Feeding time is usually the scene of countless tail wags, spinny circles, and tippy-tapping feet. So when your dog’s appetite diminishes or they won’t eat at all, you might get really worried. In some cases, dogs might skip a meal because their stomach is upset, but when your dog won’t eat at all for more than a single meal, they might need some attention from your vet. Here are some tips from the pros on how to identify potential issues – and when it’s time to bring your dog in to see a medical professional.

Identifying the Problem

When you notice your dog lacking interest in their food or refusing to eat, there are a few steps you can take to rule out minor issues:

  • Switch out their dog food. Check to make sure your dog’s food is not expired or showing signs of spoilage. Your dog might not have been a picky eater before, but switch out to a different dog food and see if they will eat. If that doesn’t work, switch the dog food out for a dog-healthy snack like some peanut butter or cheese.
  • Observe your dog’s behavior. If your dog is showing signs of discomfort while trying to eat or lying down, they might be silently asking for help. When your dog goes out to potty, see if they are having difficulty defecating or if they’re exhibiting vomiting or diarrhea. If your dog won’t eat and is experiencing vomiting and diarrhea simultaneously, call your vet.
  • Check your dog’s teeth and body. If your dog has loose, broken, or bad teeth or their gums are inflamed, they might not be eating due to oral pain. Check for parasites on your dog’s body, fur loss or skin irritation, or injuries. Feel your dog’s stomach to see if it feels tight and bloated, which might indicate blockage or impaction. If you find any of these issues, consult with your vet to see if it’s a sign of a bigger issue.
  • Consider your dog’s stress level. Dogs are sensitive to stress caused by recent trauma, moving to or staying in a new environment, and other factors. If your dog is experiencing high levels of stress or anxiety, it could impact their appetite. Be sure to spend time with your dog and give them enough exercise and attention.

New Puppy Not Eating?

It’s important to make sure your puppy is visiting the vet regularly to make sure your new pet is healthy and safe. Dogs should start transitioning to soft puppy food between four and six weeks after birth as they’re weaned away from milk. If your puppy isn’t excited by mealtime or isn’t eating regularly, try out a few different types of food. Limit the puppies treats and make sure you’re not offering table foods. Establish a feeding schedule so that your puppy knows when to expect food and determine if your puppy wants you close by or out of sight while they’re eating. Finally, make sure you’re taking the puppy for regular walks and exercising your new pet frequently. If you’ve tried all of these tricks and the puppy still won’t eat, call your vet right away. Growing pups need to be eating regularly to grow and stay healthy!

Trust Your Pet’s Health to the Team at Bowman Road Animal Clinic

When your dog stops eating or has a diminished appetite, the cause could range from boredom with a current food type to internal organ problems or tumors. If you’ve checked off the list above and still can’t figure it out, don’t let yourself lose sleep! Call the friendly and professional veterinary team at Bowman Road Animal Clinic. We can talk you through how to rule out minor problems and schedule a check-up or emergency visit right away to make sure your dog’s behavior isn’t a sign of a serious medical issue. Our team is here to help – contact us today!