There are some days where you just do not have any appetite at all. Well, just like humans, a dog can lose their appetite also. There are a variety of reasons that your dog may have lost their appetite. If your dog only skips one meal, this typically shouldn’t cause too much worry. However, if your dog continues to refuse food, it’s important to determine the cause and address the problem as early as possible. Keep reading to learn more about causes for a loss of appetite in dogs and various methods that can be used for feeding a sick dog. 



Why Did My Dog Lose Their Appetite?


There are several reasons why a dog might lose its appetite. These reasons typically fall into three main categories, including medical, behavioral, and issues with the food itself. The most common reasons for loss of appetite include: 

  • Infection
  • Illness
  • Disease
  • Mourning a Death
  • Recovering from Surgery
  • New Medications
  • Stress
  • Aging
  • Dental Disease
  • Travel & Unfamiliar Surroundings


Methods for Feeding a Sick Dog

If your dog is vomiting, lethargic, or having diarrhea in addition to not eating, it is important to call your local veterinarian as soon as possible. When you are trying to get your dog to eat, there are several different methods that you can try. You may have to try out a few of the methods before you find which one works best for your dog. Here are a few methods that you can try to entice your dog to eat:


  • Wait. The first step you should take is allowing your dog time to eat. Although dogs can go a couple of days without eating, it is imperative that you make sure your dog is drinking plenty of water. You may also want to leave your dog’s food out for them to nibble on throughout the day as they become hungry. 
  • Give your dog a treat. Try giving your dog a treat that they do not normally get. Food, such as chicken or baby food, are great irresistible options to try to entice your dog to eat. You may also try mixing the treat in with their existing dry food to encourage them to eat their normal diet along with the treat. 
  • Add broth to their food.  Another alternative method that you can try is adding a warm, no-sodium broth to their dry food and let it soak for several minutes. Adding broth not only adds additional flavor, but also helps with smell and palatability. 
  • Heat up your dog’s food. This can increase the food’s smell and palatability. Because sick dogs have a hindered sense of taste and smell, warmed up food may smell more fragrant and can help entice your pup to eat. 
  • Add a probiotic. Adding a probiotic to the top of your pet’s food can help to make the food more palatable, as well as help heal an irritated or inflamed intestine by rebalancing a healthy gastrointestinal flora. 

When to Contact Your Vet

It can be quite nerve-wracking when your pet is sick and refuses to eat. If you notice any of the following symptoms in your dog in conjunction with a loss of appetite, it is advised that you contact your local veterinarian as soon as possible for an examination and testing:


  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Weight Loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Wheezing
  • Gagging
  • Coughing


Loss of appetite in a dog can be a sign of illness so it is important to seek veterinary help if you notice changes in your dog’s normal eating habits, especially if your dog is normally a good eater. If your dog has experienced lack of appetite recently or is in need of their regular checkup, contact our team of veterinary professionals at Bowman Road Animal Clinic today. We are here to help!