5 Reasons Why Your Dog Isn’t Eating

While it varies from breed to breed, most domestic dogs aren’t shy when it comes to mealtimes. This is what makes it so worrying when our four-legged friends don’t seem to want to eat. It’s only natural to wonder why the dog is refusing food when they normally have such a hearty appetite. In this article, we’re going to take a look at five common reasons why your dog isn’t eating and what you can do for them. 


Dental issues 

There are a variety of dental concerns that might be making it painful for your dog to eat, especially if you’re feeding them dry dog food. Loose, cracked, and broken teeth can make it difficult for them to chew, as can mouth ulcers, severe gingivitis, abscesses, and other dental issues. 


If your dog is ill, they may not feel like eating. If they have a fever, they may just want to lie down and sleep, while a whole range of stomach illnesses might make them feel nauseous. Not wanting to eat is not an immediate cause for alarm, but if your dog is also vomiting, appearing lethargic, or suffering from diarrhoea, you should take them to your local veterinary practice immediately.


While we like to think of dogs as being fairly relaxed and chilled-out animals, they can experience stress or anxiety just like people. It often occurs when they are in new or unfamiliar surroundings, whether they’ve been recently re-homed or you’ve taken them on holiday with you. Many dogs also experience separation anxiety when their owners aren’t at home. Since some dogs can only eat when they’re comfortable, sudden upheavals can often result in a lack of appetite.  


It is, of course, essential that your dog completes any course of vaccinations or medication recommended by your vet for their continued good health. However, don’t be surprised if your dog isn’t interested in food for a few days following these treatments, as this is a common side effect.  


If you’ve ruled out the other possibilities on this list, it could be that you have a picky dog. Some don’t like dry food, some don’t like wet food, and some will only eat their favourite brand. If you spoil your dog with too many treats, they may not be interested in what’s in their bowl. Patient training can help your dog develop good and regular eating habits. 

What to do when your dog isn’t eating 

Assuming there are no other concerning symptoms, there are several ways you can encourage your dog to eat more. These include: 

  • Adding water or no-sodium chicken stock to their dry dog food and letting it soak for a few minutes. This softens the food, making it easier to chew and digest. 
  • Warm up wet dog food in the microwave for just a few seconds. Warm food might be more appetising to your pet than cold dog food straight out of the tin. Remember to use a microwaveable container and to make sure it is not too hot before serving it to your dog. 
  • Mix in some plain cooked chicken (no bones or skin) with rice into their dry food. This mix of textures can encourage them to eat, as well as provide a valuable source of protein. 

Reasons why your dog isn’t eating: final thoughts

If your dog is exhibiting other symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhoea, or general lethargy, book an appointment with your local vet as soon as possible. Eden Park Veterinary Surgery can offer a safe and reliable examination of your dog. Call us today on 0208 658 2300 to book an appointment or for free advice from our team of experts. 



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