Dogs That Refuse to Eat – What Causes This and How Can it Be Resolved?

Dogs That Refuse to Eat – What Causes This and How Can it Be Resolved?

When a pet dog refuses to eat, the problem is either physical or psychological. When a pet dog refuses to eat, his owner pleads with him and tries to tempt him with food fed by hand. If the dog feels neglected and is bored he may try this to get attention. As owner you can counter this common canine play by giving your dog companionship by playing with him and taking him for a daily walk.
How can you handle the problem of a dog that refuses to eat not because he feels neglected, but is spoiled? Simply remove his food bowl after half an hour, and present it again only at the next meal time. Spoiled dogs are often obese too, so it will do no harm to skip one meal. Please do not serve him the same food, as it may be spoiled. Keep in mind that your dog’s lack of appetite may be caused from unappetizing meals or just a dirty bowl. Food that is unfit for humans is unfit for your dog too.

You should consider that feeding your dog always the same food can become boring for him. So sometimes a simple change of the dog food brand does wonders.
Dogs also have marked individual preferences for meals that are dry or moist, finely chopped, or chunky. A sudden change can lead to a protest. You can add taste appeal with a scrambled egg. Don’t use raw eggs because according to the American Kennel Club makes cooking the protein better digestible and you prevent any risks from salmonellae. Most dogs love liver and bacon, which either can be mixed into their regular feed in small amounts.

The most effective appetite stimulant is aroma. If you have given your dog dry food and raw meat, it may smell better if the meat is seared (or cooked) or the dry food is moistened. A spoonful of brewer’s yeast sprinkled on his meal, is another good appetite awakener.

Here’s my special tip: The easiest method to make dry food deeply interesting for your dog is baby food. One teaspoon of mashed meat is enough to motivate even a stubborn Airedale.

Many dogs skip their noon meal entirely during hot weather. Let your pet follow his natural instinct. Fasting is an instinctive animal remedy for minor digestive disorders, however if he refuses food for more than 24 hours, you should have your veterinarian examine him.

Chronic underweight or a sudden weight loss may be due to a physical malfunction and is definitely a danger signal. Toothaches can also cause eating problems especially if you are feeding dry food. All of these symptoms require the attention of your veterinarian, for he alone is competent to diagnose the cause and to prescribe the treatment.

A young puppy that refuses to eat should cause immediately concern. A healthy diet is vital to his future well-being, and since his tiny stomach holds very little at a time, a missed meal is nourishment lost forever. Before you alert the vet or your puppy’s breeder, you should verify that his loss or appetite is not due to one of several easily remedied causes:

  • Your puppy misses his brothers and sisters or mother. Try keeping him company and you may try hand feeding him for a while, but do not make a habit of it, especially with toy breeds.
  • His feeding times do not coincide with his hunger. Adjust your schedule to suit his appetite.
  • He is too nervous to eat. Avoid the excitement of play and visitors, just before nd after his meal times.
  • His food is too tough or chunky for his baby teeth to handle. Chop it finely, or soften it by soaking. Teething puppies often go off their feed and need a softer diet during this period.
  • He has problems with his food dish. Young puppies eat most easily from a flat dish, like a pie plate. Later on, long nosed breeds should be given a deeper dish. For long eared breeds, there are special deep tapered bowls which prevent their ears from dragging in their food.

Maybe you wonder now if the food that you are feeding tastes ugly or if you have chosen the wrong pet food brand. So here’s a little list of high quality dry and wet dog food lines.

Dry dog food:

Fromm Classic

Orijen Adult Dog

Ziwi Peak

Wet dog food:


Purina Pro Plan


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