Why is My Dog Not Eating?

A small dog sitting at the kitchen table

It can be hard to get your dog to eat his dog food. Seeing him show no interest in eating the food you’ve prepared in his bowl can be frustrating and leave you wondering – “why is my dog not eating?” Follow these tips to make sure your dog is getting the complete and balanced nutrition he needs from his dog food.

Dog not eating

Similar to small children who refuse to eat anything but chicken nuggets, a finicky dog will only want to eat the food that he’s used to. If you make a sudden change in his diet, or he’s been fed too many table scraps, he may refuse to eat. However, there is a big difference between a dog that is a finicky eater, and one who stops eating altogether.

Here are some common reasons as to why your dog is not eating and what to do to correct the behaviour:

Warm weather

Just like your appetite may be affected by hot temperatures, it is completely normal for your dog’s appetite to drop during warm summer days. This occurs during hot days because your dog is typically less active and requires less food, so his appetite decreases. Let your dog cool off before offering him any food, once he’s cooled off his appetite should pick up again.

Sudden change in diet

If you’re bringing home a new dog, make sure to check with the adoption center or breeder to see what food he was being fed. Buy the same type, flavour and brand of food he’s been eating.

In the case that you do need to transition to a new food, mix the old food with the new food, and slowly decrease the amount of food over a 7-10 day period.

Getting food from somewhere else

If your dog is ignoring his food, it may be that he’s getting full from eating food from a different source. While it may be tempting to show your affection for your dog with table scraps and treats, sticking to praise and cuddles can help him eat his dog food and get the nutrition he needs.

Dogs are also known to be garbage pickers, so make sure that your trash is secure and out of his reach. Change your garbage bags regularly.

Make sure that your dog is fed at the same time(s) every day. To alleviate potential overfeeding from each family member, get the whole family involved by designating certain family members to specific feeding times. Read our article to learn more about how much to feed your dog.

Complete refusal to eat

If your dog completely stops eating or reluctantly eats only small amounts, you should contact your veterinarian immediately. Refusal to eat could signify anything from sore teeth to a serious internal problem.

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