or an upset stomach can be to blame, but these things are often resolved within a day. If more than 48 hours go by with your dog still refusing to eat, take them to the vet immediately.

Loss Of Appetite In Dogs Symptoms

Signs that your dog has lost its appetite may include the following:

  • Eating less than usual
  • Refusing to eat at all
  • Not eating treats
  • Trying to eat, but not being able to finish a meal
  • Weight loss
  • Lack of energy
  • Vomiting

Sudden Loss Of Appetite In Dogs

Most importantly, you should take note of changes in your dog’s eating habits. It may be that your dog is not eating the recommended amount of food, but this is not a sign of loss of appetite if your dog is generally a light eater or is small for its age or breed. The main concern is when a dog who is often enthusiastic about its food loses interests in it. This sudden loss of appetite is an indicator that something is wrong. It may be something as simple as your dog has just received its vaccinations and is feeling a bit under the weather or it may be a sign that your dog is sick and needs medical attention. Monitor your dog’s behaviour over the next few hours or day and see if it gets its appetite back. If not, a trip to the vet is required.

Treat Loss Of Appetite In Dogs

If your dog is having difficulty eating, there are a few thing you can try at home to tempt them. You can try changing the food that you’re giving your dog in case there is something in it that your dog has decided it doesn’t like any more or that is causing an upset stomach. You can also try to warm the food a little or soften dried food by adding water to see if that makes it easier to eat and digest. Some dogs will respond to hand feeding when they’re feeling under the weather. After 24-48 hours, if none of these things have worked you should make a visit to your vet.

At the vet’s surgery, your dog may be given intravenous fluids with electrolytes, especially if it hasn’t had water for a day. Your vet may try syringe feeding and if several days have gone by without food, a feeding tube may be necessary. There are also appetite boosting drugs that can be used to try to encourage your dog to eat. The most important thing, however, is finding the cause of the loss of appetite and treating that immediately. This may be an infection that needs to be treated with antibiotics or symptomatic care or it may even be due to a dental problem that is causing your dog pain when it eats. Whatever the reason, the underlying cause for the loss of appetite in your dog needs to be addressed in order to solve the issue.

Dogs With Renal Failure Loss Of Appetite

Kidney failure in dogs can present with several gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, increased thirst and a loss of appetite. This is because the kidneys are not filtering the toxins out of the system and they are causing damage to the digestive tract. This means that your dog may feel pain or nausea when eating and will blame the food, therefore refusing to eat any more as it causes such discomfort.

Changes in diet are often used to treat kidney disease and which changes are made depend on the stage and severity of the disease, so check with your vet before going ahead with altering the food you give your dog. Generally, the food needs to be low in protein, phosphorus, sodium and calcium, but contain a good amount of fatty acids and Omega 3. The can result in the food you offer your dog being rather bland and boring and your dog may refuse to eat it. This lack of interest in food is not necessarily due to a loss of appetite, but more that your dog is holding out in the hope of something more tasty.

Lethargy And Loss Of Appetite In Dogs

The most common cause of lethargy and loss of appetite in dogs is infection or disease. Many of the viral infections such as distemper and parvovirus present with lethargy and loss of appetite. It’s also an indicator of liver disease and heart problems. Lethargy may be caused by the lack of appetite, as if your dog is not eating then it is not getting any energy. However, many infections also cause lethargy as energy is being diverted to the immune response to fight off the infection. Either way, seeing these two symptoms together is something to keep an eye on. To keep an eye on recovery and to monitor lethargy, you can use an activity tracker, like the FitBark to monitor how active they are throughout the day.


What causes a loss of appetite in dogs?

Scavenging or to use it’s formal name dietary indiscretion, is an all too common cause of your dog’s unwillingness to eat, this is usually but not always accompanied by vomiting or diarrhoea. I bet there are not too many pet parents around who haven’t had to take their pet to the vet due to this – I know I have! Perhaps your dog has just eaten something slightly rancid that will pass through his system by the following day but he could have got his paws on food that’s toxic to dogs such as chocolate, raisins, garlic or onions, a poisonous plant or some chemicals. Whatever it was if your dog refuses to eat for more than 24 hours it’s probably safest to take him to the vet and if you suspect that he has ingested something toxic call your surgery immediately for advice.

There’s a lot of illnesses that a dog not eating can be a symptom of, because just like us if your furry friend doesn’t feel well he tends not to have much of an appetite.

It could be a bacterial or viral infection, a urinary tract infection, kidney disease, cancer, dental problems or a whole host of other illnesses and diseases that might be to blame for your dog not eating his food anymore or just picking at it.

We all know that our canine companions are super smart so there are occasions when a dog won’t eat his food or just grazes at it but will happily consume treats or a plate of chicken and rice. Sometimes this is down to a behavioural issue, they’ve just learnt that if they reject their own dinner something tastier will come along but sometimes it’s because they have a condition such as colitis, pancreatitis or IBS and that the food they are being given makes them even more uncomfortable as it doesn’t agree with their sensitive stomachs.

Dog’s can be allergic to ingredients in dog foods too, especially over-processed, low-quality kibble that is grain-based and contains additives. So if your pooch routinely just grazes at his food, don’t just label him as a fussy dog but have him checked out at the vet.

If your dog has had a recent injury his loss of appetite might be down to the pain medication he’s on or maybe the discomfort he’s in is putting him off eating.

Senior dogs tend to need fewer calories as they age and become less active so it might be that your older dog is not being fussy about his food but just has less of an appetite. Sometimes our precious oldies do get more choosy about what they eat though and some senior pooches find it difficult to manage dry dog food because of dental problems and stop enjoying their food.

Just like us, dogs can suffer from stress and anxiety and it has exactly the same effect on them too, they can’t face eating much. Fireworks or other loud noises, moving home or a new pet being introduced to the family are all possible reasons that can trigger stress in your furry friend. Dogs do like to feel safe when they are dining so try to make sure you feed your pooch somewhere he can relax.


Most of the time our dogs act like ravenous beasts who devour any food that comes their way, although admittedly there are some dogs who are picky eaters. Puppies eat as if they haven’t been fed in weeks, even not long after they’ve already eaten. Most adult dogs really do look forward to every meal and every treat. There are times though, when a dog can lose his appetite no matter what type of eater he usually is. The reasons vary from dog to dog, but here are 5 things than can cause a loss of appetite.

The most obvious reason a dog can lose his appetite is simply because he doesn’t feel well, the same way we react when we feel ill or are in pain. Illnesses of all kinds can cause loss of appetite in dogs. Bacterial or viral infections, urinary tract infections, kidney failure, cancer and other illnesses or diseases can make your dog pick at their food or lose their appetite altogether.

If they are not eating after a couple days and you notice they are not drinking much water either, you’ll need to take your dog to the vet to find out what is wrong. No matter how much you cater to your dog, some causes of appetite loss are not treatable by you alone and need veterinary care to get your dog well and restore his appetite.

Eating Something They Shouldn’t

Loss of appetite in a dog can be caused by chewing something they found foraging in the garden that upset their stomach. Dogs will often consume anything that smells tempting, including things from the garbage if they can get to it, or bugs and insects, and these things can make them feel sick. Getting into foods that are dangerous for them to eat, such as chocolates left on the coffee table, can make dogs lose their appetite as well. Sometimes what tempts them can make them very sick. They don’t know the difference between something edible and something spoiled or toxic.

Depending on the type of injury, the medications they are taking for pain, or how intense the pain is, injury or disability can affect a dog’s appetite. Even the accompanying depression-like behavior some dogs exhibit when injured or in pain can affect how much they feel like eating, as can the limits in their function because of injury.

If your dog is getting older, you may see a change in their eating habits. Aging can bring physical changes and diseases that affect their appetite. An older dog may get less exercise and burn off less energy. Your dog may get more finicky about their food. They may need a change to a food more suited to older, more sedentary dogs, such as CANIDAE Senior Dog Formula with fresh chicken. Choosing a food appropriate for their age and the changes they are going through can help with appetite issues.

Dogs can react to stressful changes in their surroundings. They like everything in their environment to fit their own sense of order. Being in new surroundings, adding a new human or canine family member to the household, or any kind of unusual stress in the home environment can make your dog agitated. That in turn can lower their appetite until they feel secure or at ease again.

Even though dogs instinctively search out food wherever they are, any dog can lose his normally healthy appetite. Being aware of the different causes can help you solve whatever problem is causing their appetite change and get them back to eating healthy. You know your own dog best, so pay attention when you see any change in his appetite.


Watch the video: Holly: Changes in Appetite (July 2021).