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Pet Eating Problems: Why Won't My Dog Eat?

Pet Eating Problems: Why Won't My Dog Eat?

If your dog usually eats quickly but suddenly refuses their food. Our Southborough vets share some of the most common reasons why a dog won't eat and what you can do about it.

Why isn't my dog eating?

It can be called inappetence or anorexia when your dog refuses to eat. Anorexia in dogs is not the same level of a medical condition as it is in humans. Doggy anorexia can be either partial or complete. Partial anorexia is when a dog will only eat certain types of food, but not enough to keep them healthy. Complete dog anorexia is when a dog doesn't want to eat anything at all. Pseudo-anorexia in dogs is another condition in which a dog wants to eat but is unable to due to another ongoing issue.

Dogs who are not eating usually do so because of environmental or behavioral reasons, which are typically caused by stressors or, more seriously, an underlying medical condition that could require urgent care and even surgery. We will discuss some of the more common examples of each and provide information on how your doggy's issues can best be resolved.

Behavioral & Environmental

Why won't your dog eat? Some minor causes can be environmental or behavioral issues, such as separation anxiety when left alone for extended periods of time (this would likely cause the dog to refrain from eating only when left alone). Even if a family member is missing, it can affect their appetite. Inconsistent feeding times or sleep patterns could also be a quick and easy solution. 

If you're wondering why your dog isn't eating, changes in their typical environment could be the issue. You may notice a loss of appetite if your family introduces a new pet to their environment, drastic changes in weather, and other stressors that take your doggy out of their comfort zone.  

Medical Conditions

Various health issues can cause a dog to stop eating. This problem can be as minor as a passing concern or as serious as a potentially life-threatening condition if you're wondering when to be concerned about your dog's loss of appetite. It's essential to act promptly, even if you suspect it's due to behavior, environmental reason, or a minor medical condition, do not risk letting your pet go untreated.

You should bring them to see a vet if you notice any of the following symptoms: 

  • Upset Stomach
  • Allergies
  • Infection
  • Pain
  • Depression
  • Poisoning
  • Oral hygiene issues
  • Parasites
  • Tumors
  • Autoimmune/neurological diseases
  • Organ troubles
  • Recent Vaccination

If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, please contact a veterinarian.

What to Do if Your Dog Won't Eat

If your dog has, or you expect they have, a medical condition, contacting a veterinarian is crucial as it will give your pet the best chance at a strong and speedy recovery.

Here are some general tips that could help get your dog's eating habits back on track if their appetite is not a medical condition:

  • Be sure that your dog is getting the necessary amount of attention and exercise that they deserve
  • Be patient and supportive with your dog, and do not force-feed them
  • Try to avoid feeding your pet table scraps
  • Keep them on a consistent routine that is easy for you to maintain
  • Cut back on the number of treats you give your dog
  • Mix up the food you give your dog (switch from dry to wet food or vice versa, add dressing or sauce to dry food, etc.)

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please make an appointment with your vet for an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition.

Are you having issues with your dog's behavior or eating habits? Contact our Southborough vets to schedule an appointment today.

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