While skipping one meal usually isn't cause for concern, you do want to monitor your dog closely if they aren't eating. Today, our San Gabriel vets share some common reasons for a dog not eating and when it's time for a trip to the vet.
Why isn't my dog eating?
It can be worrying when your pup refuses food. Is it a simple upset stomach or a more serious underlying issue? If your dog skips one meal but otherwise seems healthy, it probably doesn't warrant a trip to the vet. However, you can always check with your veterinarian if have any concerns.
If your dog hasn't eaten in over 12 hours with no obvious cause or is exhibiting any other symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, or lethargy this may be an emergency situation and you should call or bring your dog in for emergency care as soon as possible.
Reasons your dog may not be eating
A persistent decrease in appetite in dogs is often a sign of an underlying illness, especially if your dog is exhibiting other symptoms at the same time. Some common pet illnesses that can cause a loss of appetite are cancer, infection, liver problems, and kidney failure. If you notice your dog regularly refusing food it is time to visit the vet.
If chewing food is painful for your dog it may cause them to refuse food. If you notice broken or loose teeth, swelling, bleeding, or excessively bad breath, it may be that poor oral health is the cause of your dog's lack of appetite. Make an appointment with your vet for your pup to have a full dental examination and cleaning.
While vaccinations are an essential part of your dog's long-term health, they can cause your pup to temporarily feel unwell. It is normal for your dog to have a slightly decreased appetite for a day or two after being vaccinated. If their loss of appetite persists for more than two days you should give your vet a call.
A change in routine or location
Dogs normally do best with a set routine. If you are traveling, have recently moved, or have gotten a new pet, it is normal for your dog's appetite to be thrown off as they adjust to their new settings. Be patient with your dog and try some of the tips below to help your pet eat!
Their food has changed
Are you trying a new food brand or have you noticed the words "new and improved" on their regular food? Your dog's refusal to eat could be as simple as them not liking their food. Typically this will only cause a dog to skip a meal or two as eventually their hunger will win out and they will try the new food (and will usually adjust to it just fine). Monitor the situation to be sure it resolves and contact your vet if the problem persists.
What To Do If Your Dog Won't Eat
If there's an obvious cause to your dog not eating (such as the first night in a new home) and you don't notice any other symptoms, there are a few things you can do to try and make your pup's food more appealing to them.
- Warm up your dog’s food in the microwave
- Pour chicken broth, beef broth, or tuna water over the food to make it more appealing
- Pour warm water over dry food to make it softer.
- Feeding your dog dry food if they usually only eat wet food or vice versa
- Try hand-feeding, as social eaters sometimes just want attention
When should I worry about my dog not eating?
If you notice a persistent change in your dog's appetite or any other concerning symptoms, from vomiting to swelling in the mouth, your dog needs emergency medical attention.
You should also seek medical attention if your dog skips two or more meals, regardless of whether or not there are any other symptoms present. When it comes to the health of your companion, it is always best to err on the side of caution and consult a veterinary professional.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.